Dear John

I don’t think I’ve told you about my goldfish.  Yes, can you believe there are four goldfish in a tank in the front room, where we used to sit together.

I got them on a whim a few weeks ago, suddenly thinking that I wanted something else alive in the house with me.  My sister later said she’d done the same thing after she’d got divorced.  I made sure you could get longer term feeding devices (eg 1 week or 2 week food blocks) so it wouldn’t tie me to the house, and I sort of see it as an experiment which is ‘undoable’ – I can always give them away to someone or return them to the shop if I’ve had enough.

It is a hassle, having to have the filter running and changing the water etc, but I am enjoying looking at them.

I originally meant to buy two, and was thinking of using my old goldfish names from childhood, which you once surprised me by remembering – ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Company’.  But in the shop, there were three tanks – of normal-coloured orangey goldfish, lovely yellow, lemon goldfish, and then the sort of mottled orange and silver and black ‘shubunkins’, so of course I had to have one of each.  And then I went back a few weeks later and fell in love with another particular fish, which is black on top and a different sort of gold below, very complementary to the others – so got that as well!  They are growing very fast, and will doubtless soon become a problem.

Their names are – ‘Orange’, ‘Lemon’, and then (because of the song this suggests), ‘Clement’ and (I’m sure you would have guessed the name of the fourth goldfish) ‘Farthing’.  Fitting, cos it’s the next thing mentioned in the song, and it’s the fourth fish – fourth/quarter of a penny, geddit?

A fifth goldfish would have to be called ‘Martin’.

Strange that you’ll never see them – they’re part of my ‘life after John’.

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