One way and another last year we didn't have a proper holiday. We went over to France for a few days to stay with Mother in Law WithaY, but as this was immediately after the SSFH** broke over our heads, both of us were too traumatised and shell shocked to really enjoy it. In fact I distinctly remember a few afternoons spent weeping uncontrollably, sitting in the shade and trying to read a book. Ah, happy days.
This summer will be very different. Our plans are coming to fruition. Shit is coming together.
When we had a dog, we had to arrange a place for him to stay when we went on holiday. The kennels, in fact. They were lovely there, friendly, welcoming, cheerful. The man who owned it was old, tiny and frail. He was about 4'10" tall, built like a little spindly white-haired elf. He'd take the dog's lead from us, then be dragged away at speed, much like a waterskier, around the corner towards the barking of all the other dogs.
When we'd go to pick the dog up again a few days later, he'd be delighted, wagging his tail and frisking around us playfully. The dog was always pretty pleased to see us as well.
This year, we have no dog to send away. No. We have fish now. The kennels are therefore not the place to phone to arrange fish-sitting for a month. We have booked them into the fish shop for the duration. They will be transported there this weekend in a complex arrangement of plastic bags and boxes, balanced carefully in the car. Fortunately it's not a long drive.
The people at the fish shop have reserved a tank for them, which is already being set up to exacting specifications regarding water temperature, pH, chemical compounds and so on. Mr WithaY has had several lengthy discussions with the fish shop people about it.
I'm planning on sending the fish a postcard while we're away.
We were down there at the weekend, finalising Fish Hotel business, and picking up a few bits and pieces. My eye was caught by the display of ornaments that you can put in your fishtank.
When I was little, if you were posh you might have a castle in your goldfish bowl. Maybe a humorous diver with an airline that bubbled. Most people just had gravel, perhaps with one or two rocks.
Nowadays, you could film a reasonably decent horror movie using only fishtank furniture.
That's enough to give an impressionable guppy nightmares, surely?
And if not that, what about this?
What kind of animal is that even supposed to have come from?
The more traditional "humanoid skull" for purists. I like the startled look on Nemo's face there as he emerges from the fish portaloo behind it. Maybe they were re-enacting the scene from Pulp Fiction where Vince Vega comes out of the toilet and meets Butch.
For generalised random maritime crap, there's always the boat department. Or the lighthouse department. Or the submarine department. Or the, um, Sydney Opera House department.
Also, they sell this:
The Holistic Tortoise Diet. To balance their chakras and that.
*Yes, I've been banging on about it for months, I know.
**Shit Storm From Hades.