It is now a year since I fished (pardon the pun) a length of slimey blanket weed from the garden pond and extracted a few, visible pearly eggs.
To my surprise, four microcospic wrigglers, each the size of a seed, emerged.
Dover, Dogger, Fisher and German Bight.
When it became clear that they might survive, the next stop was the Aquarium shop and I came home with a tank, some gravel, a pump, a plastic Chinese junk (yes, I know, really bad taste), plus some pond weed.
It was months before they began to look anything like fish. There being dark warnings about over-feeding them, I agonised about how much food to sprinkle into the tank – how do you calculate how much a fish the size of an earwig x four, will consume in 24 hours?
Like any mother I worried in case they might be too hot (tank placed in the conservatory), or too cold (quite icy in winter) but they pressed on with the business of growing.
Something unexpected then happened. While Dover, Dogger and Fisher grew slowly, remaining their original brown trout colour, German Bight had a gargantuan growth spurt and overnight stepped out in snazzy orange outfit, twice as big as his fellows and looking like – well, a goldfish.
The fish in the garden pond are a bit of a mottley crew, mostly vibrant orange, some with white markings, a few either uniformly black or a combination of black and orange. Sadly the heron scoffed Bake and Bean, the koi and it would be fitting if German Bight and his band of brothers (even sisters) were descended from them.
Bake, Bean and Friends.