Three Hooptedoodle posts on the trot is usually a sign of something or other, but on this occasion it is merely that we have been busy, preparing for some visitors who will be staying with us for a few days, so I haven’t had the opportunity to complete the paperwork for Weeks 33 and 34 of the Solo Campaign – that’ll be sometime later this week.
Today’s post is nothing political or barbed (I hope) – merely a note to welcome our new friends Jeff and Steve, who arrived this morning and seem to be settling in quite nicely. These are not the aforementioned visitors, as you see – they are Comet goldfish. My son Nick has been reading a lot on the subject, and promises that he will look after them carefully and faithfully. Certainly we have plenty of equipment and jars of special stuff bought in, so if that is a measure of how well they will be cared for we are off to a good start.
My feelings about pets are mixed. Over the years I have had a dog (great when I was 12) a cat (who was a much better friend than I expected) a budgie (a miserable creature – it didn’t do anything interesting except bite anyone that came near and screech deafeningly when there was music on the radio or the hoover was switched on), and that’s it, really. I dearly love to see birds and animals in their natural environment, but I’m too selfish or something to make room for one in my house.
I recall the thoughts of Dali on the subject of animals. He said, I think, that he wasn’t very interested in animals in general, apart from the rhinoceros, which had “divine crenellations”, but he liked them when they were suffering. Dali kept a couple of ocelots at his villa, and he used to get his slave girl hangers-on to walk them around the swimming pool and occasionally throw them in, to promote this state of natural grace which he admired.
Of course I disapprove. Dali was, in any case, a posturing old goat, as geniuses go, so I’ve always dismissed that as a gag of some sort.
|Dali with Babou|
In this part of the world, there is a slow but constant influx of wealthy townies, coming to discover the people they really are in the country. Although I arrived here in a similar manner myself, I laugh long and loud as the newbie country gentlefolk work through the checklist of things they must have in order to qualify. The Aga stove is too obvious to mention, as are the Land Rover Freelander and the green wellies (implication of horses), and there are certain high-end clothing manufacturers who cater for phoney lairds and would-be horse-breeders of this type. The standard-issue Labrador is usually an early arrival as well, and the dogs always have pretentious names – not at all like Jeff or Steve.
Over the years I have known some astonishing names for pets. My own cat was named Jim, exactly because we had a neighbour who bred Siamese champions, and all her cats were named after Aztec gods, or figures from classical history – or worse. I remember that something called Countess Lucretia got stuck in our garage once, and she also had a dreadful cat named Neoptolemus who used to dig up our flower beds as part of his toilet routine. Given an air-rifle, I’d have put a pellet up his regal backside every day until he got the idea.
I ribbed Nick gently about the lack of daring in his choice of names for his new fish, but he was quite comfortable about the matter. I also mentioned it to my hairdresser (as one does), and she assured me that her daughter named her goldfish Gail and Brian, which also seems a bit humdrum, but probably reinforces a point.
Maybe kids are just less affected in these matters. Perhaps, also, a pet who is a friend should not have a threatening name. Even I can see that Thor would be a daft name for a goldfish. So – yet again – I shall try to have the good grace to learn from a child, and accept that Jeff and Steve are OK. They, of course, do not realize that we call them anything at all – I’m not certain that they realize very much, to be honest.
I hope they are happy here.
I’m interested in this idea of names for pets. Do they reveal things about us that we would be better to hide? Do we name our pets to impress people? What is the best (or worst) name for a pet you have come across? No prizes, but I’m interested, and it might be a good laugh.