My Dad’s a Goldfish – New Year, Old Post


Happy New Year!

Lots of blogger friends use this time of year to look back at the stats for the previous months on their blog – which were the most popular, which worked, which didn’t do so well. I thought about it but I because I so hate numbers I dismissed the idea pretty quickly.  I decided instead to have a look through old posts from early in this blog’s life and share one which I particularly enjoyed writing – because it was such a happy day – and which didn’t get many views as so few people followed the Goldfish back then.

A friend invited the Goldfish to visit his farm so he could get up close and personal with cows. Did I mention, before retirement the Goldfish was an AI man – artificial insemination? Of cattle – that is. I smile writing that because living here in what was the heart of dairy farm country saying AI is enough, everyone understands you mean cattle insemination but once, when the Goldfish was in hospital, the doctor asked the DH what the Goldfish’s job had been. DH said he had worked in artificial insemination. The doctor, looking a bit startled, asked: “In humans?”

Anyway, when the Goldfish was the AI man he went to my friend J’s father’s farm. J always remembered how nice the Goldfish was to him in those far off days and he invited him to visit – only someone connected with farming would understand what it would mean to the Goldfish to be amongst cattle again.

A scene from the farm.

It was a dreich day but dry. J had fastened a sort of carriage thing – made from an oil drum – to the back of his quad bike. It had a seat – quite small as it’s mainly used by his granddaughter. We managed to install the Goldfish in this and I sat on top of the quad bike – feeling grateful for my years of riding sidesaddle on the pillion of motorbikes in Pakistan – and off we went. My years of being the AI man’s daughter mean I like cows and have no fear of being amongst them and the Goldfish was delighted.

J kept up a running commentary about everything we saw and whenever I looked back at the Goldfish, who couldn’t actually hear a word being said, he looked happy, alert and interested. In one field we stopped amidst the cows and J asked the Goldfish what breed he thought they were. The Goldfish studied them for a moment and said: “They look like Ayrshires.”

J nodded. “They do, don’t they? In fact they are Montbeliard cows, originally from France,” he said. A discussion about the breed and milk yields followed and it was so good to see the Goldfish totally engaged in the conversation.

Montbeliard cow

There was a bit of a problem when J stopped the quad bike back at the house and we tried to get the Goldfish out of his carriage. He was stuck fast and it took our combined efforts to prise him upright and then he started quivering from top to toe, all his muscles in spasm. I was terrified he would topple over and didn’t see how we were ever going to get him out and safely on the ground. Finally he was able to stand upright and somehow J managed to get him down and he tottered into the house, none the worse for his shakes.

J’s wife had put on a lovely afternoon tea and the Goldfish tucked in with gusto, scoffing pancakes and scones with jam and cake and several cups of tea.

Driving home I asked what the step-monster (of course I didn’t call her that. I gave her real name) would think when we told her he’d spent the afternoon driving over fields on a quad bike.

“Oh,” he said, “have you been on a quad bike?”

“You have, too,” I said.

“I don’t remember.”

Even so, it was a really good outing. With these kinds of trips out and interaction with other people talking about things with which the Goldfish has a connection, it’s the lasting feel-good factor which is more important than the fact he forgets the event almost immediately.

35 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – New Year, Old Post

  1. This story made me smile and feel sad at the same time. Emotions going up and down in my head and heart.
    Near the end of her life, my Mum had similar issues, caused by bleeds in the brain, not dementia. At times, her statements were hilarious, but on the first occasion that she didn’t recognise me, I don’t think I had experienced a sadder moment in my whole life.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Pete. I still have the same emotions when I’m writing the posts. I remember vividly the first time Dad didn’t know who I was. I had mentioned it was my birthday and he wished me a happy birthday. When I asked if he remembered the night I was born (it was one of those family stories often trotted out) he laughed and asked why should he? He had no idea I was his daughter. It was hurtful even though I’d known it would happen.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Your dad so loved his job and took great pride in it and this must have been like the icing on the cake to him. He used to come to the farm Ian and I were on over 30 years ago and Ian did love a good talk with him as did I if he came up to the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. they say music is often the last thing to go so Jim Reeves might have stayed longer. this is beautiful and achingly sad too; be lovely for a bit of memory not only to come back but to stay too and those worries about getting stuck; could be funny or terrifying..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad you both had a lovely day and you at least some lovely memories.

    (I am laughing at the “AI” though. In my career among high tech companies, that would have been universally translated as artificial intelligence. )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Barb. Yes, nowadays there are different meanings for AI. Round here if anyone refers to the AI man they mean the cattle inseminator – sometimes referred to as the bowler-hatted bull.


  5. Mary you know I adore your writing… not only your technical skill but the poignancy and humanity you bring. I was there with you and it’s not important that it was your dad (Ok I know it is for you) bit it could be my dad or me or someone I love and that is what brings it all home and makes it so affecting and personal. I also love your sly humour.. In Humans? had me bursting!

    It is funny how some circumstances can restore the person you knew for a short time.. and then it must be heartbreaking to watch it switch off again.
    Plus I gotta say dreich day… looked it up. What a phrase…love it!!!

    Thank you for another….. ( fill in appropriate word.. because none I can think of does it justice) read.
    Happy new Year PXX

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Memories to last a lifetime, Mary, don’t know what we would do without the special, sometimes funny things that we can hold on to. When my Dad was in an assessment accompanied by my Mum, the consultant asked him what day of the week it was. Mum said that he paused, obviously didn’t know, but then responded firmly with ‘I don’t NEED to know what day it is…’
    How did that thought manage to manifest itself ? It always makes me chuckle !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s brilliant, Julie. It made me chuckle, too. But it has an important point, too, about the assessment process and what is relevant.
      I heard when Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister they had stop asking the question Do you know who the Prime Minister is? People became so enraged!


  7. What a lovely upbeat day for the Goldfish. as another reader said, the feel of the day, if not the actual memory, will have stayed with him. It triggered a memory of my own. At sixteen I took the first level of ballet teacher’s exams and became an AISTD (Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing), however my younger brothers gleefully told anyone who asked that it stood for Artificial Insemination by Subscriber Trunk Dialling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Olga. He did enjoy being out amongst the cattle – and the huge tea he tucked into afterwards. And I have a memory of a happy day with him. I wonder when I’ll forget about it?


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