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  • Duncan Evans

Golden Zlatan Gone …

Well, big sigh, apparently if you can’t look after a goldfish you probably can’t look after any other pets.  It’s more tricky than you think…

That said, my ‘welcome to my new home from May last year’ Bonsai Tree (thank you Sandra Freire) is still alive.  I’d been off for a few days and returned to work with the fish tank in serious need of cleaning.  I try to be thorough and it is a large-ish tank and home now to Beans (who I want to call Sir Alex, but Roxie White won’t let me), Zlatan and José (if you recall the blog from earlier this year).

So, I empty part of the water so I can take the inhabitants to a ‘safe’ area for cleaning.  Once in the kitchen I decant more of the water down the drain before being able to remove the fake plants and mini Buddha statue.  Beans, Zlatan and José are still safe for the moment.  Ready at the side is a large-ish bowl to pour the inhabitants and remainder of the water into, next to it in the wash up area is a plastic container, where at work we put all the cutlery into before washing, it is often filled with a solution of Fairy liquid (other washing detergents are available).  As I begin to pour the fishy three into the receptacle, Zlatan slips inadvertently into his home of diluted mild green Fairy liquid.  I scoop him out and pop him in with his piscine pals but have also thrown some of the detergent in with the three of them.  In an attempt to correct the issue I run the cold tap into their temporary abode, all that happens is, it foams up (I don’t think the diluted detergent was that weak).  I keep the tap running for a few minutes and everything seems okay.  Then the dreaded distraction.  Instead of tending to them with care, I leave them alone, someone or other calls me away and I leave the tap running.  When I return Zlatan has had a ‘Fishbait/Nemo’ moment but has clearly not thought it through (since when have goldfish been blessed with brains) and is lying relatively still, inches away from the plughole on the cold stainless steel of the sink.  He looks pretty stationary.  No muscle spasm, no flapping and no puffing of the gills.  All in all I think I’ve killed him.  So in one fell swoop I scoop him and pop him back in with Beans and José.  Momentarily there is life, or a pretty good imitation of it.  Zlatan’s alive!  Do it in a Brian Blessed voice and you’ll understand my renewed hope but misplaced elation.

The rest of the cleaning of the tank goes off without a hitch; fake plants rinsed and returned, glass cleaned, stones rubbed free of fishy faeces and the bogus baby Buddha restored to his place of underwater worship.  Now to return the Trafford Trio Tribute act.  However, it is abundantly clear that all is not well.  Zlatan bursts my bubble and with aplomb dives down to the bottom of the tank like a golden pebble.  He has been taken.  Perhaps he has become the holy ‘gilled’ ghost of the trinity.  There is hope though as an hour later he has changed position to an acrobatic but clearly abnormal fish posture in the fake plants.  Perhaps he’s doing yoga or some similar new meditation, but no, this is not downward dog this is dead fish pose.  For the next two hours I still kid myself that all will be well, shamelessly failing to draw similarities with a Monty Python style ‘dead parrot sketch’, he’s sleeping, he’s doing a head stand, he’s pretending to be David Bellamy in the underwater undergrowth and other daft thoughts and utterances.


Two hours later, Roxie starts her shift and her first job is to discharge the role of reverend.  Zlatan is dead, rest in peace.  Besides he has left United now and he did only turn out for them in a cameo role for a season or so.

Two more things of note, fund-raising has gone fantastically well, so thank you to everyone who has donated.  It really is appreciated, support is being pledged and promised from all corners.  Huge thank you to Kieron Thomas of HB Clark for donating two kegs (the proceeds of the sales will go straight to Brathay).

The training has been going very well and I’m running as well as I’ve ever done.  Here’s the rub though, I had a kick about with the kids yesterday.  I was warned to do nothing but run.  No tackling allowed, so why when just simply kicking the ball, the hip on my standing leg felt like it went pop?  I can jog, I can stretch, but admittedly it is sore so watch this space…it is a nervous three weeks ahead.


A View over Windermere – Zlatan’s Stairway to Heaven

Just in case you think that’s me providing excuses, I’m not, just letting you know, all will be well, see everyone on the 10th May.  In the words of Magnus Magnussen, I’ve started so I’ll finish!

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