The trials and tribulations of a silver and gold Goldfish called Molla and his her companion called Tira.

We have had several goldfish at Longoio the very first one we won at a fairground challenge oh and I just remembered it was the notorious fishing of the duck game in a pond. We were presented with the gift that we had won it was a goldfish given to us in a see through plastic bag water and air which we were to accommodate into a container and  it subsequently lived in a glass salad bowl until I found a rather more suitable and attractive typical goldfish like globe made of coloured glass. The fish tank arrived later as a gift from someone then we bought the coloured pebbles a few larger stones plastic grass an oxygen pump and even a magnetic cleaner with sponges that we whizzed about and which cleaned the glass panels internally and it was amazingly effective a frightfully useful gadget indeed.  However from time to time as the water got really murky it had to be flushed away and new fresh water was promptly replaced, naturally the fish had to be temporarily placed into a holding bay before popping him her back into its abode. No throwing out of the fish water with the fish as we also bought a small net to scoop them out gently! Soon the useless plastic weeds more for aesthetic purposes were replaced with real ones but these too really became rather obtrusive as they rather filled up the tank too much leaving the fish with hardly any swimming space at all. I do think that in these matters it is a question of trial and error.

I had had a fish tank in my childhood so I was delighted with this opportunity to breed fish I thought a new hobby as adults. Then I had gold fish black fish that were very prolific in producing offspring and they produced them whole quite mammal like rather like sea horses. Angel fish were my favourites they are very graceful and beautiful to behold . We even had a small catfish that we were advised to have as it lived on the bottom of the tank and admirably cleaned all the debris caused by these fish. If you want to observe interesting fish the Horniman Museum has got a varied collection placed in inventive tanks so that we can clearly observe and view them easily and at leisure.

To return to our fish I bought a surprise fish for company and I hoped for proliferation as a hobby sadly this was not to to be and worst still our fish mysteriously died which made us feel considerably miserable at the loss they were like our offspring that we never had. This was totally unbearable and we believe that our tap water may have been responsible as after a few months they were floating belly up lifeless . We bore this loss and got over it by my buying another goldfish with a silver streak again after a while I purchased a companion a fully gold goldfish.  This time though we gave them pure fresh stream water unadulterated by man with chlorine addition and whatever other chemicals are placed in water. However one evening after an event we found our Tira e Molla belly up one was completely lifeless and the silver gold goldfish was struggling for survival. Immediately I put my First Aid skills into play and I practiced mouth to mouth resuscitation this indeed did the trick as he she survives to this day, what a stressful moment we had though both simultaneously happy and sad. It was in fact the oxygen pump that had shut down.

We then got a replacement goldfish and have enjoyed these not without a few near misses though from the grim reaper caused by idiotic situations like Francis had stored the famous petrol oil mix for his lawnmower and placed this bottle in the bottle holder with the other bottles of water. You can guess what happened next this bottle was inadvertently used its lethal contents spread over our scaley friends and lined the tank with this oily substance. What happened next was panic mode these fish were coated with the greasy oil and were hardly able to breathe rather like us last week in temperatures above 35 in London unbearable indeed.  So now a horrid scenario ensued I jumped into action grabbed each fish one at a time and vigorously washed them of this wicked sticky substance in our kitchen sink. An impossible task unfolded as everything pump glass stones all caked with this potentially lethal mixture good for lawn mowers but not for fish. My intervention worked and the fish were saved. I suppose the moral of this story is never to store such miscele or dangerous fluids in  amongst edible things as only dangerous situations can happen.

The story though of their lives living happily ever after in our fish tank at Longoio ends here as a certain person called Francis husband of 41 years and shortly reaching his 70th Birthday just today 30 th July 2018 announced to me via his blog that our fish are now swimming happily in someone else’s pond upsized fish he calls them. Against my better judgement he decided again and on his stubborn insistence and plan that this was the case in question to upsize them rather than possibly finding a larger tank.  Unbelievable. Well this does not ring true to my title Be Kind and Merciful to all Animals and that includes us humans too. I was not given prior notification of this fait accompli how cruel can ones husband be to a misunderstood humanitarian soul a soulless unkind act. However Do you know that it is said that fish do recognise their owners I was intrigued by this fact and I believe this to be wholly true. Then there were two independent goldfish and now Tira and Molla are swimming amongst a tribe of goldfish.




This is our beautiful cat called Carlotta. She will be four years old this year. We found her at Borgo a Mozzano  beer festival where she had been rescued by the piccole cucce (small pet baskets) association.

She was all alone in a little cage. Her name carlotta had already been given to her by the association. We couldn’t resist her and promised piccole cucce that she would receive a good home and all the correct inoculations.

Francis was hoping to have a pint of beer there but instead we returned with a pint-sized cat…

Carlotta is truly beautiful and with her three colours (common only in females) she is also known as a calico cat. Calico cats bring luck and wealth and while we are not yet millionaires our lives have been incredibly enriched by her presence.

Carlotta loves to go on long walks with us. She is incredibly affectionate and very undemanding with a cool and placid temperament.

We are truly in love with her!




Another True Blue Day

The weather continues fine. As I drew the curtains a lovely view of our valley opened out. Blossoms and flowers are sprouting everywhere. Napoleon our cat is sitting patiently on a chair waiting for us to get up and feed him. a lovely day to do lots of things, especially in the garden.



Turandot’s Carillon

From London to Longoio (and Lucca and beyond) Part One

Proceeding from Ponte a Serraglio to Bagni di Lucca Villa the road is lined on the right –hand side, just past the art-deco styled Carabinieri headquarters (the “Casa del Fascio” under a previous regime), with a mysterious, somewhat dilapidated-looking and orange-stuccoed villa displaying signs of former architectural splendour in its ionic columns and details.  This elegant building happens also to be of the greatest significance for Puccini opera lovers for reasons which will become clear…

I stopped there the other day to take the following pictures which show that what we see of the villa is just its back-end: the façade faces a beautifully extensive garden sloping down to the Lima River, now still in full flood after the recent heavy rains. Not only does the villa always seem shuttered but even its present ownership is a mystery although I gathered from my barber that it may be now in…

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This Animal trough is the influential factor that led me to my title “Be Kind and Merciful to All Animals” note the  key word All well that is it we are all truly Animals whether we agree or not is another matter and notwithstanding this fact according to recent studies we have the same number of hair follicles as the  Chimpanzees how about that I wonder how this finding  was investigated! As so called Superior Beings we are supposed to have been looking after all the other animal species what a mess we have made of this. So many species vanish from our planet Earth on a daily basis! What are we doing to make amends to this well it seems that some scientists are trying to revive the extinct creatures such as Dinosaurs from recently found matter I think that our energies would be better directed in saving what we have at present which in itself is a daunting task but I applaud the work that Zoos are doing worldwide as we have collections of animals not just to oogle at but to hopefully use and to restore to their natural habitats around the world as has often been the case in question by reproducing further creatures. The recent good news is that finally animals will no longer be tested on for cosmetics so from now onwards animals will enjoy their well earned freedom!

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