At Sixty It's hard to go to War
At sixty years old it’s not often that I get annoyed. But sometimes like my father told me you have to get angry and go to war. After all that’s what his generation & generations before done so why should I be the odd generation out.
Well this year was the fifth year of the pet company & although I retired four years ago with permanent illness. I have spent my time running the company when I am able.
To this avail I have wanted to share my lifetime’s hobby with everyone so I started keeping and selling fish this year back in march.
Lots of problems to start with the import of fish and the amount that arrive DOA, but it got better as time went on & I re-learned all the pitfalls that I fell into many years ago.
So with 120 aquariums installed on independent filters I eliminated the disease problem in the tanks & kind of got the ammonia problem over & done with by r/o water changes.
So I now supply over 40 shops with tropicals.
So To my mind I was successful in my endeavours.
So having a large building plot on the garden & having a son & a daughter that both flew the coup long ago decided to put it to good use. Twelve ponds & a feature pond for my koi carp.
Digging them was easy, my friend bud charged me a grand & lo & behold 15 large holes appeared via a huge earthmover.
A quick visit to the wholesalers & a dozen cheap Blagdon filters turned up on the sides with lifetime liners in the ground insulated with polystyrene to keep up the temperature in the winter.
I stood back to admire my work at 5.30 am one morning & suddenly the enemy appeared.
Taking the form of a large shadow soaring overhead, the word had got out about my fish and the foe had arrived.
Things suddenly got drastic, on top of my dead on arrivals I had to start the war against it.
Ahaa I thought! If he could not see the fish he could not steal them, so I disconnected all the U.V's, from the filters. When the ponds went green I thought First battle to me and sat to relax a bit.
A couple of weeks later I noticed the pond levels dropping & I thought that the liners had been so cheap and they were leaking, I had kicked myself in the foot by being a skinflint, twenty five years guarantee wasn’t a lot of good, but then it was too late to change them, so I dropped in other liners on top of them. But then it became a war again. It seems that the liners were going into holes & the polystyrene insulating the liners, was rising on the water leaking through underneath and the ponds were rising above the water. I blamed the lads that were catching the fish for the shops, I had taken on a load of idiots, and they didn’t seem to care about the liners & the brick lines holding them down, just about getting the fish to market.
After a lot of sleepless night I was sitting in the patio doors that overlook the garden when the sun came up over the house next door & lo & behold the enemy had turned up again. So I armed myself with a David style slinger and threw a couple of stones before I finally hit him & he scarpered into the woods.
Out came the binoculars and the seat beside the window. Out came the alarm clock set for daybreak & out came the flask & spare cup as I did not want to miss my chance to pounce. Regularly at sunrise the shadow of him preceded the man.
Well after three weeks of this palaver I was well & truly worn out, muck & bullets had nothing on this lark. Every time he came I just couldn’t get anywhere near him as he had become so wiley. I got near him he scarpered, I threw a stone he disappeared only to re-appear a little later. His cover was brilliant & he could climb up trees & everything
Back to the thinking block. Study your enemy & find his weak points, seek them out & then pounce & eliminate him.
The trap was set, the tea was getting cold & I saw the enemy, over the perimeter wall not a bother to him, craftily walked over to the nearest pond where the fish were up for the dawn & within two minutes he stole 5 fish.
B---d I thought, that 3 quids worth of fish in such a short space of time he could nick all my stock in a week or two. It’s so far away down to the garden he always had time to escape before I could get to him, so out came the sling again & it worked this time & away he went.
Electric wires I thought. A visit down to the wire rope company in the next town. 300 metres of flexible braided cable twenty hooks for the walls & a good power supply.
Strung up all the wires connected them up & placed a high ampere shock onto the line. I had set the trap now I had to wait for the snare.
5am the next morning I took up position at the door, As before, over the wall he came Ouch he went back up onto the wall, Ouch he went down again & ouch, back up he went. The third time he looked & looked & eventually gave up & went up to the trees, still gazing at the fish.
I won the war lol I thought, I could now rest. But three days later the fish were getting raggedy where they were being chased so much, and customers were complaining about the quality. I had to re-think again. Out came the seat & the flask, from the crack of dawn to dusk
Lo & behold, yer man was jumping down off the wall & walking under the wires & picking off the fish one by one. Time to get the gun !
Forty mile to the nearest gun dealer and I asked what would solve the problem. Hugh! 12 bore very little sighting, but would hurt too much. It was only me fighting this war and I didn’t want to kill him just hurt him a little until he gave up. Air rifle, that was the answer, soft bullets for a 2.2 I asked? None available, designed to go straight through the recipitant.
BB gun, a high powered one YES ! That would give him the wake up call required. I reluctantly handed my 250 euro over & was the proud new owner of a Gun.
The scene was set; down he jumped off the wall. Bang got him. Right up the proverbial. ----- All he did was jump a bit, so I reloaded & let him have it again, by then he was walking funny & decided it wasn’t for him so he left in a hurry, hitting the wires as he panicked to get away, lightning was leaking from the wires and almost stinging his rear.
My revelation was short lived as I dragged myself from the bed at 4.30 the next morning to sit & wait, The eyes were like sandpaper as I rubbed one eye at a time to get into focus, Low & behold he appeared on top of the shed trying to sneak down again.
The war had to be escalated I was Loo-osing!
Frantic phone calls to the appropriate authority revealed if I applied to the government & got a license I could shoot him. I applied to do so, met the rangers & they said that I had to do the dastardly deed by myself as they only issued the licence.
So I got in touch with the local gun club & lots of them offered to do the deed for me "No problem" So I arranged the ambush for the next morning
So I sat at the window & pondered. I had progressed from being a quiet man to be an "about to be murderer" & that was not the object of the war. The object was to Win!
I was tired I was miserable; I was distraught that it had come to this. It was nearly three weeks of getting up at the crack of dawn & then doing a days work. I sat Dejected. So I pondered my options, this war had to end, I was just too old to fight.
I didn’t want this war & I thought that I had won, but I had failed miserably.
Now it was him or I & I really didn’t want to die, so it had to be him. I was just the one who had to do the deed.
Suddenly a bright idea came on top of me.
A drastic phone call to a scrap yard had given me the information I needed. Twelve large containers made of metal arrived at the door later that day & the machine were engaged again. A couple of days later the latest weapon was installed and ready to go. I swooped on the fish & placed them in the metal & it worked. Containers with lids that folded down when the enemy came close balanced to fall if touched & quash the foe out.
He became a regular visitor and learned to sit on the edge of the tanks, but my secret weapon worked every time. The sound of the lid clattering and I knew he was about. No fish meals here I thought.
The biggest problem with the man, he is so persistent and now can negotiate the overhead wires on my front pond, but my other secret weapon is the dogs. Line them up at the door & let them out with a whisper of “pussycats pussycats” and they leap into action at him
It’s now a couple of months since I saw the heron. He is still majestic & comes to watch the ponds from above. But even he is not Wiley enough to beat the hoods on the tanks.
I like the day that I suddenly decided to change tactics, I never killed the foe, but justice prevailed & he just can’t get in now. His beak was piercing the liners so letting the water through and suddenly the knowledge of the liner holes fell into place LOL
© www.irishfishkeepers.com - October 2008