# Thursday, 18 May 2006

The sad tail of Biffed II

Well, I came downstairs this morning to hear a funny noise form the fish tank filter. On closer inspection, it turned out that our fish had been excavating once again, and had piled up so much gravel in front of the cave where the filter sucks out water, that the filter couldn't actually get anything through.
 
Whilst digging out the cave, I noticed one of the new fish cowering inside the cave. I'm not sure if the others (ie Biffer) tried to bury it alive, or it just got stuck inside during a digging frenzy.
 
Either way, when it emerged from its confinement, I could see that it had been pretty badly beaten up. Most if its fins were gone, and it had red marks around its head. Poor thing looked very soory for itself. To add insult to injury, whilst it was trying to swim (which was obvously very difficult for it), other fish came over and tried taking bites out of it!! As if its injuries weren't enough, it was being eaten alive
 
Eliyohu looked at it and shouted "It's been Biffed again!!" I pulled it out and put it in a net, floating in the tank. That way it was still in the same water, but was protected from the others. I'm not sure if it will survive though
 
I'm glad I'm not a fish!!

P.S. added later...
Sad to say, Biffed II didn't make it until supper time. I found him floating belly-up later on, so I did the decent thing and bunged him down the waste disposal!!
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# Wednesday, 17 May 2006

New fish today

We got some more fish today. Being that our fish are the "tough guy" type, who seem to enjoy bashing each other (or some of them do anyway, the rest have to tolerate it), we occasionally lose the odd one or two.

We took a trip to see Graham the fish man and bought some Maylandia Estherae German Double Reds. Pretty impressive name
for a fish eh?

Well, after putting the new fish in the tank, I sat back to watch them swimming peacefully around in calm serenity. Ha ha ha. Biffer swung into action in a matter of seconds. I reckon he had terrorised every one of the new fish, plus most of the old ones in about twenty seconds!!

Ho hum, I wonder how many will make it through the settling in period? It's life on the edge for us fishkeepers you know!!

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Twenty boys and a swarm of greenfly

Yesterday was Lag B'omer, and in keeping with fine old tradition, most of the schools round here had an outing. I went with the boys' school to Roundhay Park in Leeds - where I spent a large amount of my childhood.
 
Despite heavy rain the day before, the weather was warm and sunny. Apart from a 30-minute light shower in the afternoon, we didn't get wet at all. Actually, that's not true, we didn't get wet from above. Severla boys managed to get wet from below by jumping in puddles that were deeper than they thought, or dibbling their toes (complete with socks and shoes) in the lake!!
 
The journey home was mainly memorable for the huge swarm of greenfly that decided to come home with us. I have never seen so many in one are in one time, and I can honestly say that I would be happy if I never saw that many again!! Bleah, they got everywhere!!
 
All in all, a good day out
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# Tuesday, 09 May 2006

New Mac!!

I got a Mac today. No, I don't mean a Big Mac, I mean an Apple Macintosh computer, like my big bro has, only not as new and posh as his.

I know, it's a toy, but I have a slight justification for it as I need it (well, vaguely need it anyway) for testing the web sites that I write. There are a couple of browsers only available on the Mac, so it seemed like a reasonable enough justification.

Dontcha just lurve EBay and the thrill of impulse buying?

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# Sunday, 07 May 2006

The big cycling trip

Well, having got new bikes, we just had to try them properly. So, I picked up the boys and two of their friends from school, and set off to Sankey Valley Park, near Warrington. This is a great place for cycling as it has loads of decent paths, many by the side of the Manchester Ship Canal (home to several ducks and not much else), as well as a bit off slightly off-road terrain. Just right for a first trip.

We took a large bottle of cold juice, as it was a hot day, as well as a few biscuits. It turned out that Motty and Zevvy (the two friends) had brought four large bags of some very tasty snack. We had a good cycle, stopped for a feast, then cycled back, stopping only on a bridge over the motorway to wave at some cars. A few even waved back

Next stop - Everest!!

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# Friday, 05 May 2006

New bikes ;-)

Aryeh Yehuda was to do a cycling proficiency course at school, so we had to drag his bike out of the cellar, where it had festered over the winter, and see if it was up to the task. It was, but he had grown a little too big for it. A new bike was in order.

So, Friday afternoon, like I've nothing better to do a few hours before Shabbos, he and I went off to the bike shop. Well, you can't come out without a little something can you? Apart from the spiffy double-suspension bike that he chose, I got myself a rather nice mountain bike to replace the one that was, erm, "borrowed" from our succah last year.

I also succumbed to the temptation to buy a bike computer that tells you how fast you are going, how far you've been, your average speed, max speed, trip time, etc. I don't know how I ever cycled all these years without one of these!!

So, having brought them home, I presented Eliyohu with Aryeh Yehuda's old bike, which pleased him no end. Aryeh Yehuda cycled off to his shiur, and Eliyohu and I decided to go for a quick once around Heaton Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, just right for cycling.

I then realised how depressing the bike computer really is!! You sweat your guts out (if you'll pardon the expression) cycling for absolutely yonks, then you look at the computer and discover that you've only been going about ten minutes and you've cycled a little over three feet!!

Mind you, I did manage 16 miles per hour on the flat, and 24.5 mph downhill on the way back top the park gates, so I was quite chuffed with that. Eliyohu didn't quite manage such speeds, but he was well pleased anyway.

Next project - some real cycling!!

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# Thursday, 04 May 2006

How rude!!

A boa constrictor stuck its tongue out at me. I don't think I've ever had that happen before, and it made a strangely deep impression on me.

I confess that the boa in question was only about 9" long and was on the other side of a piece of glass in a pet shop, but it was a significant experience in my otherwise reptile-free life!!

I wonder what will happen to me next?

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# Thursday, 02 February 2006

Hello Wilbur... Goodbye Wilbur

Last Thursday evening, I noticed funny noises coming from the fish tank filter. I decided that it was about time it was cleaned, so I unplugged it and carried it over to the sink to empty out the water. As I tipped it over, I noticed something small that looked like it was moving in the sink.
 
Looking closer, I could see a small baby fish!! I guess it must have been sucked into the filter and not been able to get out. Knowning the way fish have babies, I presume that its borthers and sisters must have been someone else's breakfast, and this little fella survived by being out of reach inside the filter.
 
I scooped him up, and put him in a jug of water so I could have a closer look (and to save him from dying in the sink of course). He was about one inch long and pink. I had just read Charlotte's Web, a very pleasant, if weird, children's book about a spider (Charlotte) who saves a runt pig (Wilbur) from certain death. As this fish was small and pink, and I had saved him from certain death, I called him Wilbur.
 
Not knowing quite what to do with Wilbur, I put him in a small plastic box of water and floated it in the main tank. That way, he was safe from the jaws of Biffer (our tank bully, who would consider Wilbur a tasty snack), but he would have warmth from the heated water around him. I gave him some food and went to bed.
 
The children were highly excited the following morning, and I must admit that I was too. My thoughts drifted to Wilbur during most of the day. He seemed quite active, swimming around his plastic tub. I decided that I would have to do something better for him on Sunday. I thought of rigging up a small container of netting, so that there would be a free flow of water in and out, to save me having to swap the water in his tub so often. Happy, I went of for my pre-Shabbos bath.
 
I came downstairs an hour or so later to find Wilbur dead!! He was belly-up in the bottom of his tub. I have no idea why, but I was really upset.
 
Funny how something so small, and only here for a short time can make such a deep impression. I guess there's a profound message in that. I leave it to you to consider.
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# Monday, 02 January 2006

I hate flying!!

Haven't been on an aeroplane for years. About nine to be precise. I hope it will be that long until I go on another
 
We went to visit the family in Eretz Yisroel. Trouble is, this involves flying. I'm not sure who enjoyed the experience less, me or Nechoma Bryna. Actually, I think she won. She gripped my hand as the 'plane took off and managed to break a few fingers during the ascent. Landing wasn't much better!!
 
Coupled with the fact that we got up at 2:40am (English time) yesterday, and got into bed at 11pm, I think international travel isn't my forte. Maybe I'll go by boat next time.
 
If I can wake up, I may even write some words about the trip. Right now, all I can think about is bed and 'planes!!
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OK, so keeping a blog isn't as interesting as I thought!!

It seemed like a good idea at the time, keeping a blog that is. I liked the idea of sharing my personal musings and ponderings with the wired world. The thought that people around the globe might contemplate the deep philosophical concepts that I created filed with with a sense of enthusiasm.
 
Reality hits hard sometimes. You have to be fairly motivated to write junk every day. Don't get me wrong, I can spout waffle 'till the cows come home, it's just finding the time to commit them to writing.
 
Oh well, maybe I'll get around to some more. Elgar is bashing away on the CD player and that is enough to inspire anyone to contemplate the higher realms of life.
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