WE had sad news in the Mum About Town household this week. One of our goldfish passed away.

Despite our best efforts including establishing a hospital tank and shelling out for some fish anti-biotics Little Gorby passed on. It wasn’t long before Ben noticed the solitary remaining fish Ronald swimming around on his own and asked the inevitable.

I hadn’t really thought too much about addressing the whole death thing with him, but equally I didn’t want to lie to him and give it the whole “He’s gone to sleep” I would be worried he would never go to bed again.

So I just came out with it and told him straight. He considered this for a moment and then asked, “Where has he gone then?” I am not sure I wanted to tell him his exact whereabouts, as I am not sure of the exact make up of the sewage system in the neighbourhood, so instead I told him all about how dead things go to heaven and have a lovely time and the ones we love very much still look down on us and make sure we are OK.

He seemed happy enough with that and quickly asked “Shall we get another one then?” The mourning period was thankfully very short.

A week later we went to the pet shop to acquire a new fish, and came back empty handed. It is astounding to think that anyone can have a child, an actual human being, but try and get your hands on a fish and it’s practically a grilling by the fish social services. Not only did I have to explain the demise of poor Gorby (to ensure there were no suspicious circumstances) but I also had to relay a full description of tank and remaining fish to see whether either were suitable for a new addition. The only thing remotely similar to giving birth to a person was that in both cases I had to produce a water sample.

I was given a full tutorial of the pitfalls of bullying and fish behaviour before the assistant told me there probably wasn’t a fish suitable in stock at the moment. I resolved to pick another pet store next time and lie my bump off in order to get my hands on one.