Monday, May 24, 2010

The Story of the Fish

I can't remember accurately how long ago it was. Five years? Probably more like ten, or even more. Thinking about it, it's probably more than twenty.

The Communist and I often went walking in those days. After I was so ill and had a blood clot in my leg, we all thought that the best way to help it to get at least a bit better was to walk.

So we walked - often more than once a day. The Communist had recently retired and enjoyed walking. There had been friends I'd gone walking with previously - but now I couldn't keep up and I felt a bit embarrassed about it.

We walked in the parks and we walked in the countryside round about. We never went more than a couple of miles, but we enjoyed it.

One hot, still summer's evening we were walking in Roundhay Park which is not far from where we live. There are two lakes in Roundhay Park - Waterloo Lake (known as "the big lake") and the Small Lake (known as - er - - "the little lake").

Suddenly something strange happened to the water. It started rising up, in smooth curves, all over the lake. We realised that the curves were the backs of big fish. Very big fish, in fact - at least a couple of feet long.

Why all their backs were rising above the water at once, I just didn't know, and still don't. There were lots of flies about - but the fish weren't jumping up to catch the flies. They were simply swimming very close to the surface of the water.

I was surprised that there were so very many fish in the lake, and that they were so huge. I wouldn't have thought that a lake of that size - it takes about fifteen minutes to stroll round it - could support so many fish. I never did find out what they were, or why they were coming out of the water like that. To see them all, suddenly rising up like in this way, was, to me, slightly spooky.

I've walked round that lake very many times since, of course, but I've never seen anything like it ever again. And I've never looked at the lake since without imagining all those big fish, slowly swimming around beneath the surface.


Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Since still water runs deep, I maybe the lake is a shallow one?

12:45 am  
Anonymous Helen said...

Oh dear, I only seem to comment here when I have some technical advice! Must try to be less geeky.... anyway, the fish were probably short of oxygen. In hot, still weather, which causes lower levels of dissolved oxygen and less mixing between the surface and deeper layers, the fish come to the surface to 'breathe'. I'm sure it was an amazing sight though.

11:07 am  
Blogger Diz said...

Isn't there a fountain in that lake now, or am I thinking of a different park? That might oxygenate the lake somewhat, which could explain why you haven;t seen them since. Or is that a red herring?
verification gyrogis - stirring of lake water so the fish can respire

8:43 am  
Blogger Kate said...

How weird! That made me feel all goosebumpy reading that!

10:15 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Bob - you're right, actually - the lake is quite shallow.
Helen - and I bet your theory is entirely correct, thank you!
Diz - you're right about the fountain too - and I bet it does oxygenate the water!
Blimey, it's like having Inspector Morse reading my blog - thank you all!

12:51 am  

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