Fate has played a cruel trick on us. The day before we were due to travel up north to tour the Isle of Man it became apparent there was a leak in the little pond in the garden and that our resident population of eight fish were at risk. Working at top speed Mrs C and myself bailed it out and retrieved them, using a variety of containers to hold the pond-water and plants. We were amazed to find about a dozen baby fish (not to mention two little newts); there had been very little sign of any breeding activity earlier this year and it has been several years since the last lot of youngsters.
All seemed well with the fish in their emergency accommodation on our return home but, on examination of the pond, everything went horribly wrong. There was a nasty cracking sound under my feet and water began gushing up through a split in the bottom as if we had struck oil. Clearly the water that had been leaking out had not filtered out into the garden but somehow been held under pressure below the plastic pond base. All thought of trying to fix the original leak was gone; the stark choice was to try to rebuild the pond or abandon it and having considered the increasing amount of work needed to keep it going (especially in these dreadful times of heatwave and drought), we plumped for the easy way out.
A brief message on Facebook about the plight of the fish was enough to bring round Kevin (and son), who were happy to add my motley lot to their existing brood, and at a stroke the aquatic population of our garden was reduced to zero (I should add that the newts were nowhere to be found and are regarded as escapees. Good luck to them).
So all the work of cleaning it all out last year and restocking with new plants in the hope of encouraging the fish to breed was simultaneously successful and utterly in vain. Damn and blast! The only good that has come out of it is that I no longer have to worry about endlessly pulling out strings of disgusting slimy algae from the black depths. We shall fill in the pond and plant some suitable damp-loving plants instead.