The name game
As of about a week ago, J and I are proud pet-owners. Nothing exotic, and not even a dog or a cat - no, just a couple of fish that we've inherited from a friend who's moved out.
The greatest pleasure to be derived from acquiring a pet - as I think Paul and his Long Suffering Wife discovered when they got their cat Cleo - is in the naming. Our fish did already have names, but - well, we weren't going to let a piddly thing like that stand in our way. We'll even go so far as to change them by deed poll if necessary.
I think it's very cruel and irresponsible of parents like Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Mr and Mrs Rooney to saddle their children with bizarre and unfortunate names - just think of the psychological damage it could do to them.
The thing is, though, that our fish won't have to make it in the wider world - they can just swim around in their tank, their own little kingdom, without having to come into contact with any other fish who might find their names preposterous and mock them mercilessly. It is for this reason that we've decided to christen them after our two current favourite words.
So may I introduce you to Hoopla (a proper bright orange, a fine figure of a fish) and Falafel (something of a runt - short and fat, greedy, a golden yellow colouring, occasionally suffers from a swim bladder problem meaning that he continually floats to the surface).
Long may they gawp, nibble at vegetation and swim around aimlessly.