I’ve heard it so often, I can almost sense it coming now. It’s often in pubs, bars and other similar gatherings when someone enters the conversation by saying –

‘Oh, so you’re into Koi are you? Last month I did ‘a foreigner’ over a few weekends and put some double-glazing into Fred Williams’ new home, you know, the car dealer – sells Mercs and Porsches down in town. Well you should see HIS Koi, he keeps ‘em in two bloody great ponds in his grounds. I’ve spent hours with my butties watching ‘em, absolute giants, there’s dozens of ‘em – not one smaller than this (that’s the time when the arms stretch out fully) – and the colours are amazing. Dunno what they’ve cost him but they must be worth millions upon millions, Fred pointed to one big yellow one and said it was a prize winner – worth more than a new Roller even’.

Then it just goes on and on and on, I try to look surprised and impressed and keep throwing in the odd ‘WOW’ or a gasp with incredulous raising of eyebrows at times before making an excuse to join some others after thanking him for the wonderful information he’d passed on.

Although I have never dared do it, it often passes through my mind to reply to these statements by saying –

‘Look ashhole, why don’t you stick to double-glazing? – and I’ll stick to my subject which is Koi. It’s my job to know where every single Koi of any real value is in the country and also know where every single good Koi pond is in the country so please do not spout endless bollocks to me. I assure you, there are not very many of either good ponds or good Koi. I’ve had to know this for the past 30 years ‘cause it’s my job. Take my word for it, Fred Williams’ ponds will be completely useless and his Koi will have been bought in job lots from those giving up the hobby and are desperate to sell after all other avenues have failed and that’s when Fred steps in and buys them on size alone to impress guys like you who would not know a good Koi from an average salmon. He most likely feeds them from huge sacks of trout pellets. Without even seeing them, I’d be hard pushed to give him £1,000.00 for the lot and I’d have to be very drunk at the time!’

Some years back, I wasted a whole day when a party of us were taken by coach to see the legendary mansion, grounds and Koi ponds owned by Hugh Heffner of Playboy fame. I had seen TV programmes before showing some of the girls posing in illuminated underwater caverns surrounded by water full of Koi in all varieties and colours. I had no doubt in my mind as to what I would see so I wasn’t disappointed – just bored! I don’t know whether Hugh took advice from the guys at Disneyland or vice-versa but the visual impression was almost the same purely to impress the innocent visitors who thought that coloured carp were all incredibly expensive. As a result the ‘Ooohs’ and the ‘Aahs’ all followed, some of the ponds were even painted pink! Judging by the tasteful pond surrounds, the landscaper employed must have been a long-since discarded Bunny in need of employment. Each Koi may have been worth the price of one copy of his magazine but not much more. As to the ponds and ‘filters’ – jackhammers sprung to mind here.

Cynical? – not really.

Truthful? – now you’re talking!

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