I’ve never been a great fan of fish.
I don’t mean that I’m averse to them as pets. Just as there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England, there is one corner of the Tingarden that is forever Fishland, final resting place of a series of watery pets who briefly shared our home, swimming around their tank trying to figure out why there was a small castle in it.
No, I mean that I’m not wild about eating fish. Apart from the fact that it smells of, well, fish, it is full of bones. Mean nasty little ones that get caught between your teeth, vicious needle-like ones that force themselves into the top of your gum, big ugly feckers that get caught in your throat. Fish is food that fights back, and I’ve never found that the taste is worth the trouble.
Remember, no-one has ever choked on a McNugget bone.
The widespread belief that fish makes you brainier is one of the great triumphs of clever marketing, since all evidence suggests that fish themselves have no brains at all. All that most people know about marine psychology is that goldfish have a three-second attention span, though in fairness I would question how scientists actually know this.
Mrs Tin, though, is an enthusiastic fish-eater and never gives up trying to convert me. So it was that yesterday I heard the familiar dreaded sound of fish hitting frying-pan, that hissing sound that always reminds me of listening to my grandad’s old 78s. I sighed and moved towards the cooker, trying to establish which branch, if that’s the right word, of the fish family I was to be subjected to.
The fish spat in my eye.
Ok, it didn’t, a spurt of fat or oil or whatever it is fish is cooked in leapt out of the pan, but the stinging, smarting, eye-watering effect was the same.
I’d like to stress at this point how concerned Mrs Tin was about my well-being. I’d like to, but I can’t, because once she established that I wasn’t actually blind she just fell about laughing.
We have a saying here when something is moderately good: “well, it’s better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish.”
Well believe me, having a fish spit at you isn’t.