For a while now, I’ve thought myself tedious, but last week I had it confirmed. Slipped though my letter box when I returned home last Friday was a thick, glossy and colourful brochure entitled ‘Pondkeeper’ – 100 pages of, I guess, pure pond porn to those that are interested in this kind of thing.
True, when aged nine, newts, frogs and grass snakes ruled. But that passion waned more than 40 years ago, and today the only interest ponds arouse is.... well, actually, zilch (and trust me, I paused there for a minute to think about it).
Nevertheless, as I had little do over the weekend, I found myself flicking through it last Saturday night and oddly found it comforting.
Doubtless the picture of a pretty blonde on the cover making eyes with a Koi helped, but equally so did the appeal of reading something I didn’t actually have to process or assimilate.
After all, pond prose is unlikely to ever scale the heights of any bestseller lists. But having skipped past the first page, I’ll admit I found myself drawn to into an every increasing world of filter foams and replica herons.
Now one thing I normally never do when starting a new bedtime read is to flick to the back, so clearly my internal literary compass had encountered its own, local Bermuda Triangle (or Kidlington Triangle in this instance).
But once done there’s no turning back and consequently I found myself confronted by the back garden reality of ‘Half Price Pond Spitters’ and a PondXpert Pond Protector (an interlocking system of floating rings that deter heron attack but still allow you to see your fish).
Of course it was my own fault – now I knew how it ended I felt less inclined to immerse myself in its plot, but with no-one to talk to and no one to call the doctor, I pressed on.
The first major chapter was labelled ‘Pond Liners’ and despite the Pond Fleece underlay with its heavy 200gsm of needled felt, it was, I felt, predictable and derivative.
So too for the chapter titled ‘Water Courses’ (and subtitled ‘Rockways Rustic Slate Watercourse’); lovely photographs yes, and especially of the stainless steel waterfall christened Niagra, but somehow its narrative lacked the frisson I’d expect in an urban pond page-turner.
However, all was forgiven when, on page 18, I arrived at ‘Pond Entertainment’. Admittedly, only two pages long, its sheer audacity carried me along on the crest of a ripple – there was the Bermuda Frog Tower (£59.99), the Caught in The Act Gnome (£29.99) and the, tame by comparison, Floating Fish Dome (£79.99).
And with ‘Pond Deterrents’ to close this white knuckle ride, I finally switched off my bedside lamp at around 1.20am.
Now maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but truth is, that night, I had some of the best dreams I could have wished for...