It was going swimmingly until one of them died

COMMENT: All agencies must to held to account for Anne Savidge’s tragic death

Have your say

Single mum-of-one Mandy Earle juggles a busy home life

Ours is a family of many pets. Over the past year, the quota of the Lush family farm has diminished due to the sad passing of two gerbils, two rabbits, and a cat.

However, don’t feel too sorry for us; we are still in receipt of two chickens, two cats, one dog, and with festive thanks to my mother-in-law, six small fish.

The children adore them. We set the tanks up as per the instructions, and then waited the recommended time before introducing anything with gills into the water.

We then waited before feeding them (the filter needs time to mature) and crossed our parental fingers.

And yet, despite careful attention and many Google searches involving all things fishy, one of the little blighters decided to up-fin and die.

As parents who try to model rules of both honesty and trust with our offspring, we promptly decided to lie our backsides off and pegged it pronto to a pet store.

Easy, one would think, to replace a fish. Not so. It would appear that unless your tank has been set-up since Millennium Eve, and you are willing to hand over your passport, internet banking details, and inside leg measurement, then you’ll be lucky to emerge with pondweed at best.

My husband removed me from said pet store while I was still flinging accusations over my shoulder, (‘I see it’s all right for you to keep 60 small sharks in a half-gallon tank though’) and we bought a replacement fishy from another establishment.

Luckily, neither child noticed the difference. (Here’s hoping they haven’t started reading the paper then.)

However, after all the subterfuge, India returned from school on Monday to find one of her fish, Coral, in a state of poorliness.

Her subsequent woe has given rise to previously unknown Mummy Will Fix Fish determination.

Thus far, I have been defrosting and shelling frozen peas to feed Coral, cleaning the water, and taking its temperature (the water’s temperature, not the fish, that would prove a step too far).

This is more than I do for my husband. Though in fairness, feeding him shelled peas is unlikely to feature in his Top Ten List of Spousal Pursuits.

Keep your fingers crossed for Coral; the happiness of India is riding on my pea-smeared shoulders.

· Verity Lush is a 36-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth. She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements. Follow her on Twitter @lushnessblog