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Do Fish Have Ears?

Tenby, West Wales

Best way to start one’s week: on a train to Balamory Tenby, implausibly picturesque jewel of the Pembrokeshire coast. I last hit West Wales on a post-A Levels holiday, to enjoy those final bits of intimacy with school friends before we all buggered off to university (we went to a very classy nightclub in Saundersfoot, and got chatted up by a bloke who claimed he was Griff Rhys Jones’s nephew: such are pulling techniques of the Welsh schoolboy), but generally when I head for the homeland I get stuck at Cardiff. Which is lovely, of course, but provides fewer opportunities for building sandcastles.

Pembrokeshire has so many castles of the non-sandy variety they have no truck with Stonehenge-esque fencing, and are quite content for you to meander all over them. Carew is good: Manorbier even better (not least because their costumed mannequins are Madame Tussaud’s cast-offs: marvel at medieval J.R. Ewing! fling rotten tomatoes at Brezhnev in the stocks!). Highlight of the holiday, however, was the company. Apparently, you can hire a paparazzo to follow you around all day to make you feel like a star. I recommend obtaining a small niece instead, who will be similarly mesmerised by your every nose-blowingly mundane act (Auntie Susie has socks on! Auntie Susie has muesli! Auntie Susie HAS EYES!). Comes with free hugs. Sometimes the hugs include jam. Could anyone ask for more?

book_mini From Head To Toe, Eric Carle; Cockatoos, Quentin Blake; Kipper, Mick Inkpen. Two-year-olds have all the best books.

pencil_mini I need to get better at writing on trains. Curse you, iPod, distractor of the masses! Although should you find yourself on a 5 hour train journey that has just become a 7 hour train journey thanks to a 4-minute delay making you miss your connection – just to pluck an example from thin air, natch – you could always pass the time listening to me (and other more amusing people) blethering away about narrative point of view, Sex & the City, and chocolate plungers on last week’s Litopia podcast (iTunes or streaming). Otherwise, I’ve been contemplating Chekhov’s Gun (not to be confused with Chekov’s Gun). I suspect I’ve got an entire armoury strapped to the wall in the opening chapter of Biscuits & Lies: might need to discard a crossbow or two…

rocrastination_mini Being entertained by The Last Shadow Puppets (they sound like The Walker Brothers channelling Viv Stanshall: basically Gretschen Hofner with a bigger production budget, which can only be a good thing); watching M*A*S*H (the Henry/Trapper/Frank Burns era: oh Radar, I do love you so); being hugely impressed as usual by the ginormous brain of Alex von Tunzelmann, whose Indian Summer makes even a kidlit junkie like me get excited about grown-up non-fiction; eating magnificent fish & chips from Ficci’s in Tenby, who have been frying since 1935 – accept no substitutes!


16 thoughts on “Do Fish Have Ears?”

  1. Not just eyes. ‘Auntie Susie has yellow beard,’ Small Person announced today. ??

    We forgot to ask whether fish have ears! However some swift googling reveals liquid-filled sacs with hairs to sense vibration. This sounds (like invisible) ears to me! SP loved the fish, and has now added the very useful word axolotl to her vocabulary.

  2. I’m not sure I’m all that thrilled at having a yellow beard, but SP knows best.

    Axolotl has ears! (Kind of.) What a well-educated Small Person she is. 🙂

  3. “Attalottle have ears,” a more likely utterance. Well-educated, but not yet grammatical.

  4. Hello fabulous educator! Thank-you for informing this not-so-small person of the existence of the Axolotl. I obviously needed to see the google images that popped up when I said wuh? to my computer. They have made my day. Lovely little smiling creature that it is. I just know that my frogandlizard-obsessed son is going to go mad for

    Update on Indy – have you seen it yet? Said son announced to the whole cinema yesterday, ‘It’s very Scooby-doo, isn’t it Mummy?’ Oh how he learns at the feet of the master!

    Still recovering from the weekend. What did you put in those invisible gingerbread men that I didn’t eat? It certainly wasn’t cinnamon!

  5. Hmm. Yes, more to the point, “Attalottle have legs.” What a strange fish. Or whatever it was that we saw in the A carey room. (Aquarium. Took us a while to work that one out.)

  6. Blimey, those things are AMAZING. I like the frondy collar bits they’ve got. They look like someone photoshopped them for a laugh. Or God just had a few random bits left at the bottom of the ‘Animal Parts’ bucket…

    Still haven’t seen Indy, Jos: might try at the weekend. And I take no responsibility for weekend after effects (though I’d blame that vegetable jalfrezi myself: blimey that was hot!). Promise to bring actual gingerbread people next time.

    ‘A carey room’: okey-doke, will try to remember that one. (And they aren’t fish! Did you learn nothing at the Silent World??)

  7. Axlotl = Ace.

    New Indy = almost Ace. Perfectly acceptable cinema-as-fairground-ride. Harrison Ford is the new God of craggy mumblyness.

  8. Ok, ok, it’s a tadpole in arrested development or whatever it is. You think pursuing SP around an aquarium leaves time to read labels? I got as far as the bit about Mexican canals and that was my lot. They had quite a lot of other not-fish (snakes, geckos, lizards etc) about which I learned nothing whatsoever either…

  9. I googled axolotl in an educational manner too (what an educational site this is!!). They are weird looking things – I think I’d go with your idea of made from leftover bits whcih didn’t fit on any other creature, Susie.
    Visiting ‘A Carey Rooms’ with my 2 usually resulted in great interest in the vicious, man eating specimens (sharks were a big favourite). What is it about boys??? Cue nature v nurture debate…..

    We went to see new Indy which was very entertaining and truly hilarious in parts. Harrison Ford is still gorgeous despite crumbliness.

  10. Just been bloggin about Indy and the weekend, and Hay today *very weak and tired and rather wet hurrah* and completely forgot all mention of Axolotls. Though I did mention the word to my lovely son and do you know he said he’d already seen them in his lizards book. So there you go. But yes he loves sharks too. And I think it may be a testosterone thing but don’t quote me on that.

  11. Indy-viewers: alas, I was unimpressed. There were some nice enough silly motorbike chases etc, but the plot was quite excruciating. And yes, I know you don’t watch Indy for the plot, but still. He is still foxy, though (and infinitely more so than Shia LaBoeuf: still trying to work out if that was intentional or not…).

    Rarg: if it was a fairground movie, it was more Jungle Ride than Raiders/Temple/Crusade’s Wacky Gold Mine. (Readers who have never been to Barry Island, please ignore.)

    Jess: it’s a salamander, making it an amphibian, not a fish. I think. As previously established, I’m not very good at science. If a website told me it was some kind of buffalo, I’d probably just nod and smile.

    Nicky: so educational! I trust if Yr 6 ever have a pet it will be frondy. 🙂 I remember your two being quite perturbed by the shrunken heads at the Pitt-Rivers though: vicious man-eating is ok from a distance, maybe?

  12. Josie: ooh, comments passing like ships in the night… Did you go to Hay? Cor. *poddles off to read*

    I had a suspicion that said son would know axolotls. He has that look. 🙂

  13. Susie: our comments do tend to do that. And yeah, he does have the lizard look, doesn’t he!

    Trilogy of win I think is pushing my supsension of disbelief a bit too far. Think this may be one of those points on which we agree to differ – as when I asserted that Terry Pratchett is a manifestation of the divine and you suggested that when I sobered up I might realise that he is in fact not.

    The book came through yesterday and miraculously escaped a dog-gnawing. Thnx!

  14. Maybe confusing cos I replied to your trilogy of win comment on your blog, which you made on my blog, so only people who read both blogs would know what we were on about?

    Or it could have been the axolotls.

    Yeah, don’t be dead.

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