I spent a great day yesterday taking my 19-month-old grandson out and about in Urmston and Trafford, Manchester. His mum, my daughter, needed a hand because she was poorly with tonsilitis (even though she’d had her tonsils out when she was 12! Apparently the bed of the tonsil are left in and it is those that became infected. Tonsil-bed-itis?) I took Oliver to the play centre at the Trafford Centre where he put me through my physical fitness paces climbing into impossible-for-adult spaces, wobbling over rope bridges and sliding down before being buried in ball pits. While sharing an ice-cream cornet (I took one small bite and while I thought he might lick once then give up (he’s not into eating much lately because of teething) he took the whole cornet off me and finished it – I hasten to add it was a tiny version of a small cornet the vendor kindly made especially for us)) we passed a Mall shop with a difference. There were ground-level aquariums with minnow-sized fish. Oliver likes fish. Wriggling feet were also in the tanks and the fish seemed to be feeding on them! On enquiry these are Garra Ryfa fish and for a fee of £10 for 15 minutes you can have your callouses nibbled away. This bizarre practice has been going on for centuries in Turkey and now is appearing in shopping malls the world over. It seems a bit suspicious to me. A scam by the vendors to save on feeding costs. Apparently, the water is filtered and the tanks regularly disinfected but I bet there’s no way of knowing if the fish could carry bacterial and fungal infections from one person’s foot to another. We were tempted only to stand and stare, and giggle a little.
On the writing front, I am still writing a Monk Punk short, working out a lesson plan for the Llandudno writing group I am to teach next week, and I’m writing a short TV play about book groups. In between I am making slow progress with Left Luggage volume three. However, I’m anticipating with glee attending NewCon5 in Northampton on Saturday. Many SF writers will be there including several, who ironically contributed stories to the Monster Alphabet Book where my Goliath story sits. Ironic because Monsters are fantasy rather than science fiction but often writers of one genre are happy to release steam in another.