It was my intention last week to write a post introducing the newest addition to our little family here at SK Chase. Gerald joined us on Saturday 21st March and was much pampered and petted by the girls here, until sadly we lost him suddenly to a nasty fungal infection.

Gerald was our first office pet – a beautiful silver sand coloured, fan-tailed goldfish with a bright orange forehead. We took a team expedition a few Saturdays ago and brought him home to his new tank which is now sitting at the end of my desk.

A couple of weeks ago, one of our directors, Steph, read a great little book called Fish! which she passed around the rest of the team as an example of the kind of working environment we’d like to create here at SK Chase.

I read and enjoyed the book, and think that it might well prove useful as our guide to a great atmosphere at work. Centred around four basic principles, Fish! is a mini training course in storybook format. It comes up with great ideas on how you can personally make a difference to your working day, have fun at work and make your customers feel fantastic. Give or take a bit of Americanised psycho-babble I thought it was well worth a read, and has certainly made me think about how I can do my bit to make SK Chase a great place. (hey, that rhymes…)

The thinking behind the pet fish was to have four in total – one for each principle in the book. That way, every time any of us got stressed after a ropey phone call, we could head over to the tank and gaze at the little fishies, both to relax us, and to remind us that we have a choice over how positively or negatively we react to things that happen to us at work.

So we made a trip to the Aquatic Rooms on Leith Walk (and then to the pub – but that’s another story altogether) and invested in a 35 litre tank, a filter, some fish food, and most importantly our new fish – whom I named Gerald.

The following Monday I was the first to arrive at work, and naturally went straight over to Gerald’s tank to check that he’d made it through his first weekend in his new home. I was most perturbed to see him lying prone and motionless on top of the filter, his fluffy fishy fins swaying gently. I instantly assumed the worst and sent a few upset text messages to the other girls to break the bad news.

However, returning after 10 minutes with my rubber gloves, ready to fish him out and flush him off to white china oblivion, I got a bit of a fright when he came suddenly to life, wriggled off the top of the filter and swam casually to the other side of the tank.

Clearly Gerald was a bit of a joker!

The upshot of this was that I discovered that the filter was creating too much of a current for poor little Gerald, and he had more than likely been pinned to the top of it for most of his first weekend. I sorted the direction of the filter, apologised profusely to His Fishiness and hoped that he would escape unscathed from his experience.

All seemed well for the first few days, Gerald was eating well and seemed to be quite at home – particularly so when we gave him some pebbles and another plant to brighten up his tank.

Then, without warning, disaster struck! Natasha (Tash) was the first to discover that he was sporting a new and interesting jacket of white spots, swiftly diagnosed as Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis – or “Ich” to those of us who can’t get our heads round the full Latin version.

Ich is a particularly nasty parasitic fungal infection specific to fish, sometimes caused by stress, and shortly after his diagnosis I discovered poor little Gerald floating limply in a cloud of stinky white fuzz. Clearly those pesky parasites had been having a field day with our boy! This time there was no question of my being mistaken (note to self – once we get more fish, must stop arriving first in the mornings) and the wee man had definitely been summoned to the big shiny fishbowl in the sky.

We’re now busy treating the tank and changing the water in preparation for his replacement – hopefully we’ll have better luck next time. The theory’s still there anyway, and at least we’ll be able to turn to the Fish! book for some handy hints on how to react positively to our swift bereavement – oh the irony!

So that was Poor Little Gerald. His time on this earth was short, but we were very fond of him while he lasted.

Gerald SKChase Esq

21/03/08 – 31/03/08