It was the best news I had heard for ages; we had just won a new building contract to refurbish some rooms and carry out some remedial work within the World's greatest stately home, Buckingham Palace, home of Our Majesty the Queen. In celebration our boss took us out for a big meal and a few drinks. I arrived home the next morning at around 3 o'clock and I was absolutely smashed. After somehow getting the key in the lock I managed to stagger through the door and upstairs without awaking the wife. The next morning she asked me what time I got home and I told her 12 o' clock and she believed me..........What a night!
Within three months the time came when we were about to begin our contract. On arrival at Buckingham Palace, we were "frisked" at the gates and our tool bags were searched before we were allowed to enter.... via the tradesmen's entrance. One of her majesty the Queen's butlers told us that we were not allowed to smoke and not allowed to drink alcohol on the job and if any of us were caught swearing we were "off the job immediately", they were really strict. We told him that he could trust us.
Anyway, we were instructed to remove the cornices to the ceilings and renew them and then re-plaster. In order to renew the cornices we were allowed to visit some other rooms to take some sample moulds in preparation of renewal. Without further ado, Tommy Murphy and myself went up to the first floor and went to room 203. We knocked and there was no answer, so we went in. Tommy seemed more interested in the cocktail cabinet than the ceilings and began to make inroads into the finest Scotch whisky that he had ever tasted. I warned Tommy to knock it off, but I just couldn't get Tommy away from the cabinet, so I left him there and tried the room next door, which was 204.
The room 204 had something to do with Princess Anne, the Royal Staff had told us to not make a mess in that room as Princess Anne had a terrible temper. So I knocked, nobody was there so I made my way in very stealthily. The room was huge, decorated with gold cups and trophies she had probably won from her favourite sport, horse riding as well as other equestrian events, she is a very horsey person. I looked around for a while and then I saw it, a fish tank. I peered through the glass and guess what I saw? Cichlids! There were some blue acaras and some convicts as well as some livebearers. Who would have thought that the Royal Family were Cichlid keepers? I was trying to see how many Cichlids were actually in the tank when I suddenly remembered Tommy down the corridor, in the other room. I dashed from 204 and back into room 203 where I found Tommy flat out on one of the royal beds, still clutching a half bottle of whisky in his hand. I tried to arouse him but Tommy was in a drunken stupor. That Royal Scotch might have tasted good but it must have been stronger than the ordinary Scotch you buy in the liqueur stores. A few of the lads and myself wrapped him up in a dust sheet and pretended we were carrying materials and took him downstairs to sober up. Our boss was out of his mind worrying about how he was going to replace two bottles of Royal Scotch, but I had other things on my mind!
I thought long and hard and decided I was going to kidnap some of the Royal Family's Cichlids for myself. The following day I smuggled in some polythene bags and a fish net. I decided to take Tommy Murphy upstairs with me for moral support. It was a bad idea as Tommy was more engrossed with the Whiskey in room 203 than the Cichlids in room 204. So Tommy went into room 203 and I went into room 204. Once inside, I tried to calm myself, I had become a bundle of nerves in case Princess Anne or Prince Charles' wife, Camilla Parker… whatever her name is, came in and caught me. I did hear some noises outside the door, but thank God it wasn't her Royal Highness Princess Anne, that woman terrifies me, if she had caught me dipping my net into one of the imperial tanks she would have had me shot at dawn or hung, drawn and quartered in the Tower of London. Nevertheless my nerve held and I caught 6 convicts and 6 blue acaras. I quickly bagged them up and smuggled the fish out of the room via my tool bag. I still had to get the fish out of Buckingham Palace and past the guards, but they were the least of my worries after getting past Princess Anne and Camilla Parker…what ever her name is….Tommy calls her Camilla Deville.
I intend to get in touch with Sven Kullander or Ad Konings and ask them if I can scientifically rename these cichlids. The blue acaras should be renamed Aequidens 'Royal Pulcher' and the convicts should be renamed Cryptoheros 'Royal Nigrofasciatum'. I have been inundated with requests from British and European punters who are desperate for these cichlids. But I am sorry to tell my compatriots and fellow hobbyists that none of these Royal Cichlids will be available to any British hobbyists. I will only sell these fabulous and majestic 'Royal Cichlids' to the American hobbyists. It is not that the American hobbyists have more money than other hobbyists; it is the fact that the Americans don't have a Royal Family and perhaps they can relate to these 'Royal Cichlids'. I must add that these Royal Cichlids do have a certain allure about them. One can see a charisma of royalty within them. Also the Royal Cichlid will not accept any of the normal fish foods that you normally find at your local stores, they prefer the more upmarket foods. I'm afraid they won't be cheap though guys. Please don't think of me as being mercenary, these are Royal Cichlids so expect Royal prices!
© Copyright 1993 Lee Newman, all rights reserved
Newman, Lee. (October 17, 1996). "Maintenance And Breeding Of The Red Hump Eartheater, Geophagus Steindachneri Eigenmann And Hildebrand 1910". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on June 26, 2019, from: https://www.cichlidae.com/article.php?id=34.