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Catfish Study Group (UK) Convention, 2006

 by Marina Parha

Sometimes, looking back at things, I wonder how I managed to do anything in my life. Always late, always in a hurry, always having a million and one excellent reasons why I can’t do what I want to. But this was not an occasion to be missed. So armed with my camera and a friend who was nominated “navigator” for the event, I set off from Manchester at 6 pm – to allow me to be at Wigan on time. Forty five minutes drive, at most. The conference was starting at 7.30 pm with the Friday evening meal and discussion.

Well, good intentions don’t always work (at least mine). An hour later we were driving straight into Scotland. A quick look at the map (if everything else fails check your map) confirmed we had joined the motorway at the wrong junction. We had to turn back .. on a motorway absolutely jampacked. Oh joy …….

We eventually arrived at the Britannia Hotel close to 8 pm – having done a record 2 hours drive for a 45 minutes distance. By the time the doors were locked and we were starving. As we were wandering around looking totally lost and distressed we bumped on Lee Finley – yesssssss… we were there. Lee took us to Ian Fuller who was co-ordinating the event and the rest was history. We had made it!

The meal was great (or as much of it as we managed to have having joined late). Nice relaxing atmosphere, chatting about anything and everything, drinks available from the bar next to us. But around 9 o’clock one could see people getting agitated. It’s been a long time – and the word “catfish” hasn’t been mentioned.

Well, now was the time to say it. Having presented the speakers with their Catfish Study Group sweaters Ian Fuller asked the panel to their seats and Question and Answer time started.

From left to right: Lee Finley, Julian Dignall, Peter Burgess, Peter Lintrot, Ian Fuller

The session went on for an hour and half, at which stage it was continued in the near-by bar.

Saturday was a day full of events. Lee Finley’s very interesting presentation on the History of Fish Keeping, with some excellent slides of the first aquaria to be built, was followed by Dr. Stanley Weitzman’s presentation on Hearing in Otocinclus.

Each presentation was followed by questions and answers and a short break.

It was now time for the lunch break. James and I decided to pop down to Pier Aquatics for a quick browse around

Knowing me and my innate inability to resist anything catfish-y (I specify, this holds for L-numbers only) I shouldn’t have even considered this. But Pier is reputably the catfish paradise; I wouldn’t give it a miss for anything in the world (including sense!!!).

So off we went, hoping we would be back in time for lunch. Some hope ….

On entering the shop we were greeted by a rather substantial Royal Panaque:

This lovely fellow must be at least 50 cm long by my reckoning and if I was him I would be asking for a salary to clean the glass of the tank he was in. Simply massive!!!

Past the entrance I lost contact with James. He went over to the cichlid tanks, I moved on to see the cats.

Next to the Chaetostomas there was a gorgeous young L25 male. I was looking for one and started toying with the idea of getting him, though he was a bit too young … when my eye fell on the tank next to him:

One of the most majestic L25 males I have ever seen was waiting … for me to take him. I wouldn’t leave this fish for the world. One down, God knows how many to go …

Continued in next page

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