Scandinavian fish! What are you talking about man? Why would I waste my precious time learning about something that I'll never have occasion to use?
Well, you may say that (and in fact just did), but what if you were given a free cruise around the coastline of Scandinavia as a thank-you gift from a close relative eh? You could hardly refuse to take it, could you? It would be impolite for a start.
And what if the ship on which you were sailing were to hit an uncharted rock, or a carelessly discarded tiller mine just as you were cruising around the northern tip of Denmark?
There you would be, upside-down in your 'Voyager' class cabin, staunchly waiting for some muscular Norwegian to turn up with a set of oxy-acetylene cutting tools to rescue you from your watery tomb, when out of the u-bend of your en-suite toilet swims an unusual Scandinavian fish.
What better way to entertain your hysterical wife and terrified children than to describe the various types of fish that are swimming around as your cabin slowly fills with ice-cold water.
Use of this handy 'cut-out-and-keep' guide to unusual Scandinavian fish will ensure that you'll never be in the embarrassing position of having to admit that you don't know what it is that's slowly circling around you giving off a slightly sinister green glow.
So, without further ado...
The Furry Drummond Fish Around four inches in length, the Furry Drummond Fish is easily identified due to its thick coat of short white fur. Due to the cold water encountered in the seas of Northern Europe, this fish has managed to evolve over millennia with a distinctive warm outer coating. Practically wiped out during the 18th century by the Swedish mitten industry, it's now making a welcome come-back.
The One-eyed Sausage Fish. Generally around eight inches in length, with a smooth, firm body. Like the Furry Drummond Fish, this is easily recognised.
Shaped like a thick meaty sausage, it has one eye in the centre of its head, and two bulbous protrusions in place of a conventional tail. Very popular with the lonely fishermen of the sparsely inhabited islands to the west of Estonia, and also much coveted by a number of well known show-biz personalities, including the popular crooner Mr Elton John. I'm not sure why that is, but there you go.
The Single-Dimpled Weem. Like many common fish, the Single-Dimpled Weem is silvery-grey in colour, and of average size and shape. In fact so non-descript is it, that one would be hard pressed to identify it from one of the many other types of fish found in the waters of Scandinavia. Its only identifying feature being a small dimple under its chin. However, looks are deceptive. The Single-Dimpled Weem is probably the most intelligent fish known to man. Within five minutes it is possible to teach it basic mathematics, and within ten minutes one can have a rudimentary conversation with it; the fish communicating by way of barking noises. Much like Lassie in the film Lassie and the annoying kid that fell down the well.
The Rectangular Crab. It's very unlikely that you will see one of these in its natural environment, although dead examples can be found in most supermarkets. They are around two inches in length, white in colour with a red back, and with a piece of skin not unlike clear plastic covering one side.
The Multi-Finned, Flat-Faced, Pointy-Eared Fish. Extremely rare. There has only ever been one known example of this fish, and that was discovered by my friend Sven Borghumpsonn. And even then, the example that he discovered was found floating, dead in the shallow waters of Tronheim fiord. Should you be lucky enough to come across one, it can be identified by being of around a foot in length, with a flat face, two pointed ears, four long fins - one at each corner, a long straight tail, and completely covered in ginger-white fur.
The Danish-Blue Flat-Fish. Small bulbous fish found exclusively off the coast of Finland. Generally red in colour.
The Double-Dimpled Weem. This fish is practically identical to the Single-Dimpled Weem, except that it has two small dimples under its chin rather than one. The other great difference is that unlike its close name-sake, the Double-Dimpled Weem is an aggressive flesh-eating killer. On no account go anywhere near it, and if you see one try to keep as still as possible as they have been known to leap six feet out of the water before closing their jaws around unsuspecting lake-side sheep as they graze close to the waters edge.
First published in Exchange & Mart - North, south-east edition.