Flying Fish


To the fascinating Museum of Water today, where visitors donate vials of water, usually with a story attached, for public display. My favourite was probably the “condensation” (gob) emptied from brass instruments after a concert.

Samara and I made a donation (water from a little canal that runs alongside part of the River Kelvin in Glasgow) and were interviewed by a performer/attendant called Mary. She asked how we met, which brought us onto New Escapologist.

She said that a previous museum visitor had been talking about flying fish and how their flight is a mode of escape.

Apparently they have trouble with boats and tend to fly right into them, either smacking into the bulkhead or landing (and dying) on the deck.

Isn’t that sad? In the natural state, the flight of the flying fish is probably a perfectly good means of escape from predators. Only the unnatural addition of boats to their world has made it futile.

We all agreed this was a fitting metaphor, and that Escapologists will come across our equivalent of seafaring boats: immovable obstacles (bureaucracies, usually) that will scupper escape.

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try though, does it? Let’s feel the wind beneath our fishy fin-wings! Bugger the boats! At least we’ll have tasted the thrill of flight!

My recurrent line about how Escapologists, if forced to return to office life, “will at least have something to talk about at the water cooler” brought our conversation neatly back to H2O.

So let’s adopt the flying fish as the Escapological totem animal. Let’s work it into our coat of arms. (Or fins).

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

4 Responses to “Flying Fish”

  1. Spoonman says:

    Bureaucracy is nearly impossible to escape. The fact that we don’t work anymore sometimes gives rise to more bureaucracy than before. The system just can’t understand what the heck we’re up to.

    Sounds like you guys are all settled in your new home. I hope everything is going well!

  2. Mary Osborn says:

    I think about those fish so often. And those boats. And your water! So nice to meet you Robert & Samara!

  3. I know what you mean, Spoonman. It’s because (I believe) those in the bureaucracy don’t care for freewheeling Escapologists and must put up as many barriers as possible to stop us from doing what we like: immigration control, planning permission, permits for gentle things like fishing. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to this kind of thing in my book.

  4. It was good to meet you too. Really thought-provoking project you have. Thanks for the email too: I’ll be getting back to you in a jiffy.

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