We have won two free flights to New York. We bought a Hoover deliberately to get the tickets and after dogged persistence through a series of hurdles designed to decrease the uptake, we have been given 4 days notice of our departure time. Not having proper jobs we manage to arrange things. As ever, we pack in chaotic panic. As the taxi arrives I rush round the house switching off plugs, lights and heaters – everything that could be turned off.
A week in New York – the most beautiful and most vertical city I have seen.
The taxi travels through the rows of small terraced housing and drops us off in front of our East End house. Bernadette opens the door, walks into the living room and screams. In the tropical fish tank there is a miniature version of the end of the world grown cold. The small neon-guppies float on the surface with their eyes white and glazed, the speckled catfish lies on its side on the gravel – wedged between two rocks. The bulbous-eyed-goldfish-thing rests its overgrown head in a corner and the two tropical frogs float upright – their long legs and webbed feet just touching the gravel and their small forearms outstretched towards the water’s surface.