My landlady is on holiday for a fortnight so i’m looking after her two zebrafinchen – little birds with zebra-striped tails. Apparently they are called Miri and Philippe, but for the next fortnight they will be known as Moloch and Baal. They spend their waking hours hopping energetically about from perch to perch and almost incessantly chirping. i wonder if they feel confined by the cage, or if it just seems like “the world” to them.

i am reminded of two odd things a clairvoyant said of me, about six months ago:

1. i would always live near ducks (they often fly by my window from the nearby park);

2. i’m the kind of person who ends up looking after other people’s pets.

Since i’m in charge i feel it is time for a house party. i will invite a crew of drunken hobos to a special Elberry knees up; we will make our way through my landlady’s wine cellar and then i will sacrifice them all to pagan deities. When my landlady returns, i will explain away the (hanged) corpses: “You left me in charge, what was i supposed to do?”

My first class tomorrow; i’m teaching from 0800 to 1130. The materials look easy enough but i can’t help but feel a little apprehensive. Being a freelancer, if i screw up i can expect no more work. To quote from Top Gun: “you screw up just this much and you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!” i am worried about money but even more, i feel sick of being crap at every job i’ve ever had. But then i can think of no jobs i could do. i heartily wish i had had a scientific kind of brain at school, and had trained as a scientist, so i could do something useful. i feel like a device that, while evidently complex and expensive and sensitive, has no earthly use, nor can anyone figure out exactly what it was designed for. It ends up being pressed into service as a door wedge or a can opener or bookend, and people occasionally say, “what the hell is that?”