Car 7

Miss Becky Patterson

Outward appearance

Raw-boned, hearty girl wearing an iridescent jacket in a pattern of roses and leaves. Glossy peppermint-pink lipstick. Lady-Di honey hair, grey slacks, red sweater. Takes out a torch from her bag, rifles through jump leads, and takes out a wiring diagram.

Inside information

Daughter of third-generation Zimbabwe farmers, with a degree in Tibetan. Assistant librarian in the British Library's oriental collection near Blackfriars. Planning the rewiring of the flat she has just moved into with her partner Bill, a burly schoolteacher.

What she is doing or thinking

Bill turned out to be English, after all. He's so wimpish about everything. She'll have to do the rewiring herself. He's scared and wants an electrician.

It's like their bathwater. All she says is that it's wasteful to use the water only once. He gets to be first; and she's stopped using it a third time for the dishes. If only he'd remember to use biodegradable soap, like he promised, she could use it to water the basil.

He's never had to transport all his water by truck in barrels. He's never had to save and reuse everything. Why not reuse good fat? All the different things it's cooked add to the flavour.

She admits: it was a shame about the mouse. OK, so it fell into the fat jar and she didn't find it until months later. Doesn't he know what gives wine its bouquet?

That's the trouble with Westerners; they're just too clean. They don't develop their immune systems.

She sniffs, having decided how to rewire the flat.

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