Dorothy and Bert, number 53, Kimberley Avenue, Peckham. Their prefab is not as cosy as Ray and Jean’s. They never had the means to buy, hardly the ones to maintain it. Bert is chatty, with a cockney accent. His services for the British Empire allow him a small war pension. He keeps talking about all the places he has been to which I had never heard of: Bert lived wars of decolonization different from the ones I learnt at school. Bert is 80 and still needs to drive a taxi to make means end. Bert is not really found of the Council. “Since 1946, the house has been repainted only once. It’s been month that I am telling them there is a leak in the roof. They do nothing. They wait for us to disappear so that they can pull down.”
Number 55 and 57 Kimberley Avenue disappeared years ago. The Council built nothing to replace them and nature took over leaving foxes free to rummage around. Stan and Ted, father and son, live at number 59. Their prefab is run down: in the living room, torn chairs soiled with newspapers and dog excrements. The smell is unbearable. Ted is neglecting himself as well as his father and there is a lost expression in his eyes. I do not want to stay any longer. I learn that the mother died a few months ago. They have been living here for 25 years isolated in misery. “Anyway, they have always been strange”, says Mary, the neighbour.
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  Elisabeth Blanchet

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