Six fish in a tank. One turns to another and says "Do you know how to drive this thing?"

It all seemed like such a good idea last week. Fish. And yesterday I ventured into the world of tropical fish (the shop down the end of Bethnal Green Rd, not - unfortunately - just off the coast of Florida) and bought two big red fish and four small greenish ones. You can see I know my stuff already.

To get fish into the tank you float the bag and then mix the water gradually so as not to shock them. All six were swimming along perfectly happy. They had food, warmth, and a Greek statue standing amongst crumbled pillars for decoration.

Aside: It's a little known fact that the Ancient Greeks didn't live in complete buildings like you or me; they lived in derelicts and rubble, in houses with no roofs and vines growing up the walls. Don't ask me why.

By the time I got back from South Of The River (an ordeal in itself), two of the little fish were dead. By this morning, all four of John, Paul, George and Ringo - or Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto, or whatever we'd decided to call them - were dead. The Red Platys looked distinctly sinister. The finger of suspicion pointed at the two of them.

But then they started going mad. The deeper red one made a break for freedom and leapt out the top of the tank while we were fishing (excuse the pun) its deceased colleagues out. The other lurked under the statue and refused to move. Not normal fishy behaviour you'll have to agree.

So we got the water analysed at the fish shop, and it was fine. And we tried to figure out what was going on, and we can't and nor can the fish shop people. So the tank's been emptied, cleaned, refilled, and now the fish (what's left of the decimated population) are being reintroduced.

Somebody told me keeping fish was relaxing. As it is I feel like a killer, and it's more than a little macabre having a Chamber Of Death in the corner of the lounge.

Still, at least I know that if the worst comes to the worst there's a humane way to end it all. Sorry, a "sharp pointed blade is run through the brain" -- humane for who exactly? Certainly not for me. Eurgh.