When I received a telephone call from overseas telling me that my father had died, I was on the twelfth floor of a hotel, thousands of miles away from him. I hung up the telephone, walked to the window and stood looking out at the city. There was a massive rainbow that arced over the building, more vivid than any I have ever seen.

I was sorely tempted to weave its presence into some sort of meaning about my father’s death. Only he and I had an agreement. We both loved a mackerel sky, a sky that looks like the scales of a fish or the scaling of sand on the ocean floor.

So I laughed at the thought that if there was a god, aside from a lot of other issues I could take up with him, he’d got the special effects wrong.