It’s midnight on the wrong side of the tracks. A late-night cargo flight has roared overhead at full climb power. A couple of sport bikes are dicing down the M5, the howl of their engines slicing open the night. The fridge chatters. The cat scratches at a piece of packing tape in a cardboard box. The hamster is running on his hand-built wooden wheel. Clunk-clunk-clunk goes the wheel.

At 5am the first train hoots for the level crossing. Two long blasts of the airhorn, three if there’s a brave car driver trying to slip past the booms...

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