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If on a winter’s night a traveller is about to board a train, a fortifying drink is of the essence. Thus it was that I stood in line at Burger King, on the concourse at Queen Street station, in Glasgow, and asked for a hot tea. The only reason that I wasn’t seeking out a dram of whiskey was that I had already done so, dropping into a pub on my way to the station. In short, I was well drammed up—as was the Glaswegian beside me, who leaned on the counter and inquired what I was up to. Taking the Caledonian Sleeper to London, I replied. He fixed me with a canny eye and said, “Are you not afraid o’ the wee virus?”

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