My only neighbouring house had been owned by an elderly man who had died leaving the property the subject of an ongoing dispute among his surviving relatives which had left it standing empty for nearly a decade. Its garden overgrew, the post spilled from its letterbox, damp crept through my kitchen shelves along with slugs and subsidence. At the front of the house a large hole formed in the neighbour’s rusting drainpipe which, when it rained, redirected the water onto the walls and, when the downpour was heavy, onto my windows. It was winter and when I was outside one day I heard a crack. The rotting frame of the kitchen window of the neighbouring house had buckled with frost, shattering the glass.
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