I was seeing the dreaded "503 Inconsistent file state" talking to the
canonical (sorry) package repositories. As I said, there are no explicit
upstream proxies, but who knows what the ISP is doing (this would be a
big argument in favour of running apt-get over https to my mind..)

Anyway, at the moment after a cycles of intelligent nuking (trying to
retain my cache contents while rebuilding it) things seem OK. I feel bad
for not going into full-on debug mode and trying to get to the bottom of
it, but I'm got a huge mountain of stuff to do and just needed this
working so I could get on :(

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  Repeatedly "storage error [503 Inconsistent file state], last errno:
  File exists

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