Our prison strong, this huge convex of Fire,
Outrageous to devour, immures us round
Ninefold, and gates of burning Adamant
Barred over us prohibit all egress
It seems fitting to start with Milton. The day started badly enough: confused by the 5 (!) timetables the university uses, I was happily giving a tutorial to a very interesting Dutch student when I was called to take the Milton seminar I should actually have been running… shame doesn't cover the half of it.
It turned out to be one of the best seminars I've done in a long time: they're a really good bunch and they've all got something good to say. However, a lot of it was drowned out by helicopters, sirens and constantly buzzing text message alerts. I'm used to sirens and helicopters here - part of the joys of urban life - but this was getting extreme. When one student said her boyfriend had heard there had been a terrorist attack on the town, I had to laugh. Any self-respecting terrorist would take one look at The Dark Place and assume someone else had got there first.
The 'terrorist' outrage turned out to be a massive fire in Carver's, the lumber-yard/builders' merchants near the town centre (thankfully not too near my flat): one of the few good things about this place is that it's old-fashioned enough to have a central industrial quarter like towns used to have - not after this, I suspect. So today, The Dark Place truly lived up to its name: here we are, confined to the building ('immured') in hell.
Here are a few photographs: more, including several fire engines etc., here. Click the ones below for larger versions.