This was a sight to make any booklover’s blood run cold – a fire engine outside the British Library, with sprinklers in the upper storeys triggered.
The library is an oasis of civilization in a world gone mad. Obviously it is a place to go to use the books and other resources, but it is also so stimulating and calming just being there.
So when, yesterday, I was in one of the reading rooms and the fire-alarm went off, my heart sank. The staff very efficiently ushered us out on to the square in front of the library where the picture was taken.
I had visions of the great Library of Alexandria going up in flames … I said to the person next to me that I hoped it was a false alarm, particularly since my jacket and bag, complete with a ticket for that evening’s Prom Concert, was in a locker inside the building. With horror, I saw that some sprinklers high above us were showering water on to one of the roofs; it was also starting to rain …
But the gods smiled; there had been a malfunction of some sort, the fire-engine departed, and a few minutes later we were allowed back into the building.
Was it, I thought, a metaphor for what is happening to this country? I would like to think that the current situation with the government and parliament is a malfunction, which the big boys will come along and fix, assure us that everything is ok, and allow us back into the real world.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs