A distinctive smell, a mixture of gas, damp and tobacco, lingers in the carpets. The corridors snake around corners, ducking underlow arches, stepping up and down on a whim as they negotiate the building's extensions and additions. Passages run on out of view: this place could house an army. It's silent now, though: this is off season, and I'm almost alone.
Wind and rain deter all but the hardiest of tourists, and the high street wears its winter plumage of shuttered shops, closed restaurants, and ragged bunting left over from last year. The townsfolk have a haunted look- they know this place in both its modes, and would find it hard to decide which is better: winter solitude or summer overcrowding. But within them lies doubt- perhaps this time the visitors will not return, perhaps last summer was the final season.
As a result, I feel the weight of responsibility upon me- if I don't get a paper from the shop, use the telephone, buy a drink, the local economy may collapse into the chasm upon whose edge it teeters. When the best the marketing campaign can sugegst is a weterhered gravestone and an ill-defined association with Arthurian legend, eventual defeat appears inevitable.