The streets were filled with the lively buzz that usually comes before a major event. We had all heeded the warnings not to look directly at the sun during the eclipse; everyone was armed with sunglasses, welding masks, an array of interesting variations on the pinhole camera. By 9.42am the light was dimming, the exclamations of excitement becoming more frequent.
Twenty minutes later, the excitement had turned to confusion. Another twenty and it became fear. Darkness was only supposed to last a few minutes. It looked, for this small Midlands county, like they were destined to stay in the dark.