Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oxford University’s Old Power Station is a dangerous place

Old Power Station

AFTER the recent explosion in Gibbs Crescent, following hard on the discovery of dangerous seeds the week before, I decided to exercise my rights under the Freedom of Information (FOI) act and ask the University what is stored in the Old Power Station (OPS).

The OPS is a stone’s throw if you’ve got a pitcher’s arm from Mill Street. I’d say the University’s reply is more than equivocal – you can read it here – and it does confirm the place contains many dangerous substances, including the fascinating element we now call Mercury.

Still, to look on the bright side, the University doesn’t have any radio isotypes stored in there.  It probably has asbestos though.  Ruskin used to hold its annual exhibition in there. I wonder if Ruskin College was informed about the dangers of “falling masonry” which prompted the University to obtain a pretty fast anti-squatting order?  

Oxford University reacts to power station squat

Last week, a group of homeless people known as the Iffley Open House (IOH), occupied a space in the Old Power Station – by the river and just yards from what was The Kite.

Homelessness has become a big problem in Oxford, with numbers of poor people being forced to sleep on the streets.

Now we local residents have received a letter from the University – reproduced below. The University wants to develop the power station into luxury flats for the Said Business School, which is now too far from Mill Street.

The University wants to kick out the IOH because, it claims, the building is unsafe.  Us people in Mill Street know it’s unsafe because just a couple of weeks back two people touched some deadly seeds in the power station and had to be hosed down.

It is quite an adventure living on Mill Street, what with explosions, poisonous seeds, unexploded bombs and other goings on. ♥ 

oldpower

The Valentine’s Day massacre near Mill Street, Oxford

IT HARDLY seems a week ago that I was having a wee in Mill Street when a massive explosion made me almost evacuate myself.

One poor soul, whoever it may be, was killed by the explosion that toppled a three storey house and other houses nearby will have to be demolished too.

The first big explosion happened at 16:45 and was soon followed by a series, a very regular series, of smaller explosions.

All credit to the emergency services – within 10 minutes a fleet of fire engines, ambulances and police cars shattered the normally quiet atmosphere (some mistake?) of this quiet backwater (eh? Ed.)

The fallout from the explosion’s been considerable.  Quite a number of the folk living in Gibbs Crescent have had to have been re-housed, all over the shop.

We suppose that Gibbs Crescent was probably a council estate until HMG mandated that they should all be sold off to either the tenants or to a Housing Association – in this case an outfit called Dominion.

There’s a considerable degree of community spirit here in Mill Street – it’s one of the things I like about living here.  Everyone, OK not quite everyone, chips in.

Shame the Kite has temporarily closed its doors until it re-opens as the Porterhouse sometime in the summer – it would have been nice for folk to gather there – that is if they could have got into Mill Street.

They couldn’t because of the police cordon as the emergency geezers struggled to contain the catastrophe.

 

Time for a nice cup of TEA?

I was recently diagnosed with transient epileptic amnesia (TEA), which as far as I can gather from witnesses has manifested itself from maybe September 2015.

Clinical information on TEA can be found here.

Generally it manifests itself as a period in which your brain doesn’t take in memories, but you still retain the ability to function more or less normally – although some of the episodes that have happened to me have been rather more dramatic.

At first I was diagnosed with having had an episode of transient global amnesia (TGA) which is often a one-off experience.  But during 2016 I noticed other symptoms associated with TEA, such as smelling strange smells, being able to recall recent or comparatively recent events, and also the bizarre topographical amnesia. Bizarre because I was walking round Oxford and every building and road looked as if I’d never seen it before.

Luckily the prognosis for TEA is good. The doctors have put me on anti-convulsants which, since they’ve kicked, in have resulted me in getting large swathes of my memory back, not all at once but over a period of weeks.

The clinical report I linked to above is interesting because the medic who wrote that piece penned another article where he said that the existence of such a condition has implications for the understanding of memory in general.  

The BBC doesn’t spend a penny on poppies

Over here at Volesoft, we did wonder why every BBC presenter was wearing a poppy on the day to remember the dead.

So we put in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

It transpires the BBC claims it doesn’t spend a penny on poppies, and, indeed has never bought a poppy.

Which makes it all even more mysterious.  You can find the BBC FOI answer to our request, here.  

The Oxford University Hockey Club is effing noisy

 I WENT for a quiet meal down the One Bar in West Oxford tonight, and barely grabbed a seat.  Almost the entire place was occupied by the Oxford University Hockey Club, which you can find here.

The interesting thing, to me about that web site is there are links to other Oxford University Hockey Club web sites that are broken, such as this one.

My question is whether the hockey club members have to be so noisy and objectionable in my neck of the woods?  A question, I suspect, that’s likely to go unanswered. 

 

 

Kalacakra and Edward Henning

Ed Henning recently died. He was a colleague of mine as a technology journalist, but he was also an expert in the Kalachakra school of Tibetan Buddhism.

You can find more about this at his site, http://www.kalacakra.orgΨ