Tag Archives: Oxford

Oxford Lord Mayor once snapped his tendon

RISK TAKER Colin Cook, the Mayor of the city of the Screaming Squires, revealed today that he had once snapped his tendon walking through the city.

The news came as he rounded on a kid who scaled the heights, as you can read here in the always pulsating Oxford Mail.

Best not to take too many risks, eh Colin?  You might snap a tendon. Or end up as a Lord Mayor.

 

Rusty Pole topped by Pole Dancer

So I was sitting minding my own business wasting hours trying to fix a Windows PC in my front room when my attention was drawn to a car that parked just outside number 27.

Number 27, you’ll remember, is where the saga of the Rusty Pole started, when Oxfordshire County Council kyboshed my idea of painting the very rusty pole in rainbow colours.  Here’s Lucy Pole to the rescue!


Even after appealing to my local MP, and despite her noble attempt, Ms Nicola Blackwood could only get a grudging admission from the council that yeah, I could get it painted, at my own expense, and only in regulation colours.

 

 

I think these two pictures say more than I can possibly bring myself to say right now. It’s a kind of miracle. π

Gibbs Crescent: we get the lowdown and the highdown too

So today we took ourselves to St Frideswide’s Kirk, on the Botley Road, the one that couldn’t afford to build a spire although it tried to crowdfund it back in the daze. We’d never been inside before. (See footnote after the pictures – Ed.)

We only knew there was a public consultation there this evening because we’d seen a flyer in our letterbox in Mill Street from massive housing association A2Dominion last week – there was no notice outside of the kirk, either.

Regular readers of this bog will remember that Mike Magee almost evacuated himself when he heard the explosion on St Valentine’s Day (please excuse picture).

Anyway, here below are pictures of the project that A2Dominion plans to replace and displace the current residents of Gibbs Crescent. A2D officials referred to the residents being “decanted”, which is a new one on us for people.

Once the residents have been “decanted”, which could take as long as six months or longer, A2D will set in motion an application for planning permission, for 140 units on the site, some going as high as six stories, with space for only a few car spaces for wheelchair access.

Some of the properties will be dedicated to social housing – as far as we can gather it’s a portion of the 50 percent of the properties that will be “affordable” housing. The rest of the non-affordable properties will be let. An A2D functionary said any profits will be ploughed back into the housing association. The whole process could take three or more years until completion.

Unfortunately, no plans are available from A2D on the World Wild Web (sic) and there were no handouts, so we took these snaps below. If you have any questions, A2D will be glad to answer them. Email Claire Bartlett – claire.bartlette@a2dominion.co.uk at A2D by Thursday, the 27th of September, the year of our Good Lord! 2018.

The redevelopment of Gibbs Crescent, of course, will further gentrify West Oxford, init?

And due to the redevelopment of the Old Oxford Power Station, there will be much trundling to and fro in the narrow Victorian street called Mill Street over the next few years, and of course the Botley Road too will, as usual, be free of traffic.

We believe that St Frideswide, the patron saintess of Oxford, and her kirk was probably based on a pagan goddess called Freya or Frigga or something. But that’s all lost in the past. Don’t mention Pusey!!!

Here at volesoft.com, we’re talking about the future. The future of Gibbs Crescent, one of the few – if any – social housing communities left in the centre of Oxford, hangs in the balance. One source at A2D whispered – of course off the record – that many of the residents will be glad to leave the centre of the City.

With a little help from their friends, of course.

Smart bike gives heron a headache

On the border between New Osney and old Osney there’s a bridge where herons happily snap up fish.  But people using the multitude of smart bikes that are now available all over Oxford don’t seem to want to park them, er, responsibly.

As this picture shows.

smartbike

Colin Cook! Congratulations!

We have a new Lord Mayor! 

 

Old Power Station plans show future is in boxes

The Said Business School (SBS) held consultations last Friday and Saturday on its future plans to redevelop the Old Power Station in Oxford to transform it into a conference centre and plush accommodation for executives and MBAs.

Unfortunately, Friday and Saturday here in Oxford were affected by snow and bitterly cold weather.

We asked about the consultation and a representative from the SBS said: “Given the difficulty caused by the weather we are planning to offer an additional date for people to view the boards and have the opportunity to feedback on proposals. The exact date has to be confirmed but we will give notice to the community. Let me come back to you in the next couple of days with details.”

In the meantime, details of the plans can be found here. Those plans include detailed views of the proposals, including plans to mitigate disruption to the local community on both sides of the river.  

Frideswide Square – so good they fixed it thrice

Residents of Mill Street had a missive from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) in early February headed “improvements at Frideswide Square” and penned by Owen Jenkins, the grandly named director for infrastructure delivery.

You can find the details of the seven week scheme to repair Frideswide Square at this link, – although you won’t find the letter, I don’t think.

West Oxford is being “regenerated” and some people might think that’s a good thing – certainly house prices here in Mill Street continue to  go through the roof.

Owen said, in his billet doux, that cyclists will “benefit” from “new dropped kerbs” while OCC is is providing “tactile paving” for “visually impaired users” at all crossing points.

Now, here’s the thing. Pedestrians and motorists don’t really know whether people or cars have any right of way, so people don’t know whether these “crossing points” are safe.

Owen is, no doubt, too young to remember this, but in the 1930s  Hore Belisha (pictured, above) had a bright idea to put lights and stripes on roads – “zebra crossings” – and introduced the driving test. The “crossing points” at Frideswide Square don’t have any stripes so we are all taking a bit of a risk, or maybe “dicing with death”.

Why does that matter? Well, because the square is close to the railway station and also funnels a considerable amount of motor traffic into Oxford using the already congested Botley Road, motorists and pedestrians unfamiliar with the weirdness have every chance of being confused by what’s going on. Even us local residents are confuseniks.

The scheme starts on the 11th of February and finishes on the 23rd of March 2018, if we’re lucky. 

Sir Francis Dashwood gives us Hell

 

 

It’s a long since I’ve been to West Wycombe, it’s not very far by road, I understand,  but the Oxford Tube only seems to serve the plainly weird Lewknor Turn.

You can see Sir Francis Dashwood’s  stuff easily and  clearly from the train to Marylebone, though but.

When it’s not snowing and everything is “running”, however.

So I was very pleased last week to receive from Eamonn Loughran his beautifully produced and very finely colour illustrated Secret Symbols of the Hell Fire Club.

Eamonn is not only a producer of many very high quality books, which he bookbinds too, but has produced several rare editions of hard to get books – I’ve seen a few.  It is obviously a labour of love – but it’s certainly a labour.

I like loads of things about Eammon’s work, apart from his painstaking attention to detail.

This particular work examines very closely the symbolism of Francis Dashwood’s caves, “cabals” et al. There’s lots to say, and Eamonn says lots.

Chapter One deals of a mister called Maxwell Ashby Armfield, who, with his missus lived in West Wycombe for a while.

The whole world+dog knows about the motto of the Hellfire Club – I can’t translate it because I have neither ancient French nor modern English – but seems to go along the lines of the Sanskrit “svecchachara”, meaning be true to your own path.

Eamonn has produced many wonderful books from the past and for the future too.  This is not an uncritical review of this particular book, yet,  but as I used to be a letterpress printer myself, I’d encourage you to check out his website, Hell Fire CLUB

I’ve lost loads of my memory – and it’s not booze

tonybooze

Tony Dennis in the Wheatsheaf

LAST week, I was invited by three top boffins to the John Radcliffe hospital to discuss the rather new syndrome, transient epileptic amnesia – TEA for short. I’ve turned into a case study!

Professor Butler couldn’t remember he’d met me before, it’s fair to say, although professor Arjun Sen said: “Oh nice to see you again.”

Professor Sen said: “Are you still drinking?” I said yes. He asked: “About the same amount?”  I said yes.

Arjunaji indicated that was OK. And didn’t mention smoking fags this time around.

But Arjun did ask me how much I remembered about 2016. I told him: “About 20 percent.”  He looked shocked. Of course I remember the death of Tony Dennis.

Met another top prof at the John Radcliffe, a man who specialises in occupational stuff.  Apparently I was writing perfectly cogent IT stories for the whole weird period. He said: “OK, that’s a different part of the brain.”

Professor Butler is a very cool guy. He asked if I dreamed. Well I do, in full colour, panaroma view. He reckons I’ll have to take the anti-convulsant lamotrogine drug for the rest of my life. But, he added, rather wittily: “The condition is so new we haven’t had a patient die us on yet.”

 

 

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.