Tag Archives: Rose and Crown

Oxford publican complains about price of beer

A MAN who runs a pub in North Oxford has moaned about the price of beer.

We only know that because Thursday’s copy of the Oxford Mail tipped up late last night.

Andrew Hall, of the Rose & Crown, a public house in North Parade, complained that the so-called “beer escalator” is ruining his business. He, and a handful of others with an axe to grind, are heading to the House of Commoners next week to “lobby” MPs.

Rose and Crown, OxfordThe very fragrant Nicola Blackwood (Conservative) is his local member of parliament. Oh and ours here in Mill Street, too.

In other news, yesterday’s Oxford Mail falsely reported the “electrical calamity” that afflicted Mill Street the other day, that we reported here on Volesoft Oxford.  It said the power went down at 7PM while our electrical oven reported it happened in the middle of the night, something verified by the locals and by the Giant Badger of Mill Street.

We are still waiting for today’s Oxford Mail. Perhaps it will tip up tomorrow. Or maybe not…  The Kite, in Mill Street, offers good nosh and the beers are good too and cheap as chips.

We don’t want people to see Mill Street’s backside, top Oxford architect avers

WE FOLK IN Mill Street in Oxford tipped up to an inquiry by a government inspector on Thursday on whether or not Oxford City Council had perversely overturned a plan to build a three storey building at the bottom of houses numbers 17 to 41, here.

Well that is what Tony Brett, a LibDem councillor  reckoned.

If the inspector finds for the developers, that will mean Oxford City Council will have to pay costs to the developers for the monolithic wall.

The meeting was postponed because Oxford City Council forgot to send letters to us residents, and we understand, sub rosa that it duly got a bollocking from the inspector, Mrs Jane Miles. To be honest, the residents don’t really count in these matters – the law turns us into tokens. But wasn’t it always thus?

The Oxford Mail story  is misleading, because it got the story wrong in so many ways.

First of all, possibly pandering to some of its readers, the article suggested that we were all anti-student, we were NIMBYs – not in our back yard.  Personally, I am pro-student, even though I never have been a student, but I am a little concerned that the three storey building at the bottom of my back garden will be subject to big vibrations from freight trains, especially when Network Rail electrifies the line in the next five years. And also, the studes will find me at the bottom of their not quite garden.

But the most egregious statement came from Adrian James, the architect for the project, and who lives on the west side of Mill Street, in a place that kind of looks like an observatory.

As Oxford is known worldwide, and many visitors come here by train, they will be impressed by his design, rather than the “backside of houses”, said James.

I am taking pains with my back garden, and I rather resent this bit of spin.  One resident said that visitors will see the cemetery before the monolithic three storey wall. Which is true.  The monolithic three storey wall doesn’t look very nice at all, but hey, what do I know about design?

At one point, what seemed like a very bitter exchange happened between Murray Hancock, a civil servant for Ox Cit Coun and Nick Lyzba, representing the developers. Mrs Miles provoked the quarrel by asking about some jargon called “emerging policies”. It was beyond us plebs, I’m pleased to report.

Architect James seemed, at one point in the proceedings, to be arguing for a two storey building –  the developers already have approval for one of them. Nick Lyzba described arguments about sewage as a “red herring”. Surely, if anything, it is a canard (duck).  Thames Water hadn’t appealed, said Lyzba, but we are half convinced TW doesn’t know its arse from its elbow. James v douchsafed to me, in apersonal conversation, that he had once lived in number 44, my side of the road and the noise from the trains really disturbed his sleep.

Bellerbys, a college which according to one resident of Mill Street,  wants the building to house 16-18 year old students with one warden supervising the young geezers and geezerettes, all day and all night will have communal areas where the poor kids will have to smoke their tabs and hope the licensing laws allow them to get drunk.

Susanna Pressel, a Labour councillor for this area, made an impassioned speech accusing the developers of being greedy. She suggested that the architect and the developers had already a plan in place for a two storey version that was banged in not long after the three storey monolithic building was rejected.  That cheesed off Mr Lyzba, who denied it. Pressel said: “Look at the dates.”

I, personally, was impressed by Susanna’s  passion. The other councillor, also Labour, a Mr Colin Cook, did not attend. He is up for re-election soon. Nicola Blackwood, a Tory MP, didn’t seem to be around either, although her majority over the Lib Dems is only 176 votes up here in Olde Oxford Town.

Mrs Miles told those who attended that she would issue her decision in due course. She took the trouble to make a site visit, and also visit three houses in Mill Street, including mine. “Your house is very neat and tidy,” she said as she left.

That was nice. I do take the trouble to clear after myself. The cleaner only does two hours a week. 

Behold! The pyramid and the sphincter displayed

JUST FIVE MINUTES away from where I live is the Saïd Business Centre – part of the University of Oxford. And so then to Silicon Valley comes to Oxford, to hear of cabbages and kings in the interwibble world.

Said Business Centre, Oxford

Saïd is just opposite Oxford Railway Station – I’ve been there waiting for a Number 5 bus up the Cowley Road to hear a lass say in loud tones of wailing: “I come to Oxford for the dreaming spires and this monstrosity is ahead of me”.

Or, as my builder said today – I think the architect loved it more than the people who have to use it.

Perhaps slightly unfair. But it is a blot on the landscape when you first arrive in Oxford. And inside, as one very senior journalist vouchsafed to me this morning, it’s pretty hard to find the toilets after  you’ve tipped up in the City of Screaming Squires.

Still, much wisdom was spoken of in the Pyramid. Twitters there were many, and Biz Stone did expound his view of how La Crosse is a great game because there are no lines on the court. And the like.

I get on my electric bike – hey it’s fun

IT WAS a misty Sunday morning, misted particularly so by the fact that I was in North Parade’s Rose & Crown hostelry and I somehow lost my way, last night

Woke up and it wasn’t a Chelsea morning but realised I really needed to get my electric bike into gear and get going, as the Americans say.

I got a Smarta LX bike. It’s cute. But no manual. Don’t these guys realise that we need to read something to learn? Next photo, you’ll see me on my bike.  Don’t mention the solar panels. Or the centre of laundry excellence!

And does an electric bike really need nine gears? Anyway it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be – and it went up hills magnificently, and down dales. I reached my destination, maybe three or four miles away in twenty minutes or so, including fag break.  I’m  getting to like my electric bike.

It’s St George’s Day at the Rose and Crown

ALTHOUGH only a wee timorous beastie – a Jock like me – would dare to enter the wonderful Rose & Crown on St George’s Day, I was accompanied by a tall Englishman so that was OK. ♦

Rose and Crown, North Parade

I knelt at Larry Ellison’s feet

DOWN THE Rose & Crown yesterday evening and was reminiscing with a chap about Larry Ellison – he from Oracle.

In Paris, back in the 1990s, I once attended a press conference with Larry on the dais. I was a little hungover,  but my eyes were at the level of his shoes.  They were wondrously crafted shoes. My eyes gradually moved up from his shoes to his socks to his trousers to his jacket and I realised that the value of his shoes alone were more than all the money I had ever spent on clothes on my life.

A chap at the R&C said he was in a Park Lane posh car sale room years back when Larry took a shine to an expensive car.

He paid for it with his Amex card.

That’s a green Amex card, by the way. ♥

Culture clubs around my yard

IT’S A LOVELY little street, North Parade – and today was the day of the summer fair, complete with Morris dancers, a string quartet, and shops and stalls along the street.

This string quartet before was a particular delight, with the four young but very accomplished players entertaining passers-by and yours truly. Pictured in the back, behind them and next to a face painting table is Andrew, genial landlord of the very nice Rose and Crown pub, just down the street.

cultureone

The second view, down the street towards Banbury Road, shows on the right the very nice Italian restaurant, Luna Caprese, while in the distance you can see a couple of Morris dancers doing what comes naturally – that is drinking pints. Near the dancers, on the right, is the rather lovely Town Garden. North Parade really is an oasis in what’s otherwise a mix of large houses and colleges between St Giles and Summertown. I fell on my feet here – two pubs just yards from a thirsty Mad Mike.

culturetwo

 Not pictured is the bouncy castle for the kids, at the other end of the street, nor the other pub we have here, the Gardeners Arms. The guys were working hard to set it all up when I popped out for a newspaper earlier on today.  There’s something on the Wiki about North Parade – here.