I was expecting that round about now I would have sorted through a mass of photos from Truck Festival, and would be writing a lengthy piece about my experiences there. However it was not to be. About 4pm on Friday, I received a text from a friend to warn me it had been cancelled. A quick check on the site revealed what was going on; Steveton, and in particular the Truck site, was now under several feet of water due to Ginge Brook bursting its banks. As it now turns out, parts Oxfordshire had two months of rain in the course of an hour on Friday, and this quickly started to take its toll.
I was disappointed, but over the next couple of days it became quickly apparent that this wasn’t just a local problem, the Thames (Isis as we call it round here) and several other rivers throughout Oxfordshire and several other countries has started to overflow. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been flooded, whole towns are without water or electricity, basically it is carnage. It seems we’ve been “lucky” in Oxfordshire compared to Gloucestershire, but we still have many people in Oxford and the surrounding towns and villages who have been flooded and evacuated.
The warnings for Oxford itself starting coming on Sunday, when it became apparent that the Thames was rising rapidly, and that in particular the Botley Road and Abingdon Road were flooded. What annoyed me was that a warning went out for all of Oxford, but it was really hard to figure out using the local information where it was going to affect. The council sites made it clear that residents most at risk were being notified, and sandbags were being issued, but there were no maps, and relatively vague information. Now I know we’re just off the floodplain here (by a few hundred yards), but we’re not obviously uphill, and given how widespread the flooding had been elsewhere, what if the flood maps were wrong by a few hundred yards? I decided to trust them, but I’m sure the emergency and council services must have been inundated with calls from people less trusting than myself, whose minds could have been laid at rest by more information. Something that needs sorting out, I reckon.
This October sees 31 days of gigs and activities in Oxford to raise money and awareness for Oxfam. Oxjam is a nationwide event, and Oxford seems to being really going for it with Oxjam Oxford. It opens here slightly early on September 29th 2007 when Cyberscribes play a gig atop the Carfax Tower. Looking at the programme so far, it does appear that there are going to be a lot of gigs, so I’ll keep an eye on it to see if anything particularly takes my fancy.
Magdalen Bridge, at the base of the High Street in Oxford, is one of the main routes into the centre of the city. Cut that off, and you create massive problems for public transport. So why is it being dug up for the second time in a year? Fun? Insanity? Sadistic pleasure?
Also, why are cars being allowed to drive towards it, when it is so congested? Ban them whilst the works are going on, let them go via other routes instead. We should have a proper congestion charge in Oxford anyway, but this would help ease the situation.
I think I’m going to research some more, and see if I can find out just what is going on.
Well Luminox was utterly spectacular. Here in Oxford, they’ve closed off Broad Street for three days, and allowed some French artists to set up some huge displays of fire lanterns. There was a ball of fire and a chandelier of fire amongst others, some almost ambient music playing with a couple of great singers singing live over it, huge crowds, and mainly a lot of fire.
I went down tonight on my own to take pictures, along the way bumping into a couple of people from work doing the same thing (Hi Al!). I’m still very much getting used to my camera, so compared to some of the other pictures I’ve seen on Flickr thus far mine don’t look that great, but it was very good practice on that count. Our plan for Saturday is to take a couple of friends down who are visiting to see it. I got the impression that more might be happening later on in the evening, so I might get to see some different things then.
It was simple a wonderful thing to see, so many people enjoying something quite unusual, particularly for Oxford. I can’t wait to go again!
Alex Hay posted a photo:
This light trail was taken in oxford as a police car drove past.
Great picture of Oxford here
For some time I have been meaning to go up Carfax Tower in Oxford to take some photographs. It is an old clock tower right in the middle of Oxford, and is one of the key tourist attractions I have never got around to doing. So I thought I would take advantage of the visit of my brother-in-law Andy to do it. Now, I’m not great with heights, but I was under the impression it would be a little walk up some stairs, have a huge platform to stand on, take a few snaps, job done. Wrong.
First of all you have to climb up three very narrow spiral staircases. A long way. That was pretty daunting to begin with. Then you actually go out there, and it is a small square with a tin roof in the middle, and a narrow walkway less than the width of a person around it. And it was windy. And very high up.
I didn’t manage to take a single picture without letting go of the handrail. It was incredibly dizzying, and totally not my thing. I shall do it once more in my life when I get a new camera, and then never do it again. Even if it does have the following cheese-related message up there:
I hurt a bit today. Did a slightly longer cycle ride last night, and my ancient bones know all about it now. Going to have to make sure I get out again tonight, keep up the good work. Last night was following the cycle path on the other side of the Cowley Road all the way up to Hollow Way. Bit of a hill in the way at the end, and I got halfway up before my heart and body said “fuck that”. So I pushed the rest of the way, as I had to see still. Watching the Tour de France later embarrassed my laziness somewhat, although I did find it heartening to see that the present yellow jersey wearer did effectively the same as me.
Tonight I might try and get down to the river. May try and idle around a bit off Jackdaw Lane I found recently. Also should remember for future reference that there was a whole wooded area off the cycle path I was on last night I know nowt about. May well be worth a wander. One of the nice things about getting out on the bike like this is that it does give me more opportunity to learn Oxford better. I quite enjoy a good explore, go down a turn I don’t know, see where it takes me. I’ve a great believer in being able to assume that north is north, spotting something that lets me know where that is, then following my nose until I find somewhere I recognise.
I think my body is telling me to do a few stretches afterwards though. Yes. That does make sense. Ouch.