Friday, February 04, 2011

Intelligence at Oxford

Today I am going to talk about intelligence at Oxford---and especially about when it fails.

Let's take the street between Somerville College, which is where I live and often where I work, and Dartington House, where I also occasionally work. This street, called Little Clarendon, has been massively torn up since a couple of weeks before my 14 January return to sunny Oxford in order for piping to be redone. OK, fine. I'm sure that's necessary. And recently, the work was mostly finished on Little Clarendon, and the city of Oxford's fine blue-collar workers had moved on to digging up Woodstock Road, which borders the front entrance to Somerville and which I need to cross (just before crossing the graveyard) to get to the Mathematical Institute, where I also occasionally work.

It was noticed a day or two ago that there didn't seem to be any heating in Dartington House anymore. Now that's odd. As we have found out today, the reason for this turns out to be that the Southern Gas Board (SGB) had disconnected our gas during their work on the pipes below Little Clarendon. Apparently, what happened is that SGB was unaware that gas was supplied to this building (you know, the one next to the street that they were digging up). I suppose that perhaps they thought we keep rats who provide heat to the building by running on their little wheels? The Centre for Mathematical Biology is located on the first floor, after all. Perhaps this is because they weren't aware that the one rat that actually lived in the building was scared away during Rat Watch 2010.

Anyway, we're going to be getting our heating back soon. (And of course we should be thankful that we haven't been having really cold weather as we had in December, or else even bigger problems would be afoot.) Unfortunately, SGB is going to have to rip up the road again to do this.

Reaction: Facepalm.

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