Jul 312007

As usual, the trip to the XML Summer School in Oxford was excellent. I learned a lot and met some interesting people and had fun too, even though I’ve decided that two trips to Europe, with a one-year-old, in 26 days, is a little too much travel in a short period of time. The XML Summer School had daycare, otherwise I really wouldn’t have been able to cope. I think the baby enjoyed the trip as well; she made lots of new friends and I started calling her “Princess” because of the way she waved and simpered. I am extremely grateful for all the work the Summer School organisers and the daycare people put in to make the trip as easy as possible.

I didn’t see a lot of the flooding and was only tangentially affected by it; I do have memories of the water sloshing around on the arrivals floor in Terminal 1 when I arrived on the morning of Friday 20th July and the attempts people were making to stop it going down into the basement where the Tube and the tunnels to get to other parts of the airport are located. The tunnel out of Heathrow was down to one lane and it was closed in the other direction. I wasn’t surprised to learn later that several flights had been cancelled.

Although in the centre of Oxford, where we were, there were few signs of the floods (a couple of roads closed off), surrounding areas were strongly affected. One friend who cycled in to meet us at the pub crawl on Wednesday found it surreal that his area was full of sandbags and people panicking about the rising groundwater, while a short bike ride away people were going shopping, going to the pub, and generally behaving the way they would without the floods.

The punting was cancelled of course, the Cherwell was just too high and too fast for it to be safe; there was a certain amount of nervousness about losing a delegate or two.

Punts on the Cherwell River by the Boathouse

Before the Summer School started, I met up with a friend on the Sunday for lunch. We went to The Fishes in North Hinksey, a cute little place with a verandah and a playground and a picnic area. Which would have been great for the baby to crawl around in, if it hadn’t been under a certain amount of water at the time.

flooded_playground flooded_picnic_area

All in all, I was quite glad to see the sun again when I got home to Vancouver, and to be happy we don’t live on a flood plain.

  2 Responses to “Home from Oxford”

  1. It turns out that not only don’t we try to keep water from entering the New York City subway, we actually pump out about 1600 gallons (more than 6000 liters) of water per minute, some from the water table (which is higher than most of the tunnels) and some from deep below.

  2. I was actually looking for something else online when I came across your Oxford post. It was the pictures that really caught my attention first – wow, now that’s a lot of water. And to think most parts of the U.S. are in drought situations. Thanks for an interesting post!

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