Archive for the ‘Oxford’ Tag

Group Christmas Dinner, Exeter College Oxford   Leave a comment


The enforced jollity of the office Christmas party is worth avoiding but I feel obliged to show up at least every other year.  There’s always the opportunity for the Dutch farewell, the Irish goodbye, the French leave … pissing off before the games get started, essentially.  This year, I pulled more of a Northern Irish goodbye: this is where you tell a few key people in advance to limit any loss of life.


This year, our research group had the do in Exeter College which has one of my favourite chapels at the University.  Since this is almost certainly my last Christmas at Oxford, this was a nice surprise and blunted the edge of the generally shit situation.



Our Professor’s P.A. chased up our RSVPs diligently and also checked for any dietary requirements or prohibitions.  I replied, “I don’t like things with mayonnaise in them. Other than that, if you consider it food, then so do I.”  It was more a joke than anything, but as the starters were doled out one of the servers stopped by my assigned seat to ask, on behalf of the chef, if it is because of eggs that I don’t want mayo. “No, I just find mayonnaise an abomination.”



So, the assigned seating resulted in bespoke treatment from the kitchen.  Fantastic attention to detail, there.

It was surprising, then, that I was seated only one space away from the shithead who’s continued residence in the lab has prompted my efforts to find other employment (which has, finally, come to fruition albeit delayed until the early Spring while the folks at the new site write a position for me).  This particular dickhead is a complete sociopath and unwilling to take a hint, a request, or a direct order to shut his fucking mouth and leave someone the hell alone.  It isn’t a secret that I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire, so this seating arrangement is especially egregious (or, maybe the boss just wants to hurry me along — this is the sort of move to encourage it).

As a result, I cut the evening even shorter than planned and skipped coffee and pudding.


Just as well, I reckon.  The next item on the agenda would be the distribution of Secret Santa presents.  I find the joke gifts insulting and tiresome so I only ever give these to people I find loathsome.  One year, I drew the name of an especially arrogant sack of shite and bought a presentation-style wine box and stuck a bottle of Buckfast in it.  The box was more valuable than the bottle, and his disappointment at the contents was worth going over budget.




But, generally I try to give thoughtful treats even though I have never received anything useful, beautiful, or even slightly amusing.

I plucked the name of one of the new DPhil students and did a bit of cyber-stalking to find that he is a classical music buff.  I really don’t know anything else about him, so I decided I’d just get him some music that I would like for myself.

The record store I went to had a really limited classical music selection so my first (the recent re-release of Glen Gould’s Goldberg Variations) and second (Beethoven’s 7th, especially for the 2nd movement) choices were not in the bins.  I settled on Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (#7) as a piece of music with a moving story of its premier performance.   Besieged and starving, under relentless Nazi bombardment in Leningrad the musicians — drawn from troops and the citizenry — broadcasted the piece from a bombed out hall to loudspeakers across the city and down the defence lines.

An appropriate piece for the start of any doctoral programme.




Posted December 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in work

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The Man Cave, Oxford, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

Gay bars seem to be closing at a faster rate than other pubs. I guess this is progress — every bar is now a gay bar.

But, despite what we’ve gained by updating to the mid-20th century, we’ve also lost traditional, gay bar names like The Toolbox or The White Swallow.

So, it’s good to see a new place open in Oxford called The Mancave (not too far in theme from “The Manhole”). I’m not too convinced by the barber shop theme (is this some sort of fetish house?), but I’ve seen worse…Christ, I’ve woken up in worse. Best of luck, boys, and godspeed.

Posted October 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh

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Work loos, stifling innovation   Leave a comment

Following a history of work loo stories (most recent, here), the urinals in the main lobby of our 10-year-old building (the huge cracks in the basement walls that leak copiously during heavy rain despite burial 15 feet below paved surfaces first appeared at least 8 years ago) have been marked “Out Of Order” for all but yesterday of the preceding 6 weeks.


The signage returned this morning.  Insult added to bladder injury came by way of the signs prohibiting an engineering remedy involving the sinks:



Posted October 10, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh, work

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Home, Oxford, Oxfordshire   1 comment

Pub #1920:

By the time I got around to trying the Berkshire House it had changed to the Crooked Pot which I then tried on three occasions, finding it closed for the afternoon once (in between published hours) and not open two other times (that is, supposed to be open but locked with no sign of anyone there). It then re-rebranded as the Berkshire and I couldn’t get the fatty behind the bar to acknowledge my existence long enough to pour a beer or take my money. When she eventually left for a well-earned cigarette break, I left for more friendly — or competent — climes.

Now it is called “Home,” and specialises in locally sourced food…never a good sign for a pub.

Jackie hates bunting. She would not like this beer garden.


But, the house is lovely and my host helpful and proud of his beer selection.  I ordered the first Hoppelganger of the day and he pulled a wine glass full, sniffed, poured it out, pulled another, etc, until the portion left in the lines overnight had cleared a path for the better contents in the barrel.

And, it was good.

Clouds gathered and I made my way out for the run back to the labs via Donnington Bridge (and only getting caught in rain the last half mile or so…result).


Posted September 15, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Tap Social, Oxford   3 comments


One of the problems with sharing strong opinions with the world is that someone who has some affiliation with the object of your passion may take the opinion as an affront.  It would probably sting less if the editorial commentary was delivered with a bit less smarmy tone, but the very few people who read this would be disappointed if it wasn’t there (especially in response to something like this).   Among the small readership, I usually get publicans and other business proprietors/proprietresses for an entry or two after they find out that their venue has appeared here.  Believe me,  my opinion holds no more sway here than it does at work (where the fuckers should actually listen to me).



So, if I gave the Tap Social a bad review it might actually be better for them than what I am about to lay down more concisely than that cryptic lead paragraph.  Better still are the ones about places that made so little impression on me that I just make shit up.  I can’t do that here.  The house is flawless.  Go there the next time they are open and you’ll probably make regular stops from then on (check the website…they are open tonight, and then again on the 27th and 28th of January 2017 with future dates pending).



Now, it’s not a pub, per se … yet.  It doesn’t even have regular opening days, much less regular opening hours.  It is so open-plan that the warehouse blends into the 1000 liter brewery (yeah, it is a microbrewery, as well), and those are only distinguishable from the pubby area by a large carpet rolled out in front of the rudimentary bar.




Their product is especially grand, too.  I was met at the door by the Head Brewer who enthusiastically described the set-up and the core beers that were on offer.  I got a flight of one-third pints (only the single pint, total, as this was roughly the mid-point of a 7½ mile run and I needed to get back to check on something in the lab before heading home) that included the oatmeal stout and the two sour ales — I would recommend all of them but do the Bleeding Heart Numbskull last as it overpowers everything in its path.






Posted January 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Politics, Pubs

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Pint Shop, Oxford   1 comment


A couple of weeks ago, a work colleague sent me this note about the Pint Shop.  This is sort of a rare guest review:

“Had a couple of halves in the newly opened Pint Shop
on George St this arvo. Needed testing. Have you been
to its sister location in Cambridge? Good selection of
beer (~20 keg and 3 cask). A bit like Beerd. I suspect
in the evenings will be a hipster wanker fuckwit paradise,
if not also during the day. Recommend sampling mid-
afternoon after the lunch crowd have dissipated.”

I had been watching for this venue to open for months before we moved to London and now that I rarely find myself on George Street I had forgotten the place was due. I had to work late Wednesday to make up for my late arrival after the Passport Interview so gave it a go on my way to the bus station.  The music was nice (beardy hipster twats generally get that much right), and I really couldn’t fault the selection. My Anarchy Porter was divine.

This is the kind of place that is ripe for a drinking challenge. Running the taps from left to right in one day would result in 23 half pints down. It could be made more difficult by forcing the participant to go back for any taps that the beer changes on before they get to number 23.



Posted October 6, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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George Street Social, Oxford   Leave a comment

George Street Social Oxford

George Street Social was still a coffee shop when I passed by just a couple of months ago and the atmosphere on this visit was that of an independent coffee shop in the 1990s (that is, strangely retro the way everyone in there seemed to have a laptop fired up and not, for the most part, other devices).  The house was nearly fully occupied but only one table of three was actually engaging one another in conversation whilst row after row were intent on their screenplays, novels, or day trading deals.  Social, eh?


George Street Social Oxford not so social


At the bar, I was eventually served by a young woman who reluctantly broke off her conversation with a skinny little fellow with a goatee.  Despite that particular indication to the contrary, there is a hefty Hipster Tax imposed within the premises: Lagunitas IPA goes for £5.40 a pint while my choice — the much more gauche Amstel — comes at only £3.80 (and, I only got charged £3, so either there’s a Happy Hour price or my United Auto Workers t-shirt curried me some random favour).

The Muzak was especially good, I’ll grant them that.  This and others on the map, here.

Posted July 21, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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