O little town of studio flats

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The Independent Online

I have received an interesting query from Kate Carpenter of Oxford. She says that one of the local estate agents, Cluttons, is putting out a carol-singing team in the streets of Oxford, and wonders if there are any carols especially suitable for estate agents to sing.

I have received an interesting query from Kate Carpenter of Oxford. She says that one of the local estate agents, Cluttons, is putting out a carol-singing team in the streets of Oxford, and wonders if there are any carols especially suitable for estate agents to sing.

Not according to the mighty Independent computer, that huge mechanical brain which slumbers most of the day and awakes now and again with a start, anxious to hear the latest on David Blunkett. So the next step was to create some. I fed into the computer the basic repertoire of common Christmas carols. I gave it some idea of how estate agents work. I then programmed it to create its own carols, and sat and waited.

At first it did nothing. Then it hiccuped and produced two lines:

Hark, the herald angels sing,

Bricks and mortar are the thing!

After a second pause, I got:

O come all ye faithful

On the housing ladder

Where the sellers are all fat

And the buyers much sadder...

I tweaked the controls for something more practical. It came up with this:

O Little town of Bethlehem,

How still we see thee lie,

With property at every price

And Jerusalem close by!

So quiet in the country,

So close to town as well,

Just get in touch with Clutton's

We're open over Noël!

After that it was well away:

Once in Royal David's City

Stood a lonely cattle shed,

Now it is a barn conversion,

With 3 bathroom + 6 bed.

Suitable for family life:

Say, three children, and one wife.

Not in that poor, lowly stable

Do we ask our clients to dwell

But in grand refectory

And solarium as well

With an indoor

swimming pool

And good local primary

school.

I thought it might be nice to move away from Biblical premises and try a carol advertising somewhere in Oxford. The computer obliged:-

Ding dong merrily on

high

The entry chimes are

ringing

At Number Three, The High

Good tidings they are

bringing!

A spacious entry hall

With cloakroom and

a lobby,

Utility room and all

The space for husband's

hobby!

Upstairs, three double rooms,

Two small, plus generous

attic,

Then cupboards for your

brooms

And bathroom most aquatic.

I thought that would do, but I couldn't stop it:

The Holly and The Ivy

Are up for sale once more.

We've brought the asking price down

And painted the front door.

The Holly is a villa

In a shabby part of town.

The Ivy is a mansion

With chimney falling down.

The Holly is Victorian

But basically is sound.

The Ivy is mock-Tudor

And falling to the ground.

The Holly might be suitable

For another B&B.

The Ivy for a rather

Eccentric family.

Oh, The Holly and The Ivy

Are very hard to sell.

It might be the location

Or perhaps the funny smell...

It's very hard to stop a computer when it's having fun, so I left it to it.

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