YOU can’t trust a journalist to tell the truth – it’s official. It is as far as the Nursing and Midwifery Council is concerned.

A few weeks ago, someone I have known for ages asked if I would write a character reference as she was planning to resume her nursing career after a lengthy maternity break. I emphasise that it was a ‘character’ reference; I’m not qualified to testify to her brilliance with the bedpan or her umbilical snipping skills in the delivery suite.

This week she, somewhat embarrassed, reported that my testimony had been rejected. She was told she must seek someone more suitable and not a journalist- past or present.

Among those acceptable are solicitors (presumably unimpeached), police officers (not certain former Downing Street security officers), clergy (not the unfrocked variety) and chiropodists (who do not have a foot fettish). Yesterday, the NMC confirmed that journalists were not on the list, but it is under review. Meanwhile I’ll do my best not to let this rejection affect my sleep.

SPRING is almost here – and that’s official as well. Don’t take my word for it; a more reliable source is the ancient tree at the west door of St Mary’s Church in the High Street.

Its beautiful pink blossom is simply straining to burst forth. On Tuesday morning, when for a short time the rain stopped, I stood in the sunshine dreamily admiring the tree’s progress. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was an elderly man of oriental persuasion, in a light-coloured suit, a white trilby hat and carrying a slim walking cane.

He resembled the legendary cinema sleuth, Charlie Chan. (“Charlie who?” I hear you say. Ask your grandad!) “What blossom is this?” he inquired, pointing his stick at an emerging bloom. I was unsure and admitted this, but guessed it might be cherry.

“I think it is almond,” he said before quickly moving on.

In that case why the blazes did he ask?

ON Tuesday afternoon I met the Digital Prisoners – also known as Naomi Morris and Neil Smith – who are preparing to reprise their special roles in next week’s Dancing Oxford programme.

You may remember last year’s show when aspiring dancers (talented as well as the self-deluded) performed at dusk before live cameras controlled by the pair. The pictures were projected large and clear across a wall overlooking Bonn Square. This year there will be three sessions – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – when terpsichorean fame on the big screen, or rather a big wall, might be waiting for someone.

See you there!

‘WILD rabbits’ and ‘organic chickens’ are for sale at a Cowley Road butchers’ shop. Somehow I find the adjective ‘wild’ inappropriate, accurate though it might be. Rabbits always seem so docile.