Joke is on me as tourists use me as a prop...

Oxford Mail: Peter Unsworth Peter Unsworth

A SMILING teenager from Budapest blocked my path, waving a camera under my nose. “Photo,” she said, pointing to the vintage red telephone box below Carfax tower.

Thinking she wanted a picture of herself with two equally pretty friends, I reached for the camera. She resisted. “No. You please,” she said. My Hungarian is limited – correction, non-existent – but after some arm-waving it appeared she wanted me in the picture standing alone by the kiosk.

It took a few minutes to arrange, attracting stares from the passing crowd. Her chums giggled. Finally she smiled, said thank you and the three moved on.

An elderly chap relaxing on a nearby seat had watched all this. He chuckled. “Why me?” I asked, trying to hide my blushes.

“Two English antiques in one picture?” he suggested.

THERE’S another Gilbert Scott-designed kiosk in nearby Pembroke Street, outside the Story Museum. It no longer serves its original purpose.

This week it displayed a pirate’s hat, jacket, trousers and one boot, laundry due for collection by Mr LJ Silver – guaranteed to raise a smile from those of us looking forward to the museum’s re-opening tomorrow.

An amazing amount of work has been done on the building and the programme for the months ahead is certain to attract those of us who enjoy a good story.

THE notice outside St Aldate’s Church was clear enough. ‘Please do not lock your bicycle on the church railings, Thank you.’ Perhaps the 25 whose machines were chained to the aforementioned ironware did not understand plain English or thought that unless the message was signed by the Almighty himself, it could be ignored. Obviously the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ were of little currency.

Or maybe they thought it was a hoax; after all it was April 1.

NOW for a story to tug the heart strings... She didn’t look up from her mobile phone screen. There was no reason why she should. The baby in the pushchair was sleeping peacefully.

Two hours later she was still there, on the same riverside seat just below the Gasworks Bridge. The nine-month-old boy was awake, his blue eyes seeking out the face of his young mother. She was still using the screen. My expression must have said everything.

“It’s the only thing that keeps me sane,” she said. “We’re in a B&B and I don’t have friends around here. They’re miles away.”

What of her family? They didn’t want to know – the price paid for pregnancy at 17.

Refusing a modest handout – money was not a problem – all she wanted was someone to talk to without judgement.

My aversion to those who are constantly hooked to their phones suddenly changed.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree