‘HAVE you seen that crane?” I excitedly asked a young Osney Island couple while pointing to the noble bird. A couple of inches of water were pouring continuously over its toes from the Botley Road bridge overspill.

“He’s there all the time,” said the man, showing scant surprise. His partner confirmed the statement with a nod as they moved on. So much for sharing a magical moment.

I watched for the next 10 minutes making the occasional uncrane-like noises hoping – unsuccessfully – that it might fly in search of breakfast in this well-stocked stretch of the river. After all it was 9am.

THE city centre was waiting with its teeming tourists and its carnation-wearing students heading to and from the Examinations School.

“Good luck,” I wished a worried-looking young man wearing a white flower as he hurried down High Street.

“I’ll b***** well need it,” he replied in a Brummie accent, while stealing a glance at some papers. Last minute swotting?

TWO middle-aged female Italian visitors looked guilty when I caught them taking pictures of the west window inside St Mary’s Church. I approached and their shamed expressions intensified.

“Is it forbidden?” asked one.

“We will remove the pictures from our cameras,” promised the other.

I didn’t have the heart to tease them, instead suggested they mount the stairs to get a close-up of the wonderful piece of work.

Half an hour later I was in Broad Street when someone touched my arm. It was one of the women. They were bubbling like bottles of Asti Spumante that had been opened none too carefully.

“Thank you. The window was wonderful” she gushed, planting a kiss on my left cheek. Her friend also gushed, but stopped short of further action. “Any time,” I purred magnanimously. “Any time at all.”

A FEELING that all was well with the world still filled the Unsworth breast when later I left the Clarendon Centre by the ‘back door’ into New Inn Hall Street. A large van was reversing. Standing directly in its path with her back to the vehicle was a small woman, possibly in her early 50s, tapping some message on a mobile phone. I doubted if the driver could have seen her in either wing mirror. “Be careful,” I said. Her reaction was to glare at me.

“It’s the driver’s job to check. This is a pavement area,” she said sharply. She moved off without another word. Ah well...

SHORTLY after 3pm I returned to Osney Island. The crane didn’t appear to have moved. The young couple clearly know their avian neighbour, leaving me with one thought: Does this bird fish for its food or do some islanders oblige?