AFTER the second unprovoked and, I hope, unintended attack by young Italian tourists using rolled umbrellas – the first coming close to impaling my left nipple and the second doing its best to inflict brain damage via my right ear – it seemed a good time to leave Waterstone’s Cornmarket Street store. But not before I witnessed some despicable bad manners.

It came from someone I would have expected better. He was probably in his late 60s or early 70s, up-market voiced, white moustached, monogrammed cravat and linen jacket. He looked a gentleman – but...

He pushed aside people young and old, muttering loudly words that were unnecessarily offensive. When he selected his books, he marched to the front of the queue, saying he was in a hurry. To their credit, others in the queue ignored his boorish behaviour and stood aside.

As he moved out, again barging through, I cast a disapproving look.

“We don’t need all these b***** people,” he said by way of explanation.

Try telling that to the city’s traders.

CONGRATULATIONS to St Peter’s College whose quiz team made a successful debut on University Challenge this week. Not only did they defeat two-time winners Sussex University, but two of its members restored a little sartorial class to the occasion.

John Armitage and Spike Smith, both studying mathematics, wore ties, a rare sight these days on the programme and getting rarer elsewhere. John in particular, with neat conventional hairdo, white collar, pin-striped suit and permanently serious expression could have easily passed for a 1980s TV newsreader. Spike’s tie could have been tighter, but never mind.

However, as my grandsons keep telling me, casual dress doesn’t mean a casual mind. St Peter’s captain, medical student Gabriel Trueblood (what a magnificent name), carried the team when it came to speed of finger and prompt answers – and he’s certainly no fashion icon past or present.

Good luck in the next round, St Peter’s.

GIFTS from our councillors – other than the unstinting benefit of their wisdom – are rare. But Banbury Town Council has broken the mould with a hardback history of the First World War.

Written by former colleague Julian Dancer and supported by amazing stories and pictures, it is about the town and surrounding villages both at war and on the home front. The munitions factory, the POW camp and other features of the war years, many long forgotten, are recalled. Before any council taxpayer complains about wasting public money, the book is lottery funded. Thank you Banbury Council and thank you, Julian.