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Cabbages & Kings: Skateboarders should show off skills elsewhere
FOR more than a century the impressive Tirah Memorial to Oxford men killed in the Indian North West Frontier uprising has stood in Bonn Square.
No-one felt it necessary to scratch their initials on the stonework. No-one felt inclined to deface it.
Then along came the skateboard and the need for places where skateboarders could show their skill.
I accept it is clever stuff, but the soft stone steps of a war memorial aren’t the place.
The result was some of the steps had to be replaced, but no sooner was this done than the skateboarders were back. There was more damage and temporary railings were needed to keep them off.
This week stonemasons were back to fix less-than-attractive angled metal bars to make life difficult for those who think it is a playground.
I RAN into a group of teenage visitors from a Shropshire school, smartly kitted out in uniform and as far as I could see, behaving immaculately. They were waiting to enter Christ Church.
Suddenly up spoke their leader and teacher, her voice loud enough to raise the dead should such a service be called for.
“Remember you are representing our school,” she bellowed. “Do you understand?”
No pupil uttered any discernible words, but a low rumbling, accompanied by several pairs of eyes being turned skywards, served as a reply. She ordered them to form a single line and remain perfectly still.
“God help us!” murmured one young chap as he passed me. That said it all.
ON the day we heard Banbury MP Tony Baldry was to become Sir Antony, a no-less deserving honour was bestowed on Ron Calcutt.
Ron, from Wallingford, has for the past decade been standard bearer of the Oxford branch of the Royal Tank Regiment Association. He is to be seen at almost every repatriation of Afghanistan war victims, proudly standing with fellow standard bearers at the Last Turn in Headley Way.
His fellow ‘Tankie’ and association stalwart Bert Dowler, from Banbury, told me Ron never lets his age influence what he sees as duty. He is 82. For the record, Bert is 87.
On Saturday at the association’s 52nd memorial lunch in Kidlington, the Regimental Colonel of the RTR, Lt Col Stephen May, presented him with a framed regimental citation for his voluntary work in this country and in Europe.
IT wasn’t that I intended to listen. We were in the queue for the Water Eaton park-and-ride bus outside the Randolph when two middle-aged women turned up the volume. They were discussing the new partner of the first.
“He’s very similar but slightly different,” she said.
Hardly surprising, this remark earned a quizzical look from the other.