PERHAPS the only saving grace of being held up in a traffic queue on the A34 is that you can concentrate on debates on the wireless – oops, I mean radio.

Such was the case on Tuesday morning on Five Live when the topic was wolf whistlers. At times heated and at others downright ridiculous, it was nevertheless more interesting than staring at the back of a bus.

It also gave me ammunition to steer my friends away from the never-ending General Election topic when we met in our favourite Covered Market cafe.

Retired schoolteacher Ken was with his wife Gloria, while Paul – not his real name for reasons you will later appreciate) – had for once left his better half at home.

“There’s nothing wrong with wolf whistles so long as they’re not accompanied by sexual vulgarity,” said Gloria. “I’d love to hear one pointed in my direction, but with eight grandchildren, it doesn’t happen these days.”

Paul sighed loudly. He confessed he had not wolf whistled for years.

“I did in my early 20s. Two girls were in front of me, one a real beauty. I whistled, but it was the other girl who turned round and thanked me. We spoke to each other for a few minutes and before I knew it, I’d asked her for a date. We’ve been married for years but I still haven’t dared admit the whistle was for her friend.”

THE weekend was an anxious time after news of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, a country and people I love dearly. I spent two days anxiously trying to contact the school in which I work and the family who treat me as one of their own.

I began to fear the worst.

With most people living outdoors fearing more quakes they were away from their landline phones and computers. Mobile phone signals are always hit-and-miss and it was three days before I got through. Fortunately one of the sons had wandered into a favourable signal spot In spite of the serious situation – and it will get worse as food and fresh water run out; railways are non-existent and roads into the country are poor – Chesan joked about the time I slept through a small earthquake.

“You wouldn’t have slept through this one,” he said.

His news was good: the family – immediate and extended – was safe, although their “home” village where they grow essential food was flattened. Samata School, made of bamboo, had withstood the shock as its inspirational founder, Uttam Sanjel hoped.

Finally, thanks to many Oxford Mail readers who have phoned asking about the welfare of those I love – young and old. Your hopes and good wishes are really special.