It's almost a year since I first sampled food at the Yellow Submarine café in Park End Street.

Not only does it serve up some tasty dishes but also – and most important – helps young people who find life to be something of an obstacle course, to face the world, tackle the problems and enjoy being alive. Holidays and leisure are vital ingredients in this tonic.

In its short life Yellow Submarine has earned both praise locally and awards from further afield. Long may this continue.

Some time ago a young woman caught my eye. She was awkward and appeared to be hiding from the world. A month later she was cautiously greeting customers and seemed to be emerging from her shell.

In March she was on supervisory duties – sheet of paper in one hand, pen in another – issuing orders to a new member of what is to many a second family.

It would be wrong to say that on Tuesday she was running the show, but it was pretty close. She was operating the till, her broad smile and genuine words of welcome and thanks were loud and clear. This was a new girl.

I won’t mention her name for fear of causing embarrassment. Many others are benefitting from the work and care of the volunteer staff. She is one success story among a library shelf filled with them.

I always enjoy writing about the happier things in life. There are too many sad ones. Thank-you Yellow Submarine.

I NEVER thought the day would come when I would take Waterstone’s to task. That citadel of literary and grammatical excellence seemed impregnable, until...

This week on a printed notice, encouraging sales of Ian McEwan’s novel, The Children Act, was the heading: The Kids are Alright.

I quote the late Kingsley Amis (and others before him) who declared that ‘alright is always and altogether all wrong’. My old English master – an Oxford man to the roots of his white hair – would emerge from his grave brandishing a copy of Fowler’s English Usage were I not to highlight this transgression.


* Which is the happiest college in Oxford? A chalkboard notice at the porters’ lodge, publicising a Highland pipe recital by Edward Lavender, claims this honour for Brasenose College.

Whether this self-proclaimed accolade will survive after the nation’s electorate judgement yesterday on one of its famous former students – David Cameron – remains to be seen once the numbers are added up.

* During the run-up to the General Election, a large banner has hung above the entrance of New Road Baptist Church in Bonn Square, bearing three words: Think...Pray...Vote.

Now the moment has passed, a replacement might read: Thought...Voted...Praying.