TUESDAY’S weather forecasters were right: sunshine, intermittent heavy showers and strong winds. All they missed was the short but sharp hailstorm around noon.

However, it all helped towards an interesting day in the city, dodging indoors when necessary, then grasping the sunshine while it shone.

My first run for cover was to St Mary’s, the University Church, and if that hailstorm wasn’t heaven sent, I don’t know what was. I was immediately reminded that tomorrow there will be Gloriana, the celebration and re-enactment of the 1566 visit of Elizabeth I to the city. The planned event had been filed too securely in my overloaded memory.

Music and dancing in Radcliffe Square, food and a play specially written for the occasion will all be part of the day.

Some of the poems written by 100 budding poets of all ages from places as far apart as Oxford and Otley, Derbyshire and Devon will be read by their authors.

The idea from the church’s heritage education office Penny Boxall to open the competition nationwide has certainly paid off.

It seems too good to miss.

I HADN’T seen James Armitage for some time. Until late autumn last year, he sold coffee from a converted oriental tuc-tuc in Radcliffe Square, so it was a delight to see him again, observing the law and pushing his bicycle down Cornmarket Street.

Antipodean James, who is also a Magdalen College chorister, operates a coffee bean roasting business in Jericho – hardly downtown Rio, but successful nevertheless. Since October, he has run a cafe serving his coffee (and tea for the likes of me) in King Edward Street. I was glad he mentioned it because the next shower caught me only yards from its door.

The place is functional rather than palatial but that didn’t worry the students working on laptops, many in a last-minute rush to get their term’s work finished.

Looking around I felt ancient, but anno domini was not responsible for my near disaster, tripping over a lead powering the battery of one of the mini-machines. As ever, I was too busy talking.

THE rain had stopped. But would it hold off until I returned to Osney Mead? Alas, no, and I took refuge in a cafe near Oxford station.

Two other chairs were occupied, these by smart-suited salesmen, reunited after a lengthy break.

Their loud and excited voices made it impossible to ignore what was said; top of the reminiscences was the wife of a former boss who had employed both men on separate occasions.

Delicacy forbids me from reporting the contents, but I can assure readers it didn’t involve the weather.