A MONTH might have passed since Oxford’s Alice’s Day but the magic of the occasion and the childhood memories it revived for this old romantic are taking some shifting – not that I want them to.

David Gibb, of the magical Story Museum in Pembroke Street, which was behind the event, tells me that between 8,000 and 9,000 people were involved one way or another. If that isn’t success I don’t know what is.

The fact that so many posters publicising the event are still in place keeps the day fresh. Some might grumble at the organisers’ failure to clear them – but not me.

“I’VE taken your picture. Do you mind?” The tinkling voice belonged to a 14-year-old Chinese girl armed with a camera that resembled a mortar bomb launcher. I was sprawled on the Broad Walk lawn leaning against a sapling while marvelling about how wonderful life is.

“I’m honoured,” I said, not quite springing to my feet, yet rising as gracefully as my footballer’s knee would allow. “But I’m not George Clooney.”

“I know that,” she replied rather more quickly than I might have hoped. “But it will be part of my photo exhibition at home.”

What the theme of this pictorial show might be I didn’t ask. Quit while you’re ahead.

BACK to Alice. Minutes later I tagged on to a large group of young people from various nations being led by an energetic English guide. He was getting most excited as he pointed through a gate into a garden flanking Christ Church Cathedral. Like so many guides he was delivering his own version of how Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, first met Alice.

It sounded most dramatic as this chevron of girls (his words) dashed across the lawn to where the studious mathematician was contemplating some equation or another and demanded they be taken on the river.

This started his ‘infatuation with Alice’, he said before implying guardedly there could have been more to the relationship.

“What does he mean?” said a voice from behind me. It was my young photographer friend. I edged around the paedophile theory – not too successfully.

What a pity the guide felt it necessary to revive rumours of one and a half centuries ago. The group was there to enjoy the magic of the Alice story, not dwell on seedy suspicions.

TODAY is the 95th birthday of Peggy Barson who worked at Oxford’s New Theatre for 72 years, turning the task of running the ticket office into an art form.

Sadly she has spent the past few days in hospital, a place she always avoided like indifferent stage performances.

Get well, Peggy, and enjoy your birthday.