THE matter was not open to negotiation or discussion. She would not be watching the BBC’s September one-off presentation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover – neither would her husband.

Former regular soldier Ken – 22 years with the infantry – had been given his orders by no-nonsense wife Barbara.

As far as she was concerned, when the courts found Penguin Books not guilty of contravening the Obscene Publications Act in 1960 and allowing them to print DH Lawrence’s final and most controversial novel, they did the world no favours. Ken said not a word.

Barbara glared across our favourite Covered Market cafe. She clearly wanted support. I tried the appeasement line.

“I hear this production by Jed Mercurio doesn’t have the four-letter words that caused so much trouble...”

“Well it must be one of the few programmes these days that doesn’t,” she interrupted. “They’re all at it. I fear for the CBBC channel.”

I spluttered into my tea. Then for some unknown reason tried the historical line, pointing out that Lawrence was believed to have based his heroine on Lady Ottoline Morrell, the oft promiscuous socialite and hostess, one-time owner of Garsington Manor. “And she should have known better,” said an unimpressed Barbara.

It seemed reasonable to quit while I was losing. Meanwhile, Ken smirked from behind a certain tabloid national newspaper...

HEADED by a woman armed with an Ordnance Survey map, the group of half a dozen women and two men – all near retirement age and possibly beyond – crossed the road bridge, descended the steps and headed for the Thames towpath.

Rain threatened but they were well prepared with waterproofs and sturdy boots.

The scene recalled the Tuesday Totties whom I occasionally met a few years ago as they set out on an adventure – on Tuesday mornings as the name suggests. Could this be the same band of adventurers, now slightly older? I ventured to ask.

“No – we’re from Goring and Streatley,” said the woman with the map. “We aren’t the Totties.”

“They’re the Gasbags,” said one of the two men.

I hope he survived his fellow walkers’ wrath.

A HEARTY Cabbages & Kings welcome to the Playhouse Theatre’s new press and marketing officer, Lauren Meehan.

She comes to Oxford from London where she worked for the advertising firm, Ogilvy and Mather and takes the place of the ever-smiling Bethan James, who has returned to her native Wales.

Lauren’s credentials are in the performing arts and she is delighted to turn her skill in their direction. I’m sure she’ll fit in well with this lively theatre’s team.