IT LASTED only 25 minutes.

Stopping for the usual cuppa at New Road Baptist Church, I arrived just before the start of the annual service to remember the city’s homeless and helpers who had died over the past year.

I got my cuppa and stayed on. The service was moving without being mawkish. Led by the Rev Mary Gurr, Oxford’s Chaplain for the Homeless, candles were lit for the 15 who had died, hymns were sung and prayers said.

Perhaps some of the departed were homeless through their own folly; others not so. But at this service, judgement and blame were left at the door.

Yes, ‘moving’ is the right word.

TOURISTS piled out of the bus in Beaumont Street. One of them, a sturdy man of about 65, came as near to flattening me as makes no difference. He apologised.

“From America?” I asked after hearing his betraying drawl.

“California – between San Diego and San Francisco,” he replied. (A mere 465 miles, I believe!) “Your first trip to Oxford?” I questioned. It was and he asked about the most interesting places to visit. They were here for two hours.

I named a few but deep down felt a couple of laps around the Martyrs’ Memorial would probably have to do.

OLD film buffs never thought the 1950s classic Sunset Boulevard could become a musical.

After all it was a story of delusion, cruel manipulation, betrayal and murder among the faded stars of Hollywood.

On top of that one-time silent era film star Gloria Swanson played the lead role, that many felt was a cameo of Swanson herself.

A musical? It would be like turning Macbeth into a comedy soap.

But Andrew Lloyd Webber proved everyone wrong – not for the first time.

The songs are as memorable as the story is ‘dark’. The result is sheer magic.

Now Oxford Operatic Society, in its 70th year, is staging the show at the Playhouse next week. It promises to be a winner.

THE M40 and the A34 are not my favourite thoroughfares these days, what with never-ending roadworks and constant delays turning journeys into nightmares.

But making them worse are those who hog the middle lane. Lorries, van, buses, cars – they’re all at it. Temperatures rise, patience is strained – all food for accidents.

Now wasn’t a law passed earlier this year making it plain to hoggers that such behaviour would not be tolerated?

Were reprisals not promised in the form of fines and penalty points?

I must make a point of asking the powers at Thames Valley Police HQ how many sinners have been brought to justice. Watch this space.