AS is the habit, if someone looks in my direction and smiles, I return same and say “Hello!” This usually prompts a similar reply.

In this age of the mobile phone such initial behaviour has become the exception but it happened when I met a young mum and her three-year-old daughter Crystal in Marks & Spencer's.

Not wanting to leave the cute little lady out of the equation, I said “Hello!” to her, whereupon she felt confident enough to expand the conversation.

“Mum is going to buy a new bra,” she announced loud enough to alert most of the floor.

Words had to be chosen to avoid an embarrassing situation for all parties. After what seemed an age, I muttered: “That's nice.”

With the Oxford English Dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus to choose from, I had failed.

Mum saved the day with another smile and an appropriate phrase.

“Too much information, Crystal,” she said.

SOME of us cannot pass that small buildings that for many years housed Mick's Café in Botley Road without fond memories of tucking into amounts of food doctors and fitness gurus advised we should restrict to smaller portions.

A hearty greeting from talented musician Mick as he turned out more eggs (sunny side up or well done) bacon, fried bread, etc and the rest followed by a friendly if sometimes caustic comment from his daughter who ran matters 'front of house' started the day well. Every day was an adventure but it was a necessity after May Morning's unearthly hour celebrations.

Now, after standing empty for so long, the old building is being given a facelift, completed with stylish wooden cladding outside and a re-fit within. Curiosity struck.

Kebabs would figure on the menu. I wished the workman and the business well – but it doesn't stop me missing Mick and Co.

IT was the late 'Supermac', Harold Macmillan (Eton and Balliol) who in 1985 warned a successor to Number 10, Margaret Thatcher (Grantham Girls' School and Somerville), that she was “selling off the family silver” as she set about denationalisation.

But I doubt if even he expected to see what has since happened to one of our 'treasures' – ie the Post Office – during the stewardship of David Cameron (Eton and Brazenose).

Perhaps I'm being selfish but the thought of Banbury's Post Office (Oxford Mail, February 5) being consigned to a counter among the cabbages of a supermarket or next to ladies' lingerie in a department store is too much.

“Move with the times,” said an older and much respected chum. But I think the sale and inevitable dismantling of the Post Office and Royal Mail is one step too far.