WET Tuesday mornings are not ideal for alfresco conversation in the heart of Oxford. So when the elderly man, supported by two walking sticks, lifted one to bar my way I was happy to stop.

He was gazing at a sign on the window of a Cornmarket Street store. It was offering “khakis for £29”. This seems to be the current name for sundry canvas garments of various colours, even though the dictionary tells us the word means 'dull brownish yellow'.

The barrier stick became a pointer.

“Mine didn't cost a penny,” he said, wheezing uncomfortably. “And they lasted.”

“Where did you get them?” I asked, anticipating a military-influenced reply.

“From the Queen,” he replied pulling himself to what was for him an uncomfortable height. “Cyprus wasn't easy.”

I SEE it's musicals time again at the New Theatre with two popular shows treading the boards this week and next.

Willy Russell's Blood Brothers is bringing both laughter and tears this week – quite a few of the latter I expect – while from next Tuesday Rice and Lloyd Webber's first venture into the Bible for musical inspiration, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, is back again.

Janine from Kidlington was in the box office, booking tickets for herself and her two young girls.

“I saw it when I was their ages,” she said.

“They're sure to like it,” I said encouragingly.

“They'd better, otherwise there'll be a sudden absence of all that Disney Frozen stuff,” she announced.

SOME weeks ago I promised to find out how many middle-lane hogging motorists had been cautioned or fined by Thames Valley Police since the law was introduced.

I still don't know.

It is all a question of Freedom of Information, but before an answer can be given it is necessary to list every location and the exact time period – all in writing. Bureaucracy gone mad.

Why they can't just give a number, heaven only knows.

FINALLY if you're lucky still to have that special person around, can I remind you that it's Mother's Day on Sunday – and last post delivery is tomorrow morning.

In spite of advances in e-card technology, somehow something on the computer isn't the same. The mothers I know and have known like to open an envelope, read the card and stick it on the mantelpiece.

Why this reminder? Forgetting a card isn't worth the self-generated guilt, and have you noticed how mums have the ability to fuel this – even without saying a word?

And when that person is no around, the guilt grows.

Better send a box of chocs and a few daffodils while you're at it.