LET’S face it, a suitcase, large haversack, seven carrier bags and various odds and ends hardly enhanced the beauty of Cornmarket Street.

A man working on a shop facelift opposite read my mind as I studied the pile.

“They belong to him,” he said pointing through the morning crush to someone busily painting pictures on wooden blocks the size of beer mats.

“Him” turned out to be 24-year-old Ashley, homeless, struggling but determined not to have benefit payments but to develop a skill he found he had after seeing artwork at the Old Fire Station. Yes, the bags were his, but he had nowhere to store them. He wished he had.

Protected by the stout bar around the famous blossom tree outside St Mary’s University Church in High Street were modest bed covers and a few belongings – and a note written on the inside of a large, now dismembered cardboard box. It was from Kira, also 24, homeless and needing a caring hand in life.

The bit that tugged the heart strings were these words: “Can you just help me? I just want to be a lady again and not like the beast I am now.”

Could it be Oxford council and its city centre patrol team are turning a blind eye to two young strugglers? After all, Ashley and Kira are somebody’s children.

  • THERE are only so many collisions a chap can hope to avoid. After the fifth near encounter with head down, mobile/iPhone addicted young women in Broad Street, I chose the quiet of New College Lane and the haven of peace that is the Turf Tavern.

Not a phone in sight – large or small.

An apple drink (non-alcoholic) served by a cheerful Swedish barmaid, and a chat with two middle-aged Australian visitors calmed my nerves. And then… A notice on the wall read as follows: “Turf Tavern is a rare Pokemon area. They are easily spotted after consuming several pints.”

Whatever would the late Chief Inspector Morse have said of his favourite pub?

  • HE emerged from beneath the railway bridge across Botley Road. On his back was a haversack; in his left hand, a cumbersome plastic children’s toy, while hanging from his right, a heavy bag.

At his feet was a football. Perhaps the young man could have used an extra pair of hands. Or perhaps not.

He continued to dribble the ball along the pavement, rounding surprised pedestrians, and beyond.

Oxford United scouts, please note.

  • REMEMBER the dead deer, languishing for more than a week in the Isis below Botley Road Bridge? Another week on, it’s still there – and it stinks!

Public health officers, also please note.