On the buses

FLY-tipping really does seem to be getting out of control on an Oxford estate.

So much so that everyday kitchen appliances have been known to sit and patiently wait for a bus.

Straight-talking parish councillor Peter Nowland said he was out in Blackbird Leys recently when he spotted a man attempting to send his washing machine away on an outing.

“Excuse me, are you expecting that to jump on a bus any time soon?” Mr Nowland said as he confronted the offender by a bus stop.

Forced to concede that no, it was unlikely the machine had gained the power of travel, the man sloped off back home washing machine in tow.

It was a small victory in the battle to stop the machines from taking over, but one to celebrate nonetheless.

Mixed media

OXFORD City Council’s press team are remarkably on the ball, but did have a struggle this week when it came to picking up the phone - which is slightly problematic for a communications department.

The issue came to the surface this week over a story on the Jericho boatyard.

Following a weekend email inquiry, there was no answer at council towers when a reporter phoned up on Monday. Another email went unanswered that day (the Insider sympathises deeply with that post-weekend inbox pain).

An answer did arrive late on Tuesday, so all is not lost. Perhaps their elected representatives might consider funding some help for the evidently busy team?

The grass is always greener

WELL done to longserving Oxford city councillor Craig Simmons, who has been named Lord Mayor elect and will take up the position in May.

Whatever civic duties the Green councillor is asked to fulfil, none will be so tricky as the traditional task he faced when serving as Sheriff in September – rounding up the cattle on Port Meadow.

The bovine beasts fled at dawn in all directions before Mr Simmons, a party of park rangers, and various Wolvercote Commoners, could get anywhere near them.

No mayoral duty can be as arduous as herding cattle but Mr Simmons may have to work hard to ensure he remains impartial in his latest ceremonial role