‘I’d watch Loose Women if I wanted to see lifeless cows’

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Many, many years ago there was a little wooden man who stood outside the Bird Cage pub.

It’s possible that he may have been a cunningly shaped menu board, but I’m not convinced and in my addled old memory I can picture a four foot mannequin ushering you inside the venerable old inn.

Over the years I saw a friend of mine have a fight with that wooden man, and on several other occasions buy him a drink to make up for that incident. The wooden man’s reaction is not recorded.

Down at the other end of town Mr and Mrs Puffin stood guard outside the Book House. Slightly taller than the wooden man, the wooden love birds stood (possibly stand, it’s raining so I’m not going out to check) either side of the door in black and white finery, their colourful bills brightening up the entrance.

Extensive research (ie I watched QI last week) reveals that those colourful bills should only have been there in mating season, they are much less colourful the rest of the time. Fancy. The Book House as a place of ill repute. Who knew?

There were concrete white lions outside the imaginatively named White Lion House. I think there was a pig outside Newitts once.

You will never know dear readers how close I am to adding a punchline to that last sentence and getting myself into a whole heap of trouble.

I was reminded of these totem figures around town as I drove through the other day and spotted a cow staring at me. It was near Rumseys so I figured the milk would help with the chocolates.

Then I saw one down by the Thatch. And then the next day there was one by the Falcon. It made no sense. If I wanted to see a bunch of lifeless cows I’d just watch Loose Women wouldn’t I? Was I being randomly stalked by bovine carvings? It appears that our new arrivals are not refugees from Milton Keynes but are instead intended as a sort of herd of mobile newsboards, advertising events throughout the town such as last week’s food festival, next week’s Literary Festival and Not Thame Show in my back garden next year. Sorry, mooobile newsboards, missed a pun opportunity there.

This is a splendid idea and for once I have no beef with it.

They are a bit of fun and I especially like the fact that they arrived in the town without warning or advance publicity. Let the people see them and work things out for themselves.

Hopefully they will get more coverage than just this poorly written pun-packed page of nonsense and once again our little corner of Oxfordshire will gather headlines and positive publicity. And if not then they will help the rest of us to remember to put forthcoming events in our dairies …