A 30-something friend of mine who I shall just call Russell celebrated Christmas by buying himself a 1.5m long helium-inflated, blue, radio-controlled shark. Everything was going well until it made an escape bid on New Year's Eve by finding the nearest open ranch slider. It was last seen flying over Pukekohe, heading for the west coast. If anyone has spotted the shark (pictured in the above reconstruction), please sing out. Russell and his mates would love to know where it ended up. Any other sighting of escaped "air swimmers" please email Sideswipe.
For more stories on missing sharks, click here.
Camping holiday from hell
My friend Nikky recounts her holiday experience. "Took the kids camping up north in a cyclone and woke up at 3am floating on an air-bed island in 2 inches of water with pelting rain pouring in the tent windows and gale-force howling winds threatening to rip the roof off.
Zero seconds between the blinding lightning and clapping thunder that triggered small choruses of screaming children. Packed up our muddy belongings in a patch of brilliant sunshine and we all came back sunburnt. Yes, we rebooked for next year."
Student tastes weird victory
Chanel Tapper had got the competition licked in the DAFTAS (The Award For Everything Daft As). She won the category of odd record breaker because she has a huge 9.75cm long tongue. The 21-year-old student from California has a tongue twice as long as average and the equivalent length of an iPhone. (Newslite.tv)
I know that face
"My students have provided me with many moments of enlightenment over my long career as an art history teacher," writes Susan. "I was reminded of one of these when I saw a photo of Russia's Prime Minister in the Herald. We were studying The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan van Eyck when one of my highly gifted students asked, 'Why is Vladimir Putin in this painting?"'
Red alert - stubborn wine stain
Help! Major red wine spillage on New Year's Day! Not caused by an over-doing-it uncle, but while mum closed her eyes for a much deserved post-seasonal massage, eager little fingers found the tall glass half-filled with irresistible redness. Salt ... white wine haven't worked ... Anyone recommend a solution?