Dave of Orewa writes: "This summer has seen record drownings in New Zealand and in many, many cases common sense seems to have been discarded in favour of no lifejackets, no swimming skills, heavy clothing, jeans and booze. On Monday at Tiritiri Matangi this group took some beating in the stupidity stakes. I know yachties are experts at everything and immune to any form of danger, but this lot had a good 200m to go to their boat, there was not a lifejacket in sight, the freeboard was equally non-existent, the woman was nervous, the older guy with the backpack seemed real keen to get back onboard, the driver of the duckie with the two-horse motor was casual to the point of ignorance and the child was having a lovely time up the sharp end not sensing any danger. Anyone even moving suddenly would have sent this lot into the water and the result could have been another tragic statistic."

Sharing tall tales
What we believed when we were kids... readers share stories they were told.
1. I could never understand how the parents who named their baby boys "Justice" knew they were going to be judges one day and had the foresight to name them accordingly. I'm embarrassed to say I was well into adulthood before I worked that one out!

2. Our 30-something next door neighbour was over one day with her two pre-school children when a thunder clap was heard in the distance. One of the children was a little scared. Their mother replied matter-of-factly, "Don't worry, that's just the clouds banging together". A little later I cautioned her about her explanation, saying, "When the kids find out later you weren't telling the truth, they may lose some of their trust in you". She looked at me blankly, then said: "My dad told me that and I've always believed it!"

3. I once worked in a hostel in Wellington, and regularly, when a busload of young backpackers was dropped off they'd arrive confused; their driver had told them they'd need a visa to get to the South Island, and they wanted to know if we could issue them here. Sometimes they'd also be told they had to get their currency exchanged to South Island dollars. It was our job to reassure them but we always had quite a chuckle.


4. When staying with country cousins they had us believe that Vegemite was tractor grease that my uncle collected from his tractor.

5. We are gay parents raising kids ... when they were younger we used to tell them that the L (learner driver) sign on a car meant it was a lesbian-owned vehicle. The kids used to marvel at the number of lesbian drivers they saw everywhere, and the numbers of male friends and relations who were driving lesbians' cars.