A daily look at life's oddities by Ana Samways

Sideswipe: May 20: Creepy dolly


This note just adds to the creepiness of porcelain dolls. Spotted at the Vincent De Paul shop in Pt Chevalier.

Westie superhero

A reader writes: 'On Saturday night my partner and I and our two children were visiting a friend in a remote location in Piha when our daughter suddenly developed blurred vision, respiratory problems, leg seizures and enormous pain. Rather than call an ambulance, we thought it would be more expedient to race to the nearest hospital ourselves, which we were told was Waitakere. After going helter skelter through the windy back roads, with our daughter nearly stopping breathing several times, we finally arrived at a petrol station in Henderson, lost and distraught. The unhelpful petrol station assistant had no idea where the hospital was ... Beside myself by this point, I approached a man about to fill up his car for directions. This big, burly bloke asked no questions and simply said "follow me".

This incredible stranger guided us at lightning speed, way out of his way, I suspect, to the front door of the emergency clinic of Waitakere Hospital. I raced over and gave him an emotional bear-hug on arrival, then he and his partner sped off into the night.

I want this man to know that they potentially saved our 12-year-old daughter's life. She was on a drip and breathing machine within minutes of our arrival and after four intensive days in hospital is home safe and sound. We can't thank you enough.'

A convocation of collective nouns

Max Cryer contributes a list of genuine collective nouns: 'A chatter of budgies, a parliament of owls, a bevy of quail, a murmuration of starlings, a sedge of bitterns, a kettle of vultures and an exultation of skylarks, plus ... a hover of trout, a drove of bullocks, a leap of leopards, a sloth of bears, a bloat of hippos, a knot of frogs, a smack of jellyfish, a pit of snakes and a skulk of foxes. A group of kittens is a kindle, and the correct word for a gathering of cats is a clowder (very seldom used because cats very seldom gather). Less formal are terms for ladies of the night: a jam of tarts, a peal of belles, an essay of trollops, an anthology of pros, a fanfare of strumpets."

Somewhere to sit ... and possibly study a dictionary.

Design: French designer Philippe Starck has created a transparent tap where you can see the swirling vortex of water...

Picture this #1: Workers written warning for singing...

Picture this #2: Famous paintings photoshopped to look like contemporary models (Warning: features nudes)...

Stuff to consume: 1) an inflatable mattress for the back seat of your car here...
2) a Sushi train at home...

Video: Striptease from the 1950s...

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