Fake crossings ...

"They're not intended to have white stripes, because that would make it a formal crossing," writes Stephen about Sideswipe's featured stripe-less crossing outside Oratia School and Kindergarten.

"The whole purpose of these informal 'crossings' is to make it uncertain who has right of way — pedestrian or vehicle? It's the vehicle of course, but try telling that to the pedestrian who's just been knocked over because they stepped out in front of a vehicle, thinking they had right of way. The intent is to slow traffic down, but the result is to increase the risk. The NZ design guide for these things encourages the use of the yellow raised elements for the visually impaired, which helps the visually impaired find the edge of the road at the informal 'crossing', but then they don't have right of way for crossing.

The design guide says these 'aids' shouldn't be used at real, formal crossings, because you wouldn't want a visually impaired person to find those now, would you?"

The origin of Valentine's Day

St Valentine is being 'celebrated' — but why? There are 11 Saints Valentine — one Valentine was a pope, and the other 10 Valentines were all priests, sworn to celibacy.


Saint Valentine of Rome was tortured and executed in 268AD for attempting to introduce Christianity where it was not wanted. Two hundred years after his death, in 469AD, he was dubbed a Saint — because of his bravery in enduring a brutal execution — and was allocated a 'saint's day' of February 14th ... enter Chaucer with Parliament of Fowls which contained two lines which over time generated a major illusion. He wrote: For this was on Saint Valentine's day When every bird comes there to choose his mate.

Chaucer never said 'which Valentine' or which 'day'. But those two lines formed the basis of a slowly developed international commercial phenomenon — causing chocolate makers, florists, restaurants, and even the travel industry, to rejoice greatly. It is the sole basis for the current illusory emphasis on one of the Valentines. (Source: Is It True by Max Cryer )

Anyone got a mower?

"I live in a Housing NZ flat in a complex for the elderly on Anglesea St, Freemans Bay," writes John. "The grass hasn't been cut for weeks. It is about 300mm high.

Many tenants use zimmer frames and can't get through the grass and so, they have become prisoners in their flats." Anyone nearby with a grunty mower?

Quick links

1. Remember these classics from the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake recipe book?

2. The Irtysh river in Russia froze over it was a scream.

3. Figure skater faces.

Video pick

Love is a terrible thing…by Lyttleton singer Marlon Williams

Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at ana.samways@nzherald.co.nz