Moments like these

"Back in the 70s we would occasionally charter a light plane out of Foxton in the Horowhenua to fly around several North Island centres for business," writes Piers Hamid of Rothesay Bay. "On one trip, while nearing Mt Ruapehu at 6000 feet, and on a clear lovely day, both engines suddenly cut out. The silence was deafening. The pilot however was unfazed and, nonchalantly reaching down to switch on some lever, he turned round to grin at us poor terrified suckers, saying "Sorry about that, I forgot to switch over the fuel tanks". He then offered us a Mintie out of the container between the seats."

Momentary lapses of intelligence

1. A reader writes: "Recently I was working in the garage, vividly illuminated by my $30 LED 2000 lumen bulb when, to my utter annoyance, it died. I removed it, grumbling about reliability, and went in to tell my wife, who met me on the way, grumbling about the power outage."

2. "Christmas 2014 we were given a shiny new red kettle to use on our gas stove at the Medland's Great Barrier bach," writes a reader. "Labour weekend 2015 was spent at that bach, using that kettle. Soon after that I visited my son and daughter in London and I noticed my daughter had just bought the identical shiny red Russell Hobbs kettle. My first evening at their Fulham flat, I offered to make everyone a cuppa and proceeded to light the gas stove and merrily put their electric kettle on the gas stove! It began to melt, and it was not until the flat began to fill with thick smoke that I realised what I'd done. I have never been allowed to forget it."

3. "A friend was at Ocean Beach in Hawkes Bay. Rather than leave the keys to his car on the beach, he popped them into the very secure pocket on his togs. After a lengthy swim he realised, to his horror, that the water would have completely ruined the electronics in the key. Sure enough pressing the button multiple times failed to open the door. He decided that calling the AA might be best ... but to make matter worse there was no cellphone reception. This was a bad stranding, with no simple way out. However, after 10 minutes of thinking what to do he came up with the remarkable idea of actually putting the key into the door lock, and turning it. Success! (OK, the 'friend' was me)."


Famous Five give up on the lashings

A reader points out that the phrase, "Lashings of ginger beer", never appeared in the Famous Five books. "The phrase comes from the Comic Strip Presents ... series of television parodies beginning with Five Go Mad in Dorset. Thanks to the comedy series, the catchphrase has become associated with The Famous Five books, so it is now a widely-held misconception." (Go online to see a clip)