Unsung hero

"When I was 12 years old in the 1950s I saved two kids from drowning in two separate incidents," writes Brian. "We were camping at Taupō and a bunch of us kids were following a track along the river to the wharf when a girl of about 6 years old in front of me slipped on the wet grass and fell in. I was able to grab a shrub in one hand and grab her with the other and pull her out crying and spluttering.

"The girls in the group comforted her and took her back to the camp. They also accused me of pushing her in, which I didn't, although later her older brother shook my hand. The second time was at Turihaua north of Gisborne, a popular picnic spot.

"We were about to go home and I noticed a kid in trouble in the creek out of his depth. I rushed in and pulled him out also crying and spluttering and told him to go and find his mother. When I got back to the car I was severely berated by my mother for being soaking wet. That I had saved a kid from drowning was no excuse."

Joke baccyfires

A reader writes: "Sideswipe's stories about kids being too clever by half reminded me of the time, 50 years ago, aged 7, when I patiently used a toothpick to remove the tobacco from one of my Mother's cigarettes and replaced it with a roll of paper and returned it to the packet.

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"Unaware of the trick, she was not impressed when her cigarette became a flaming torch so she sent its remains back to the cigarette company. They investigated their manufacturing process but could not figure out how it could happen. They sent a free carton of cigarettes to her in compensation. A complete backfire for the boy who hated his Mother smoking."

Otago's big smoke, Dunedin, has slipped into Southland according to this Newshub graphic.
Otago's big smoke, Dunedin, has slipped into Southland according to this Newshub graphic.

Comparisons odious

A reader writes accusing Sideswipe of bullying Winston Peters. "Love your column, although I found today's comparison of Winston & Thanos in very bad taste. In today's climate with all the 'movements', you choose to comment on the appearance of others. What were you thinking?! #bullying. Come on Sam, you're better than this."