Jackie writes: "You'd think picking up this branch on Marina View Drive in West Harbour would be quicker and easier than coming back, placing a cone and then subcontracting it to someone to remove it." Or was it just a gag from a passerby with a rogue road cone?

Seasonal vocabulary

1. Yule-hole: And the yule-hole is the (usually makeshift) hole you need to move your belt to after you've eaten a massive meal.

2. Belly cheer: Dating from the 1500s, belly-cheer or belly-timber is a brilliantly evocative word for fine food or gluttonous eating.

3. Pourboire: A tip or donation of cash intended to be spent on drink.

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4. Apolausticism: Derived from the Greek word for "to enjoy", apolausticism is a long-lost 19th-century word for a total devotion to enjoying yourself.

5. Crapulence: Once all the festive dust and New Year confetti has settled, here's a word for the morning after the night before: crapulence, as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, is an 18th-century word for "sickness or indisposition resulting from excess in drinking or eating". (Via Mental Floss)

Lego swallowers literally pass bricks

A team of doctors who swallowed a Lego figurine head and timed how long it took to pass through their bowels say concerned parents should be reassured. Toy parts are the second most common foreign object that children swallow and usually pass in a matter of days without pain or ill-effect. While some ingested items may be harmful - disc batteries, certain medications - most are harmless. "[We] could not ask anything of our test subjects that we would not undertake themselves," the researchers wrote. They even developed their own metrics: the Stool Hardness and Transit (Shat) score and the Found and Retrieved Time (Fart) score. The Fart score - how many days it took the Lego to pass through the bowels - an average of 1.7 days. The researchers concluded that no parent should be expected to search through their child's faeces to prove object retrieval. (Guardian)

Tree territory

"Your West Harbour correspondent who bemoans the lack of foresight in planting pohutukawa trees 30 years ago, would tear his hair out if he visited Pine Harbour. All the berms in this new housing development are lined with pohutukawa! Perhaps roading contractors are lining up more work for 30 years hence?"

Video Pick

A crowd of children were waiting for Father Christmas to arrive at the Broad Street Mall in Reading, England, in 2012. Santa Claus lowered himself into the shopping center atrium by rope but was stopped by his beard getting caught in the rope's rappelling mechanism! Heroically, he decided not to remove the beard, but hung there and waited to be saved…


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