You're so grounded mum

A woman flying from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia over the weekend insisted the plane turn back mid-flight when she realised she had forgotten something important at the airport: her baby. Following protocol, the pilot had to first get permission from an air traffic controller before making an about-face. According an audio recording you can hear the pilot say, "May God be with us. Can we come back or what?" Then you can hear someone on the air-traffic control side saying to a co-worker, "This flight is requesting to come back ... a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing." And so the plane returned to King Abdul Aziz International Airport where the mother was able to retrieve her child. There are safety concerns associated with having distraught passengers mid-flight, same goes for people who are drunk. A flight from Calgary to London last month had to turn around and dump $20,000 worth of fuel after a man got drunk and unruly on the flight.

Privvy counsellor

Language geek Max Cryer reminds us of another "lavatory" substitute — at historic royalty level. King Henry 8th had a full-time senior staff-man called The Groom At Stool ... to "assist His Majesty with his excretions" (on a sit-down commode-like structure — the stool). Far from being looked down on for his mundane duties, the Groom At Stool saw the king in total privacy and became guardian of many secrets — making him highly respected within the royal staff.

250-million-year-old salt expires at end of year

"Just my luck 250-million-year-old salt I bought expires at the end of the year," bemoans a reader.

Your name is what?

1. Claire Cooke writes: "My grandmother's cousin married a chap whose initials were OK and whose surname was Allwright, which he thought was terribly amusing. The naming tradition was carried on to his son and grandson, meaning that while Uncle Kitch was still alive there were three generations of OK Allwrights."

2. Some years ago while staying at the Victoria Falls Lodge, Paul from Takapuna befriended a gardener named Godsend and a maintenance guy named Thinkwell.

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Lucky pedestrian on London's Stoke Newington High Street...


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