Ten years ago today, the first Sideswipe column was published in the Herald. Today we run some of the greatest hits - thank you to all the readers who have contributed. We're also giving you the chance to add to the legacy and to win a trip to visit friends and family in Australia, thanks to Air New Zealand.

Pool fun

Graeme of Papatoetoe writes: "The nice local elderly couple regularly have neighbours over for lunches beside their swimming pool and water ponds. One day, while the elderly woman was bemoaning local birdlife attacking and eating their fish in the ponds, and without thinking it through ... she blurted out, 'And do you know, we had a shag in the pool the other day'."

Massage first-timer


Angela of Huntly decided to treat herself to a massage. She'd never had one before and isn't likely to go again after this. "I stood in the therapy room feeling awkward - I was unsure about what to take off and what to keep on. The therapist instructed me to remove everything, bra included, but to leave my underwear on. I did this while she left the room. When she returned she said, "Oh and your knickers off too please", then turned to organise something or other. I whipped my knickers off thinking I must have misheard her previous instructions. She turned and gasped, 'No! I said your necklace!' Standing there starkers, I was mortified."

Chicken variety

Rhonda from Papakura stopped to check out the supermarket's rotisserie chickens: "My son was reading aloud the types available ...'Sage and Onion', 'Cranberry Stuffing' ... but when he got to 'Tender Basted' he innocently added an 'r'. I don't know what was funnier, what he said or the look on his face when he realised what he had said."

Short-sighted teacher

A teacher writes: "Being short-sighted in my job is bad enough, but this stifling Auckland heat really zaps you. While teaching a class last week, I became increasingly irritated by a student muttering away at the back. Finally I let rip at his impertinence. After my caustic outburst, the class erupted in laughter. A young lad at the front told me I had just spent several minutes abusing a wall fan."

Amusing rather than rousing

John Minto was at an anti-war rally on Customs St, Auckland. Much to the amusement of some of those present, he led a chant, "Willie out now". Fortunately, no one complied. John Minto was actually referring to bringing Corporal Willie Apiata, VC, back from his overseas deployment.

Immigrants on edge


Some of the help at the new Auckland City Hospital ducked for cover when the "Migration Team" moved in. The team was set up to smooth the transition from other hospitals into the new supa-dupa hospital at Grafton. But some workers with a few "migration" issues apparently misread the team's T-shirts. They thought it was an official visit from the Immigration Service.

Don confusion

Overheard on Saturday evening at the ZooMusic gig as the crowd awaited iconic Kiwi musician Don McGlashan and the Seven Sisters to take the stage, a young girl asking her father: "Dad, how long till Don Brash and his sisters are on?"

School royalty

A reader writes: "Our daughter Kya, who is approaching 5 years old, was being shown around her prospective school. She was unable to meet the principal, which seemed to affect her more than anticipated until she mentioned wishing she had met the "Prince of the pool".

Anti-smacking bill a concern

Trish Winks writes: "My husband and I are still laughing about what our 16-year-old son came up with when the anti-smacking bill was getting press. He is going through that non-communicative phase so we were pleased when he pulled himself away from his internet game to ask about the bill. He seemed very concerned. We were explaining when he interrupted with, 'Oh, it's only about smacking is it?' He thought it was the anti-snacking bill."

Native road kill?

A reader recalls what happened near her husband's factory ... "One of his workmates arrived saying he had found a dead kiwi on the driveway. It was completely flattened and looked like it had been there for some time. They decided they should report it - it was after all a native bird. They were told someone would come, but in the meantime to put it in the freezer. When the man arrived, the kiwi was brought out and the man stared in disbelief at a very squished, very lifelike toy."

Baby daddy

A dad writes: "I asked my daughter not to suck her thumb because she's not a baby any more and she replied, 'You're the baby, you still sleep with Mum'."


Mel writes: "Just before our departure - for the practical test for my full driver's licence - the instructor asked me to test the horn to make sure it worked. Knowing full well that the horn did not work, I turned my head to the right and let out a vocal 'hooonk'. He replied, unconvinced, 'What was that?' I told him it was my car's horn. He dryly noted that he hoped my driving was better than my honking ... I passed, no problem."

Lighting in unusual places

Tony Baker of Hamilton writes: "A hallway in my house needed more light so I decided to install one of those lights activated by movement. So off I went to the lighting shop and told the helpful assistant that I needed 'a motion detector for my back passage'. There was a pause and then she cracked up."

Out of the mouths of babes

A classic comment from 4-year-old Fox Gill. "Fox was inquiring about death (again). She did not want me (her mum) to die. She also worried about her dad and I said, 'He is in your heart when he isn't here, right?' Then I asked her: 'If I was not physically beside you, where am I? Somewhere I am always?' Fox looked up at me and said: 'In the kitchen?"'

Fishy telephone exchange

Bryan phoned his local Chinese takeaway, ordering two pieces of tarakihi and enough chips for two hungry people. Luckily, the woman on the other end of the phone decided to check the order: "So that's two pieces of tarakihi and chips for 200 people?"

Sailing into trouble

Paul writes: "A few years ago, a friend of mine - an ex-policeman turned private detective - was sitting in his East Coast Bays lounge admiring a yacht coming into the bay. His phone rang - an insurance company wanting him to find a yacht stolen from the Bay of Islands. As the assessor began to describe the yacht, Kevin finished the description for him. The assessor asked him if he knew the boat. "I'm looking at it through my binoculars as we speak." Crime solved.

Let's toast the Weta

Nola McRae noticed a big weta crouched inside the patio door that led out into her garden. "Over the years I had had quite a few adventures with them venturing inside the house," she says. "My friend, who was visiting for a coffee, was sitting on the couch near the door to catch the cool breeze. Now and again she glanced briefly over at the weta and, each time, quickly averted her gaze. She must be scared, I thought. I'd better deal with it. I excused myself for a tick and rummaged in the kitchen cupboard for a weta-sized jar. Then with knees akimbo, a few grunts and some difficulty, I placed the glass delicately over the weta. A big one it was, I noticed. Ugh. My friend watched interestedly without comment. The next step was to find the necessary piece of cardboard to slide under the weta's many little feet. Mustn't harm the thing. Must rehabilitate it and return it to its natural habitat. Fearing it might escape, and drop wriggling and writhing into the palm of my hand, I raised the jar on to its cardboard floor and moved carefully outside. There I bent over, placed the contraption on the sweet-smelling grass, lifted high the jar and liberated the curled-up crust of toast into the great outdoors."