"Capitalism reigns in Papamoa!" declares Wayne.

Adventures in baking

George writes: "We bought one of those just-add-water-and-shake pikelet/pancake mixes. To make sure she had enough water in the mix, my wife removed the lid and was horrified to find small dark objects in the mix. She removed one from the bottle and poked it with a knife and found it to be very hard. Not knowing what they were, she rinsed the rest out and put it down the waste disposal. Only when she put the bottle in the recycling bin did she read the label. 'Pancake Mix with Chocolate Chips'."

Grapes of wrath


Grapes could be banned from Australian supermarkets or sold in sealed bags to prevent accidents as shoppers claim more than $128 million a year in personal injury payouts after slipping in aisles. At least one grocery outlet has more than $64 million worth of claims on its books - up 300 per cent from 2004. Personal-injury lawyers say the number of injured shoppers taking action is rising, with malfunctioning trolleys, loose rice grains and rogue grapes driving claims. The costly trend has forced supermarkets to put up warning signs, invest in anti-slip mats and explore new ways of storing problem foods, which also include lettuce leaves, snow peas, beans and milk. (Source: CourierMail.com.au)

More childhood confessions ...
1. "In the late 1970s my parents used to send my two brothers and me to Sunday School. Off we'd trot by ourselves, crossing train tracks on the way. We figured out how to set the crossing arms to come down (using a coin). So every Sunday the crossing arms would come down and they'd still be down when we trotted back again after our lessons. The only way to trigger them back up was for a train to come by, and back then the trains didn't run on Sundays. My parents used to comment on how unusual it was that the arms played up every Sunday. We must have annoyed hundreds of motorists every week."

2. "A guy I knew was an 'AV technician' at my school - charged with looking after the lighting and audio gear in the assembly hall," says Gareth. "He had friends who were 'Science Monitors' and had access to the chemical store. Over lunch one Friday, they got to talking of how they could make a small explosion, but needed somewhere out of view to let it off. The under-stage storage area in the hall was perfect. To cut a long story short, after school that day, said chemicals were assembled on the concrete floor ... BANG! A much bigger bang than was anticipated. After checking everyone was still present and intact, they realised all the windows had been blown out. One was smart enough to go outside, pick up the broken glass, throw it back through the windows, and add a few rocks from the surrounding garden beds.