Odd death signal

In a number of Balkan countries, a tub filled with water beside the door is a sign that death has visited the home. It is a friendly gesture meant to placate the Grim Reaper by providing a place where he can wash his scythe. (Via Lindsay Gazette, 1934)

Flyering high

George Arkless was so fed up with the relentless tide of leaflets dumped through his letterbox by a local estate agent that he applied for a judge's order to make it illegal. Now, in the first case of its kind, the agent has been told he has no right of access to deliver the flyers. Arkless, 58, won the case after arguing that the junk mail posed a security risk when he was away from his Essex, UK home.

A judge agreed that the flyers, which were often left hanging out of his letterbox, alerted people to the fact he was out. Arkless also argued that people walking down his path were trespassing: "It's a bit of a hammer to crack a nut but I'm so fed up with these people. I've got a notice on my door saying 'No Flyers' but they still come ... " He complained directly to the Kings Group estate and letting agency but nothing changed. Kings Group were ordered to pay £200 ($382) damages and £50 costs. (Source: The Mirror)

Ode to the Bureaucrat

ONE civil servant with nothing to do


Got an assistant and then there were 2

TWO civil servants kept the job alive

'Til more were appointed and then there were 5

FIVE civil servants slaving with the pen

Formed a department and then there were 10

TEN civil servants you'd think would be plenty

But being a department, extended to 20

TWENTY civil servants with a head so haughty

Doubled the number and then there were 40

FORTY civil servants with reasons good & weighty

Needed assistants and then there were 80
(by Miltspeare)

Heartwarming note from son

"I found this heartfelt note from my 6-year-old son in my notebook," writes a reader. "Needless to say, I am overwhelmed with emotion."

Shifty pants

Quick links

1.Cat-sized furniture by Neko-Kagu.

2.The aftermath of the stormOphelia across Ireland at Bulmers Orchard in Tipperary.

3. Landing in Queenstown from a pilot's perspective, looks a helluva lot more relaxed than from economy...

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