Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Idler, Thursday, January 12, 2017

St Clement's gets in the swing

 

WHAT better way to get into the swing of 2017 than an evening at the regular arts soiree at St Clement's. On the programme last week was retired judge Chris Nicholson, launching his book, Permanent Removal: who killed the Craddock Four? (Wits University Press).

Now this is a very sombre book. Chilling is probably a better word. It is an investigation of the activities of the apartheid hit squads. So Chris lightened things up a bit with some anecdotes from his days when he practised as an advocate.

He was practising in Windhoek and had as a client a Rehoboth Bastard who had been charged with drunken driving. (Namibia is a weird place. It actually does have a community who to this day call themselves the Rehoboth Bastards).

This fellow had been driving along, pretty tanked up, with a puppy on the passenger's seat. They came to a police roadblock. Before the cops could reach his car, he slid himself across into the passenger's seat and put the puppy behind the wheel in the driver's seat.

The cops didn't buy this one. They breathalysed him and charged him with driving under the influence. But in court Chris pursued the same line. His client had been found in the passenger's seat. How could he be charged with driving under the influence?

Did this mean the puppy had been driving the car? That was another issue, Chris argued. The court had to concentrate on whether or not his client had been found by the police at the wheel of his car.

The magistrate didn't buy it either. But he was amused by Chris's argument. He told Chris confidentially that he was going to give his client five years in jail.

Five years? For being over the limit? This was monstrous!

But then the magistrate gave him some confidential information. This was in the days when South Africa still administered present-day Namibia as a League of Nations mandate. The Department of Justice in Pretoria was about to announce an amnesty for all prisoners serving five-year sentences.

Sure enough, Chris's Rehoboth Bastard client was released next day. The Rule of Law prevails. And St Clement's provides insights to more than just the arts.

Nuggets

THE above somehow recalled a faction fighting case heard in the College Road court in Maritzburg in the 60s. A witness was describing the build-up to the clash in the Msinga district.

"We went to Khumalo's kraal."

"And what happened there?"

"We drank beer."

"And what happened then?"

"We went to Mkhize's kraal."

"And what happened there?"

"We drank beer."

"And what happened then?"

"We went to Khuzwayo's kraal."

"And what happened there?"

"We drank beer."

The judge: "This sounds like a kraal crawl."

 

Ah, these nuggets of judicial humour.

 

Press gang

I WAS gratified to learn that during his sojourn in Windhoek Chris Nicholson encountered some of my journalistic colleagues there.

There was Angel Engelbrecht, editor of Die Suidwes Afrikaner, a Bloedsap paper that was still valiantly fighting the struggles against the Nats of the 1930s and 1940s. Also Hannes "Mal" Smith, editor of the Windhoek Advertiser, the only man I've known who would literally tear at his hair when agitated, which was most of the time.

Hannes was tearing at his hair in the courtyard of the Kaiserkrone Hotel one evening. PW Botha, then Minister of Defence and leader of the Cape Nats, was opening the Nats' South-West Africa congress next day. They knew and loathed each other. What would be a good put-down?

A colleague and I reminded him of how, when editor of Die Transvaler, Verwoerd had totally ignored the royal visit of 1947, apart from a front page paragraph on a traffic jam caused in Johannesburg by "foreign visitors".

Hannes stopped tearing.

Next day his paper had a front page paragraph: "There was no traffic jam in Windhoek last night when a guest speaker arrived from the Cape."

This was his total coverage of the Nat congress. Vatso!

Namibia is a very different kind of place. Always was and I'm sure always will be.

 

Tailpiece

"TELL me nurse, how is that boy doing, the one who swallowed all those 20-cent pieces?"

"Still no change, doctor."

 

Last word

From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. - Sir Winston Churchill

The Idler, Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Light-fingered squirrels, baboons

SHOPLIFTING squirrels have become a nuisance in Toronto, Canada. Paul Kim, owner of Luke's Grocery, says the squirrels loiter in the doorway, checking out what's stacked in the chocolate bar counters.

Then they dash in, grab what they want and dash out again, Kim told the Toronto Star.

"They come in and take Crunchies, Crispy Crunch and Wonderbar."

Very bad for their teeth.

I once saw a group of baboons do much the same at a rural trading store here in KwaZulu-Natal. They cased the joint then went in the front door.

It was pretty spectacular as it was a Saturday and the place was packed. Next thing there were shrieks and customers jumping from the windows.

Then the baboons came out clutching packets of sweets, popcorn and all the stuff your mother tells you not to eat. They looked like a bunch of naughty schoolboys and were very careless about throwing away the sweet wrappers.

Toronto's probably better off with the squirrels.

Dratted typos

 

LAST Friday we discussed the ship's captain who manouevred his ship across both the equator and the international date line at midnight at the turn of the 19th century, so that parts of it were still in the 19th and parts in the 20th century; parts in the northern and parts in the southern hemisphere; and parts in winter and parts in summer.

Reader Andrew Dale now says he would have been most distressed to be a passenger on that ship.

"Imagine being anchored there from your date of July 31, 1899 until the end of the nineteenth century on December 31."

Grrrr, yes! It should have been "December 31, 1899".

 

Drat these typesetters, compositors and night readers!

 

Er, hold on. That printing technology disappeared about 20 years ago.

 

Drat these computer gremlins!

Sir Hiss coils up

HORRORS! Here was this hideous thing coiled up in a toilet bowl in Arlington, Virginia, in the US. It was a 2m yellow anaconda, apparently cooling off in the water.

Animal control officers removed it into the care of a reptile specialist who has named it Sir Hiss.

Yellow anacondas are apparently regular visitors in Arlington, Virginia, according to the Huffington Post. They make their way through any wall aperture and head for the bog to cool down.

The snake was adopted by a reptile specialist and given the name Sir Hiss.

Whoops!

RO-RO is how the shipping people describe today's roll-on, roll-off container vessels.

Ro-ro it was on a barge off the eastern coast of Australia the other day. A group of tourists had driven on their hired SUV heading for a safari on one of the offshore islands.

Then, once they were at sea, to their horror their SUV simply rolled off over the side and sank.

Nobody was in it, according to Australia's ABC News, but quite a few cellphones, debit cards, passports and valuables were.

They call it Davy Jones's locker.

Mascot

A CAR-OWNER in the Australian island state of Tasmania has attracted an unusual mascot. A fur seal – a large animal more like a walrus in size – has taken to sleeping on the bonnet of his car where it has been parked at night.

It also clambers over the roof, causing damage.

When it's not sleeping on the car, the fur seal wanders about the streets of Newstead, Tasmania, otherwise behaving itself according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

This seal obviously has a hankering to become one of those car ornaments you get in the rear window of cars – nodding dogs and the like. But size is a problem.

Tall feller

A GREAT Dane named Freddy has come from being runt of the litter to the world's tallest dog

Freddy, of Leigh-on-sea, England, has been recognised by Guinness World Records. He's 1m tall and a whopping 1.5m standing on his hind legs.

His owner, Claire Stoneman says he was half the size of his fellow-pups when she bought him four years ago. It surely says much for Claire's proficiency with dogs' din-dins.

Freddy is a lot bigger than an Australian fur seal. He has no chance whatever of becoming a rear window nodding dog.

 

Tailpiece

THERE'S a small snack bar next to the atomic accelerator at CERN, in Switzerland.

It's called The Fission Chips Café.

 

Last word

 

Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.

Albert Camus

 

The Idler, Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Drama on the main drag

RODEO has nothing on this. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew was driving his patrol car down the main drag in Paris, Tennessee, when he spotted a loose calf trotting down the middle of the highway.

He tried using his car to herd it off the road, turning on his siren to scare it, but it didn't work. The calf just carried on.

What does a sheriff do? He calls in a cowhand who's good with a lassoo. Rancher David Bevill got on the roof of the sheriff's car and they set off after the calf, lassoo whirling, according to Huffington Post.

Bevill got the calf first throw. "It all worked out. I think it was the best loop I've ever thrown in my life," he said afterwards.

But a calf doesn't take kindly to being lassooed from a sheriff's car instead of a pony, and next thing it was pulling Bevill down from the roof. But all was well as the sheriff came to his assistance once he'd recovered from laughing.

The whole thing was captured on video and had more than three million views by last week.

This is the Wild West.

 

Tipsy lady (1)

 

ZULULAND correspondent Taffy says his brother is a traffic cop. They were checking cars at a road block.

 

"The window was lowered by a lady who was obviously drunk. He asked for her driver's licence and she replied: 'I don't have one.'

"He asked her to come with him to the police station. She said: 'My husband can  bring me.'

 

"He then noticed it was a left-hand drive car and her husband had sat quietly behind the steering wheel saying and doing nothing. Brother backed off with apologies."

 

Yes, some of these ladies do over-indulge in the holiday season. Their menfolk are much more reliable.

 

Tipsy lady (2)

 

THE above recalls a famous incident on the highway just outside Durban, heading for Kloof, which ended up being related in court.

 

A provincial traffic officer was driving westward about 5.30am – broad daylight in summer – when he saw a Ford Fairlane being driven very erratically, weaving all over the place. He overtook, got out and waved it down.

 

Behind the wheel was a blonde, clearly sloshed to the eyeballs.

 

"Ma'am," he said. "You're drunk!"

 

"Oh no, officer. I've just been having din-dins at the Eddies."

 

English folklore

 

Here's to thee, old apple tree,
Whence thou mayst bud
And whence thou mayst blow!
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Hats full! Caps full!
Bushel – bushel - sacks full,
And my pockets full too! Huzza!

 

IN THE West Country of England - that's Devon and Somerset-(apologies, Zomerzet) –  they're wassailing in the apple orchards, singing and dancing to propitiate the Old Apple Tree Man, spirit of the oldest tree in the orchard, in hopes of getting a good crop and a good pressing of cider (or zoider).

 

It's an old English custom for this time of year, dating back centuries. It takes on extra meaning as cider producers seek to get back ground from other drinks that have been creeping in on their market.

 

Apples be ripe, nuts be brown,

Petticoats up and trousers down …

 

Er, no, that's another traditional one certainly but it's from the May festival when the wassailing has done its work and they're relaxing. Right now they're busy with the serious stuff, pouring cider on the apple tree roots and tying slices of bread to the branches, as they sing and dance.

 

Yew can 'ave 'er, Oi don't want 'er,

'Er's too fat for Oi …

 

Arrrr! Nothing like the West Country of England.

 

 

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An unburdening

 

A READER (who asks to remain nameless) unburdens himself of an experience of 35 years ago when he had dinner with a beautiful and intelligent blonde who simply swallowed her food without chewing – "sort of gagging". He found it disturbing.

 

"I mentioned that for digestive purposes it is best to masticate well.

 

"She replied: 'In public?'".

 

It's bothered him ever since.

 

Tailpiece

 

SHE goes into a hardware shop and asks for an axe. "It's for my husband."

 

"Did he say what poundage he wants?"

 

"Are you joking? He doesn't even know I'm going to kill him."

 

 

Last word

 

What we call "Progress" is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance. - Havelock Ellis

 

 

The Idler, Monday, January 9, 2017

Dazzle your friends

KOLPAK. The word rolls off the tongue as people discuss the imminent departure for England of Kyle Abbot and Rilee Rossouw to play for Hampshire on Kolpak contracts.

But what is Kolpak? No, it's got nothing to do with a cold pack of beers. It's to do with the European Court of Justice.

Okay, steady on now and pay attention. This is important. Astound your friends with your erudition. Win bets in bars. But you'd better clip this out and keep it in your wallet because it's easy to forget.

Maros Kolpak was a Slovakian handball player with the German second division handball side TSV Ostringen. The German Handball Association prohibited member clubs fielding more than two non-EU citizens. At that time,Slovakia was not yet a member of the EU (it later joined). Slovakia did however have an association agreement with the EU.

Kolpak was dropped by his club as they had filled their quota of two non-EU players. Kolpak challenged this. The case was referred by the German higher court to the European Court of Justice for a determination on whether the association agreement between Slovakia and the EU provided equal rights for Slovak workers who were living and working legally within the EU. The court ruled in favour of Kolpak.

Thus the Kolpak Ruling declares that citizens of countries which have applicable association agreements with the EU, and who are lawfully working within an EU country, have equal rights to work as EU citizens and cannot have restrictions such as quotas placed upon them. Such countries include those within the African Caribbean and Pacific group of states, such as South Africa, Jamaica and Zimbabwe.

Ha! There you are! But the rest of the EU – France, Germany, Italy etc - hardly abounds in batsmen, pace bowlers, crafty spinners and wicketkeepers, which is why there are so many South Africans playing country cricket in England. Kolpak has completely frustrated attempts by the England Cricket Board to limit the number over overseas players in county sides. It's an open door for South Africans and Zimbabweans.

The same applies in rugby. That's why when Toulon play Toulouse, there are so many Van der Merwes on the field, the only guy who speaks French is the ref.

Kiwi flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens was born in Durban. That's why, when he opted for club rugby in England, he sought a South African passport. It allowed his club, Harlequins, to field an extra player from overseas.

If Britain leaves the EU, presumably the Kolpak ruling will no longer apply. Hence the rush for contracts.

Kolpak – dazzle your friends with your knowledge.

Still available

THERE is no truth in rumours that I have signed a Kolpak contract with Hampshire. My crafty legbreaks and googlies are still available to the Durban Press XI, the Dolphins and the Proteas, should they so desire.

I think I might have mentioned it before. I once took 4 for 32 against the RAF Red Arrows.

No, it's not true that I used to coach Shayne Warne.

Collapso

OF COURSE, this Kolpak crisis is all about the collapse in the value of the rand.

It's already affected our rugby. They say about 300 of our topline players are in European club rugby, all earning pounds or euros.

Three hundred? That's like 20 teams. Mama mia!

The only man who can save our rugby and cricket is Pravin Gordhan.

 

Poised to pounce

I ALWAYS thought a kuga was an older woman who pounces on younger men in bars and discos.

Now it seems it's a car that bursts into flames like the mythical phoenix.

Who could have thought there would be a connection between ancient mythology and modern automotive engineering?

You should see the car park at the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties – full of kugas waiting to pounce.

 

Tailpiece

A BUSLOAD of visitors are driving through Wales. They reach the town of Llanfgogoferrinfourasoch. Discussion breaks out as to how it's pronounced. They argue back and forth. They still haven't decided as they go into a restaurant for lunch.

One asks the waitress: "Can you help us with this, we can't agree. How do you pronounce the name of this place? Please say it very slowly so we can follow.

Waitress: "Bu-u-u-u-ur-r-r-r-rge-r-r-r-r-r Ki-i-i-i-ing."

Last word

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.

Mark Twain

 

The Idler, Thursday, January 5, 2017

Political conversion achieved in mid-air

WE HAD municipal elections not too long ago. Pretty soon – a couple of years actually, though the way some of the politicos carry on it could be a couple of weeks – we have provincial and national elections.

In America they've just had a presidential and congressional elections. The Brits have just had themselves a referendum. Elections, elections everywhere. Politics, politics. Political surveys. Political punditry. They're the flavour of the moment.

But here's an old-style political story. Really old-style. Many readers will not remember the time in South Africa when the burning political issue of the day was whether we should continue as a British dominion under the monarchy or become a republic under an elected president.

It was a burning issue. There were spectacular punch-ups at political meetings. Also in the bars afterwards. Thousands marched the streets of Durban and Maritzburg.

Last week we looked at a little book by Bev Wimbush, titled Midlands Mischief, in which he chronicles incidents in and around Maritzburg during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

In a companion volume titled Midlands Pot-Pourri, he casts his net a bit wider to Zululand, the town of Melmoth in particular.

This story features an Afrikaner patriarch known as Uncle George who had a circle of "English" friends – but when it came to politics and republicanism, the Boer War was still on. Also a young farmer name Brian who had his own aeroplane.

Brian took Uncle George for his first-ever flip in an aeroplane, but they had been airborne only a matter of minutes when Uncle George decided this was not a good idea at all and demanded to be taken back to terra firma, da firma da better.

Brian said he'd do that with pleasure – but first Uncle George must say: "God save the King!"

"Not a damn!"

Brian executed some aerobatics, Uncle George hanging on grimly.

"Get me out of this bloody thing!"

"God save the King?"

Stony silence.

Then eventually: "God save the King, now get me down, you young bugger!"

The story got about like wildfire in Melmoth about how arch-republican Uncle George came to utter the words: "God save the King!" The Nats enjoyed it as much as the Rooineks. It's not clear whether George VI was ever informed.

Politics was so much simpler in those days.

 

Henhouse blues

There ain't nobody here but us chickens
There ain't nobody here at all
So calm yourself and stop that fuss
There ain't nobody here but us …

THE old number has come close to reality in Germantown, Maryland, in the US, where poultry farmer Shannon Myers has equipped her chickens with keyboards which they peck at, producing music - or so she claims -  according to Huffington Post.

The chickens, known as The Flockstars, peck out simple rhythms and melodies on keyboards. People are arriving from miles around to photograph and record them for social media.

Shannon, who co-owns the coop where the birds jam out, came up with the concept as a "boredom buster" to keep the chickens occupied during the winter months. Some chickens are more musical than others, she says.

Team them up with an ostrich on double bass and a pelican on trombone and surely the world's Shannon's oyster. How about a crested crane on drums?

Tomorrow is a busy day
We got things to do, we got eggs to lay …

I'd still like to hear a recording before ordering the CD.

Tailpiece

THIS fellow has been marooned on a desert island for 30 years. Then suddenly one day there's a gorgeous girl on the beach in a wetsuit. He rushes up to her.

"A cigarette! I haven't had a cigarette in 30 years!"

She unzips a pocket and hands him a packet of Gauloises and a lighter.

"You wouldn't have a dram would you?"

She unzips another pocket and takes out a nip of 15-year-old single malt.

"Fantastic! Haven't had a dram in 30 years!"

She starts seriously unzipping the wetsuit starting at the cleavage.

"Wouldn't you like to play around?"

"Don't tell me you've got golf clubs as well!"

Last word

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

George Bernard Shaw

The Idler, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Special effects at Hollywood

LOS ANGELES folk woke on New Year's Day to find the centre of the world movie industry is now known as "Hollyweed". A prankster had climbed to the famous irregular white letters on Mount Lee, reading "Hollywood", turning two of the the "o"s, into "e"s by draping them with white and black tarpaulins.

"Weed" is presumed to refer to marijuana, the prank being a commentary on Californian voters approving Proposition 64 last November, making it legal from next year to use marijuana recreationally.

Security cameras picked up the prankster at work at 3am, dressed completely in black.

Oddly enough, it's happened before. Exactly 41 years ago to the day, a college student did the same thing, getting the famous sign to read "Hollyweed".

It's taken a long time. A lot of weed was smoked illegally in between.

 

 

US seethes

 

AMERICA continues to seethe after its divisive presidential election. News comes this way of a Democrat union boss who walks into a bar next door to the factory and is about to order a drink, when he sees a guy close by wearing a "Trump for President" button, a Trump hat and with two beers in front of him. He does not have to be an Einstein, to know this guy is a Republican.

 

He shouts over to the bartender so loudly that everyone can hear: "Drinks for everyone in here, bartender, but not for the Republican!"

 

After the drinks have been handed out, the Republican gives him a big smile, waves and says: "Thank you!" in just as loud a voice. It infuriates the union boss.

 

He again loudly orders drinks for "everyone except the Republican".  As before, this does not seem to bother the guy. He continues to smile, and again yells: "Thank you!"

 

The union boss does it again - "drinks for everyone except the Republican". As before, this fellow smiles some more and again yells: "Thank you!"

 

The union boss asks the bartender: "What the hell's the matter, with that Republican? I've ordered three rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar except him, and all the silly guy does, is smile and thank me. Is he nuts?"

 

"Nope. He owns the place."

 

Employee award

MORE seething. Under a Moscow dateline, the New Yorker says the Kremlin has named Donald Trump its Employee of the Month for December.

"No one has worked more tirelessly for the glory of the Fatherland than Donald Trump," it quotes Russian President Vladimir Putin  saying. "He has set a high bar for all Kremlin employees and for that we salute him."

According to Kremlin sources, the New Yorker says, Trump faced tough competition in the Employee of the Month voting, besting both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ExxonMobil's CEO Rex Tillerson (who had had major oil deals in Russia and has been nominated by Trump for Secretary of State)..

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Trump is quoted calling the award "a tremendous honour, just tremendous."

"Obama was president for eight years and he didn't win this a single month," he said. "Loser!"

This is the work, of course, of Andy Borowitz, who used to be a satirist but has now opted for straight writing that makes sense of a complex situation.

 

 

 

Nostalgia

 

MY ZULULAND correspondent, Taffy, gets nostalgic at this time of year for his boyhood in South Wales.

 

He says people there are often given nicknames relating to their appearance or occupation. A short coalminer called David Evans was known as "Dai Small Coal". Richard Jones, a garbage collector, was "Ricky Rubbish".

 

"Two examples from where I grew up were "Iolo Jones", who had lost a large amount of his right earlobe, and Billy Williams who had lost one eye and was called Billy Nelson."

 

One January 1 they bumped into each other.

 

Billy: "Happy new year to you Iolo."

 

Iolo:  "And a happy new eye to you Billy."

 

South Wales is renowned for its repartee.

 

 

Good news

 

READER Beau Lintner brings good news for the New Year.

 

"Four days into 2017 and the Springboks haven't lost a match yet. Fantastic!"

 

 

Tailpiece

TWO musicians are walking down the street.

"Who was that piccolo I saw you with last night?"

"That was no piccolo, that was my fife."

 

Last word

It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.

Oscar Wilde

The Idler, Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Comedy is a greasy pole

STRANGE and powerful forces are at play in today's world. Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC one-man board and Faith Muthambi put on a high-kicking comedy turn that temporarily eclipses Nkandla, the arms deal inquiry and the Guptas.

But then Barack Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats as punishment for the hacking business. They're packed on a plane at short notice. Vat jou goed en trek, Ferreira!

The world waits breathlessly for Moscow's retaliation. Putin instead invites the American diplomats in his country to a New Year party at the Kremlin – plus their wives and kids.

Africa's a tragic comedy? Washington and Moscow have just stolen the show. We've a lot to learn.

In Britain, there's an organisation raising funds on the internet to prosecute Boris the Menace, foreign secretary, for the porky-pies he told during the Brexit referendum. They've already raised a tidy sum.

This one will run and run. International comedy is a greasy pole. You think you're on top, then those cunning imperialist monopoly capitalists and oligarchs from the northern hemisphere just turn things round. Our fellows have to polish up their act yet again.

Strange and powerful forces indeed.

 

Parish potters

 

Die kerk en die bar staan langs mekaar,

Ah-hum, ah-hum,

Die kerk en die bar staan langs mekaar.

Ah-hum, ah-hum,

Die kerk en die bar staan langs mekaar,

Dominee en barman die moere mekaar

Ah-hum, ah-hum. ah-hum …

 

THE above Afrikaans ditty (to the tune of Froggy Went A-Courting) relates to a clash between dominee and barman when the church and the bar are situated adjacent. Perhaps it's what animates the regulation in KwaZulu-Natal that a new liquor licence may not be granted within 500m of a church or a school.

Clearly, they don't want vespers enlivened by undue refreshment on the part of the choristers.

Yet here's something that seems to run absolutely counter to such sentiments. It's caused quite a row in England, reflected in the letters columns of the Daily Telegraph.

St Mary's Church at Witney, in Oxfordshire, holds beer festivals, setting up a pub in the church. The next one is in April, where parishioners will be able to sample 50 brands of home-brewed beer.

It runs from 12 noon until 10pm ("or when the beer runs out").

For traditionalists the mind boggles somewhat. Down-down-down contests with the vicar? Rugby songs at evensong?

People have written to the Telegraph expressing outrage. Others in support, saying the beer festivals have brought the town together, showing churchgoers to be good sports after all and permanently attracting people who would otherwise not have set foot in a church.

An odd one, to be sure.

Rescues

A SHEEP who got her head stuck in a traffic cone was among the most unusual animal rescues of 2016, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, in England.

Other strange animal rescues included:

·       A seagull which turned orange after falling into a vat of cold tandoori curry in Newport (as recorded at the time in this column).

·       A two-year-old corn snake named Vecky, which was discovered trapped in its owner's vacuum cleaner in York three months after going missing.

·       A cat that was accidentally posted from Cornwall to West Sussex after she climbed into a box of second-hand CDs and DVDs.

No privacy

WITH grandchildren like this, who needs enemies? Don Griggs, 88, of Hamilton, Ohio, in the US - Poppy as they call him – was playing a card game with his family called Speak Out, that involves speaking without closing the mouth. This is achieved by insertion of a special mouthpiece.

Poppy unfortunately put the mouthpiece in backwards. As he started reading what was on his card, his dentures came loose, according to Huffington Post.

"We all started screaming. He made a face at my daughter, and out they came on the floor," said granddaughter Amy Taylor.

An embarrassing incident over a family table. But which was videoed and put on the internet and viewed more than 28 million times.

Hey Gramps, you gotta laugh!

 

 

Tailpiece

A TRUCK carrying copies of Roget's Thesaurus overturned on the highway. Onlookers were stunned, overwhelmed, astonished, bewildered and dumbfounded.

Last word

If living conditions don't stop improving in this country, we're going to run out of humble beginnings for our great men.

Russell P Askue