Headline writers have led Alf astray yet again.
He was drawn to an item headed Winter bugs chomp into Oamaru schools (here).
Oh dear, he thought.
A ravenous form of termite has entered the country and Biosecurity Minister David Carter will be in the gun again. Labour and Greenie tossers are apt to get awfully antsy whenever a new creepy-crawly is discovered.
Mind you, this school-chomping rascal could be put to good use.
What if a bagful of the buggers could be collected and let loose – hey, what fun – in the local branch office of the Labour Party.
It wouldn’t take too many to chomp through the building, come to think of it.
Alas, the headline writer has given us a bum steer.
The story is not about a ravenous termite. It’s about flu bugs.
Attendance records at Oamaru schools have taken a blow in the last week as winter ills ravage the district.
Oamaru Intermediate School was hit particularly hard last week recording 60 students and eight staff members away in one day.
Principal Mary Healey said the worst seemed to have passed, but the school had been hit significantly by student illness.
“The bugs seem to be particularly harsh, the kids get it and are really hit with it,” Mrs Healey said.
“Some of them have come back early thinking they have come right and are feeling better, but it comes back.”
Pembroke School principal Brent Godfery similarly said his school had seen 25 to 40 children, and a few staff members, off school each day in the last week due to illness.
“We’ve been hit reasonably hard, with about 10 to 15 per cent of kids off school each day,” Mr Godfery said.
Alf will not regale his constituents with further accounts of the flu bug affecting school attendances down south.
He would like to think the good people of Eketahuna North have had the sense to be vaccinated. Anyway, the flu toll in Oamaru doubtless is of little interest to them.
They are more interested in finding what might have bugged Nick Wills, who was expected to bring home a medal.
We Kiwis aren’t alone in keeping an eye on him.
The good people of Ann Arbor, in the US, have been monitoring his performance, too, as you can see from a report here.
Former University of Michigan runner Nick Willis’ Olympics ended in disappointment on Tuesday as the 29-year-old New Zealand runner couldn’t keep pace with a frantic finish in the men’s 1,500-meter run. Willis finished ninth with a time of three minutes, 36.94 seconds.
“I did my absolute best. Sorry it was not enough I am very disappointed with myself,” Willis said on Sky Sport, a New Zealand television station.
This report noted that Willis won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was the oldest competitor in the field.
So maybe it wasn’t a bug. Just age.
He told the Sky Sport station he was tired down the home stretch.
“The other guys ran fantastic in the last lap. I just had nothing. I was totally shot. I should have been able to finish up at that pace but I was tying up over the last 100 something shocking. I am not overly excited about how it went.”
Alf isn’t overexcited either. He had the good sense not to wager on the Kiwi athlete.