100 (or so) things of little consequence without which Gadfly readers might nonetheless have been poorer in 2007

IF The Northern Echo's weekly prize crossword really was No. 17,025, it must have been going for 327 years.

Newts can live to be 27.

Margate was the first seaside resort, in 1892, to have deckchairs and bathing machines.

Television meteorologist Philip Avery holds the record, says Eric Gendle in Middlesbrough, for most times using the word "old" - as in "chilly old night" - in the same forecast. Six.

"I'll be literally 30 seconds," means ten minutes at least.

Alan Titchmarsh hadn't really been divebombed by a flock of skewers, as an Echo report supposed. Skuas were more to the point.

Newton Aycliffe-based Punch and Judy man Billy Llewellyn, right, who died this year, had a dog called Rolex. It was a watch dog.

Luncheon Vouchers were for 2/6d when introduced in 1954.

There's a locomotive called Northern Rock on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.

Durham cricketer Phil Mustard is nicknamed Colonel.

34,000 vehicles a day use the Tyne Tunnel.

At a motorway service station, Paddy Burton from Sunniside found a butter sachet labelled "Warning: contains milk."

Mother-in-law is an anagram of Woman Hitler.

Gladys Boot was a Darlington-born actress.

Chap goes into a baker's in Newcastle, points to the cakes and asks: "Is that a doughnut or a meringue?" Assistant tells him he's right - it's a doughnut.

Rise and Swine are adjoining parishes in the Wolds.

"Traffic calming" may be today's greatest oxymoron.

There's a lad in Newton Aycliffe who really can lick his elbow.

Broadcaster Derek Jameson was said to be so ignorant he thought erudite was glue.

Wagon Wheels really aren't much smaller than when they were introduced in 1948.

Fourteen per cent of Scots are redhaired, highest proportion in the world.

The only food which doesn't go off is honey.

Water View in Sadberge flooded.

Chap goes into a bar with a newt on a lead, orders a pie and a pint and tells the barman it's called Tiny. Why, asks the barman? "Because he's my newt."

St Antony of Padua, right, is a sort of Roman Catholic lost and found bureau.

Cheyenne Garland, boss of the Hartlepool-based call centre group - £43m turnover last year - is named after an early television cowboy.

King James I hated smoking.

Famous wearers of co-respondent shoes include Wallis Simpson, Mr Brian Johnston and Vince Johnson, from Shildon.

North-East men no longer sit on their hunkers.

A sign atop Harthope Moss, between Teesdale and Weardale, reads "Lamb's on road for three mile's."

June had two full moons, which happens only 41 times a century.

The air fare from Newcastle to Warsaw was 49p, the bus fare from Evenwood to Ramshaw - under a mile - 90p.

Captain Richard Annand wasn't really awarded the VC (as the Echo supposed) for rescuing his batsman.

Captain Mainwaring thought that if the Germans had played cricket, there'd never have been a war.

KFC has 11,000 restaurants in 80 countries.

The rubber chicken crossed the road because she wanted to stretch her legs.

Harrods' telegraphic address was "Everything, London."

Thomas Crapper didn't invent the WC as popularly is supposed.

A tourism brochure called "Redcar: the last resort in Yorkshire" was once withdrawn after further consideration.

"If smoking's so bad for you, how come it cures kippers" - comedian Terry Joyce.

Durham University chancellor Bill Bryson proposed that litter louts should be shot.

"Swim across the Atlantic Ocean - 3,462 miles, 29 days" - Google, when asked the best way from New York to Paris.

North Korea has taken to Teesside singer Suzannah Clarke like Albania took to Norman Wisdom.

In the Whitby and Scarborough area, a woof is a catfish.

St Alban's RC church website in Redcar told the one about the naked man with a girl on his back. Stopped by the polliss, he says he's going to a fancy dress ball. "I'm a tortoise and this is Michelle."

Scotch hare is a Tyneside term for a skinned cat.

"Was £7.99, now £8.99" - sign outside Tesco in Newton Aycliffe.

Abba didn't really sing "When I saw you last night in Tesco's." Another mondegreen.

Barbara Laurie's best remembered childhood mondegreen was the National Anthem line about sending Victorias.

She wondered why the king liked plums.

A recorded announcement at Tesco in Sunderland told Mike Brennan that The Northern Echo was for Over-21s only.

Goldie Hawn may not after all have signed a contract which insisted she bare her backside in every film.

The Echo reported that Virgin "ran trains the length of the UK".

Standing passengers muttered "If only".

Bad lads in Middlesbrough were once called piecans.

Ilkley Moor B'aht 'at was composed about a Halifax Methodist church trip and an errant choirmaster.

Ikea has "Temporarily oversold" signs. It means they're out of stock.

An on-line petition that wearing Newcastle United replica shirts be made illegal inexplicably failed to find a seconder.

A petition to make Walker's "Really cheesy Wotsits" more cheesy was rejected by Downing Street.

Lincolnshire had a cricketer called David Anthony Christmas, known universally as Father.

Paul Dobson had a relative called Mary Christmas.

Eight publishers turned down the I-Spy concept before the books sold 25 million in 20 years.

John Heslop spotted a shop in Hawes offering "pommygrants" - he took it to be a £10 assisted passage.

Ian Ramsey school in Stockton gave special awards for 100 per cent attendance. The first three failed to turn up.

Yorkshire lad takes his cat to the vet. "Is it a tom?" asks the vet. "Nay lad," he replies, "it's in this basket, 'ere."

The Internet records 82,300 references to George Bush and "Big lie", 39,100 for Tony Blair and "Big lie" but only 792 for David Cameron.

Daniel Defoe described Darlington as "a town remarkable for nothing but dirt."

Billingham probably has the North-East's last prefabs.

There's a song about Billericay in which Nina, Cortina, hyena and obscener end the last four lines.

Captain Pugwash was originally a comic strip in the Eagle.

The first letter bearing a Penny Black was sent to Bedlington, though the intended recipient had been dead nine years.

Several people claim to have known Alf Hart.

The Plain English Campaign reckons the most hated cliche is "At the end of the day."

Mrs Joyce Harrison's entry at the Blue Bell leek show in St John's Chapel was grown in two buckets. "God loves a trier,"

said the Weardale Gazette.

Dellwood in Bishop Auckland, supposed source of the saying about it being black over Bill's mother's, was for sale.

Biggles creator Captain WE Johns was an accident-prone First World War 2nd lieutenant at Marske airfield.

The Rev Dr Peter Mullen thought there should be a book called "Biggles flies undone."

Hotch-Potch House in St John's Chapel may be the region's most self-effacing house name.

The Royal Mail says there must be a minimum 15 days before complaining about lost post.

Mr Peter Rowell's dog cowped its creels.

No matter what the Echo ad said, there wasn't really a new "brassiere restaurant" in Spennymoor.

"Lakeland" welly boots have soles made in China.

Apostrophes still attract more correspondence than anything else.

The world's biggest liar competition was won by a chap with a story about a German U-boat invading Whitehaven to steal TV set-top boxes.

Wrapped in countless furs, still frozen to the marrow, Captain Scott finally reaches the South Pole. "By," he says, "but the bugger must be card in Tow Law."

"A swan and her three signets" - Ceefax.

The contentious television programme Brainteaser was produced by a company called Cheetah.

The b-word is no longer offensive, rather affectionate.

PS These columns would rarely reach 200 words without an army of correspondents.

Real thanks, and good wishes, to you all.