REMEMBER Tish the fish, the fairground prize which lived to be 43 before turning turtle last September? Solemnly interred in a yogurt pot, Tish lies at Carlton Minniot, near Thirsk and features in the new Guinness World Records, out last weekend.

Also included are Angela Rafferty from Hamsterley, Co Durham, who has a million buttons, Alison Rix from Lingdale in east Cleveland who found 14 seven leaf clovers and the Australian chap who, with one finger, typed the figures one to one million in words. It took him 16 years and seven months.

There's the Brazilian newspaper the size of a postage stamp (ideal for those who like to read the small print), the cat which survived for 80 days after an earthquake and French Kiss, reckoned the world's best selling halitosis detector (and not even tongue in cheek.)

What really left a bad odour, however, was the entry for the biggest dismissal - 23 employees - for mass e-mail abuse. Readers will probably recall that it has now been overtaken by the 45 Orange workers in Darlington and Peterlee caught circulating porn and assorted obscenities on their computers. They might have been sick, pathetic, lecherous and under-employed - but now the found-out 45 can take comfort. They might be out of work, but they're world record holders, too.

THERE'S also an entry for the rabbit with the loppiest lugs, a creature called Toby - as in jug-eared, perhaps? - each 29.3ins when last measured. The column insists upon no further correspondence on this matter, however. Some of us consider the paper in sufficient danger of being overrun by rabbits already.

BUT back to e-mail, to the joys of 21st Century communication and to the latest offering from Channel 4. After Big Brother, son of Big Brother.

It's a programme called Confession - Father Ted would have called it Get It Off Your Chest - in which viewers will be urged anonymously to e-mail their innermost secrets.

It'll be co-hosted by Fr Dermot Donnelly, Stockton-based younger brother of Dec Donnelly - half of Ant and Dec - and leader of the Roman Catholic diocese of Hexham and Newcastle's Youth Mission Team.

Though the principal themes are said to be sex and revenge, neither Fr Donnelly nor his bishop appears to be worried that the programme could be seen as voyeuristic. "It puts a human face on the Church," says Fr Donnelly. "The Church should take every opportunity of proclaiming the truth," says Bishop Ambrose Griffiths.

There's also a web-site, with biographical details of Fr Donnelly - so keen to be a priest he rode his tricycle around Newcastle with his collar turned round the wrong way - some awfully aberrant apostrophes and some sample questions. Example: "I fell out with my flat mate yesterday and when she went out I cleaned the toilet rim with her toothbrush."

Whether that comes under "sex" or "revenge" we have so far been unable to decide, but Fr Donnelly's advice is most eagerly awaited.

IF we're still being honest about it, the bit above is based on a story in Northern Cross, Hexham and Newcastle's admirable diocesan newspaper. Commendably open itself, Northern Cross also reports the case of the Rowlands Gill priest who has appeared before Gateshead magistrates on ten charges of child abuse. The intro represents a masterpiece of understatement, however... "Father William Jacks is not at his church this month."

ANOTHER church publication, the parish magazine of Holy Trinity, Darlington, reports that the Durham Constabulary dog section is distinctly on their scent. The training school, apparently, reckons Holy Trinity churchyard in Woodland Road ideal for its purposes. "We gather it's amazing what they can sniff out sometimes - perhaps it's best not to know too much," adds the magazine. Puzzled, we have dog-collared Christopher Wardale, Holy Trinity's vicar. What's so tail-wagging friendly about his churchyard?

It began, says Chris, when Darlington MP Michael Fallon was a Tory minister and the dogs had to suss out Holy Trinity before he attended the annual Remembrance Day service. Thereafter ("it took them six years, but they got there") the dogs have regularly been pursuing inquiries. "It's partly because it's quite isolated, but partly because there are so many different smells," adds the vicar.

The last man and his dog were the pair regularly sent in ahead of Peter Mandelson. "I don't know why," adds the vicar, "but I've never seen anyone look so frightened in my life".

WHEN they were little, bless them, we tried to convince the boys that the best way to turn traffic lights from red to green was to blow at them. Much wind was expended in the back of our car. Now, for a suitable consideration, the big one drives his dad around. One night last week, again impatiently held up, he repeatedly flashed his headlights at them.

"It makes them change if there's nothing at the other end. There's an infra-red camera, works every time," he insisted.

What his father said may not easily be repeated, but was still one of the top ten favourite words in Sir Bob Geldof's poll See right...

Still stuck, we approached Durham County Council. The promised answer has not been forthcoming, however. So does flashing headlights really make traffic signals change colour? Or, like blowing on them, is it just so much youthful hot air?

JUST one thought on the petrol crisis: if it encouraged folk to get on their bikes, as seems likely, could they possibly do it on the road in future - and not, like almost every other cyclist these days, force the rest of us to leap for safety along the town centre pavement.

...and finally, bon voyage to a young lady named Lynn, who flies back today to Cleveland, Ohio, after two months in Darlington.

Lynn's walking out with our old friend John Briggs, former landlord of the Travellers Rest in Cockerton and ageing wicket keeper for Cockerton II. They met through the worldwide Dave Clark Five fan club - another Internet job - which now they run together.

Saturday was Lynn's birthday. John not only bought his American guest a sticky toffee pecan pie pavlova (very nice, too) but took her to Shildon - twice. Clearly the guy's in love.