Excuses and explanations: from the ridiculous to the...well, even more ridiculous

Thomas Defty
Thomas Defty
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Thomas Defty and Denise Head have been left fuming after Panasonic refused to honour their TV's guarantee.

The electronics giant told the couple the set had been damaged by smoke from their cigarettes and it not covered by the warranty.

Holidaymakers enjoy their flight. Horrific toilet malfunction not pictured.

Holidaymakers enjoy their flight. Horrific toilet malfunction not pictured.

It is just the latest in a litany of weird and wonderful explanations and excuses.

Railways.

We all remember the one about 'the wrong kind of leaves on the line' but the award for the all-time best excuse for a delayed service must go to the announcement on a service from Cardiff to London that delays had been caused by "a giant clown on the line".

To be fair, this one was absolutely accurate - an inflatable Ronald McDonald had blown from the roof of a restaurant onto the South Wales main line.

Sometimes excuses attain a kind of simple beauty, as in the case of the announcer on a London to Newcastle service who apologised for the overcrowding, which had been caused, he explained, by “too many passengers”.

Mobile phones.

Insurance forms are a constant source of the weird and wonderful but one Devon farmer takes the biscuit for honesty.

He claimed for a new iPhone, explaining the old one had disappeared up a cow's rear end while he was using the torch function to help out during calving.

Apparently nature duly took its course and the phone subsequently reappeared - but not in any condition to use.

Computers.

Necessity is the mother of invention - and one quick-thinking granddad thought he had saved the day when his grandchild spilled Coke all over his laptop.

He told insurance firm RIAS he had whipped out a hairdryer and set out about undoing the drying the laptop out - only to melt the keys, causing £239 worth of damage.

Planes.

We're all used to unexplained delays and cancellations at the airport but one Delta flight from Minnesota to Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing in 2011 after one passenger really kicked up a stink.

The unidentified traveller managed to wreck the plane's toilet, in an incident which came to light after Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash took to Twitter.

Another passenger told reporters: "It stunk... there was a flight attendant standing by the door asking people not to go number two."

Unreliable mates.

The DVLA released a list of some of the worst excuses people has come up with for not renewing their tax disc, including 'My mate said that if the cost of the tax is more than what the car is worth you haven’t got to pay it – it’s not, so I didn't.'

Other reasons for being caught out without car tax included: "I fell out of a tree picking plums and broke both my arms"; "I took too much Viagra and couldn't leave the house" and

"I’d forgotten the motorbike was in my garage – it was hidden behind the BBQ so it’s not my fault."

Family.

Female relations are a particularly ripe source of excuses, according to HMRC, which released a run-down of top reasons people provided for not filing their tax returns on time.

One taxpayer wrote : "I'm not a paperwork-orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out."

Another reported: "My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log-in details to complete my return on-line."

But the prize must go to the gentleman whose excuse for repeatedly failing to file was that he had ‘had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years.’