DO you run?
We do, a bit. Some people do it without listening to music, but not us. Here are a few of our favourite running songs, and the places in Newcastle where we tend to play them.
Memorial Drive, Bar Beach/The Hill:How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths.
The first time you run up this hill, you wonder how anyone could do it. Smiths frontman Morrissey sums up the agony of trying to convince yourself you're nearly there: "When you say it's gonna happen now, well when exactly do you mean?"
King Edward Park (especially when it's raining):Gimme Shelter, by the Rolling Stones.
Scaling the green walls of this shady valley, with a summer shower on your back and the Stones in your ears, is pretty hard to beat. A good way to pretend you're in a Martin Scorsese film.
Darby Street:Streets Of Your Town, by the Go-Betweens.
Not the easiest thoroughfare to break into a gallop. But if you don't mind weaving past the waiters and stepping over the dogs enjoying their own coffees, there's no better place to get a sense of our town.
Do you have a favourite place to run in the Hunter? Which music helps you keep going? Let us know.
Shots in dreamland
YOU'LL have to excuse us. We're a bit distracted.
A visit to the house where this Topics writer grew up has unearthed a treasure: our V100 cricket bat.
This triumph of Slazenger manufacturing, generously bought by Dad of Topics in 1997, had languished beneath the stairs for at least a decade.
We found it while rummaging for an extension cord, and lost ourselves for a moment. There was a lot to remember: the grain of the willow, the red ball marks (mostly on the edges), the feel of it.
Pick up a bat that's yours and you can feel the shots you've played, and wish you could play. It's like holding an axe, and feeling the blow you could inflict on a tree.
We chose that particular bat (for the this-is-your-Christmas-present-as-well sum of $180) because it was a replica of Mark Waugh's.
You could hit a four with it and watch the ball race away without having to run. We slept with it beside our pillow on the first night.
Thanks for indulging us. Now, do you have a favourite piece of sporting equipment? Or maybe a musical instrument? Tell us what it means to you.
EXACTLY what you call someone from Adelaide or from Perth remains a mystery, but not for want of trying.
Some of you have approached this from the nickname angle.
Readers Bruin and Jake, for example, said: "Adelaide - Crow-eaters; Perth - Sandgropers."
Web commenter Joshtrivia offered: "Hot". We suspect he hails from the western states.
Tony quipped, a little undiplomatically: "Perth - cashed-up bogans." We set that aside to be the nickname of the next Perth NRL team. Up the Boges!
Bob Ingle pointed out, helpfully, that a sandgroper is "a little white grub that lives in the sand". We'd always assumed it was a reference to miners scouring the desert during the gold rush.
As usual, we're in danger of straying off topic. But reader Glen poses a pertinent question.
"Further afield, what do Austrians call themselves?" asks Glen.
"Are they also Aussies?"