TOPICS, VIDEO: North Stars take to surf

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoIT was like a reverse Cool Runnings: take a group of athletes who are used to the ice, and throw them into a sport more suited to the tropics.

Despite being fish out of water, Newcastle North Stars ice hockey players won praise during a surf lesson yesterday at Blacksmiths Beach.

‘‘They actually all did really well,’’ said their teacher Miles Niddrie, from Learn To Surf Newcastle.

‘‘They all stood up.’’

Goal tender Olivier Martin showed particular promise, along with Detroit-born Dominic Osman.

Chance in million

OCCASIONALLY, Herald photographer Darren Pateman gets it right. He’s fluked the odd Walkely-winner, for instance, and this week it happened with a name.

Pateman was taking photos at Belmont High School, and asked a young chap in one of them ‘‘what’s your name, buddy?’’

‘‘Yeah,’’ said the boy.

His name, it turned out, was Buddy. In one of those Who’s On First exchanges, hilarity ensued.

‘‘I don’t even call people buddy,’’ Pateman tells Topics.

‘‘It was just this once.’’

Pateman was reminded of another job he shot at a property in rural Port Stephens. He was greeted at the gate by a rather stern, barking dog.

‘‘I said ‘hey there, Rex’,’’ says Pateman.

‘‘Straight away, the dog wagged his tail and seemed at ease.’’

The owners later told him their dog’s name was Wrecks.

Keating killer insulter

THE wit of Gai Waterhouse (‘‘a trumped up little jockey, a brothel owner and a football player’’) was rebuffed this week by the jockey’s lawyer (‘‘Gai is a failed actress who married a perjurer’’).

Cracking quotes, no? Topics cheered from the sidelines with popcorn and one of those big foam hands, and called for more examples of killer public insults.

Bruce Brown, of Marks Point, tells us he was no fan of Paul Keating the politician, but acknowledges him as master of the art.

‘‘The best of his that I will never forget was his description of Malcolm Fraser as ‘an Easter Island statue with a cactus up his arse’,’’ recalls Mr Brown.

‘‘Crude, but apt, and very Australian.’’

Tin Miss missed

THE toffee penny, the green noisette triangle, the hazelnut eclairs – actually, they stopped making those. People must have had allergies.

If you’re a mum, you might get Quality Street chocolates for Mother’s Day.

Which, as a gift, are not what they used to be. Sure, the chocolates themselves might be as good, or better. But Stella from Charlestown reminds us it’s been 12 years since the demise of the Quality Street tin.

In 2002, owners Nestle retired the faces of Quality Street, the Major and Miss. They had graced the lid for 70 years.

They ditched the natty couple, 1930s hat and bonnet and all, in favour of a boring pastiche of modern graphics. Sigh.

The Major and Miss’s real names were Phoebe Throssel and Valentine Brown, after the main actors in the Quality Street play by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie.

Do people still give their mums Quality Street?

NIFTY: Jeff Martens of the Newcastle North Stars ice hockey team learning to surf. Pictures: Jonathan Carroll