The weather gods didn’t smile on us as we gathered at Warrnambool, Vic, for the 13th Australian Caravan Club’s National Muster and AGM.
Despite the weather, we had a great time and even the flapping and banging of the sides of the marquee didn’t stop our enjoyment as we met and chatted to old and new friends from all over Australia.
Fortunately, the organisers had booked the lovely venue for our more serious activities and about 300 of us gathered for the opening ceremony where the mayor of Warrnambool, Cr Tony Herbert, welcomed us to his city and declared the muster open.
A fleet of buses took members to Timboon with it’s local food outlets and other interesting localities during the week including a wet visit to a Livestock Exchange.
Closer sightseeing tours around Warrnambool were catered for by nicely upholstered tricycles that carried the driver and two people – some people were a tight fit!
Despite the cold, blustery conditions, I kept up my walking along the foreshore, although I had to make sure my cap was on firmly or it would have been airborne very quickly.
I was very pleased to see that dogs were catered for, with bowls for water at taps at intervals along the track. I did notice the bowls were attached to the taps with a wire so light-fingered people were hindered if they wished to purloin the dishes!
It didn’t seem likely that Warrnambool would ever experience a heatwave but the dogs would be grateful if such an event should happen.
DOWN TO BUSINESS
One of the most important items at the Annual General Meeting was the the conferring of a life membership on Tom Smith, a former chairman and still an active committee member. It gave me a good feeling as I was responsible for getting Tom onto our board of directors all those years ago.
As a life member myself, I know the great – but humble – feeling when the work you have put in is recognised by the members.
The ACC has a number of special interest groups and the Lone Trekkers SIG has the most members – about 140 at a recent count. We are a group of members who travel alone and when the chance arrives meet up with other trekkers on the road or at musters.
The Warrnambool muster gave us a chance to be together for a dinner at the local RSL and about 20 of us had a great evening with much frivolity.
THE LAST HURRAH
Sunday morning and the closing ceremony was opened with me playing a rousing bugle call on my plastic trombone. The only call I could think of was the Royal Navy reveille and a member came up afterwards and told me he had woken every morning for 21years to that bugle call!
The organisers, Terry and Pam Hawkins with their team of helpers, had done a marvellous job before and during the week – they had no control over the weather – but the rest of the week’s organising and programming was impressive and greatly appreciated by the members who had come from all over Australia for the muster.
As usual, our presence in the town saw a hefty injection of cash to businesses in Warrnambool and surrounding townships.
ADVENTUROUS KIWI LADIES
I’d had some correspondence with friends Tina and Sue from New Zealand who were coming over to explore Victoria and were looking for advice about what they should see and where to stay.
Of course, I said to come and stay with me if they wanted to explore the Grampians. I then forgot about them until an email arrived that said they were in Bendigo and was the offer still open.
They were a delightful mature-aged couple full of laughs and tales. Tina had been a Wren and Sue was what they called a RAF brat – in other words, her dad had been in the RAF and the family went where he went. I’d spent a few years in the RAF so we had a lot to talk about.
They had booked a four-berth camper not realising that neither of them were able to get up into the bed over the cabin! They’d had the camper a week and hadn’t worked out that the two-burner stove ran on gas and the cylinder was in a hatch on the driver’s side.
When I last heard from them, they were somewhere on the Murray – and I’m sure they were still laughing.
FOOTBALL SONG IN THE CHAPEL
Ron, a Stawell City Band stalwart, passed away recently and the band played some of his favourite hymns during the service. What surprised the people who attended the funeral was when we played ‘Good Old Collingwood Forever’ – a tribute to Ron’s lifelong support of the Collingwood Football Club. Ron was 88 – just a few months older than me.
I had some nice birthday cards as well, but the one I loved best came from my youngest daughter and it said, “You’re not old – you’re a classic.”