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AREC, Mudgee, NSW

S 32°34'03" E 149°36'30"

Mon 9 - Sun 15 Oct 2006

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CMCA 21st National Rally

Monday 9th

We left at eight o'clock, extraordinarily early for us.

By lunch time we were only 70 km (40 miles) from the rally site so we stopped in a rest area for a quiet, unhurried lunch to ensure a reasonably late arrival at the rally to avoid having to queue.

In the event, we had to queue for an hour because of the big backlog at the rally gate. We were eventually put on a nice site well away from the busy areas and quite near the other Highway Wanderers.

We had our usual big, friendly happy hour. We met up with lots of friends, most of whom we hadn't seen for quite some time.

Jean talked to Helene about the Red Hat Society and she was filled with enthusiasm to have a chapter for all the fun-minded ladies at rallies. When the idea was floated at happy hour, some of the men complained that would have to start a similar "men only" society. It was suggested that they just go fishing, or to the pub, as they had been doing all their lives. They didn't get the message that the Red Hat Society is all about ladies have fun with other ladies after a lifetime of serving their fathers, their husbands and their sons.

Tuesday 10th

Jean went to town with some of the girls to buy red hats and other stuff. They got back in time for a late lunch. I went to town to get some gas and some money. I visited the Tourist Information Centre to find directions to the Pieter van Gent winery because a couple of Barraba Lions had asked me to get some of their vintage port.

After happy hour, we went to town to try the Indian Restaurant. The service was a bit slow but the food was pretty good so we had a pleasant evening.

Wednesday 11th

I had meetings most of the day. They were pretty unproductive. The last ended in a big dummy spit by one of the participants.

Thursday 12th

All the "Red Hat ladies" dressed up for morning tea and made quite a splash. They met up with a Red Hat lady who was already a chapter member elsewhere and she was happy to meet them and offered to help.

I had to attend two more meetings but both were cancelled without notice because one of the participants had had to return home to cope with a serious domestic crisis. I fail to understand why one absentee was enough to abandon the meeting. There must be a reason but I'm pretty unimpressed by an organisation of lots and lots of keen volunteers which is led by a Chairman who cant operate without his Co-ordinator present.

Friday 13th

We went into town again to do a bit of shopping. While we were there we had lunch at the Railway Station Restaurant. The station has been beautifully restored and turned into a tourist attraction.

In the evening, there was a ball and our Chapter's contribution to the entertainment was "Dracula's Wedding". Helene and Philip dressed up as Dracula and his bride and I officiated dressed as "The Weird Priest". We got lots of laughs but we were told afterwards that the Rally Co-ordinator was brassed off because we hadn't been given permission to do our little bit and she wanted nothing but dancing to rock and roll music. Apparently she believed that she was the only one who "knew" what the audience wanted. Later in the evening she had to officiate at the "Best Costume" competition which was judged by the audience and our bride and groom won the prize. It was a very enjoyable night and everyone seemed to have a jolly good time except, perhaps, the Rally Co-ordinator.

I heard later that John, who had taken up the role of Choirmaster on the retirement of the previous one, had been treated so badly that he plans to not volunteer again. I'll try and convince him that he shouldn't punish the other members of the choir for the Co-ordinator's bad behaviour because next rally will have a new Co-ordinator who might be more understanding of then nature of volunteering.

Saturday 14th

I consulted the web-archives I had downloaded from the Red Hat Society and found that a new chapter is formed not by a group but by one lady who become that chapter's Queen. She then recruits other ladies to join "her chapter". Jean agreed to be the Queen and start the new chapter.

Jean and Helene had arranged for all the new Red Hat Ladies to go to a Fashion Parade dressed in their regalia. When Jean arrived a group had already settled themselves in but made no effort to include her. She sat by herself and in due course three others arrived and sat with her including the lady from Townsville who is already a member of the Red Hat Society. She once again offered to help in the setting up of he new chapter,

I went to town for lunch and to buy a newspaper but the newsagent was already closed and I had to go to Woolworths who only had the Sydney Morning Herald. I was forced to buy a TV Week to get all the programmes.

Some of the men started telling jokes at happy hour and the more they told dirty jokes the more filthy they got until there wasn't even a single laugh. I had to recite a poem to bring the tenor of the occasion back to where it should be. I was quietly thanked by one of the ladies present.

Another lady spoke to me and told me that she was most grateful for "The Motley Expeditions" website because it had inspired her and her husband to become full time motorhomers.

Sunday 15th

The club Annual General Meeting was held in the morning. We went into town to do the laundry and visited one of the many cafes that were open for coffee.

After happy hour, the chapter laid on supper from Kentucky Fried Chicken so we didn't have to cook.

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Created: 29/9/06 and last revised 16/10/06
Author: Robin Chalmers Copyright in all the material on this site is asserted by the author
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