Words by Paul Hollingworth & Nick Bassett.
Images by Nick Bassett, Matt G, Paul Hollingworth and Malcolm The Lad Heard
My bags were packed and I was ready to go! I was so excited to be going on holiday that I couldn’t sleep at all on Thursday night. Imagine – I used to be this excited before flying to Heathrow, now the short drive to Daylesford is the highlight of my travels!
I didn’t have to work on Friday, but my old-man body-clock (and bladder) decided I should be awake at six o’clock anyway. With nothing better to do, I headed over early to Daylesford. It’s only 62 minutes to Daylesford from my place and I arrived at a quarter-to-ten. Having been told by three different people that they would meet me for lunch, I decided to grab a coffee and (a pie for) morning tea. The rest of my morning was spent junk-shopping and sightseeing. Oh, and all my lunch buddies cancelled, so I had a pie for lunch too!
Anyway, the remainder of Friday was a fluffing around day and later, about half of the group decided to go to the Thai restaurant in town – a surprisingly nice meal too!
A nice relaxing, and informal, drive was arranged for Saturday. I was a passenger with Trent. We were the last to leave, but somehow the first to arrive – no Miss Daisy’s in Trent’s car! Our first stop was the beautiful old gold-town, Keyneton, for some shopping at their monthly farmer’s market. I spotted a very un-PC children’s stuffed pig toy (in a police uniform), but I was too shocked to take a picture. We also picked up various bits of food and coffee for consumption now and later.
We then made the quick hop over to Castlemaine (with much annoyance over mispronunciations – the first “a” is pronounced the same as in “cat”, not as in “arm” – the latter being the town in Queensland where XXXX comes from). Once here we did some more junk-shopping. I bought a lovely old folding-chair to use once Ollie is ready, and then we had lunch at das Kaffeehaus. The Austrian family owned restaurant was an outstanding highlight from our trip in 2021, but it was a bit disappointing this year. After lunch, the group broke up to do their own things. The group I was with went to Henry’s of Harcourt for cider tasting and booze-buying.
Saturday’s dinner was being prepared by the time we returned. A nice mixed dinner of pasta, curry, pesto and various other things (they were delicious, but my memory isn’t that good….) Groups from both houses met at Lake’s Edge for our family dinner and some other friends came to join us.
Sunday is, of course, the big day! The parade followed by the carnival. I took Gordon with me to set up our tent and display at the showgrounds, so I missed the parade, (Let’s hope Mr Editor remembers to write the parade highlights xox). Lessons learnt from Midsumma Carnival, the Pride Street Party, and the British and European Car Show ment that our simplified display was an easy job to set up, and we were all done by the time Joseph arrived to help!
And here I am with the details of the Parade (see, I did remember…)
The sun was out, and a mild 22ish degrees meant an enjoyable parade was in store for all participants.
We rallied vehicles at the club house “Katherine” in Hepburn Springs, a few stragglers who’d obviously had a good time at the Bush Dance the night before, arrived just as we were ready to set off.
The GLBTIQA+ community elders whom we have had the privilege of ferrying previously, sadly bowed out due to COVID concerns. So, we did a little drive through the portico of the care home which was on our route back to Daylesford.
It was lovely to see many of them ready for our drive by – and we hope to be able to take them with us in the parade in 2023!
We arrived at Duke Street just before 9:30am ready for the parade. We were met by several other vehicles, and eventually corralled ourselves in formation, with the convertibles in the lead for dignitaries and VIP’s.
Damien’s Saab 9-5 was chosen to convey Todd Fernando, The Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities; Ro Allen, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner; and Ro’s partner Kaye for the parade. Apart from a great community feel-good vibe, it was also featured in the ABC News write up on the event – some good publicity for Motafrenz!
And now, I return you to your regularly scheduled Chillout write up by Paul…
Our cars started arriving after eleven o’clock and then it was time to enjoy the sunny, but not too hot, day in the park. I think for me, the highlight was hearing the angelic voice of Sheldon Riley, Australia’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 (and before anyone asks why Australia is in “Eurovision”, I will remind you that Eurovision is the name of the television network run by the EBU, and both SBS and ABC are associate members of this group, also, previous multiple-winner, Israel, is not in Europe). The saddest part of the day was crusty old Molly Meldrum still trying to be relevant.
When all was said and done, we packed up and headed back to the house. Sunday’s dinner was to be what had become our traditional Sunday night barbecue at Katherine. I use past tense as we were unable to book Katherine for 2023, but more about that later. The barbecue was, as always, a wonderful spread. Great food, engaging conversation, and beloved friends abounded.
Monday was our very last day. Some people went straight home, or decided to do their own thing, but much of the group went to the Mill Market for some last-minute junk-shopping and morning tea-ing. I bought another present for Ollie, a vintage picnic set. After the market I actually went to visit Ollie to pick up for a trip to Richmond the following day. The rest of the group headed home via Gisbourne for lunch.
I want to thank everyone who attended this event. It was thoroughly enjoyable for me and I look forward to ChillOut next year!
Okie-dokie, let’s talk ChillOut 2023! So far I have booked three houses, all in Daylesford. The houses we have used in previous years were unavailable in 2023, so we now have something new and exciting to look forward to. I am pleased to say that all three houses are already almost fully subscribed – we only have two beds left. If you want to join us next year, please email me as soon as possible (email@example.com). And a reminder – your bed can only be guaranteed once full payment has been received.
For the proposed activities list for ChillOut 2023 see below:
SATURDAY – Trentham, Kyneton and Harcourt.
Our first stop will be 30 minutes away at the historic RedBeard Bakery in Trentham. A bakery has operated on this site between 1871 and 1987, and from 2005 to today. It still runs the original woodfired Scotch Oven installed on the site in 1871. Grab a coffee or morning tea – this was a popular stop during our ChillOut weekend in 2021!
From here it’s a quick drive over to Kyneton for the Kyneton Farmers’ Market. The market is packed with tasty local produce and a crackin’ atmosphere. Bring an Esky, and pick up some treats for tonight’s dinner. We will stop for lunch here (if you haven’t filled yourself at Trentham). The town is full of nice little places to eat, so let’s decide when we get there. Also in Kyneton are a multitude of vintage and eclectic shopping experiences, several art galleries, and an abundance of gold rush architecture. We can decide where we want to eat once we get here. Let’s take our time to enjoy life, before heading off to Harcourt to enjoy life some more.
The drive from Kyneton to Harcourt is about 30 minutes. We will drop in for some cider tasting at Henry of Harcourt, and maybe pick up some drinks for tonight’s dinner. Motafrenz last went to Henry’s during ChillOut 2022 and the Car Gays Australia visited in December 2021 – both visits were great successes.
The remainder of the afternoon is free for relaxation, ChillOut events, or any activity decided on by the group. The drive from Harcourt to Daylesford is around 45 minutes. We will meet again for dinner at one of the club’s AirBNB’s. This year we will ask for a $10 donation towards the food – all Club Members and guests are welcome.
SUNDAY – Daylesford and Hepburn Springs
We will meet at 9am at Kestrel before heading to our first stop, the Daylesford Sunday Market. From the Sunday Market we will travel to the Amazing Mill Market for yet more shopping and maybe a bite or some caffeine. We will then drop in at the Carnival – entry at your own cost if you’re not part of the Parade. A trip to the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve can be substituted if you want to avoid the Carnival. Finally, if you still have the energy (and can be bothered), we will grab some afternoon Devonshire tea at Lavandula Swis-Italian Lavender Farm – always a Club favourite.
Tonight’s dinner will be our traditional barbecue. Meet from 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start. This year we will ask for a $10 donation towards the food – all Club Members and guests are welcome.
MONDAY – Some like to head off early on Monday, but why not join us for a trip up to Castlemaine for some shopping at the Castlemaine Bazaar followed by food at das Kaffeehaus, a family run Austrian restaurant and Motafrenz favourite.
Following this, we will head off along winding country roads to Gisbourne before reconnecting to the Calder for the short trip home.