Words by Leigh Miles.
When I first joined Motafrenz [and I’m not you telling how long ago that was] the Picnic in the Park [then it was called the Australia Day Picnic in the Park] was a major fixture on the Motafrenz Midsumma Programme. Back then the event was organised by JOY 94.9FM and they used to do an outside broadcast from the gardens in Mt Macedon. The Rainbow Band played and the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus sang to the enthusiastic audience. Motafrenz provided a display of interesting vehicles as a bonus for the attendees. I think in the best year we probably had 15 vehicles on display. Of course it, like Carnival Day, was an opportunity for the Club to talk to potential members and hopefully undertake a bit of recruitment.
Over the years JOY has fallen by the wayside but the band, the chorus and Motafrenz still make a day of it. Having said that, this year, Covid impacted the participation by the chorus as the virus made rehearsals nigh on impossible.
But to backtrack to the start of this year’s Picnic.
With typically high levels of organization Gordon C had a list of attendees, who was meeting us where [some were gathering at the fuel stop near the Calder Raceway while others were heading straight to Forest Glade] and what car they were bringing. Of course on the day it proved to be less accurate than he planned.
One participant [no names] rang to say he was waiting for us… at Rockbank and as sometimes happens the promised cars did not always actually arrive. Hoorah! Another Motafrenz event. Of course, while this year Philip and I did arrive in the promised car and got all the way home in the same car, this has not always been the case.
We arrived at Forest Glade to find Neil and Steve were already there with the Trabant. They only live about 500m down the hill from the gardens so of course they were first there. They did however sheepishly tell us that just after driving through the garden gates the Trabby had died… they had simply allowed it to roll down the drive. And there the Trabby sat. They seemed amazingly unconcerned and displayed none of the stress I have felt when faced with the same situation.
Christopher with there with his Lancia Fulvia. The last few times we have seen Chris he was in a rather lovely Rover P5… all British timber, leather and death-watch beetle [well, all true except for the beetles]. So the rather lithe Lancia is a change of style.
James H brought his Mazda Astina. Unfortunately neither the Beemer nor James likes the heat and a lack of air conditioning. Gordon also opted for an air-conditioned ‘modern’ [Volvo] and Marcus B also took the air-conditioned route in the Mazda 3. Jonathon H and Dale, were expected in their very cool, but un-cooled, Mercedes Benz but made alternative arrangements. I think they must have been so ashamed of whatever they drove… they did not even offer to display it.
The Club’s Permit Officer, Matt, was there in an early Honda Civic. Philip and I were aboard the Citroën GSA Pallas C-Matic [to give it its full title].
Lunch under the trees was lovely. For those who have not come to this event previously we have always commandeered a great space near the cars under some huge trees to spread our picnic blankets. It is also near the path to the toilets so without moving you can witness the passing parade of attendees allowing one to pass comment and judgement on their physique, dress sense and anything else that takes your fancy.
Oh, the Trabby. I almost forgot. The boyz got it started at the end of the day [with a little help from ‘Start you Bastard’] and most of our group headed off. Clearly there was no need to hang around and push the Trabby back up the drive. Unfortunately, just as it got to the steepest piece of the drive it died again and those of us still around pushed it out onto the road. It started on the push. You would think a Trabby would be pretty light, but we needed to call on the Rainbow Band to help push it.] It stopped. It started. It stopped. We did get it to the point where it was all downhill [literally] for the boyz to get home and they flagged us off. We have not heard, but hope all is well.
So, unfortunately our numbers were down this year, with only seven cars on display, and while it would have been nice to have more ‘classics’ the weather in January is not always conducive to traipsing north without such modern comforts. But I can only recommend that next year you give serious consideration to joining your fellow members for a great day out in a beautiful setting. We will most certainly be there and fingers crossed so will the Chorus!