Words by Paul, images by Peter.
Who could have imagined at ChillOut 2020 how much would be in store for us by ChillOut 2021? Like our very own Show and Shine, ChillOut was severely affected by the statewide lockdown in February, and the uncertainty of holding a major public event so close to it. In my opinion, I believe they did a great job, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend regardless.
As some of us in Motafrenz have a kinky perversion for contingency planning (or perhaps we just like the sound of our own voice), we had made up a full programme of alternative events to entertain us in case we were unable to attend any official ChillOut events. Let me see if I can briefly tell you what we all got up to – but please keep in mind, I love the sound of my own voice (and keyboard).
This year we were staying in two houses – our regular house in Hepburn Springs, and another house on Daylesford Lake. As we all arrived on Friday, a few of us went out for a bite to eat at a pub in Daylesford while the others ate at home. It was very quiet in town and we feared that the reduced ChillOut programme may have dampened people’s enthusiasm for spending the long weekend in the region.
After dinner, we headed back to the Daylesford house for gossip, catch-ups and general merriment – and bedtime at 1pm!
We had a 10am start on Saturday, so after breakfast at home we headed off to nearby Trentham. Morning tea was at the historical Red Beard Bakery. A bakery has operated on this site since 1971 (with the exception of 1987-2005) and the original woodfired Scotch Oven is still in use.
I had a great (Melbourne quality) coffee and ate creation made with a sausage baked inside a bread roll. Gordon tells me this was the original version of a sausage roll. It was delicious, but diet busting.
Feeling engorged, we headed off for a walk around town to the old railway station before getting back into our cars for the short trip to Trentham Falls. The falls are reportedly the longest single drop falls in Victoria, but as Peggy Lee once said, “is that all there is?” I was most underwhelmed.
The underwhelmingness continued in Glenlyon when we visited their famous Avenue. It was basically an avenue of trees in a tiny town that is surrounded by trees anyway – I have no idea how I thought this would be a good addition when I suggested it. We live and learn, I guess.
We were running ahead of time, and wanting some lunch when a local bumkin (driving a Porsche 911) suggested we try Das Kaffeehaus in Castlemaine, only 30 minutes away. Don’t let the name fool you. This was a full-menu German experience and certainly one I wish to repeat next year.
By the time we returned back to Daylesford/Hepburn Springs, it was time to pick up a few things for dinner which was being hosted by the team staying in the Daylesford Lake house. Dinner was superbly cooked by Kelvin (I suggested we elect him to be Club Cook, but I was told we needed an AGM for that). He made roast lamb, roast pork and chilli con carne – all as fabulous as the next!
And as a special treat we had some extra visitors pop in (they too were all as fabulous as the next!) More merriment, gossiping and bitching before bed – again at 1pm.
Sunday is normally the Parade and Carnival, but as they were missing, we stole Leigh’s idea and headed off to the Daylesford Sunday Market. They sold all manner of brick-a-crap there – I even bought a bathroom sink! Did I need a sink? No, but that’s not the point so don’t judge me. Not to be outdone by the brick-a-crap, the Amazing Mill Market was full of crap-a-brack, a little over-priced and quite crowded. I was able to grab my first vegetarian meal of the weekend here – and also the first bread I’ve eaten in weeks (yes, I was a bit windy afterwards) and we headed off to the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve to eat it. I wasn’t aware that the alternative to the Carval was happening there, so we became accidental ChillOuters.
By the time we were finished there and headed off to Lavandula it was getting a bit late. Most of the group went in anyway, but Gordon and I decided to give it a miss (it was probably mostly I who decided – the grumpy-Paul from yesteryear was slowly returning…) and we went shopping for the annual ChillOut Sunday Motafrenz Barbecue instead.
The barbecue, as always, was well attended by the group staying in the area, but with only one other member attending this year it felt a little isolated.
On Monday we made a late start and headed off to the Serving in Silence exhibition at the Convent Gallery. While there we also enjoyed the architecture and history of this beautiful building, and the wider display off art. One last group lunch at Frango’s and it was back home to Melbourne in the rain. It was a great weekend with a great group of people, and I enjoyed myself a great deal.