I have just finished washing the mud off my Morgan after getting home from our 2016 Christmas in July weekend. This years Santas, Catherine and Wally, did a fantastic job of arranging the weekend right down to the beautiful blue skies we had on Saturday after the fog had lifted.

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We met up on Saturday morning at Hogan’s Hotel Wallan. It was, to put it mildly, a little on the chilly side and the wind chill factor of travelling in a Morgan with the top down pushed it down to the sub zero regions. Most of our group came prepared with appropriate clothing, or came in tin boxes while one Morgan owner who will remain nameless (you know who you are Jeff) made the happy discovery that his Morgan had heated seats. He had apparently ticked that box in his list of extras but by the time his Morgan arrived around a year later he had forgotten.

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We had reviving coffee and scones and Wally and Catherine handed out the goody bags and briefed us on the Observation Run.

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CIJ 2016 -2 - 1We spent an enjoyable morning heading down beautiful country roads admiring the magnificent scenery while trying to find answers to the obscure questions that had been posed. With the wet winter we have had, the country was booming with fields of verdant green grass everywhere evident. Finally we arrived at our lunch destination at Fowles (formerly Plunkets) Winery in Avenel where we enjoyed a rather nice lunch and glass or two of their product along with a leisurely lunch

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CIJ 2016 -2 - 2Then, after being given more directions, we hopped in our cars again and headed for the Tahbilk Winery. This is a very old winery with some of their vines dating back to the 1860s. It is also very large, The road into the cellars from their front gate was 3.8 kilometres long and ran through fields of vines the whole way.


The size of this vineyard turned out to be my undoing as we miscounted the intersections, turned left when we should have turned right and we headed down a very rough muddy pot holed road. By the time I reached our destination for the night, the shaking had resulted in the metal frame of my Morgan’s roof splitting at the weld on the passenger’s side: so no more roof if it rained. Still we put thoughts of impending disaster behind us as we arrived at our destination for the evening, Rusty Springs, just outside the little hamlet of Avenel.

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This is an amazing place. In the middle of what to my eyes anyway, looked like a sort of junkyard of old machinery and building materials is a large shed. Inside around the walls of the large shed, en suite bedrooms had been created, each with its own shop front.

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We settled into our assigned rooms and then headed across to an old barn for pre dinner drinks

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Then back to our rooms to change into our costumes for the evening and we then headed off to dinner in our town square. Our theme for the evening was back to the 1890’s and every couple had been assigned characters corresponding to their room. So for example we had our beds in the solicitor’s office so I got to be a solicitor and this being the 1890’s Jeanette got to be the solicitor’s wife. You get the picture.

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CIJ 2016 - 12CIJ 2016 - 11CIJ 2016 -1 - 1CIJ 2016 - 14FullSizeRender CIJ 2016 -3 - 2 CIJ 2016 -3 - 1Anyway everyone entered into the spirit and there were lots of fantastic costumes. We all had a great evening.

Unfortunately due to my Morgan’s now inoperable roof and the impending forecast of rain coming in late Sunday morning, Jeanette and I decided to get up early on the Sunday morning and make a run for home before the rain came. We made it home safe and dry but missed out on the Sunday activities but from phone conversations it appears that they all had a great time on Sunday as well.

Big thanks are due to Catherine and Wally for the fabulous concept and their incredible organisation. It was a fantastic event.