The Cultural Gourmet Run
By Alex Molocznyk. Photos by Gloria Wade & Vyvyan Black
Colin McKay did a sterling job of organising a day run into Northern NSW stopping at the Tweed Gallery and continuing to Mavis’s Kitchen for lunch.
Despite predictions of rain for the day some twenty shiny sparkly cars rolled up to the start at Nerang. The beautiful S1 Elans were conspicuous by their number among the assortment of Lotus models together with a representative of marques from Germany, Japan and the prancing horse of Italy. A sole clubman laughing in the face of the elements ran true to form without a top while passenger Emma had to contend with the forward brace of the roll protection pressing against the side of her beautiful face. Spartan lot those clubbies but in dire need of therapy. At the opposite of the comfort scale was the luxurious Carlton that seemed to have correct mix of performance and style for a run of ease. No living in hole in road for the likes of them.
While waiting at the start someone came along and opened a shed behind the parked cars and revealed the rear of a restored WWII Blitz Gun Tractor. It was a magnificent beast of a vehicle restored by group of military vehicle enthusiasts over period of six years. Appreciation of the efforts that go into the resurrections of rusted conglomerations of mechanical bits to their former glory had our members closely inspecting the unique leviathan. Thanks to the guys of the Logan & Albert Volunteer Battalion for sharing their passion with us and providing such an interesting unplanned diversion.
The rain held at bay along the picturesque route through the hinterland and into the misty hills across the border of QLD and NSW with only three swipes of the wipers required for some rain at the top of the ranges. Patches of sunshine added interest to the scenery. The road was a mix of wet and dry sections without the greasy slipperiness in the wet sections to detract from the enjoyment of the run.
As the consequence of the myriad of speed zone changes in NSW combined with the diligence of the patrolling fund raisers one of the convey received an infringement that required a contribution to their state revenues. Reliable sources allege that the driver who for reasons to protect the embarrassed shall not be named is a male offspring of the incumbent Club President and his lovely photographer wife. The car he was driving is of Bavarian persuasion so fortunately will not reflect adversely on the impeccable reputation of the Lotus drivers. The driver said he had to slow down because some ducks were crossing the road (playing the eco-sympathy card?) then was pinged accelerating out of a bend to catch up with the run. On closer inspection of the infringement notice it appears the issuing officer must be colour blind as the colour of the vehicle was written down as brown whereas it is black as the inside of an exhaust pipe.
A stop at the Tweed Regional Gallery was an outstanding extra to the routine cafe stop. Touches like undercover parking (a bonus as it rained while we were at the gallery), the modern architect designed building, the sublime view of the Tweed Valley and the diverse art collection combined with a superb fresh baked lemonade scone morning tea made this a memorable stop. It has to be the best regional art gallery in the country. While it has a stunning collection and exhibition its jewel in the crown is the Margaret Olley bequest. Although it was quite a lengthy stop there is so much to enjoy that it warrants another more leisurely visit and some the club members mentioned they go there regularly from Brisbane for breakfast.
The rain had stopped and it had warmed up sufficiently for layers of clothing to be shed for the next part of the run continuing via a scenic route through Stokers Siding to Mavis’s Kitchen. Now set in a luxuriant garden near Uki the restaurant and function centre is an Old Queenslander originally from the Gold Coast and relocated to Uki much to Qld’s loss and NSW’s gain. The number of cars already in the carpark when we arrived verified the popularity of the venue. They turned on a fabulous winter lunch of wild caught barramundi or slow cooked lamb shanks with a delicious pork and fennel sausage and for dessert lavender and earl grey brulee or apple strudel. The service and food were excellent particularly taking into consideration that the restaurant was full and our large party had arrived late.
The combination of two amazing venues made a successful day of culture and gastronomy and all who went appreciated Colin’s choice, organisation and efforts.
The cars thrived in conditions similar to the unpredictable weather of Old Blighty with no miscreant mechanical gremlins even in a well known recalcitrant Esprit. A round of thanks goes to Derrick for a great job running as Tail End Charlie. Walkie talkies provided by Colin proved to be invaluable for co-ordination between the lead and tail cars and a number of comments were made that the Club needs to consider investing in some for future runs.
It was a perfect way to spend a wintery solstice Sunday.