The sun had not long arisen above the cloudy horizon when we set off, packed for the weekend and ready for adventures. Within a short period of time we joined up with other Mercedes enthusiasts and after some general discourse we set off to our next venue.

Morning Tea in Gordonton. A cottage under sweeping willows, inside a clean modern decor with friendly service. Coffee, baking and conversation as we added to our number then we all moved off in convoy to our lunch destination.

Sweeping vistas across an autumnal landscape, trees displaying a plethora of oranges and yellows. Brown leaves tumbling to amass in deepening mounds. Surprising dips into deep shadowy gorges. We drove along unknown roads and took our pleasure of the beautiful Waikato.

Our lunch was taken at a quaint pub, rich aged timber’s and a roaring fire.Large patterned wallpaper assaulted the senses and clashed jarringly with the equally bold carpet.  Again more members joined us and after more food and more conversation we set off to our final stop.

Prince’s Gate Hotel is an ornate Victorian building, carved fretwork astride a modern automatic door. A gentile elegant style, inviting deep couches facing tall backed brocade arm chairs. Bewhiskered gentleman gazed sternly from the walls. We checked in and were directed to our rooms. An array of sizes and layout but all with an unique character.

Not long to linger before a few of us were gathered around a large oval table in an intimate side room for the annual executive meeting. Whilst partaking in afternoon coffee and cake we discussed the state of the club. All professed satisfaction with the current management and happy with the proposed direction said persons wish to head.

On that affable note we retreated to our rooms to dress for the evenings festivities. In the reception room and neighbouring bar our number swelled with good representation from all the regions. Canapés washed down with wines and great conversation. New members mingling with those long term Merc aficionados.

At the appropriate hour we were ushered into the dining room. Another blazing fire adding atmosphere to the room. Two great tables laid with all the cutlery needed for the forthcoming 4 courses. The food was enjoyed with conversation and interspaced with a lively trio of cabaret performers. They lead us from classical musical numbers to sultry jazz pieces, finishing with us all singing together more popular songs such as Neil Diamond and Elvis.

The clock tolled 11 and with hoarse voices and full stomachs we retired for the night. End of day one.

Day two woke us with a chill wind, blowing of those southern mountains. Reminding us that summer was over and winter was steadily creeping forth. Some of us chose to forgo the buffet breakfast, knowing morning tea wouldn’t be far away. We checked out of our rooms and gathered in a large room for the AGM, the purpose of the weekend rendezvous.

Wagers were being placed before the commencement that it would be over in under 30 minutes and such proved to be true. No more than 20 minutes after Daryl welcomed all, he closed the meeting for another year. Business all progressed in a harmonious manner.

The current management team duly re-elected with only a change in Treasurer. Vivian Decker taking on, in her own name the work she has been doing for the past few years. The submitted remit was withdrawn by Auckland Club. It will likely come to pass in the future but before that, procedures need to be put into place to simplify the workload.

This will have the added advantage of simplifying it for all the regional clubs as well. Midlands Club announced that at the grand age of 15 years, they had invited and welcomed Henry & Ann Clothier to become their patrons. A good way to keep that depth of knowledge and experience available to all.

Promptly at 10 morning tea was laid out. More food and more conversation. Indeed that was the theme for the weekend. The number slowly diminished as members departed, making their own way back from whence they came.

Before we departed ourselves, we partook in a brisk stroll around Rotorua. Attempting to work off some of that food, only to stop on our way home for lunch.  A heartfelt thank you to Mike and his Midlands team for the superb organisation of the weekend. Thank you also to Daryl for his relaxed, unflappable running of the club. The challenge is set for Auckland’s AGM to be as smooth and enjoyable.

Barbara Lokes 
PS. For the last few months I’ve been enjoying the literary works of the Bronte sisters, Agatha Christie and others of that ilk. Hence my writing style may have affected some of those mannerisms.