Toodyay Bingo Night

The Department of Transport did their best to sabotage the O55 Cycling Club's annual Toodyay Bingo Night on the week-end of November 25/26 by cancelling the trains to Midland. On hearing about this, the First Lady was straight onto the phone to the Minister,
demanding to know why the Club wasn’t included in the discussions on the line closure, pointing out this was blatant discrimination against seniors and their constitutional rights as ex-taxpayers to travel  free anytime to anyplace from anywhere and if she didn’t damn well reverse the decision her position as patron of the club could be revoked.  The hard-hearted Minister refused to budge, and furthermore stated that she thought it was disgraceful that a bunch of geriatric old geezers like us was on the roads inconveniencing car drivers and holding up traffic on a Saturday morning instead of pottering around our homes in our dressing gowns and slippers and drinking a cup of warm milk.

Undeterred by this the 20 participants made their way to Midland as best they could.  Kevin rode his pet cow down from Mundaring

before sending it off to the abbatoirs to help recoup some of the cost of his accommodation,

while Robyn carried her bicycle all the way from Applecross. 

 When asked the obvious question, she stated that it was 100km to Toodyay from Midland and she wasn’t planning to ride a single km more.

Nearly everyone was there by 8.00am for an 8.30 start and as the girls discussed what they were going to wear at the bingo night, (Kaye with an 'F' is telling Sandra and the First Lady an amusing story about the darndest little top she has)

the oldest members on the ride

sat quietly meditating on the journey ahead,

while the President ran a book on who would be the last arrival.  The ‘smart’ money was on Bruce R and those of us who backed Michael G were bitterly disappointed when he turned up a full 5 minutes before Bruce.

Not everyone got the instructions for the day right, however. These two clones, who are part of a group planning a trip around Tasmania misheard 7.00 a.m. train for 7.00 a.m. plane and turned up with their matching Giant touring bikes, airline tickets, full panniers and camping gear.
They  did admit they thought it a bit strange going to a train station but assumed there would be a shuttle bus waiting to take them to the airport.

The Tassie Tourists will be delighted, no doubt, to have such a couple of bright sparks as part of their group!

Eventually we were all gathered and Neville waited patiently for Bruce R to stop fiddling with his panniers and join us
before launching into an inspirational talk reminding us that it was important to get to Toodyay as quickly as possible to have time to rest up before the bingo night, and then blasting PP
for falling asleep before the ride had even started.

The group then took off in complete disarray,

ignoring Neville's instructions to keep our formation nice and tight, but  we eventually got it right
as we headed along Great Northern Highway to the turn off to the Chittering Valley,
where it was a chance to fill up water bottles and get rid of any excess water on board.

From there it was every man for himself and the wonderful 1s were off, led by Michael G.  We expected to next see them in Toodyay with their feet up and well-rested, so were surprised towards the end of the ride when they went rushing past us in complete disarray, ignoring our cries of "where have you been?"

Riding through the valley, we were surprised to see this old man trundling along. He said he was making a few early deliveries to the folks living around here.
We don't know what happened to the reindeer or even the six white boomers but were happy to see him joining our ranks.  We invited him to join the club and asked him to cross the Minister for Transport off his Christmas list.

Once through the lovely valley road we were delighted to find morning tea awaiting us, thoughtfully provided by Taylor and Taylor Catering Co. Inc.
They'd even gone to the trouble of sourcing a charming bouquet of wildflowers from the local nursery, and not, as some wag suggested, illegally picked from the surrounding bush (maximum penalty $2,000)

After that it was a bit of hard yakka
up and down the undulations that eventually led us into Toodyay
before arriving at the beautiful-looking Freemasons Hotel.
While the exterior is very impressive, they don't seem quite up with the modern idea of providing serviced rooms.  Here it was help yourself to a mattress of your choice
then find a room and a bed to plonk it down on, which Tony did
and was soon away with the fairies, resting up for the night of excitement ahead.

Tony wasn't the only one resting as the steeds were all lined up along the verandah
recovering from their exertions and preparing for another big day tomorrow. 

The list of 'must-do' activities in Toodyay is somewhat limited but one surprising inclusion is a visit to the amazing Christmas Shop, which has every single christmas decoration you never wanted

plus at least half a million more.  They had all sorts of Santas for sale
and sometimes it was difficult to tell who was and wasn't a Santa (that's correct, Santa's the one on the right) with prices ranging up to $5,000, though the wife of this one later contacted us and said anyone who wanted him could have him for nothing, and as a bonus, she was willing to pay to have him carted away.

Apart from avoiding the rush-hour traffic in the main street

there wasn't a lot to do as 'Bingo Hour' approached except relax at the coffee shop

and listen as MG explained the reason the 1's ended up behind everyone was because they rode so fast and were so far ahead that they stopped off at one of the wineries along the way for lunch, a tall tale which the First Lady
was disinclined to believe, and rightly so as he appeared to have caught the 'BarryUrban' disease when later analysis of  his Garmin showed him travelling half way to Bindoon before stopping in the middle of nowhere, turning back and taking the turn along Julimar Rd he had previously missed.

And so the afternoon pleasantly passed and soon we were all ready for dinner, lining up the wines

while waiting for our extravagantly priced chicken parmies' and fish and chips to appear as Robbitty Rob wonders if he did the right thing ordering entrĂ©e plus mains and a big slab of apple crumble for dessert when he's trying to lose weight.

The big moment has arrived and it's bingo time!  The BingoMeister explains the 4 pages of complicated rules and instructions
as we all chat among ourselves and completely ignore what he is saying.
Eventually, the game gets under way,
'Bingo' is called and Bruce can't believe his bad luck as he only had one number to go.  A heated dispute arises, the First Lady is called upon to adjudicate
but finds she's lost some of her marbles.  Finally, it's sorted out
and everyone is happy as the BingoMeister pulls out a prize of a Freddo Frog.

After 3 hours of this tension and excitement we were exhausted so it was off to bed to refresh ourselves for the ride home the next day.

Early risers tucked into toast and cornflakes and by 8.00 a.m when porridge was served, nearly everyone was already packing to depart.

The First Lady, however, had been up since daybreak
searching for her marbles which she lost at Bingo the previous night.

 With the luggage neatly packed into the SUV

the rest of us milled around 

 waiting for guess who?...yes Bruce R
He'd been held up looking for the iron to iron his shirt.  Finally, we were off on our journey back to Midland
 and headed for the Baker's Hill Pie Shop
 and a chance for a bit of a breather.  It was right here that PP decided he'd had enough of two wheels

when he spotted this little beauty for sale and thought the three-wheeled life was for him and was spotted soon after in earnest conversation

 with S.M. P. (what a co-incidence, Sandra Mary Patullo).  We couldn't quite hear what was being said but there seemed to be a lot of gesticulating and finger wagging followed by an eruption of mumbling and grumbling before the ride was resumed with the bike and sidecar left behind.

 One more rest stop along the way
then it was full bore to Dome at Mundaring.  Once there, Rob recovered with 4 glasses of water and two iced coffees'

Adrian was thinking
"stuffed if I'm doing this again" while Bruce was just disappointed
there were no more hills left to climb.

We all arrived back in Midland around 2.00 p.m. and collected our luggage, apart from the indefatigable MG, who arrived about 1.00 p.m. and promptly became lost in the back streets of Midland and had to make special arrangements to collect his luggage the next day.

Our thanks go to Neville "Bingo" Taylor and the First Lady for their superb organisation of the whole week-end, ferrying our luggage and providing us with back-up and support along the way.


  1. A fun read. Sorry its taken so long to "get a round tuit" and congratulations to the author. Was it ML, VR or some other wag. Cheers SN


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