Hope Valley Croquet – 7 April 2019

Leaders:  Trevor and Julie 

Participants:  Bruce and Deb, Peter, Barry and Jenny, Gavin and Caroline, Mark and Carolyn, Rob and Jenny, Trevor and Barb, with Ida and Gordon joining later.

What a lovely day for a Sunday Drive.  Having had an extra hour sleep, due to ‘falling back’, we met at the Newton Target parking lot ready for anything.  The plan was a drive through the Adelaide Hills, past the upgraded Kangaroo Creek Reservoir, to the Bakery in Birdwood, then on to the Croquet Club for lunch and a game or two. A perfect day for it.

Leaving the city, up Gorge Road, we had been advised to watch for bike riders – cyclists and motor – as this was one of their favourite Sunday drives too.  We encountered some traffic, but really had a very good run. Stopping at Kangaroo Creek Reservoir for a look at the upgrades was really interesting.  The stone work on the retaining walls of the spillway was extraordinarily well done and very beautiful. The whole area has been under reconstruction for a couple of years and seems to be just about ready for use. Just needs some more water.

Carrying on through the Hills, we made our way to Lovells Bakery in Birdwood.  After half an hour for morning tea, we hit the dirt. Leaving the main road, we travelled along Winton Road, past cherry orchards, pomegranate trees, and one pear orchard which had not been clean picked with lots of fruit on the ground.  We drove down Checker Hill Road, which was incredibly steep.  It is apparently where they hold the hill climb portion of The Tour Downunder.  I was pleased to be going down in a car and not up on a bike! Yikes!

A few more turns on and off the main roads, we found as many dirt roads as we could.  Well done to Trevor and Julie for having surveyed this area for us.  Many of us had never been on any of these tracks before. And of course around every corner, a great view of the Hills.

We found our way back into the outskirts of civilisation, to the Tea Tree Croquet Club at Hope Valley.  What a lovely little spot.  Nestled just below the hills, we arrived at a perfectly flat Croquet pitch, with clubrooms, the smell of the bbq lunch, and lots of folks waiting for us.   We had a bit of time to have a go with the croquet equipment before lunch in hopes of developing some skills ahead of the afternoons’ games.

Once welcomed by Club President Peter, and had a great lunch of bbq meat, salads and cakes.  Oh…did I mention that the bar was open too?

After lunch, we split up into foursomes, and with an expert assigned to each group, we learned the game of croquet. It looks easy, and for some of us it was (Barb).  Not for me.  I thought it was aimed one way and yet it went somewhere different.  I was terrible at it…but I had fun. And with some practise I can see it would be possible to improve.

Mid afternoon, when we had all had a couple of games, we headed home.

Thanks to Trevor and Julie for organising and running this Sunday Drive.  And thanks to the members of the TTG Croquet Club for their time and considerable kindness and expertise.  I would certainly go again. And finally, thanks to those who sent pictures of the day through for inclusion in this report. It was a good day.

Barry & Jenny