Panther Enthusiasts Club UK

Essex Area Christmas Dinner

Thursday December 17th

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The Essex members joined the Chelmsford Valley Car Meet (CVCM) festivities at The Lodge. It was a big event that occupied the whole of the large conservatory and half of the carvery seating space. Our group of 11 (should have been 13) were seated in the carvery, which unfortunately meant we could not hear the answers to the quiz we had so diligently tried to solve. There were 18 cryptic clues to the ingredients of a Christmas Pudding. We eventually found out the answers and had done quite well, but by then the prize had been given out. Fortunately we scored one less (15 out of the 18) than the winner otherwise we would have been "miffed".  There was also a very generous raffle with a twist. All the prizes were wrapped up in Christmas paper, which meant that you didn't know what was inside. Only the bottle shaped ones were obvious, but it could be lemonade or whisky you had no way of telling what you were selecting. It was a very good idea and avoided the "god I don't want to win what's left" situation. Virtually everyone won something. Considering the number there, the meals were good, but I did notice quite a few sprouts left on the side of the plates. Fortunately you didn't have to clear your plate in order to qualify for pudding! It was a good evening and Colin Moles of the CVCM and the management did a great job in organising it all.

Concern was growing as the evening went on about the blizzard that was blowing outside, it was really heavy. That concern was justified for by the time we came to leave the snow was 4 inches deep and it was still coming down!  I was in my daughters old front wheel drive Rover 200, with its skinny tyres and had no trouble maintaining momentum, but it was not the case with others. More modern rear wheel drive cars with fat tyres seemed to be having all sorts of trouble. I followed an MX5 away from The Lodge and the driver was having great difficulty in making any headway and then keeping it in a straight line. It took me about 2 hours to get home after making several detours to get around accidents, grid locked roundabouts  and cars stranded on minor hills. I actually rather enjoyed it. It not every day one gets the chance to drive in those conditions. John, Peter and Leigh arrived at The Lodge by taxi, and intended going home that way, but no taxi driver would venture out to pick them up. Dave Turner eventually gave them a lift home.

PEC members at the dinner were: Tony & Jan Appleby, Cliff & Yvonne Benton, Mark & Collette Kingswell, Peter & Leigh Heales, John Deed, Dave Turner and Roy Biddle. (Linda Deed wisely decided not to travel down from Suffolk and Jennifer Biddle was in hospital with a broken hip and thigh bone.)




The following photos were taken the following morning. The grey skies looked as though more snow was about to be dumped on us but forunately it held off.

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