Professor Bear at Yan Yean Reservoir Park On the Annual Labour Day Picnic 2020

Today is another special day in my calendar; the Whittlesea U3A Labour Day Picnic at the Yan Yean Reservoir Park where I, Professor Bear, will meet new and old friends, have fun and eat delicious picnic food and of course practice “Bearology and Hugs.

Everyone seems to have a specialty signature food- Yummy!  We are all welcomed to share and taste and are invited to choose from the many varieties which are displayed before us.  All the food is very healthy and so I have decided to try everything!!

As you know, my waistline is always going to be my ongoing problem! Although my exercise gurus, Ida, Kumar, and Margaret along with my Tai Chi and Yoga experts, Phu, Maria, Peter, Teresa, and Ann keep me at my optimum fitness levels, my sweet tooth is a problem. Oh, I am so lucky to be able to have my U3A family looking after me.

Marion arrived at the Yan Yean Reservoir at the crack of dawn to make sure we had the use of the Rotunda and a BBQ and she even put up our U3A banner so newbies would not get lost.

Marion told us of the tranquillity and breathtaking views of Melbourne’s oldest water storage. This reservoir was Melbourne’s first, and has continuously supplied Melbourne with water since 1857. Today, on this Autumnal morning whilst she admired the abundant birdlife that lives and feeds in this area, the myriad of ducks lazily making trails with their feet, effortlessly gliding the surface of cloudless reservoir whilst waiting for us to arrive, she thought about why I wasn’t there to help her! Well, not me! Not Professor Bear. I was wrapped up in bed, cloaked in a rug crocheted for me by Freda’s class and arrived much later with Mary.

Colourful Rugs, Hats, Blankets, Coats, more chairs, tablecloths, were arrayed around the Rotunda whilst the area was redolent with the aroma of food cooking. Yolanda made sure the BBQ was cleaned, and hot water waiting for us for our morning tea.

Everyone greeted old and new friends and we were delighted that many families came to this dog-friendly park with their puppies on their leash. I especially enjoyed having them there for me to play with whilst members checked out the caretaker’s cottage which was built in 1853.

What a wonderful surprise when graceful Lily asked us if we wished to join her in her morning stretching Tai Chi exercises to start off our day. How easily Lily guided us on the progressive sequences and for the many who have never tried Tai Chi previously, they were asking for more!  Shedding our jumpers, we quickly warmed up and Lily explained how she practices these movements every day and that is why her balance was easier to maintain than ours.  She spoke of how she uses these daily practices for her frozen shoulder.

Stopping for a delicious picnic lunch and a walk around the park time passed quickly.  Lily then asked if we would be interested in learning another four movements. Of course, we all said YES.

Marion then called us together for the lucky prizes she provided and we all eagerly waited to see if our number was called. What hilarity when we ripped open the wonderful shapes and assorted giveaways which Marion presented to us; Helen won the most coveted prize; none to be found in Melbourne in any shops; YES it was Toilet Paper!!!

Fun and laughter were cascading around us when our U3A family packed up our picnics, cleaned up the area to return home smiling, happy and vowing to come back next year.