Hunter Valley Outing - 2016
By Dr Malini Arumugam
PUAAN had their three-day annual weekend outing at the Hunter Valley Retreat from 8th to 10th April 2016. This event has been held annually at this venue for the past seven years. PUAAN members and guests were specially looking forward to this year’s event because last year’s event was cancelled at the last moment due to thunderstorm brought down the power lines and interrupted power and water supplies. Entire Resort was occupied by members of PUAAN.
The guests assembled on Friday evening and an informal string-hopper dinner followed. Live music was provided by Cisil Fonseka. A sing-along was led by Cecil, Lucky, Sumindre, Kailasapathy and Rajah. The guest artiste was Jayasri Chandrajith, a versatile raconteur who kept the audience enthralled with his mix of historical events, drama excerpts, jokes and songs. Bandu Abeynarayana launched the book Land Besieged which is an English translation of a novel by Wimaladasa Samarasinghe. Meanwhile the PUAAN Committee ladies had set up the WUS Canteen and were doing brisk business selling short-eats and drinks.
On Saturday morning the Committee members were up early to prepare Kiribath and accompaniments for the New Year celebrations. The guests assembled and PUAAN’s President invited them to partake of the New Year Traditional Breakfast. The rest of the morning was spent in New Year celebrations, a wide variety of fun-filled games enjoyed by all, particularly the children. Free palm reading was provided by Cecil and all available slots were soon filled up. The WUS Canteen continued their sales and this was followed by an outdoor barbeque lunch.
On Saturday evening the formal dinner dance was held. Live music was provided by Bonnie and the Heartbeatz, songs were sung by Prasadika Wickramarachchi, Kasipathy Kailasapathy and Kumar Kulatunga. Jayasiri Chandrajith continued his stage performance where he had left off the previous evening. A cast of PUAAN Committee members acted out a skit The Good family of Peradeniya. This play was specially written for the occasion by a PUAAN member, playwright Ernest Macintyre. The guests continued dancing till the early hours of the morning.
On Sunday morning there was a hearty full English breakfast. This was followed by a de-briefing session where guests were invited to voice their suggestions as to how the event could be improved next year. The guests were unanimous in thanking the hard-working Committee for the meticulous way in which everything was organised and every little detail well planned and executed. They all vowed to come back again next year. The management and staff of Hunter Valley Resort were thanked because they bent over backwards and went the extra mile to see that everything went off well. The gathering then broke up and guests were free to explore the Hunter Valley for the rest of the day on their own and wend their way homewards.
Sathyawadi & Wasantha