Melbourne Cup Day Musings


With Melbourne Cup Day being celebrated this week, I was reminded of a number of things that have happened on that day that have had a big influence on the course of my life.

Growing up in country NSW, Melbourne Cup Day was always a school day. This particular year, I was too sick to go to school but not sick enough for Mum to cancel her ladies lunch. So off I went to her friend Julie’s house with all the ladies in their funny hats having a tipple and a giggle. I watched Julie in awe as she assembled a beef wellington with apparent ease, cigarette balanced in the corner of her mouth. No, I didn’t start smoking (ever) but what sparked that day was my love of food, cooking and especially cooking and sharing food with loved ones.

Late 1990’s
My only time frolicking amongst the roses for the Cup at Flemington. My life’s lesson that day – high heels, sun, champagne, not enough food and then an Irish Pub do not make for a happy ending. See – I can’t even remember exactly what year it was!

By now it had become a tradition to celebrate Cup Day with my beloved friend Sally and her family. And champagne. On this occasion, I was 8.5 months pregnant (so no champagne) and the ‘do’ was at our place. While I was doing some mundane preparatory chore in the kitchen, Sally announces that they actually ARE going to make that move overseas that they have talked about for ages AND it’s going to happen in early February. What??!! Floods of tears…

So, when Mr 6 was only 8 weeks old they left. Gone. China. It was to be for 2.5 years but they’re still there 6.5 years later and will be there for another 4 years it seems. I still miss them all terribly but our friendship has deepened. Sally and I communicate almost daily via various electronic means and I credit that communication with having helped me develop my ‘written voice’, eventually leading me to start this blog.

I’ve also been to China three times and Shanghai is now one of my favourite places in the world.

In Sally’s absence, our Cup Day eating and drinking rituals have been transferred to another family (fickle, I know). Mr 6 was then nearly 3 and a horrendous sleeper. It was really sending us under. Nothing and nobody had been able to help to this point.

Our friends’ neighbour Dr S happens to be a leading sleep researcher and had been firmly instructed to chat to me and see what he could suggest. Talk about the kindness of strangers! After talking to me at length and observing our hyperactive boy, Dr S consulted with his colleagues and they decided who would be the best person for the job. We somehow got straight in to see Dr Margot who worked with us for nearly three years. From a boy who couldn’t get to sleep and then proceeded to wake up to 16 times a night he now loves his bed, goes to sleep without a peep and 90% of the time sleeps through the night, even if he does wake very early. Magic. Bliss. Lifesaving.

I’m not sure how or why these things all happened not the same day but I know they’ve had a big impact on my life.

What life changing events do you still recall even after much time has past?


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