When my daughter was a little girl, one of her favourite books was Fancy Dance in Feather Town. It’s the story of 2 chickens who try to outdo each other as they get ready to go to the local dance. The story came to mind tonight as I shopped for just the right accessories to wear to the Bendigo Cup races tomorrow. Horse racing is really big in Victoria, really big! In Melbourne, the cup day is a whole weekend event, including a holiday on the actual race day. And not to be outdone, we get a holiday here in Bendigo for our own race. From what I understand, it is the tradition to get “all frocked up” on that day. That means that ladies and gentlemen wear their finest outfits (think Ascot in England) and parade like a bunch of peacocks (or chickens) at the race track, betting on the horses, drinking a lot and generally having a great time. Of course, the milliners in town are very busy as each lady wants to outdo the next with just the right hat.
I am planning on taking in the festivities at the Bendigo Cup tomorrow with another teacher and her friend. Her friend is a seamstress and each year she scours the second hand shops to find just the right outfit for my friend Marie and her daughter. She finds dresses, hats, any accessory that is required, and alters them to fit. They all meet at the racetrack, make a few small bets and celebrate with a glass of bubbly. I can hardly wait to see them in their finery and do some general people watching!
For my own outfit, I have a little dress with black heels. I decided to spruce it up with a jaunty chapeau and a few bracelets. Not exactly Ascot or a Royal wedding outfit, but it will have to do.
Tonight, I have to supervise the grade 7/8 social at school. Again, I can hardly wait to see my students in their finest. I’ve never supervised a school dance before, even after all these years of teaching, so I can only guess at what to expect.
Well, the social was no big deal. The girls wore pretty dresses and heels, the guys wore jeans and t-shirts. My duty was to stand at the door. It was so cold after the sun set, I thought we were going to have frost. Anyway, I got home around 10pm and tried to get a good night’s sleep, which wasn’t easy considering how chilled I was by then.
Today, we had a great time at the Bendigo Cup! It cost me $25 to enter and I made 2 bets. After the first bet, I won $12.50 for a $10 bet. I bet a second time and lost $2.50 for the whole day. Dolly, a new friend, bet on a good horse in the first round and won $130! She bought a round of champagne. But I was not drinking so it was a bottle of water for me.
We ran into some other teachers from the college. Tim invited us to join the group in the VIP area, offered us some champagne and food and a shady place to sit. How lovely!! As you can see from the pictures, everyone looks smashing, well, a lot of people do anyway (check out some of the background people). It was just fun to people watch. Now you know what they mean by “all frocked up”!