Monday, November 06, 2006

Bring On the Bubbly!

Today is one of my favourite days of the year! It could very well be my favourite!'s finally here! Melbourne Cup Day!

On reflection, I have enjoyed so many fun Cup Days. Let me tell you about Melbourne Cup Day on Hinchinbrook Island...yes...there's *that* island, again!

I encouraged my staff to all "dress" for the day. Well, you can imagine some of the crazy outfits, including my own! The previous night I volunteered one member of my crew to go out and collect some cane toads! (Unfortunately, the poor, old, much-maligned cane toad has made its way across the ocean!) I think I bribed her with various cocktails! Having succeeded in her mission, she came back with a box full of toads, much to everyone's delight. Another staff member was delegated to paint a different coloured "spot" on each of the intended contenders for the cane toad race to be held next afternoon.

The day arrived! Everyone was excited, guests included, in readiness for the festivities of the afternoon. An early special Cup luncheon was served and enjoyed by everyone. Once lunch was over, the fun really began. Day guests had arrived by boat in the morning. Amongst them a couple of Swiss backpackers who had only a day or two earlier arrived in Australia for the first time. Needless to say, they thought us Aussies were a very weird mob, in particular, those on Hinchinbrook Island! I can't say I blame we certainly were a motley crew, albeit a very high-spirited motley crew!

Came the time to hold the Cane Toad Cup! Maurice, who had been in charge of the appropriate markings of our stable of thoroughbred racers arrived on the deck around the pool, box of contenders under his arm. Upon opening the door of the "stable", to parade our beauties, our competitors for the illustrious *Hinchinbrook Cup* were all dead! The silly idiot, instead of just dabbing a different coloured spot on each toad, had coated them in paint! Of course, they were all dead!

In a flurry of panic, moments before the race was ready to begin, I ordered him to go and find another stable of competitors! This is a slightly more difficult feat to achieve in daylight. However, fearful of his punishment, Maurice fulfilled his chore, shaking with fear! Quickly, the new race-toads were duly tagged with different colours and the race began! The air filled with expectation as we cheered and screamed, urging our chosen ones across the finish line!

My Swiss guests left the island that afternoon, still shaking their heads in confusion! I've often wondered what their conversations were as they headed back to the mainland that afternoon to continue their visit to this "strange' country!

Melbourne Cup Day...yes...I always have a fun time on Melbourne Cup Day and this year will be no different. The champers is chilling in my fridge, ready to be 'popped' later as the day progresses....morning? I've picked the winner! I hope! It won't matter if I haven't, the race will still be as exciting as ever!

Good luck, everyone...have a great day!


  1. Oh Lee...LOL I can't stop giggling at the thought of the look on everyone's faces when the box was opened and all the toads were dead!!! I mean I'm sorry they were dead BUT it is funny! lol Glad more toads could be found and the race could go on!! hehe

  2. It was funny! Particularly, me blasting Maurice! lol He was hopeless! There's a story in him alone! ;) It was a fun day! lol

  3. It's crazy down here in Melbourne. The TAB's are chockers, I only make a bet once a year ... along with a trillion other people !!!
    Hope your horse wins !!!
    Have a great week.
    Take care, Meow

  4. You should be like I am, Meow...I was placing my bet at 8am...down at the local pub which has a TAB...they don't open the TAB until 8.30am, so they told me but every other year since I've been up here on the mountain, they've opened at 8! Anyway, the lass kindly put my bets on and I was out of there and home again before 8.15am! No way I wanted to queue up. I'm here sitting at home sipping on champers, picking on a nice antipasto! Ahh...the joys of Melbourne Cup Day! :) I hope you pick the winner, too!

  5. Anonymous1:06 AM

    How did your horse go, Lee? Was a great day wasn't it? Like you I've written a post about it - are we mad? Of course, but we're Australians, what do you expect!!

  6. Of course we're mad, Robyn! Only way to go! ;)

    I backed "Zipping"...which came fourth and at the last minute at the TAB I changed from "Maybe Better" (third) to "Activation", which came 8th, but it didn't matter. I only back on the Melbourne Cup these days, so it was my 'flutter' for the year. I had a great day. I always enjoy. I watched all the races...picked three winners and a couple of seconds in the other races, but of course, I didn't back them!

    Now we've got to wait until next year and do it all over again! :)

  7. Anonymous5:17 AM

    It's amazing how easy it is to "croak" cane toads, just the slightest spray of antiseptic and they hop off and die within minutes, same with a well directed swat with a hockey stick too.

  8. Sprinkle salt on their backs works, too, Peter.

    I feel sorry for the poor old cane toad. I know they are a pest but they didn't ask to be brought into this country. The idiot who decided that should have done his research BEFORE the event. The beetle that was affecting the cane destroyed the cane from the top of the stalk...and the cane toad is confined to the lower nether regions and it was impossible for the toad to eradicate the beetles, as it couldn't reach them!