On Cup Day last year my girlfriend sent me a message saying we were going the following year. And so we did!
I thought there would be planning of a lovely outfit, the purchase of a lovely outfit, making of a new hat/fascinator/headband thingy, buying new shoes with enough time to break them in. None of that happened. Reality meant I shopped from my wardrobe and what I didn't have, I borrowed from my sister. I wore my bridesmaid dress, a cheapo hat bought for my sister's hen's day that I randomly found at Spotlight, used a voucher to buy my $28 watermelon wedges from Target, borrowed my colour popping clutch from my fashion star sister. I also borrowed a beautiful jacket to wear too but it was too warm.
I enjoyed a lengthy train ride, to and from Flemington. I enjoyed the gentle sway and rhythmic clickety clack of the train moving along the line. I enjoyed wearing earphones and not imagining that I could hear one of the kids calling out to me. I really enjoyed catching up with my dear friends. I enjoyed the people watching. The only problem with this was my hat came very low, and I have big bug eye glasses - which wouldn't fit if worn together. People watching is so much better when the people don't know you are watching them. We oohed and aahed over Fashions on the Field, many women's ensembles truly spectacular, many just spectacularly awful (orange ensemble lady above). Neon was huge. Some did it brilliantly, others should have been handing out sunglasses to all and sundry who looked their way. We spotted celebrities who had wandered from the Birdcage (why on earth?!!). I left our little posse for a while to walk around the grounds snapping here and there, admiring the beautiful horses in the parade ring. I was slightly underwhelmed by all the roses that Flemington is so proudly known for. Whatever special, secret tricks they use to get the roses to flower just at the right time for Spring Carnival, I'm afraid didn't happen this year. Most were past their best and beginning to wilt and brown around the edges. The pre-race entertainment gave me goosebumps, standing in a sea of people all singing our national anthem. We managed to grab a spot on the grass for our picnic blanket, right near the finishing post. The atmosphere was electric. Arms were stuck high in the air above the crowds, capturing anything and everything on phones and cameras. I drank water and a lovely early afternoon coffee to keep my legs going. I didn't even have a glass of champagne. Nor a bet. My mother was mortified! I've never been great with a punt, so thought it best to keep my money where I could see it. As we stepped on the train to leave our big race day, the heavens opened. The perfect end to a perfect day.
It was really lovely to get dolled up and experience the amazing atmosphere that is the Melbourne Cup. Next year, I will no doubt be watching all the events unfold in my trackies, judging Fashions on the Field, from the comfort of my (new) couch. Sounds pretty good to me.