Today is Melbourne Cup Day, the horse race that stops Australia. Every year on the first Tuesday in November offices and places of business all over the country stop at 3pm to hear or watch the race.
People who never place a bet at any other time during the year have a flutter on the Cup and suddenly the office turns into an excited mass of people who know nothing about horse racing but find themselves shouting for the horses they drew in the office “sweep”.
A race for three-year-olds and over, it covers a distance of 2 miles and is the most prestigious “two-mile” handicap in the world.
And it’s a great excuse to indulge in our national pass-time, drinking to excess. If you win or lose, it doesn’t matter, nobody cares because everyone’s so happy and full of goodwill. After work it’s not unusual to see workers completely off their faces doing the ‘conga’ around the office or in the street, generally being ridiculous and making complete fools of themselves. It’s also a great day for exhibitionists, they get to dress up and show off.
And you know what, it’s such a lot of fun, I can’t imagine life without it.