What a day for the races! It might have been a little cold down in Melbourne, but here at the Astra we had a picnic BBQ in the comfort of the communal lounge. The sun was shining in the courtyard as Aaron fired up the BBQ and got to work on the sausages. I put up some last minute handmade racing-themed decorations, whilst Patricia and Adele made salads, chicken, roasted pumpkin and baclava in the kitchen.
The festivities began at 1pm, with drinks, food and general catching up. I set up a table in the corner with $2 and $5 sweeps, and we managed to fill one sheet apiece. After lunch we called the sweeps, and everyone settled down in front of the projector screen to watch the opening TV coverage.
3 o'clock was the time we were all waiting for, and as it drew near there was a definite feeling of anticipation. From Melbourne Cup newbies (i.e. me!) to true aficionados (having been to the live event on a number of occasions), we gathered together to enjoy the race that stops the nation. Our most recent resident, Fiorella, won the $2 sweep, and Aaron won the $5 sweep: Rekindling (22) was the horse to beat this year, with Johannes Vermeer (7) in second and Max Dynamite (9) in third. I can't honestly say I had any idea of which horses would do well, but as the sweeps were drawn randomly it was all to play for. Despite the majority of us not winning anything, we had a great time. It was a lovely opportunity to catch up with friends and family, and to be a part of a viewing audience that was watching all around Sydney, and indeed the country. I feel really inducted into this key Aussie tradition now...and long may it continue!