Today is Melbourne Cup Day, which is one of the biggest days in the Australian Calender.
It used to be about horse racing; these days there is more interest in third-rate imported celebrities, drunken rich men and above all, women who exude an odd combination of shiny clothing, copious quantities of vodka and what appears to be a dead bird stapled to their head.
As horse racing fans, we long ago learned that special days are really not that special to attend. It’s the anonymous weekends at a suburban track that offer the most actual horse racing fun.
For at least 25 years, Lady Devotea and I have gone to lunch somewhere on Cup Day. It’s a public holiday in Victoria , but not here in Adelaide.
And today will be interesting.
We are going to Boho.
Boho is a re-envisioned pub with a vaguely Art Deco and theatrical theme. Some of this is just plain weird: as an example they have those mirrors that make you look either amazingly thin or incredibly squat and toad-like in the Gentlemen’s toilets. Although I’m told they only have the thinning ones in the Ladies.
Apart from a riotous New Year when we accidentally ended up there until, well, well into the New Year, it has mainly been somewhere we have gone for High Tea*. The high tea used to be every Sunday, I note it’s now just once a month. That’s sad.
And it’s a nice high tea. Deco decor, 7 or 8 loose leaf teas to choose from, nice food, pleasant ambiance, all couches and armchairs.
The thing that worries me is that Lady Devotea once took me there for a birthday lunch. And after a great meal, I asked for tea, just to be told they had teab*gs only.
When I queried this – I may have used the phrase “lying scumbag” – I was told that whilst they did have loose leaf tea on the premises, all the staff who knew how to use it were having a day off. Seriously, what is wrong with people these days?
In the end, the guy bought me all the equipment and I made us tea at the table. A happy ending, I think.
So, I’m worried that today, amidst harried staff dressed as jockeys, sweeps, cardboard whips, outrageous hats, drunken patrons and the dull roar of excitement as 24 superb world class horses thunder across the screen in one of the world’s great races, I might not be able to get the quality of tea I demand.
I hope I can. I think it will be a fantastic day, but it’s probably best if it doesn’t end with me being escorted from the premises.
And if I’m told I can only have a teab*g, then that’s a certainty.
*Purists will say this is Afternoon Tea, not High Tea. Get over it. Pass me a scone.