When I decided that I would be a sensible girl and not go to Melbourne Cup Day I was very sad. I knew it would be stupid to go so I wisely said no (amid a slight tantrum) but decided I’d better do something fun instead, or I’d be sitting at home all day feeling grumpy and wearing a fascinator with my pyjamas…
So what did I do? I went to the delightful seaside town of Barwon Heads to have lunch with my friend Anna, aka Ginge, at The Beach House. I wasn’t wearing a cool dress like I would have been at Flemington, but I was wearing a nice silk top, fun three-quarter pants and my favourite necklace that looks like lollies. I didn’t have a fancy hat or hairpiece on, but my sunnies sat atop my head as I took my seat in the restaurant… close enough.
I had comfortable shoes on instead of heels – there’s a bonus – and I had one glass of wine at 1pm, rather than attempting the ‘two before ten, and ten before two’ shenanigans that happened last time I went to the cup, much more ladylike of me. I actually ate food, a delicious calamari salad at The Beach House, rather than picking at finger food that I realised wasn’t gluten-free, and I while I didn’t see a whole carpark space full of friends in The Nursery I did see Ginge, whom I hadn’t seen in six months.
Barwon Heads was buzzing, the long-weekend crowd on the main street almost as intimidating as getting on a Flemington-bound tram on Cup Day morning, but somehow I found a park. Before I did this, in my effort to be sensible and get through the day I parked down by the river and had a sneaky snooze. I’ve really got in to audio books of late so I slept for a bit then listened to a Tom Clancy action thriller being read out to me and forgot I’d driven for 30 minutes. All good.
I arrived at The Beach House and immediately ordered a long black to prime me for the afternoon; if there’s one thing Ginge and I are good at it’s talking. I was halfway through my coffee when she arrived and there was a fair amount of exclaiming and hugging and general yay-ness. The food was good, except they seemed to think Ginge and I were sharing the one not very large calamari salad as I was given a meal and they forgot hers… Whoops, they apologised. Cold calamari isn’t too bad.
The reason I thought of The Beach House is because two childhood friends of mine have started a business called Natural Harry and their awesome raw desserts are stocked here (Facebook told me so). They’re gluten-free (tick for me), dairy-free and refined-sugar-free so basically they’re healthy treats and it was totally ok for us to have dessert. Right?
I had some sort of peppermint deliciousness that tasted like a peppermint crisp chocolate bar had mated with a bountie and this was its delicious offspring. Ginge had a passionfruit creation that she described as “childhood in a bite” and we spent a good few minutes figuring out what had transported us back to the playground: the base tastes like the apricot logs our mums used to put in our lunch boxes and the top reminded us of a frosty fruit on a hot day. Tick and tick.
I knew I was fading, but once again I didn’t want to go. This is the problem with fatigue when I’m socialising; I am so excited to be out of the house and with my friends that I ignore the warning signs as I just want to keep playing. It’s the same as how I used to behave at the beach when I wouldn’t get out of the water despite mum’s pleas as this six-year-old was having way too much fun. Then I realised it was quarter to three, so we may as well stay in the restaurant to watch the race. Being a horsey girl I got my fix for the day, seeing those super impressive athletes do their thing.
The walk to the car went past a store with awesome sandals yet I somehow came back out of it with a pair of denim shorts… It is hard to find non-skanky denim shorts that actually cover your bum so I suppose it was a justifiable purchase. Then it was time to say goodbye. I reclined my car seat, set my alarm on my phone and caught forty winks, well, twenty minutes of power nap.
The drive home was fine, I wasn’t vagueing out but I could feel a headache creeping down my forehead and the first stirrings of nausea. Hmm. Then I tried to chat with mum about my day as we watched the last few races of the day on tv. Words weren’t working. Time for bed. I slept then watched four episodes of NCIS (when fatigue strikes formulaic predictable tv is best) and ate a poached egg for dinner. So, really, not too dissimilar to the end of a cup day spent at the races; exhaustion, headachey, nausea and not feeling like dinner. And while I didn’t get to see the horses up close, I did get my animal fix in that my dog Winkie barged her way in to my room after I’d been absent for a few hours and climbed up on my bed to keep my company.