Thursday, November 04, 2010

Frocks, Horses and 150 Years of History - Fiona Lowe

While Americans have been voting, Australians have been partying! All this week in my state of Victoria, it's the Spring Racing Carnival.

For weeks, women have been preparing their outfits and hoping to take out the covetted, 'Fashion on the Fields' prize. Today is 'Oaks Day' otherwise known as 'Ladies Day' and women are flocking to Flemington in their frocks and fascinators, sipping champagne and trying to stay in their high heels until at least 3pm:-)

Saturday was Derby Day, where the men wear morning suits and top hats and look splendidly dapper, but it is Tuesday, the first Tuesday of November that is the ultimate day in the Spring Racing Carnival calendar; Melbourne Cup.

Such is our love affair with the Melbourne Cup that all Melbourne residents get a public holiday!! But the allure for 'The Cup' isn't limited to Victoria alone, and it is known as the 'race that stops a nation.' For three minutes, all around the country all eyes are glued to the race ,and ears to the radio...after all, three quarters of the adult population of the country have placed a bet on it!

And to be truthful, the nation stops for longer than three minutes as there are office parties and lunches with hat competitions and sweeps, as the festival rolls around the country.

The best horse flesh from around the world comes 'down under' to compete in one of the longest races in the world along with massive prize money. As we are so far away from Europe and NA, often a local horse wins and hopes were high given it is the 150th celebration of 'The Cup' this year. But it wasn't to be.

A French horse called Americain won by a goodly distance. I so should have taken more notice of this horse because it won my hometown cup two weeks ago and my son is currently in France so how is that for an omen?

As a child Cup Day meant going sailing with my father, as an adult and not living in Melbourne, it means lunch with my tennis team.

Cup Day is always a prompt to me that Christmas is 8 weeks away and it's time to cut up my Christmas cake fruit and soak it in whiskey, rum, brandy, vanilla and lemon essence for a month before baking it on December 1st. It's also the time the junk mail quadruples and we start reading catalogues looking for Christmas gift ideas.

And this year, Cup Day was the day my latest book was released; The Most Magical Gift of All. It's a Christmas story set in the outback and Jack and Sophie have very different plans for Christmas but the universe has a plan of its own. I had so much fun writing this and filling it with lots of Aussie Christmas tradtions.

So do you have a favourite tradition during the year? It might be a holiday for a horse race or perhaps you celebrate change of seasons in your own particular way?

Leave a comment telling me and you'll go into the draw for a copy of The Most Magical Gift of All. To be in with a second chance of wining a copy or a backstory book of your choice, join my Facebook Page.

Fiona Lowe is an Australian Author who writes small town romances with a big heart.

The Most Magical Gift of All is out now at eharlequin, Mills and Boon UK and Mills and Boon Australia and The Book Depository in Paperback and E book format. For information about Fiona and her books head to her website.


pageturner said...

Not a tradition - more agrim determination not to find myself rushing around like a mad thing: so I start my Christmas shopping in September, start writing cards in October and have everything ready to post at the end of NOvember. Hate me now!

Joanna St. James said...

my tradition, I just love being able to curl up in a couch on boxing day with a cup of cinnamon spiced hot cocoa and read a book undisturbed. Its bliss.

Linda Henderson said...

I try to start shopping early in the year for Christmas because it's a tradition in our family to buy for all the children. There are quite a few of them so it requires spreading my spending out over a longer period of time. Soon we will all be gathering for Thanksgiving and I look forward to our traditional feast.

seriousreader at live dot com

Fiona Lowe said...

Pageturner, good for you! The years I have done the christmas shopping early I've found people change their minds!

Fiona Lowe said...

Joanna, We have a completely 'go nowhere, do nothing' Boxing Day as well. I often read too although it's usually too hot for hot cocoa but perfect conditions for a mint julep!

Fiona Lowe said...

Linda, We don't do Thanksgiving down here but I have fond memories of it when we lived in the US. My experience was that people were a lot more traditional about the Thanksgiving meal than the Christmas meal which often changed year to year while Thanksgiving stayed much the same

Estella said...

We have family dinners or barbecues for holidays.

Fiona Lowe said...

Estella, we have a lot of BBQ gatherings for holiays too. As we are all far flung we often meet at a park or botanical gardens or beach and do the picnic thing. In fact I have just sent off an invitation for an extended family BBQ cum pool party between Christmas and New Year.

Mary said...

We always get together for Thanksgiving and for all the birthdays. But since my parents don't cook a lot anymore, everyone comes to my house for the food now. lol

Pat Cochran said...

Oh my, Fiona, you just reminded me
that my grandkids haven't given
me their Christmas lists! I can't
make selections for them without a
guide of some sorts! I usually tell
them "no list, you get what Grandma
chooses!" We're having lunch for
Grandpa's b-day this weekend, so we'll have to have an emergency summit meeting!

Pat Cochran

Amazingrose said...

We always have a family get together for the holidays....want make it so special is that my bday is during the holiday. (31 Dec).

Fiona Lowe said...

Ladies, I put all your names in a hat, just like in a Melbourne Cup Sweep ;-) and out came Pageturner! If you email me at with your address I'll post you a copy of THe Most Magical Gift of All.

Thanks everyone for their comments!