Australian Bank Holidays – What the!


Tomorrow is the annual Melbourne Cup and for some unknown reason years ago, the state of Victoria in Australia venerated this occasion by declaring it to be a  bank holiday.   Being English and accustomed to prestigious race events being held at the weekend, taking a day off work to celebrate a horse race is unfathomable.  Almost but not quite as odd as Australians declaring the Queen’s birthday a bank holiday when England, who by rights should have a day to celebrate our sovereign’s crowning, don’t.  Obviously Australians take their gambling seriously and appreciate the Queen far more than her loving subjects in her homeland! 

My own theory is that the Aussies just like an excuse to party, break out the Barbie and get drunk.  As much as I love having the day off to veg out, the idea of donating a small fortune to racing organisations (55 – 200 for a ticket depending on the day and race plus gambling money), does not appeal.  Then there is the cost of a  new outfit, matching accessories,  transport food and drink.  I could finance 4 days at the Glastonbury festival with that kind of cash!   But girls will be girls and splash out on fasinators, frocks and five inch heels.  They then spend the day hoiking their shoes out of the earth, fighting off hypothermia, and defrosting the hand that has been glued to their hat in order to prevent it sailing off into the wind and blinding the leading jockey.   

Now if I was serious about time off work the best place to be would be Greece.  14 months pay for 12 months work, bank holidays, long easter and Xmas breaks, saints days and whatever else they have time off for.  Last time I was there and contemplating getting a job I worked out that I would only have to work 9 months of the year thanks to all their public holidays.  Shame the economy crumbled really – although not surprising given that Greeks also have an aversion to paying taxes.     

So tomorrow, following the example of  the Galapagos seal’s art of relaxing, I will chill out and enjoy the day for what it is – a day off work!

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