The Uninvited

When I turned six my birthday happened to be on Melbourne Cup Day. The Mothership was a teacher at my school, so she threw a wee party for me at lunchtime. She invited all my mates to her classroom, where we pinned the tail on the donkey and scoffed down chips and fairy bread and a cake shaped like a witch from the ubiquitous Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Cookbook. It had a purple icing frock and rode a liquorice broomstick.

I was a paranoid, insecure little twit even in kindergarten. My teacher had organised a Cup Day Race for my class, involving cardboard cutout horsies and plastic hoops. I remember peering out Mum’s classroom window with a feeling of great dread, watching the uninvited classmates galloping round on the asphalt playground. Did the people at my party really want to be there? Were they comparing and contrasting the level of entertainment in here with the action oustide? Were they cursing me behind their plastic cups of raspberry cordial? Did their Mums make them come since my Mum was a teacher? They say the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation, so what right did I have to stop them stopping? Oh the trauma!

Luckily this only happens every seven years or so, so I don’t have to compete with the Cup that often. It happened the day I was born, when I emerged slightly jaundiced, gingered and six-fingered. And it happened again today, but it doesn’t matter since I’m Scotland and naebody here kens about the Melbourne Cup. Huzzah!

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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23 thoughts on “The Uninvited

  1. I suspect I sent an SMS to the wrong person today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, etc. etc. with much much love from me and the Mattay. And the kittens, should they have any inkling of the concept of birthdayat all. LOVE!

  2. I know you’re just back and all, but I can’t help but hope and wonder when you’re gonna post about your experiences/thoughts on finally going hame, with husband to boot. I’m hanging out for some observations… almost feels as if by omission it wasn’t so guid…

  3. I have to ask – what is fairy bread? Contribute to my cultural education…

    Ah, the Mothership is one of those noble mums who made elaborate cakes for b’days. (Our best ones were a fairy castle and – most ambitiously – a Loch Ness Monster.)

  4. ooh I got rather excited recently when I stumbled upon a whole stand full of Women’s Weekly cookbooks in a rather fashionable cafe in *Belfast* – imagine my suprise!!

  5. Happy belated birthday! Or rather, being two days late, is it happy death anniversary for your ‘extra’ finger?
    Not being in Melbourne, and not caring about horse races, I couldn’t work out on Tuesday why so many girls were walking around my city in the afternoon wearing ridiculous hats and very ugly dresses. They dress up like they’re going to the cup – and then sit in some trendy cafe and watch it on the telly.
    In the local paper today they were trying to decide whether to re-name a street after the horse who won, have a commemorative coin in her honour, stuff her like phar lap or, at the suggestion of our premier, just automatically give her a seat in the upper house of parliment.
    You’re lucky being away from it all….

  6. Cumpleaños felices Shauna. I tried email but it bounced back like Jennifer Aniston to Vince Vaughn. Hope you tossed back a few single malts.

  7. Well, there is nothing wrong with an extra finger, although you have it on the wrong hand. I’m afraid it has to be a left-hand extra finger for it to be best.

    I have a question – if your visa was about to run out, doesn’t that mean your sister’s was too? We last heard about her via dress buying and forcing you tomake a wedding speech – is she back in Oz? Was she there for the Oz weddings, or did she just attend the UK ones? Hmm, what a nosey cow I am.

  8. Happy Birthday Shauna! Hope you have nothing short of a brilliant day. Your presence on the net is the only thing I’ve ever won from Melbourne Cup. 😀

  9. Kirsten

    fairy bread is, if my memory doen’t fail me, slices of white bread and margerine with lashings of “hundreds and thousands” (sprinkles) on it to make the bread and the marge take on attractive colourfull sugary qualities.

    I only know of it, never having seen or tasted it.

    pol xx

  10. Fairy bread is a delicious party treat. Several of my friends still serve it at birthday parties and gatherings (and we are all well into our 20s).

    We had, and still have, that cake book. I have fond memories of the rollerskates, as well as the castle complete with icing covered ice cream cone turrets. It was such an exciting event, to look through that book the day before your birthday party and choose which cake you wanted your mother to lovingly craft for the next day’s festivities.

  11. thanks for the comments you groovers. especially those who answered questions that other commenters left, since I am so FREAKING SLOW at responding.

    i can make really nice lamingtons, btw. mmm mmm.

    lizz – i didn’t get more purple undies! bwahaha. i looked for them in australia but looks like they’re a collector’s item now.

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