Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ladies’ Day at the Races (or Old Girls Behaving Badly)

                                                             Dolly


“You have to be fricking joking?” I exploded at the girl at the ticket booth. “Eighteen dollars for two Rum and Cokes? That’s a bloody rip-off!”

She burst out laughing in my face; clearly amused and not at all concerned about a tipsy, loud-mouthed, feather-crested woman carping on about drink prices.

Dolly and I had abandoned the pristine marquee in order to get down and dirty with the plebs in the public bar. We’d ordered the drinks at the bar and tried to pay when the barman told us we had to purchase tickets as they weren’t taking money at the bar. He’d already snapped open our two ice-cold cans of Rumbo.

“Keep them under the counter for us!” commanded Dolly to the barman. “And don’t let anyone put Rohypnol in them either! I don’t want to be raped!” 


She was wearing her “Miss Marple” hat and was in very fine spirits. I seriously don’t think anyone would have been game to spike Dolly’s drinks for fear of what extreme behaviours it may incur.

She’d already upset Michael at the photo booth in the marquee when the two of us decided we needed some happy snaps.
                                  Michael

Looking pointedly at the half curtain in front of the booth she turned to Michael before we went in, 
“That curtain’s no good!” she protested. “How are we supposed to get our gear off in there? Everyone out here will see us!”

Michael coughed nervously and didn’t know quite where to look. I think he thought she was serious.

I had several surreal and hysterical conversations with Dolly over the course of the wine-sodden afternoon and it was necessary every now and then to jot down what she or someone else had said so I wouldn’t forget it.

I caught Patrice taking a ‘Basic Instinct’ beaver shot of one of the Dolly Birds to send to her husband. It’s very early in the day for those sort of high jinks, I thought. 
How will this day end??

“Is your husband away overseas or something?” I queried.

“No,” she replied casually, “he just dropped me here.”

“Don’t put that in your blog!” a chorus of sozzled voices would chime in a futile attempt at censorship, each time I pulled out the notebook.

“I don’t like Pink!” declared Dolly vehemently at one stage. “I think she’s a lesbian. That husband of hers is a decoy. I wouldn’t go and see her in concert because she’d probably rape me! So put that in your blog and smoke it!”

I’m not sure what the fixation on being raped is, but never mind. Jules and Dolly then became immersed in a quiet discussion about the merits of Pink as a performer, with Jules defending her (as only a truly loyal Pink fan is able).

                             (L-R) Jules, Dolly and Pinky

Quackers, one of the Dolly Birds joined us in the public bar and a debate about tattoos came up. Dolly confessed that in her rambunctious youth she daringly self-carved and inked a tattoo on to her ankle. It was supposed to be a mushroom but unfortunately looked more like an umbrella which wasn’t nearly as radical as she’d planned.

Years later, wanting to rid herself of the unexciting umbrella tattoo she applied liberal amounts of Wart-Off and lo and behold, now she only has a tiny scar.

Dolly and I took Quackers outside to show her “The Tree of Knowledge” under which we usually sit when we go to the races and pursue ‘knowledgeable chats’ whilst supping delicious beverages. 

As we were discussing the virtues of the tree as opposed to paying exorbitant prices to sit in a boring tent, a Channel Seven cameraman approached and asked if he could film us.

“Of course!” we tittered happily. “We’d love too!” 

After a few minutes of him filming us pretending to be examining Quacker’s marquisate watch, Dolly called out with a dramatic Karate chop, “Cut!”

“Thanks ladies!” he smiled, “Everyone else told me they didn’t want to be on the Telly because it’s too embarrassing. Everyone else.”

I’m being too severe when I say the marquee was boring. 

It wasn’t. 

I had the most entertaining day catching up with the Dolly Birds and meeting new ones. There was even a ‘touch-up station’ set up where a beautician would re-apply lipstick for you when you went to the loo! 

                               Quackers getting a touch up!

Three of the Dolly Birds, Laura, Patrice and Jules made it into the fashion parade and sashayed down the catwalk with uber- style as we raucously cheered them on like a bunch of middle-aged Beliebers.



At one stage I squatted down beside Val and Deb and had a wonderful conversation but there came the moment when I had to stand again and I discovered my leg muscles had clamped into paralysis and getting up gracefully was not an option. I think I nearly took the table down as I used it for support. Too old to squat any more it seems.

                           Val and Deb (and Quackers on the right).

We pooled our bets all day and each of us walked away with crisp twenty dollar notes in our handbags which was fantastic since I probably spent eighty dollars on drinks.

I’m sure at the end of the day the staff were happy to see the back of us.


 But we will be back next year! I love the Dolly Birds!

Presenting.... some of "The Dolly Birds"

                                      Val


Laura


                                         Jules

                                       
                                       Patrice