Monday, 12 March 2012

Dreaming the Melbourne Cup Winner

It was 1963, the year the British stopped testing nuclear bombs in Australia, the year Whitlam and Calwell were photographed standing cap-in-hand under a street-lamp outside in the street , waiting for the Labor caucus inside (the 36 "faceless men") to decide their future without them.

The Queen visited that year, prompting Prime Minister Menzies to sycophantly proclaim "I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die". The Queen responded with an odd smiling shrug - almost a grimace of embarassment.

My parents had just married, I was about 2 years old, and we had an odd stroke of luck that year - a family story that is oft-remembered, but yet never really understood. My mother does not dream at all, she says; but my Dad does from time to time. He is not at all religious or spiritually minded, being quite down-to-earth and practical. But on this one occasion something rather odd happened.

One day in early November 1963, my Dad dreamed about the Melbourne Cup - indeed he specifically dreamed that it was won by a horse called "Gatum Gatum". Dad laughed it off, but Mum took this very seriously, and insisted they actually bet on the horse. She scraped together all the florins and shillings and pence which could be found, a total of some pounds, and took it to the bookie for a bet on Gatum Gatum to win.

Gatum Gatum was far from the favourite - indeed his odds were 25-to-1 for the win.
But sure enough, exactly as Dad dreamed - he came in to win at 25-to-1.

The story goes that when Mum went to collect, the poor bookie shovelled piles of notes at her - even including a few 'blue notes' (the rare 5-pound note.)

The money went on various bills, but also paid for our first pedigree British Bulldog - "Dallymore Tiger", a pet I remember with much affection who lived with us for ten years to follow.

Now-a-days Dad shrugs it off as a "just a fluke", as just "one of those things" - to which I wonder "one of what things, exactly?"

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