Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Yesterday was a public holiday

in South Australia. It is known as "Adelaide Cup Day" - a horse racing event. It appears that this event is more important than Christmas Day, something celebrated by the vast majority of the population, which is no longer a public holiday. The fact that only a very small percentage of the population actually goes to the races (or even watches the race on television) is apparently beside the point. Fewer people participate, even peripherally, in this event than in the shenanigans surrounding the Melbourne Cup. The state of Victoria does not have a public holiday for that horse race.
We also had four visitors come for lunch yesterday. They are not people we know well but they had twice invited us and we felt honour bound to return the invitation.
As I am also in the middle of a deluge of work due to the situation in Japan I kept things even simpler than usual. The table was set but I put the food in the centre and said, "Please help yourselves." They did. We talked about a film ("The King's Speech"), some books and gardening.
The father has recently returned to university to do a course in teaching English as a foreign language. We discussed the benefits and detractions of on-line language learning as he helped me with the washing up. His wife had already insisted on bringing dessert with them.
The son is studying building design and construction. He disappeared into the shed with Dad to pick up some timber for a project.
The daughter-in-law is studying art and design. She borrowed five books from me.
For just over three hours I could forget what I had been doing. That was good. They left to attend a meeting and go to work at part-time jobs in aged care.
We all forgot that it was supposed to be a public holiday. My father had no clue that it was even supposed to be a public holiday. "Why," he inquired, "do we need a holiday for a horse race?"


Rachel Fenton said...

Ah - I remember you don't like the races - but you can't dislike the holiday, surely?

I'll have your holiday seeing as we've been done out of another one this year!

Anonymous said...

To echo your father, "Why indeed?"
What a waste of money. I am amazed that any government would force such nonsense on taxpayers.

catdownunder said...

It was not a holiday for me Rachel. I am self-employed and I never get public holidays. I do not actually get holidays. I had five days off four years ago but had to catch up on all the undone work when I got back!

Rachel Fenton said...

Just because you don't benefit from the holiday don't begrudge those who might - I don't get holidays either - self-employed + mother - haven't had a day off in ten years. There are wose things having tax wasted on them. Politicians' expenses for one.

catdownunder said...

What makes me mad is that Christmas Day was not a public holiday here - and that is much more a family day when people would really have appreciated a day off. If we can only afford one or the other then the choice should be Christmas Day - something members of other faiths also agree with!

Rachel Fenton said...

But I guess there needs to be some concensus about which holidays people want to share - with religious dates this gets prickly, though tolerance should not allow for this - it's a difficult thing to call.

In any case - you're right about the main fact - governments squander money with no returns for the people who parted with it in the first place.