8

Winx is no Waikikamukau

winx

So, Saturdays now settle into a lovely rhythm.

Alex, Max and I go for our weekly run, just after breakfast. Down past the Gum Tree Reserve, and across Tapleys Hill Road. Where exactly is this eponymous hill? The entire boulevard is as flat as the Adelaide Oval pitch.

Then along the Patawalonga River and to the beach. Some big old dogs gallop about like big old dogs. We pause at the Buffalo Park where the boys rotate enthusiastically through a few of those outdoor exercise machines while I pant on a bench. Then, we turn for home.

Along the way we chat. Max says, “Dad, would you rather play for Chelsea or Tottenham?”

Alex questions too. “What’s your favourite car for driving in the snow?”

I love it.

Tee-ball then beckons. As this season’s supercoach* I haul the black coffin of gear across multiple baseball diamonds, and meet the team who are jumping about on the grass like big old dogs.

We work our way through a couple of batting and fielding innings. This morning all eleven kids turned up. The complete roster. Placing them on the park as the opposition swung and struck was a challenge. It was, as old mate Chris Hayward once remarked, like putting ten pounds of spuds in a six-pound bag. I wanted to put some of them in a slips cordon.

tee ball

But this morning one of the girls came good after she snared the ball in her flopping glove. It was a moment. It was her trigger. Previously anchored to a spot and pouting with sass well beyond her years she was now diving upon ground balls and rushing first base. Excellent stuff.

The twin evils of gardening (rampant Buffalo runners) and Ikea (No, no Björnholmen today) dispensed I slipped down to the Broadway Hotel to catch the Australasian (I love that word more than I should) racing championship that is the (time-honoured) WS Cox Plate.

Because I care about the cultural and sporting educations of Alex and Max, I took them with me. Having said this Max and I probably have too many conversations about Black Caviar even though he was a toddler when she was on her way to twenty-five on the trot (or burst, in her case). His curiosity is magnificent.

We’re still learning about the noble nomenclature of racing so instead of asking which horse I’ve had a bet on, Alex says, “Which horse are your voting for Dad?”

Indeed, if this were a democratic action I’d be tempted to reply, “Not that hopeless gelding Barnaby Joyce,” but that would be brash and inappropriate. Kiwis are our friends.

With chips and lemonade and Coopers brand new Session Ale (8/10: flavoursome) we’re each on a stool in the front bar when I tell them about my favourite ever horse (although it owes me money, and having departed this planet can never square my ledger). I love that they giggle when I tell them the name. This is the same reaction I had in 1993 when he ran third to Mahogany in the Victoria Derby on that great day at Flemington. I recall watching the race in the Cowell pub. Don’t know why.

session ale

Waikikamukau.

Even now I feel a little frisson when I say it. Why-kick-a-moo-cow. More giggles. I say it again. Waikikamukau.

Last week with the boys in tow I backed Snitty Kitty, who won at Caulfield. The Heath, I tell them. Could she be our family’s 2017 Waikikamukau?

But today we witness Winx winning her third Cox Plate. It’s also her twenty-second successive victory. There’s a rich, explosive wall of sound in The Broady as she punches on to salute by a half-length.

It’s probably a hundred types of wrong, but I want to immerse our boys in it. Because it’ll be fun.

That’s it.

On our way home, we slide past Pizza on Broadway and get a large pepperoni.

Waikikamukau would’ve expected no less.

*possibly not based upon fact

pizza

 

0

The Cox Plate, Kevin B. Wilson and love: my wedding speech

wedding

We were married on Saturday, October 26, 2002. How can this have been fifteen years ago? Here’s a transcript of my wedding speech.

When we decided to get married a little over a year ago I thought this will be a really big day, and I need to seek lots of advice on how to make it work well. You need undertake lots of decisions to make it work well.

So, who can I talk to? Who can help me out here? So, I decided to go to my old home town, Kapunda. Anyone here from Kapunda? (various members interjecting) I talked to a few people from Kapunda and as you can plainly tell, they were absolutely useless to me. They had nothing sensible to offer whatsoever.

So, then I thought my second home is probably the West Coast so I thought I’d talk to a few people about the big day, the really important day. And they were even less use than the Kapunda people.

It hit me like a flash one afternoon. Who’s the most important person who can give me some advice? So, I wandered up to the Barossa, to the Valley one afternoon and sat down with Dad.

We were sitting around the kitchen table having a Sparkling Ale. One of two, you’re only allowed two per session in the Randall house. Each carton’s got to last at least twelve drinking sessions. So, we’re sitting around the kitchen table talking about the big day and I’m seeking advice. And Dad’s lovingly grasping his frosty ale, and I said, “Dad, what do you reckon? Help me out with this big day. What do you suggest on this day of days?”

And Dad said, “I know it means a lot to you. It’s a crucial day, we want you to be happy. My advice is to wack all your money on Sunline in the Cox Plate.”

sunline

Welcome to our wedding.

I’d like to thank our ushers Jill and Barry, and Robyn and Mark for their terrific work earlier.

I’d also like to thank our guitarists who entertained you earlier, Neil and Phil, very good friends from Port Pirie, who played some beautiful songs by people we really like such as U2 and Jeff Buckley. I know also that they rehearsed that terrific wedding classic, “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. It’s a great song, I’ll just remind you of some of the key lyrics, it goes

Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun of yours?
I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man

It’s a touching wedding song. Thank you very much.

Thanks also to our photographer Brett, and his assistant Trish for their wonderful work. They’re from Blue Razoo. That’s Blue Razoo, if you need somebody. We had a terrific, fun morning down the beach with Roxy. (Robyn interjecting- Roxy Randall!) He’s a great photographer. In the photos, I’ll be blonde and built like Koutoufides (former Carlton footballer, Adonis-like).

Thanks to our videographers, Richard, Mark and Matt for capturing much of the afternoon. Well done.

Thanks to my sister Jill for your reading of that poem which means a lot to us. Superb.

Thanks to the jockey and connections of Celestia which won Race 10 last week when we were at Victoria Park. That was the Get Out Of Jail Stakes and we certainly needed that.

Thanks to guests who’ve travelled. From Queensland, Grandma and Grandpa, Chris, Stephen and Eleni. Thanks for making the effort.

Thanks also to Greg Mennie who’s travelled all the way from the Eastern Suburbs today, a big effort. Crossed the border there at West Terrace, no vaccinations, no visa. It’s pretty brave, he’s good like that. Thanks, Puggy.

border

Thanks also to all of you for coming. People from Kapunda, Gawler, Queensland, Pirie, Kimba, Wudinna and Adelaide. Thanks for sharing you lives with us. We’ve enjoyed living in the communities that we have. We can really recommend the three pillars of country living to you.

1.    Hotel

2.    Sport, and

3.    Hotel after sport.

kimba

To all of our friends who are shortly to be married or who are to have a baby: good luck from all of us here. There’s quite a few of you. Congratulations. (Robyn interjecting,” Yeah, Kerry!)

Thanks to our parents. To Lois and Bob, Joan and Darryll, for your extraordinary love and guidance and support not only today, but throughout our lives. Thank you.

To Jill and Barry; Richard, Mark, Robyn and Dylan: thanks for your contributions and for making our lives as fabulous as they are.

Lastly, to Kerry-ann. For the rich catalogue of memories you’ve given me already: Sunday beach walks with Roxy; the sunset in Venice; hot chocolate over games of backgammon. Thank you for that.

venice

Well done for your astonishing work in preparing for today. It’s been beyond any expectation I could’ve had, and as we’re probably all guessing, it’s all due to you. Thank you.

You look as beautiful as you truly are. (various members interjecting; especially Robyn, “What do you want?”)

Just a few of the things I do love about my wife include: your absolutely unconditional generosity with people, the countless ways in which you’ve taught me about the world and myself, your vibrant cultural tastes- this is a girl who can sing all of “Joelene” by Dolly Parton, and a terrifying amount of the back catalogue of Kevin B. Wilson, which we’ll be doing at 5.55 so that’ll get you out the door in a big hurry.

In closing, if I know what love is, it’s because of you.

So, please enjoy the reception and thanks for coming.

kev