Did you notice that this year the lead up to Christmas was somewhat muted – although I am sure it all came right on the day.
Possibly, in Zimbabwe, this was partly due to soaring prices because, for mean-spirited people like me, it is hard to feel festive when simple shopping leads to traumatic shock.
The next hurdle is New Year’s Eve when we are meant to be optimistic and brimming over with good cheer. Zimbos all know next year will be better – and in this case it better be – but I have found out how to be wildly happy, instantly, and bursting with plans for 2021.
The answer lies in imagined opulence. Take a few moments to imagine money is no object and it is amazing how quickly one adapts to this lovely idea. Then decide what you want to happen next year – after you have spread some of your boundless wealth around, buying horses and looking after the less fortunate, of course.
Personally, I want my old stamping ground back – the Ipi Tombe Room at Borrowdale Park with its easy access to the important parts of the racecourse. I miss that relaxed atmosphere with down to earth racing people, who get their kicks out of winning the odd quartet.
And before you say that is not going to happen remember money is no object so I can do what I like.
I have not checked up on what is left in the Ipi Tombe Room for several months. The devastation is too depressing and talked about plans never come to anything. Perhaps someone has leased these premises but so what. With my unlimited funds I can buy the lease, if any; buy tables and chairs, get tablecloths; refurbish the kitchen, stock the bar, replace everything that was summarily sent “upstairs”, order flowers, lavishly, and hire a with-it manager who will keep it clean, engage necessary staff and keep us supplied with delicious snacks.
We could be up and running in a couple of weeks, with all the help that would be forthcoming from other people who also miss the good old days in the Ipi Tombe Room. And there will be a grand re-opening, of course, when former Ipi Tombe patrons will be invited to fill a table with invited guests – drinks and snacks on the house.
Having got that off my chest I feel much better. This sense of empowerment will last several hours, at least – but back to earth and basics.
Racecourses need people, as well as owners, and worldwide the trend is aimed at attracting racegoers. Unfortunately, no-one is going to come racing if there is nowhere to have a drink and chat in between races and meet up with other people.
All credit to those who have kept Zimbabwe racing going during difficult times. However, COVID will not last forever and, hopefully, the powers that be will, in 2021, give some thought to improving the facilities on offer so that new, and former, racing fans come on to the course.