Bed by ten and then woken up with ten minutes, exactly, of brilliant fireworks at midnight. The Swedish people are a disciplined lot, the fireworks started at 11.58 and ended at 12.08!! Our house is on a hill and the entire horizon around us was lit up with an incredible display.
Quite different, remarkably different to anything else we had ever experienced. New Years Eve or 'New Years' as the Millennials call it, should be exciting, glamorous, and much anticipated. Worth dressing up for and making a statement
My mind drifted off to Bulawayo's halcyon days when New Year's Eve was champagne, dancing, balloons, party hats, fairy lights live bands and Auld Lang Syne......
We had some splendid venues for New Years Eve didn't we Remember the MacMurray Hall in the Grand Hotel with that amazing sprung dance floor Where for would wear the DJs,
full-length gowns, (gloves even ) and really dance until midnight. And here I mean DANCE!! The waltz, the foxtrot, the tango and the cha cha cha!! Hopefully someone can fill me in with the names of the Dance Bands I am sure Jimmy McGroarty and Jack Buckle were in there somewhere
We would sit at elegant tables, partake of a delicious dinner, and then shimmy until midnight and join arms to sing Auld Lang Syne..
Then there were the New Years Eve Balls which were booked out at the Hotel Victoria, some held in the Rainbow Room, and some in the magnificent downstairs function room, a glorious room where every important function in Bulawayo took place at some time or other.
Windermere Hotel on the Vic Falls road had some wonderful New Year Bashes, and Mum even talked of New Year during and after the Second World War at the Matopos Hotel!!
How many readers would have danced the night away at the Round House Later the Hotel Rio on the Essexvale Road It's now a Village for underprivileged children but I am sure those walls would have tales to tell
Glass Castle Cecil Hotel Carlton Hotel Selborne Hotel Greys Inn They too had their place in Bulawayo's glorious entertainment past. The Churchill Arms was a fairly new addition to our hostelries, on the Matopos Road, resplendent in the Old Tudor Style, as was the Holiday Inn.
As our family grew we would make for the lake!! Christmas and New Year at Olive Beadle, Mlibizi, Binga were glorious times, albeit a constant fight with mozzies and creatures, the sizzling hot days on the lake made special memories. The Eastern Highlands also bring back delicious New Year tales, Troutbeck Inn, Tsanga Madziwa, Chimanimani, our children still year for holidays in those magical destinations.
Of course our Piece De Resistance in Bulawayo would be to drive out to the Matopos and watch the sunrise into the New Year at Efifi on the giant great grey dwala that is Pomongwe.
What will 2021 bring us We pray not the same as 2020... will there be a respite to this horror of pandemic, will the world be able ever to recover How many people will be taken away by the scourge
Only God knows and we just have to do our best to make some lives a little better if we possibly can, by tiny deeds that might just make a difference.