I have two abiding memories of this Sunday at Lord’s with Daisy.
They both relate to the charming South African gentleman and his Zimbabwean friend who sat next to us in the Mound Stand. We chatted with them at length in the earlier part of the day.
In particular, the Zimbabwean gentleman explained the currency chaos prevailing in Zimbabwe at that time; sacks full of bank notes to buy basic items, the authorities producing ever larger, ludicrously large denomination bank notes; worthless before they had even rolled off the printing presses.
I asked the gentleman if I might buy some from him for our Z/Yen edutainment boat trip games. He said he had none with him but sack loads at home. He said his wife would bring some for me when she was next in London (in a few weeks’ time) and refused to take money for them. He did not even accept the offer of hospitality on the boat in exchange.
To his credit, he followed through with his promise. A few weeks’ later a mysterious woman apparently arrived at our St Helen’s Place offices with a large envelope stuffed with billions upon billions of Zimbabwean dollars:
This multitude of notes came in very handy in Z/Yen edutainment games for many years and I really am very grateful to the kind man who took so much trouble to respond to a casual request that came up in chat at cricket.
I also remember feeling slightly sleazy about the matter as, given his refusal to take anything in reciprocation, the transaction felt, in essence, as though I had successfully begged for money – albeit worthless money. Janie and I debated that aspect for a while, as I was at that time in the process of preparing my Gresham Lecture on Commercial Ethics.
But I digress.
The other abiding memory was the disappearance of that South African and Zimbabwean double-act as soon as a heavy storm blew across. It was very heavy rain, but it was scheduled to pass quickly and the new drainage at Lord’s is terrific. I even said to them that I thought the game would restart within an hour of the rain stopping, despite the heaviness of the rain.
The gentlemen both said that they had spent too long over the years waiting for Lord’s to fail to dry, so headed off as soon as the rain relented.
Play did resume within an hour of the rain stopping. It proved to be an exciting match in the end.
The multi-billion dollar earning aspect of this day is now immortalised on the King Cricket website – click here or below: