Anyone for tennis?
That was the cry in Edwardian dramas set in country houses. But the sport and an English summer still mix as well as gin and tonic.
Last weekend’s sunshine saw me donning shorts for the first time this year, then having a drink after tennis in an unlikely foursome.
While I ordered a pint at the club bar, my diverse companions were a chap in his 80s (“I’ll stick to water,” he told me); a cheerful lad who’s the toast of local weight-watchers (on diet lemonade), and a blonde chiropodist (glass of lager and lime).
It was social tennis that had brought us together.
While playing, the old boy relied on cunning; the lad on power; the gentler chiropodist on quick reactions (and feet), while I have played the game most of my life.
As the season gets under way I would recommend local sports to anyone of any age. We are blessed with many good clubs along the coast.
They are a great way to exercise and socialise, or for youngsters to grow and learn.
Nowadays there is coaching available in groups or one-to-one.
Mixing in helps the young respect their elders, for their experience and style; the old in turn admire the young, for their eagerness and energy.
I met my first girlfriends playing tennis and established some of my longest friendships.
I have also made new acquaintances abroad, visiting clubs on holidays.
You get all types and temperaments; such as power players or those with a subtle touch.
It keeps you fit; is sociable, and gets your knees (and bald patch) brown.
Where, or why else, would I have been enjoying a pre-prandial pint with such new friends?
Back at Edmonds Towers for Mother’s Day dinner, She Who Knows was also looking forward to playing soon.
Oh, yes, didn’t I say? That’s how I courted my wife too.
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