Wimbledon fortnight has come round again, all too soon and I am not ready for it. I am a tennis addict. In a parallel universe, which I have to admit dear reader, I inhabit a great deal, all my laundry would be done, as would all my shopping so that meals would be prepared and ready to take out of the freezer and my calendar cleared for the next two weeks. In that wonderful universe I could then indulge in watching my favourite sport on the television and armchair commentating on every volley, backhand and overhead smash.
Unfortunately, the real world claims my time and attention. I have alterations to make to my latest book, shopping has to be done and meals prepared for the hungry hoards. Then there is the garden to be attended to, church music practice to fit in and why, oh why, did I volunteer myself to help out in the Library garden? Because I can't stand to see the weeds any longer and neither can my friend and I can't let her tackle that lot all by herself.
So there it is - and a multitude of other things thrown into the mix - a normal everyday life. But over the two weeks of Wimbledon I transmogrify into an armchair couch potato. Chores are rushed or neglected altogether, spouse believes he has become a rabbit as so much salad is put before him and work is confined to mornings only if tackled at all and the weeds grow and the dust gathers in the house, as I slink off to watch my heroes fight their way to glory yet again.
I played a lot of tennis in my youth, in the days of the wooden rackets. How we ever lifted them, let alone managed to thwack a ball, still remains a mystery to me. By rights I should have bulging biceps and muscular calves from years of fruitlessly chasing after tennis balls, but I have neither and I count that a blessing. But it kept me fit and watching the players at Wimbledon every year, players at the top of their profession, battling on to win, sometimes against all odds. inspired me to keep trying and not only at the tennis.
My days of playing fast-paced tennis are a happy memory. These days I am more suited to fast-paced walking, but I still love watching the tennis players fighting it out, slipping and sliding on the unfamiliar grass courts. I love the well-trained ball boys and girls, darting out like a lizard's tongue and then being still again. The dramas, the crises, temper tantrums, the amazing, unbelievable shots the players can make that leave me gasping and on the edge of my seat. What a sport. I love it all.
As I write there is still another week of Wimbledon left. I will be there as much as I can. Every line call, lob and double fault will be chewed over, tears shed when one of my heroes is defeated and a great deal of shouting at the screen, when, in my expert judgement, the linesman/woman gives the wrong call of 'out' or the umpire is unfair to my player, whatever the reason it may be - racket abuse, temper or taking too long between serves. There is as much steam got up in our house as ever there is on the courts.
Excuse me, I must go now, it's time for the next match. Andy Murray's on court and he needs my support. What's that spouse? Supper? Do I really need to tell you? Strawberries and cream. Oh, and Pimms, of course.