I’m very partial to watching a bit of Wimbledon on the TV. I mean, what could be more charming than people dressed in tennis whites playing a sport that refers to a score of zero as ‘love’? This year, I was so excited by it, I decided to get a few games in myself. Obviously I’m no Serena Williams, but if I let gross ineptitude stop me doing things, I’d never have learnt to drive.
I rifled round the bottom of the wardrobe for my old tennis skirt, but the triumph of finding it was quickly dulled by the pain of realising it is now at least three sizes too small. To rectify this, I went online and ordered a white one (for a respectfully vintage look) and a pink one (for tennis with a dash of rock’n’roll).
The white skirt arrived the next day, but was too tight to zip up and so short it was practically gynaecogical. The pink skirt arrived whilst I was out, and was delivered to the local off-licence.
It’s good to know that my neighbours don’t feel the need to buy alcohol before 10.30am, but it’s frustrating to make a special trip to a shop only to find it’s shut. So the next day I had to make a second visit to the off-licence to collect the skirt I already knew didn’t fit. But the lady behind the counter didn’t want to give me the parcel because I hadn’t brought photo ID.
It could have been that I had an honest face, or maybe she was worried that my hysterical sobbing would put off the other customers, but she eventually relented and handed over a package so massive I looked like I was carrying a fridge-freezer home instead of a teeny-tiny tennis skirt.
And then my luck turned. Due to high levels of incompetence on my part, it turns out I had accidentally ordered the size I should have ordered if I weren’t so dishonest with myself about the true impact of eating so much cake. Happy days!
And now I have fallen in love with tennis all over again. It may be that I play like an over-excited Great Dane – that is to say, with a great deal of enthusiasm but without any actual skill. But that’s ok, because running round with a racquet in my hand whilst wearing an appropriately-sized tennis skirt makes me brim-ful of joy. Every time I whack the ball and it lands in, I feel like I’m Roger Federer.
All I need now is the body of Maria Sharapova and a fridge full of strawberries and cream and it will be like Wimbledon has come to south east London…
PS Writing this blog has reminded me of the brilliant joyful poem about tennis, love and Miss Joan Hunter Dunn by John Betjeman – if you’ve never read it, I recommend it!