Few years ago, my husband and I (and our then 3 year old child) were asked to go down to Sussex to stay with some friends for a Tennis Weekend. I didn’t play tennis, but I am a keen learner and I thought it would be a perfect place to pick up this new game surrounded by an enormous garden, new friends and a beautiful house.
Our arrival was met by enthusiasm and we were shown around the gardens soon afterwards. The few people on the two tennis courts had already started playing.
They all wore white. I felt anxious and upset that I had failed to bring the essential kit. I had interpreted a friendly tournament to mean lots of laughter, kids on the greens, balloons in the sky and colourful tutus as dress code.
I was badly mistaken. The tournament was organised with full seriousness. The white clipboard displayed a list of players, and the bottles of water and new tennis balls still in their plastic packaging were on sight next to the court. I even spotted a ball girl.
My name wasn’t on the list. I felt relieved. With my green tutu and a baby on my hip I would have been an odd addition. And so thought the hostess. With a big smile and ostentatious hospitality I was soon led to the attic where a rocking horse and lots of toys were promised to make me have “a splendid time in the house”. “I hope you don’t mind if your husbands stays with us. We’ll all have lunch together at 1.30” said the hostess and left me with the baby on the top floor of the house, where the chatter of the players could still be heard through the small windows too high to look out from.