Andy Murray is 33 today! Now, that Birthday I heard on the radio. Imagine, only 33 and a multi-millionaire, Knight of the Realm, father of three and a hell of a nice guy to boot. We are not worthy! Actually, I have just opened an AELTC email and clicked on a couple of the videos. One was of some of the greatest sporting moments over the years and I was so pleased to see the clip from the 1973 Men’s Quarter Final match between the gentleman that was – and is – Roger Taylor and the 17 year-old heartthrob, Bjorn Borg. I remember it well. My mother was a huge Taylor fan while I, like every other teenage girl, loved the gorgeous Swede who seemed to have appeared from nowhere. Anyway, we were glued to the TV – as we were throughout Wimbledon – but this match was to be remembered for the incredible sportsmanship of Roger Taylor. As he served for the match, the crowd erupted as it appeared to be an ace. Borg looked puzzled, however, and it seemed that he had left it believing the ball out. No electronic eye in these days and there was no call from the line judge. It was Taylor, himself, who walked towards the net and said the ball was out. He had no need to do that. He had been given the match but he insisted the point be played again. An absolute gentleman, it made Borg’s defeat that much easier to bear!
Wimbledon. The summer of 1973. I have never forgotten Roger Taylor’s chivalry that day – and I’m sure Borg hasn’t either. Taylor was known for his sportsmanship on the court and his young Swedish opponent, that day, would go on to display the same throughout his career. That’s the thing about Wimbledon, though, it demands a certain etiquette and most are happy to deliver. How are we going to survive without it this year? I’ve said it many times before, Wimbledon is summer to us. That mainstay, in the middle of the year, it is a high to which one can look forward and, then, look back on as summer fades and winter beckons. I have loved it since I wore pigtails and always dreamt that, one day, I would be lucky enough to go. Well, my dream came true in 2012 when I was awarded two tickets in the Ballot for Court One, Men’s Quarter Finals. It was everything I had imagined and more and, since then, we have returned each year (bar one) whether we have tickets or not. It is an absolute privilege to attend and something we never take for granted. Lucky enough to occupy some of the best seats on Centre Court, we have watched, first hand, the skill, talent, incredible courage and sportsmanship which, together, make that iconic tournament so special. That little corner of SW19 which remains, forever, in a gentler world …
A gentler world. I fear that has long gone. Only this morning, it was reported on the radio that there have been numerous disputes borne of social distancing on pavements! Seriously? It seems that sparks are known to fly if one party refuses to move or maintain the two-metre distance. For goodness sake, this is outside we are talking about! What is the likelihood of catching COVID-19 by walking past someone on the pavement? None. Even brushing past someone in a shop? None. Unless that person sneezes or coughs, as one passes by, then one can be fairly certain one is not going to catch anything! Scary, the power of the media and those, voluntarily, willing to succumb.
At the same time, one cannot catch COVID-19 by looking at someone, smiling or uttering the word ‘Hello’ as one passes. Contrary to belief, good manners do not come with a health warning! Becca and I walked the five miles into the centre of town, this afternoon. A study in human nature. It is amazing what a difference it makes to one’s mood if a stranger smiles and says ‘Hello’ in passing. It should always be thus. Once upon a time, it was. Becca and Manny are more accepting of the open hostility which abounds, today, in place of erstwhile manners. I have always, ensured, however, that they are more than aware!
Another strange day, I got caught up, once more, in watching The Grand Tour – in my jammies – with Becca and Manny! Jeremy Clarkson and his playmates are addictive to watch and hilarious! I cannot recommend it highly enough. Touring the world, one is privy to amazing scenery, off the beaten track, and the antics of three little boys who never grew up. As an escape from the monotony of the here and now, I am happy to succumb to its appeal and will never begrudge the time spent in their infectious company. No mask required. (Unfortunately, a neighbour knocked on the door, asking for me, at 1pm. Appearing in my dressing gown, she asked if I was unwell! What were the chances? No. Perfectly fine. Just on The Grand Tour!)
So, it is later than I anticipated, as I write. I believe, too, that it is Friday! The sky is overcast as night, slowly, begins to fall. Becca, well-trained, has delivered my mean gin and, subsequently, replenished it. Little things. Another weekend beckons, whatever that means …
‘The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.’ Eeyore. A. A. Milne.
This is Trish, signing off.