Posts Tagged ‘tennis’

Half-term holiday

An idle start to the half-term holiday became much more active when we drove north to St Andrews. On the first day there, after a trip for Robin and me to the barber, we played badminton. Half-court singles and then doubles. Gabe and Robin played a tight match with Gabe lying on his back close to the net and Robin limited to hitting the shuttle-cock into the front portion of the court.

On day two, the boys and I played tennis. The sun was low and stingingly bright. After some rallying, we played two-game matches. Robin, flailing his racket and rushing around the court, frustrated Gabe by breaking his serve. Cousin F’s arrival in the afternoon brought garden football and a gymnastics routine with Eliza.

On day three, Robin and Eliza (reunited as pals), went swimming together. The first time they had been in a pool without an adult. Meanwhile, Gabe and I played a keen match of table tennis on a squash court.

With Grandpa aiming to sell the house, it may be our final stay in St Andrews.


Shifting alliances

Across a day at our Menorcan resort, Gabe, Eliza and Robin arrayed themselves with and against each other:

Finishing breakfast first, Eliza and Robin went off to the playground together for swings and gecko spotting.

Tennis for an hour at ten: all were in action, but Eliza and Robin continued their alliance across the net from Gabe who was in antagonistic mood, frustrated that he wasn’t getting a match against L or I and making snide remarks about their abilities.

Into the pool and all three played together for a blessed period of harmony – raiding each others’ inflatables and racing.

Before lunch, Gabe took exception to a family joke and threatened not to sit with us. Eliza and Robin practised handstands and collected tiny shells from the earth outside the apartment. Back to the pool, with Eliza and Robin racing each other with and without inflatables.

Mid-afternoon brought the resort football tournament. Robin and Gabe in tight formation found themselves on the same side – the skins – and scrapped, ran, tackled and shot for a sweaty half-hour. Their bonding continued with them reliving their best moments, “Did you see when I…”

Down the road to the waterpark: three together, until Robin broke away to try the more adventurous slides. He drew Eliza to him and eventually, anxiously, Gabe. When the slides closed, Gabe and Robin re-connected in the wave pool, with races and challenges.

Back to the resort pool, where Gabe and Robin continued their aqua-alliance into the evening. Feeding off each others’ boy antics they competed and collaborated in and underwater.

Straight from dinner, Gabe and Robin took the iPad to the resort’s wifi hotspot to stare at BBC Sport’s Euro football page refreshing too, too slowly with promised updates on the Barcelona match, leaving them to fill the blank minutes with football natter.

The resort’s evening ‘animation’ drew Eliza and Robin who, in a break in the show, accepted dares to run across the stage, which sent Gabe away to somewhere less embarrassing. But all three were active in the audience for the Strictly Come Dancing show that followed.

Night terrors


Four times in the past few weeks, Robin has got out of bed and wandered around upstairs, distressed and out-of-reach of L and my communication. He seems to be sleeping or responding to a dream. He mutters, not making sense to us, will hug us briefly and most recently was shaking with chattering teeth. We’re not really able to console him, but with encouragement he will lie down and goes back to sleep.


Three months after the match started, Gabe completed a tennis game with his friend R. Time had run out on them in the third set when playing before the summer holidays.Freed from eleven plus duties, Gabe arranged to play again. Such is the thoroughness with which they approach competition, they decided to complete their unfinished match, rather than start anew.


With a half-term in junior school under her belt, Eliza appears more confident and assertive. In the top group of a mixed class of year 3 and 4 pupils, she seems to be developing a wider group of friends and having a greater say in what they play, rather than dutifully following, as had happened in the past. She’s also cheeky and demanding at home.



On a warm, sunny day at school, Robin began a massage service. Starting with a massage for one of Eliza’s friends, the customers began to roll-up. They were positioned on benches on the field, and given the choice of karate or smooth. Most opted for karate. Eliza confirmed the popularity of Robin’s venture, claiming unreliably that maybe 100 pupils received the treatment.


Eliza likes to French kiss. It’s not the tongue tickling adult version, but either a lingering lip kiss or the continental embrace of friendship, with kisses exchanged on cheeks.


Gabe held L to a promise to play tennis last weekend, despite the wet weather. Gabe took an early 3-0 lead in the first set. At his insistence they played on through heavy rain, declining L’s offer to break while the worst of the weather passed. L fought back and had a 2 sets to love lead when she brought the match to an end. Gabe was angry at the result and that the match had not gone to five sets. Afterwards, he concluded that his weakness had been hitting too many shots that hit the white tape at the top of the net. His opponent didn’t recognise this analysis of the match.