The Wimbledon tennis tournament again. Mrs Llew has an unflinching work ethic but I am delighted that she has abandoned it to follow the competition this year, even though the British standard-bearer is a Scot. She’s even warming to him as he wins a sequence of matches on the way to the semi finals.
Today, after she had followed Andrew Murray’s progress to success in his match, her spreadsheet programme of housework having been happily put aside, we remembered the times when our children watched the summer tennis with her.
And I also remembered my elder daughter’s enjoyment of cricket and the summer’s Test matches, and the crush she had on Tony Greig, the 6ft 6in tall England cricket captain of the day. Her girls’ school did not play cricket, much to her disappointment.
I can see the tufty back lawn behind that Edwardian house now, where I tried to teach her to bowl overarm – and somewhere we still have the small cricket bat which I carved for her when she was small, out of a piece of firewood.
She has a daughter now, whose earliest memories as a toddler may be my telling her to ‘watch the ball’, as I invited her to catch a windfall apple. We’ve a lovely picture of that moment.
Back in that 100-year-old house of my children’s early years, the crumbling, ornate, Edwardian windows of our study looked out on to the back garden and its lawn. I remember my younger daughter helping me to paint the rotting wooden frames of the windows, until the smell of the paint upset her breathing.
And I remember her helping me strip elderberries from their stalks as we sat out on the step to fill a mixing bowl with the claret-dark fruit to make wine.
And Mrs Llew’s and my wonderment when a tiny fountain sprang up quite close to the back door.
We thought it was a magic spring but it turned out to be a leaking stormwater drain.