I’d be lying if I said I was a big fan of sport, I’m not, I do understand how other people get enthusiastic about the events on television, but I don’t understand why they then feel the need to have a go. In April, around the time of the London marathon, we seem to have more joggers running along Pavers Place than any other time of the year. This week everywhere you look there are women in short white dresses and men in any colour of shorts with pristine trainers.At the Spar Gary and Harry were celebrating Wimbledon with luxury strawberries and cream, the price they are charging you would think they had been prepared by Sue Barker, with the cream churned by Boris Becker. Many people in the street had boycotted the Spar strawberries and one of the outspoken lobbyists had been Reg, who was outraged at the price.
‘Those strawberries will be eaten by members of my family, over my dead body’, had been the actual words he used, which I thought was a tad extreme, but that’s Reg for you.
In fact him and Margaret were two people in Pavers Place who had taken up the tennis mantle along with Ian and Raphe. No one would chose to see Reg in shorts for any occasion, his varicose veins do a fine impression of an ordnance survey map, and his stomach escapes from the bottom of his tee shirt revealing a cavernous belly button. It’s enough to put you off your strawberries and cream. Raphe and Ian are always dressed pristinely for any event that they undertake and their outfits this week have been no different.
After the run in over the allotment I would expect these two couples to avoid each other over the net of a tennis court, but apparently they were practising at the Pavers Rec at the same time and decided to go for a game of mixed doubles.
It was an unusual combination to behold, Reg in his grubby tee shirt and shorts and Ian and Raphe looking like Andy Murray could ask them for style tips. Margaret was very nervous about the game, and reminded Reg many times before the first serve to be nice to their opponents.
‘I’m always nice’, came Reg’s gruff reply, but everyone else on the court knew this not to be strictly true, Raphe was still reliving the time he had been told by Reg, in no uncertain terms, to kill the mole he had uncovered at the allotment.
The game started well, the four being reasonably successful at maintaining rallies, and there was a definite flow to proceedings. Margaret and Raphe in particular were enjoying the match, but neither of them predicted the sudden turn in events when Ian lost a couple of points to Reg, and was suddenly overcome with a burning need to, ‘thrash the sausage loving pain into the ground’. Raphe’s face took on a glow of admiration and fear as he witnessed this unseen side to his partner, Margaret on the other hand was in abject terror, she had long suffered the results of her husband’s competitive spirit and was in no mood to cope with it now.
The pair meandered feebly around at the back of the court in their respective ends, giving Reg and Ian the chance to battle it out between them. Ian had previously revealed to Raphe that he intended to hold back to ‘give the old couple’ a chance, but the spirit of gamesmanship had been lost along with the last two points, he was, as he was wont to shout out, ‘back in the zone’.
Reg’s face grew increasingly red as he ran around to meet Ian’s aggressive shots, losing point after point. Unfortunately rather than blame himself for his lack of skill he focused on Margaret, who by this time was cowering in the corner.
‘Come on woman’, he screeched, ‘hit the ball, hit the ball.’
Things reached fever point when Reg lost another point and surrendered the game; losing all semblance of control he threw the racquet down at the ground cursing Ian, Raphe, Margaret and the net itself. Margaret rushed towards Reg to console him at the same time as the racquet rebounded from the pitch covered court, landing with full force on her head.
I watched the forlorn couple walk back towards the house, Margaret is a pretty woman who would have been the focus of much male attention when she was younger, but still I was surprised to see her wearing a red and pink coloured adornment in her hair. As they neared the house I could see that the decoration was in fact a large bump which was turning from pink to red and would soon be a lovely shade of purple, she had tears running down her face and for the first time ever I could see that Reg was looking ashamed.
‘Perhaps I could cook you up some nice sausages for your tea?’
Margaret was having none of it, ‘No, you won’t Reg, I want strawberries and cream, and what’s more I want them now and I want them from the Spar.’
Through her tears I could see that revenge for Margaret was very sweet indeed.