...and also to Chris Evert.
I began life as a natural southpaw, but it’s a right-handed world out there, folks, so I gradually changed, although I still use my left hand for many tasks.
But when I started playing tennis I was a source of great frustration to my coach. My natural response to any ball coming down the court on my left was to swap the racquet to my left hand. This was completely alien to my coach and no amount of coaxing or yelling made any difference. I simply “didn’t get it.”
Realising I was just going to continue playing a left-or-right forehand, Maui devised a system to force me to play the backhand shot. He’d stand behind me,holding my left arm down while someone fired balls down the court.
I was about 10 at the time and never a serious Cup contender, but boy! Did I develop a demon backhand! I never really enjoyed playing at the net; I found it easier to play from the base line and only come up to the net for weak returns. My “killer” stroke was a sneaky little backhand chip which just cleared the net and dropped. Dead. Not the chance of a snowball in Hell of playing that baby!
Well, life offered all sorts of different experiences and I didn’t play much tennis for a long time, but the backhand had stayed with me.
And then a young lass called Chris Evert showed up and her game was a breath of fresh air on the circuit. For one thing, she was a serious base-line player and when you hit from that far back, you’d better be strong. But what everyone noticed and what many players adopted was her two-fisted backhand.
At first, it looked awkward to me, probably as awkward as I’d looked to Maui, all those years ago! But I tried it one day in a social doubles game. My first shot was not particularly good, but the grip felt right and soon, I was slogging balls the length of the court. And with considerable power, I might add.
Why have I told you this tale? Well, yesterday I made a start on thinning the banana palms. Something that should have been done ages ago. Ye gods! They are taking over the back corner of the garden and some of the stems are almost a foot (300mm) thick. Ah, but with my demon backhand and a really sharp machete it was game,set and match to Dinah.
I can see the fence again! Now for the lemon tree…
I can hear one or two people in the Frozen North calling for more tropical garden pictures. Am I right? OK.
Four years ago, I planted a Cananga odorata at the front steps. I like to welcome people with fragrant flowers and this is the tree whose fragrance is used in ylang ylang perfume. Heady, redolant of
Somerset Maugham romances. Well, no, actually. Stupid tree drops spindly little branches all the time and even now that it’s flowering at last, I can’t detect any thing even remotely romantic. And you have to crane your neck to see much. Perhaps next year it will do better…
Meanwhile, I am dead chuffed to have flowers on the Dichorisandra thyrsifolia which, although I’d grown it in Brisbane, refused to bloom for me here. But Denise (the rainbow basket lady) gave me some cuttings from her garden and they are flowering! It’s such an intense blue it shines like a beacon, even in the shade. No perfume, but a knock-out colour!
And while I was beavering away, where were my two little shadows? Tethered to a garden hose!
Still not greatly impressed at being harnessed, but it’s for their own safety. ” Yeah, right! Let’s see how you like being tied up, lady!” (Sporran in the pink (sissy!) and Geiger sporting Royal Blue.(also sissy, woman!)
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