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The next few weeks were spent visiting lovely friends, playing in croquet tournaments and using Julie as my base in London.Kate and I spent several days finalizing any painting that would impact on the new carpet when it was laid. We also had great times with the littlies, went to swimming classes, had play dates and did a bit of socializing too. Bret, meanwhile, was being sent to Italy on business for a few days most weeks and that added to the pressure with the visit of his parents only a few days away.

The last couple of days were spent moving things off shelves and desks so that heavy furniture could be moved, tidying the front garden and cutting the hedge, giving the house a bit of a spring clean and doing a bit of fun cooking with the girls.

Finally, Kate drove me, and my big case, to Julie’s flat so that I could make my base with her while Bret’s parents were visiting. We didn’t have long together before Julie kindly came with me to St Pancras to make sure that I got onto the train to Nottingham safely.

Roy and Elissa had been out to lunch to celebrate an important birthday but were at the Station to meet me and it was so good to see them, catch up with all the news and generally chill out.

The next day it was off to Nottingham Club in Elissa’s car (a lovely Honda Jazz which was a joy to drive) which she very generously lent to me for the week. It was so good to see some familiar faces, like that of Alain Giraud, and the welcome was really lovely.

It took a couple of days to get back into the groove and get used to the very fast lawns and I didn’t have a very successful handicap tournament. The doubles were fun but my partner and I only won one game before we were knocked out by the eventual finalists.

By the time the Class event started, I’d got the hang of things and it was a delight to find myself in the finals and eventually winning the B Class. Even more exciting was the fact that this took my NZ handicap down to 1.5 – dizzy heights indeed!

Elissa produced the most beautiful food, as she always does and organised lovely flower arrangements (NZ agapanthus) so that I’d feel truly at home!

At the end of the tournament, Elissa very kindly drove me back to London on hopelessly busy roads and dropped me at Earls Court.

Nottingham, England - 18-25 July 2010

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