For our holiday with extended family in Yorkshire, the sun shone and the lawn in our walled garden stretched out left, right and away from us, with one corner sacrificed to a tennis court.
And so the games began. Cricket: single wicket; limited overs; last-man standing; and throw-downs for no.1 son, showing un-vacation-like determination to hone his batting technique and run-scoring potential against nine imaginary fielders I had to place and move to counter his shots. Badminton: competitive, but usually co-operative – counting successful rallies. Football: sweaty matches played by five cousins – five ages, five sizes – three-and-in, piggy-in-the-middle; with tumbles, trips, laughs and panting.
A bright morning of mini-Olympics post-modern pentathlon: running, satsuma ‘n spoon races, long-jump, high jump and limbo.
On the court: tennis with racket and ball; with foot and football; catching competitions and games imported by no.1 son from school for a crowded court of 10 or more players with racket wielding attackers on one side and bare-handed defenders on the other; and a smooth surface for roller-blades and scooters.
A playground by the local swimming pool. In the contemporary fashion, its equipment adapted from the design of medieval siege warfare devices.
At the end of the week, our trip westwards across the Dales, included a stop for a pony ride.