It felt good to be going back to a foreign, but familiar place, where we understand most of what they're saying. We are back to England, back to Teddington, and most joyfully, going back to Zoe the cat. We were here just nine months earlier to pet sit, and Ky and I both fell in love with her. When we were asked by Vivian and Mark if we would consider returning to sit for Zoe again to facilitate a 25th wedding anniversary trip, we both immediately said yes. In addition, we were offered a stay at their vacation home in Devon, a famously beautiful part of England. Zoe would have been enough, but their sweet offer was the icing on the cake.
Of course, we wanted to plan a few extra things before and after the pet sit, so... back also to logistics - our specialty now! We flew in to London Gatwick Airport, grabbed a car and headed to the south coast of England for 3 nights. Pickleball friends we met on our last visit, Karen and Mitch, had invited us to visit them near Eastbourne. They had just one night home between the Dublin Pickleball Open and the German Pickleball Open which was combined with the Bainbridge Cup. We were happy to get to see them again, and I'm looking forward to playing a tournament with Karen in Spain in September .
So with their 24 hours in town, what did we go do together? We played pickleball of course!
Karen had arranged for Ky to meet his future doubles partner, Nick, before they play together in the Spanish Open tournament in September. Chris and Karen are lovely people who definitely go way above and beyond.
Karen is intensely involved with setting up Pickleball England as well as organizing the first English Open tournament. She and Mitch have done so much to promote the sport throughout the country, as well as other parts of Europe. https://www.pickleballengland.org/
Take a look at the European Schedule. There are lots of tournaments to choose from, but tight dates if you want to make it to all of them. This goes to show you how popular pickleball is becoming in Europe! You've already missed most of the 2019 dates, but it's not to early to start saving your pennies, pence or euros for 2020!
The southern British coast is simply stunning and we completely enjoyed a short 3 day visit near the coast. Here is a quick video from one afternoon.
Copy and paste https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF7rhdBOXh0&feature=youtu.be
in your browser if video doesn't open.
Before we left the southern area, we went to play pickleball two more times. We played three times in 3 1/2 days, brilliant!
Want to take a gander at a really funny photo? Here I'm looking a bit daft holding a cricket bat, clearly before I got all of the instructions on how to play. I thought that the proper way to hold it would be like a baseball bat. But no, the tip is supposed to start on the floor. The folks at Shinewater were oh-so-patient with me. I actually managed to strike the ball (I was a "biffer") a couple of times and as this was "walking cricket", I strolled quickly, and quite by accident scored a point - Yayyy! That eye-hand coordination from pickleball must have helped! It didn't count for anything, but the country might want to reconsider how they hold their cricket bats ;-)
If you're interested in playing pickleball in the southern portion of England, take a look at the map details on the British version of Places2Play. You can get in contact with the person named at each location shown on https://www.pickleballengland.org/ . Consider registering with the group to help them gain the numbers needed to be recognized as a national sport. It will help them to qualify for national funds and grants to grow pickleball in England.
Please stay tuned if you want to see a photo of the beautiful Zoe Cat
in Teddington. She's coming up next blog post!