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Smashing Time

Miss J.Hunter Dunn, Miss J.Hunter Dunn,
Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament – you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn


You may never have made the acquaintance of Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, or even been to Aldershot … but you should be in total accord with Sir John Betjeman’s enthusiasm for the joys of tennis, and here is why.

Taking that giant step for which, some can’t wait, but which others dread – retirement – can be daunting.  What are you going to do with yourself to make positive and constructive use of the hours now available? How can you match the ideal of maintaining or maybe even boosting opportunities for social interaction and friendship, keeping the brain and body active and meeting the need to see a task through to a satisfactory conclusion – all of those things that a job may have given you? Join the local tennis club near our luxury retirement villages to make sure that you continue to enjoy these benefits of working life.


Your local borough council may from time to time offer courses aimed at getting retirees back into sport, you can even do walking tennis.  You are likely to come across a mixed bunch of people, some of whom may have played tennis decades earlier and saw an opportunity to get back into it, others may be complete beginners. There’s no reason you can’t bring along another retiree from our senior living communities who shares a mutual interest in tennis or just for moral support.

Tennis people tend to be a friendly bunch, no airs or graces with a positive and supportive atmosphere which will see you improving your tennis and enjoying being in the group very quickly.  When the course ends, you may be tempted to join a tennis club and hopefully find the reception from the club is just as open and welcoming.  Even for older beginners this is a well-trodden pathway which ensures that you find your feet and your new playing partners, with no trouble at all. If you’re looking for active retirement communities, this is a great extra or alternative.

In fact, back in 1940s Britain, Sir John found more than simply a playing partner at his tennis club:

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

Tennis will help you to stay physically fit, build friendships, challenge yourself to improve and maintain a targeted, external focus.  Not to mention how you may just enjoy the visits to the clubs from your luxury retirement villages, the preferential access to Wimbledon tickets and the tennis holidays in far-flung places. Taking up tennis in retirement will give you nothing but good returns (pun intended).


(The verses above are taken from “A Subaltern’s Love Song”, written by Sir John Betjeman in 1941.)


Author – Lee Knapp

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