Once a year we would travel to Melbourne for Country Week Tennis. The excitement would gradually build as plans were made for accommodation, tennis outfits, what to wear in the evening, who would drive, who would manage the children on the Homefront, what shows we might manage to see, how the team would play and various strategies planned.
One particular year we all stayed in a player’s daughter’s flat. Generously accommodating us with extra mattresses, Tanya was the perfect host. This was the last year we played in extreme heat. Each day we would return home, hot and tired, but still always keen to glam up in the evening and go out to dinner. My own daughters lived in a house some distance away with an outdoor hot tub. After one day of extreme heat and tennis we decided what better way to unwind and freshen up but spend some time in the warm, bubbly spa. We quickly changed into our swim wear and drove across town, each with an accompanying towel.
How we enjoyed a relaxing soak on our tired muscles. After a pleasant unwind amidst much banter and laughter, we clambered out of the spa, wrapping ourselves in our towels before darkness set in. Hunger pains had started, so we decided to quickly change into our finery before going out for dinner.
Back at the flat, who had the key? We quickly realised no one had the key. Our very gracious host had gone out for the evening, and these were the days before mobile phones!
As the night air became cooler, so did we. Food and warmth became our main priority. We had two cars, so we searched the boots and cars for excess clothing. What a conglomeration! Being cars from the country, there were some odd assortments found. Men’s shoes, thongs and extremely large man’s tracksuit pants, a Benalla footy jumper and not much else. We shared amongst us as best we could, including towels wrapped around us as skirts.
Shivering now, where could we go for a meal? Someone suggested Sizzlers, a very large restaurant with smorgasbord meals. What a pathetic sight we must have looked as we sidled in, a group of bedraggled, unkempt middle aged ladies, all showing far more skin than intended, some in bare feet, others in men’s footwear far too big for them. We piled our plates and chose a table as close to the Bain Marie’s as possible, hoping to benefit from the warmth. Some could laugh, others were mortified as we sat on as long as possible until we felt our host would have returned.
In the meantime, the high heels, the fashion clothes, the make up and the jewels remained unused in the safety of the flat. Fortunately or unfortunately this incident remained unrecorded as, like everything else, our cameras were also safely confined!