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May 2018: The Somerset Levels

The Somerset Levels are one of Britain’s less well-known jewels. Delineated by the Mendips to the north, Bridgwater Bay to the west, and the Quantocks ...More
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The Victorian age changed our lives as regards transport, industry and empire, but it was also for the lucky few a new age of leisure: along with sports like badminton, football and rugby another was developed here – sphairistike.
Major Walter Wingfield dreamed up the game to amuse his house guests, to give them something to play on the lawn of his Llanelidan home; at the same time another Major, Harry Gem, had been working on a similar idea in Birmingham. The name sphairistike was dropped, and today we call the game tennis (or lawn tennis to differentiate it from the older and far less played real tennis).
Summer in Britain would not be the same without Wimbledon, overpriced strawberries, rain breaks and long rallies. And every Wimbledon sparks the interest of tens of thousands of kids who play the game for a fortnight at the local park. If they take to the game, whatever their aptitude, they – or their parents – should get in touch with a local tennis club.
Even if they are not the next Andy Murray (but you never know) it’s a social thing, and a great way of keeping fit that lasts well beyond middle age for many. But of course if the early training at a club sets them on the road to becoming Wimbledon winners...

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On this day:
The Second Battle of Lincoln - 1217, Shakespeare’s Sonnets Published - 1609, Battle of Wakefield - 1643, The Great Bexhill Waterspout and Tornado - 1729, The Last English Duel - 1845
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