Thank goodness for Wimbledon.


Ever since I was about six years old I have looked forward to this time of year. Sunshine, exams over, Wimbledon. But ‘summer’ 2016 is one I’d rather forget and we’re only at the beginning of July. The tennis is as good as ever – though the seeds have dropped like flies and there’s been a heck of a lot of rain. But the world appears to have gone barmy.

Today, July 4th, is traditionally the best day of Wimbledon fortnight and it will at least distract me from the goings on outside of SW19. July 4th is also Independence Day for the USA.  (Or ‘Treason Day’ as we Redcoats like to call it. Joke.) Much to celebrate? I can’t see an awful lot right now – a country divided by guns, Trump, hate. Much the same as the small island on which I live, (but without the guns) – a country divided by the English Channel and drifting off into the Atlantic, probably without Scotland for company. Billy No Mates, that’s us.

Meanwhile, 165 people have been killed in Baghdad. One. Hundred. And. Sixty. Five. And yet news coverage of this has been snatched by Farage, a man more despicable than the Child Catcher.

Why are so many men lobbing grenades into the midst of humanity and then legging it.

Who is left to clear up the mess?

As a Christian, my hope is in Jesus. (Now because I’m mentioning Jesus, don’t switch off. I’m not going to give the ‘Sunday School answer’, to coin the phrase of a good friend.) I know without a doubt that Jesus would not have carried a gun or a bomb or a grenade. I know without a doubt that he would weep over the death of an Iraqi as much as over an American citizen or a chap who went to Eton.

Why? Because Jesus treated everyone as equal. He told the story of The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son. He looked after the disabled. He trusted women in his circle, first appearing to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, telling her to go out and spread the word. A woman, when they were second class citizens, their testimonies not even accepted in court. That was how he rolled.

He turned the tables.

We must not turn them back.

We need to look after each other. We need to be salt and light. We must trust in love, and banish hate. Easy? Well, no, because we humans like power. We like to dominate other people. Take what isn’t ours and hang onto it. We like to shut our eyes to the world’s problems because they are not our problems. Even when it’s going on in our own back garden, we still ignore it. Until it impacts us directly.

And you know what? I won’t be told to ‘get over it’ if I believe passionately in something.  I will keep highlighting the ridiculous gun culture of the richest most influential country in the war. It hangs heavy on my heart. I don’t know why this in particular but it’s something I have to speak out against. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things clearly. Like when I’ve finished a manuscript, one I’ve been working on for two years, a world only I’ve been inhabiting, I have to ask my writing buddies to read it. They can see the mistakes that I have missed.

I will keep highlighting the fact that men with crazy hair have got form (you know who I’m talking about).

I will keep highlighting the ridiculous separatist way our country is heading.

I will keep highlighting the subjugation of  women  across the globe. (And as an aside, I am delighted to discover I have two suffragette sisters in my family tree so maybe my militant tendencies were there all along. It’s just I’m braver at speaking out now.)

I will keeping speaking out against our education system which is failing our children and young people.

I will keep on.

I will nag. I will cajole. I will argue. I will reason. I will joke. I will cry. I will get angry. I will get sad. I will do what I have to do, what my heart tells me.

And you know what else? I will pray because that’s what Christians do. But I will pray in the knowledge that prayer is not a replacement for doing stuff. It’s one part of having a faith. The other is doing to others what you would have done to you. It is loving your neighbour. It is not judging. But it is also speaking out when you see wrong. It is offering a better way.

Jesus never gave up. If I could only have a dot of his courage and compassion…

Peace out, everyone.

Meantime, back to SW19.


Back to the Present

mac and borg

I haven’t blogged for three weeks. I don’t know where the time has gone. In fact, where does Time go? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could dig it up and pick out the best bits and revisit them. Would we treasure them more? Would we try and hold onto them? What would you change?

Ok, so this is why I haven’t blogged. I have recently finished the first draft of my current novel which revisits the youth of the four main characters and the repercussions of one night back in the day. I have been stuck in time with these characters and now I have come back into the world and it’s become a very scary place. Day by day I am reconditioning myself to live as Sophie Duffy and not as Bex, Tommo, Cameron or Christie. I need time away from the novel not only to be able to come back to the edits with a fresh eye but also to remind myself of who I am.

But good timing. Wimbledon begins today.


Henman’s sliced backhand

I have watched Wimbledon every year ever since I was about seven years old. The mid-seventies was an exciting time to watch tennis, with hard-hitting characters like Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase. But it was Bjorn Borg who caught me. And when John McEnroe showed up, the greatest on-court rivalry was born.

So I thought I would post some pictures of some of my Wimbledon heroes. Some obvious ones are not there because they left me cold for whatever reason. But these men and women will stay in my memory, whether for a victory, or a match, or a human response to the game they loved.

Wimbledon fortnight contains the highs and lows of human drama. Moments of victory and defeat. Moments I will cherish forever.
Bring it on!

Wombles of Wimbledon

I have to confess to turning on This Morning this morning. But it was worth it because there were the Wombles, beside the Thames, singing the classic Remember You’re a Womble. This iconic band, reformed and freshly back from performing at Glastonbury. Yes, Glastonbury. Now if anything could have lured me away from watching the tennis going on at their hometown to head to the mud of that festival, it would be the Wombles. But alas, I’m behind with the news and only just found out. I heard about Beyonce, U2, Coldplay and Morrissey but why did nobody bother to tell me about Orinoco, Tobermory, Great Uncle Bulgaria et al? And I bet they kept the rubbish down.

Good Game, Good Game









I was delighted to see Sir Bruce at Wimbledon yesterday with his wife, Wilnelia. As he entered the Royal box, the Centre Court crowd gave him a standing ovation and he applauded them back. Later, at the start of the evening highlights programme, he said if Andy Murray wins the tournament he’ll be knighted … and then he gave that aside look and added ‘eventually’. He’s still got that perfect timing. Let’s hope Andy does too.

And go Laura Robson!