books etc. by
Aged twelve, I played solo tennis against a brick wall. The ground was so
rough that I could hardly return my shots, so I practised smash serves.
Sometimes the ball would go too high, strike the line of blue-gray coping
tiles along the wall's top, fly skyward, and drop on the far side. I would
then, with or without the permission of Mrs. Sayers, slink around into her
garden. It was a neglected orchard; nettles abounded among the trees, and
searching for my ball I beat a path with my racket. I was a Roman soldier,
pioneering a Roman road into an untamed frontier.