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It’s fair to say that, as far as British institutions go, the All England Club in Wimbledon – and of course the famous tournament – is up there with the greatest. And it goes hand-in-hand with another British heritage brand, Robinson’s, whose Lemon Barley water was first created to hydrate tennis players at Wimbledon back in 1935.
We’ve always been a fan of Robinson’s squash (pre-the age of 18, their summer fruit squash was legitimately the first drink I ever loved), and with Real Fruit in Every Drop plus no added sugar it’s one of the drinks I’m happy to offer to the children.
Robinson’s wanted us to learn more about their lovely drinks and to enjoy some wonderful family time, so last week I took the kids to spend some time with them at eponymous Wimbledon.
Our day started (as every Wimbledon day should) with us and the other blogging families in attendance having a private tennis lesson with Dan Bloxham, the head coach for Wimbledon. Showing no mercy to us parents he had us bombing all over the courts, encouraging the little ones to show us who was boss (they were, clearly). Tennis is a sport that I’m keen to get my kids into – we’ve played before though Hux still approaches each ball like a crazy springer spaniel – and Dan was brilliant at engaging kids and grown-ups alike.
From there we had a drink stop, ready for the next step in our tour of Wimbledon. Squash was delivered by a waiter, a funny looking fellow who stopped and challenged Dan to a match, and before we knew it they were firing balls backwards and forwards at the speed of lightening.
This chap seemed pretty good at tennis as far as waiters go, almost good enough to beat our new favourite tennis coach. After a few rallies he stopped for a chat and to remove his hair, nose and half his face… it was only Tim Henman, covered in prosthetics and ready to chat to us all about tennis! Check the video to see exactly how it happened…
Now, I’m no Steffi Graf, but I grew up playing tennis and watching Tim play in Wimbledon. It has to be said I was pretty star-struck, and happily posed for a cheeky selfie with the man himself before feeling that ‘mum proud’ thing in my chest watching the kids knock a ball about with him. They may not have realised the gravity of playing tennis with Tim Henman himself, but for me it was so special.
After more squash – the kids tried all the different flavours! – we hopped off on our tour of Wimbledon after being thoroughly checked-over by security. It was touch and go whether they’d let a very excited Hux in ;) He was enamoured by the tennis ball-shaped topiary!
Walking through Wimbledon with Tim Henman was the oddest thing. He knew everyone; each and every person we came across had a joke to share with him, a hand to shake or a kind word to say. It made me realise what a treasure he is, and how highly regarded by the top bods of the Tennis world he is. Hand on heart, Tim Henman is a lovely man.
The tour of Wimbledon was just out of this world. Focussing on Centre Court, we went through all the backstage areas from the physio room to the ice baths (players sit in these for EIGHT MINUTES – they are freezing) to the press room and the media centre. The kids were delighted that they were allowed to sit behind the desk in the press room and pretend to be interviewed, though their responses to our questions were nothing but giggles and nonsense. See, it wasn’t only me to be completely overwhelmed at meeting Tim Henman!
Our tour ended in the Robinson’s suite with the most glorious tea of sandwiches, salads and Robinson’s squash: perfect. All the way home the children happily chattered about all they’d learned with Dan that day, debating what their favourite flavour of Robinson’s squash was (summer fruits still coming out on top) and laughing at the funny waiter who took half his face off.
Huge thanks to Robinson’s for hosting us on such an enjoyable day. Totally inspired, we’ve already been to play tennis as a family since we returned home, and Summer Fruits squash has found its way back into our pantry. Now I can’t wait to visit Wimbledon for real later this year!