Games people play Pandora Melly talks to the man who beat the man who was the father of the South London ping-pong champion.

Craigie Aitchison RA, 70, painter
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
I used to play ping-pong in the nursery at home with my brother, and if we did anything wrong during the day, we weren't allowed to play. If you dropped your napkin, that was just one of the things that mattered, or if you didn't eat the fat at lunch. It wasn't my parents, it was the people who looked after us. The worst one was the governess.

Ping-pong was taken very seriously. I expect I usually lost, because I remember banging the table in a temper. Later I player with the painter Euan Uglow. We used to play the best of three, but if Euan lost, he made me play the best of five, so there were huge rows and banging the table. I liked playing with Euan, because he hated losing.

I was always told that I had a cheat's serve, because you're meant to do it sideways. It doesn't say so in the rules, but I was accused of serving in a cheating way and there were rows over that. I'd drop the ball on the table, and hit it across. Are you meant to have it up in the air or something first?

My claim to fame in this area is that I beat the father of the South London ping-pong champion. I never let Euan forget that. It doesn't mean a thing really, because the father was doing the decorating here. I played him and beat him, but it wasn't like beating the South London champion.

I like ping-pong because it's not at all sporty and you don't have to be dressed up for it. Unfortunately I no longer have the table. I took it to Italy, and we had it outside, but it got all wet and fell to bits. I've always meant to get another one.

Comments