"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A Day Watching Tennis in SW19 - Friday, 8th July

I was lucky enough to be offered tickets for No. 1 Court on 8th July via the Wimbledon Public Ballot. If you enjoy tennis and would like to go to Wimbledon it really is worth taking part as in the last 10 years or so I've received tickets for Centre Court twice and now No. 1 Court.

Again I decided to drive (parking isn't a problem as you can reserve a place (at cost!!) in an AA official car park just a few minutes walk from the tennis courts). The huge disadvantage though is the huge amount of congestion and traffic in London itself - it takes longer to get through London once you leave the M40 than it does to drive to London :( To crown it all this time I was following google map directions and managed to get totally lost - the Sat Nav once turned on was flat and even when it charged up it couldn't seem to find out where we were! I have never been so glad to see a roadsign - see the photo below!

Lovely to see en route the wildflowers round this road sign :)

Finally, we arrived only to be picked for a car search as they randomly selected vehicles!

The car park is on a golf course and as we walked towards Wimbledon I found myself checking around for purple butterflies - the day before a Purple Emperor had been spotted for the first time on Wimbledon Common (which presumably is not that far away).

A bag search this time and at long last we were in Wimbledon itself.

The flower displays round the courts are a delight.

We had missed the start but were able to watch some of the first Ladies' Doubles Semi-Final. The seats were very good - this is the actual view we had i.e. not zoomed in.

The next match was the second Ladies' Doubles Semi-final featuring the Williams' sisters. To be honest I am not a huge fan of doubles matches but this was a really exciting game.

We decided to take a break

You can see how busy it had become.

The first Mens' Singles Semi-final on Centre Court had just finished and we decided to see if we could find anywhere to sit on Henman Hill/Murray Mount (whichever you prefer to call it) to watch some of the Murray match. It just proved impossible though as officials were stopping people trying to enter as there was a huge stream of people leaving presumably for a break following the Federer match. I am not sure if they limit numbers anyway so we popped to No. 2 court which was showing the match on screens. We left after about 10 minutes as there really was no atmosphere and the screens were tiny and we decided to go back to No. 1 Court and watch some more live tennis which was the Mixed Doubles Semi-final.

Heather Watson who is British went on with her partner Kontinen to win the Mixed Doubles Final on the following Sunday.

Checking the Murray score - we also watched some of the wheelchair tennis matches during the course of the day which were excellent.

Before leaving we had a look round the museum which has lots of information on the history of tennis and Wimbledon.

Some you who have read my posts on Berkswell may remember me mentioning Maud Watson who won the first Ladies' Singles in 1884 and lived in the Rectory next to Berkswell church so I was pleased to find her mentioned in the museum.

She is pictured bottom right in this photo.

Parts of the caption in the photo below are quite amusing "The Jubilee Medal presented to Maud Watson the first Ladies'Champion. She can be seen in the photo above receiving congratulations from the King in the picture in the Daily Graphic. According to the newspaper she won "when skirts were long and voluminous and feminine players skimmed sedately instead of bounding with boylike agility". I wonder what she would have thought of tennis today. When I return to Berkswell I will make another effort to find her grave in the churchyard.

Pizza for tea

We left about 7.30 and it took about 3 hours to get home - if anything traffic in London was even worse than in the morning although at least we didn't get lost.

The remains of a Sun Dog in the sky as we left London

and a lovely sunset.

D amused himself taking photos of car lights on the motorway.

It was a wonderful day out, if a little tiring!!

I didn't take my Olympus camera in the end planning to share the Canon SX 50 with D but he took that many photos (for once) that I didn't need to take any at all.


Chris Rohrer said...

Coffee time:) Time to catch up:)

busybusybeejay said...

I am soooo envious.I would love to go to Wimbledon.

Stewart said...

Brilliant Caroline and I dont even like tennis! Looks like you had a great day....

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

My mother went off playing tennis the moment the balls went yellow!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Hi Chris - lovely to hear from you. Hope you enjoy your coffee and the catching up - sorry there are a lot of recent posts!!!!

busybusybeejay - thanks so much for the comment. It really is worth taking part in the Public Ballot - details for the next one appear on the Wimbledon Official website from around the autumn. You just have to send off an sae and then fill in a basic and easy form and send it off and then keep fingers firmly crossed!!! :)

Stewart - Thanks very much Stewart - yes, it was fun and it is certainly an experience!!!

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon and lol! :) Yes, they are a bit bright these days!

Millymollymandy said...

A long day no doubt but well worth it. I'm not into tennis any more and don't follow it, but of course I've heard of the more famous players. I've lived in various parts of Wimbledon and once visited in the late afternoon when you can get in for free as people leaving are (or were) allowed to give their tickets away. I remember watching a really hunky Australian whose name I can't remember, Pat something? (this was 1984!!).

In the 90s I visited the museum with my parents in law and we bought teatowels. Mine has long since gone to the great teatowel graveyard in the sky but when K brought back a load of teatowels from his parents' house after his mum died, there in the pile was a pristine Wimbledon teatowel. Sad but nice to have memories and keepsakes of people and past times like that.

Pam said...

What a great day (apart from the traffic bit!!) :)

Rosie said...

What a great day out and you saw some good matches. Super action photos. The Museum looks fascinating. I'd love to go but don't like the thought of getting there and all the crowds. Glad you enjoyed it and the homeward bound sky shots are wonderful too:)

Wendy said...

Lucky you! I last went to Wimbledon in 1999 and had tickets in the draw for the mens' quarter final on the Centre Court. I did see a couple of great matches but it seems such a long time ago (it was!) I've always wanted to see Federer play there (I've seen Murray play at the O2).
Goodness knows how women won tennis matches playing sedately.

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - thanks Mandy. What a lovely moving story about the teatowels. My daughter's primary school produced a teatowel with self portraits of the children in the class and when I cleared out my great aunt's house I found a pristine one of those! Museum was good but rather expensive to gain entry (D paid!! :) ) Your tennis player may have been Pat Cash or Pat Rafter?? I used to have a "thing" about John McEnroe!!!! :)

Pam - Thanks so much - not sure I would ever drive there again!!

Rosie - thanks very much. Will pass your kind comments about photos onto David :) I don't like crowded places and to be honest couldn't wait to get away from the Henman Hill bit and so many people :( They must let an awful lot in on ground passes! The travelling is the worst part - train is expensive and a pain as would have to drive to Bham International Park, get train to London, then tube(s) and walk from tube station which seems even worse than driving!!

Wendy - Thanks Wendy - good to hear you have been! Worth applying for the public ballot (if you don't already do so and want to go again!). The first time we had centre court seats (gosh that must have been about 10 years ago) we saw Henman (the last time he played there I think) and Nadal. Yes, I would like to see Federer and we saw Murray in the Davis Cup earlier this year. I didn't take up the second offer of Centre Court Seats as it was the day after we came back from holiday - it was for the Women's Final though so perhaps I should have gone! Would love to go back in time and see those women playing sedately in ankle length skirts!!! If you love tennis it is a wonderful experience to actually be there and be part of it :)

amanda peters said...

Looks like you all had a lovely day, and well worth the trip. I'm not really into Tennis but my mum would have loved it....
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks very much Amanda. It was a good day out :)