Saturday, June 25, 2011

The All England Lawn Tennis Club

After a fun-filled, action-packed two-week visit, Ben and Laska flew back to Seattle on Friday morning.  We woke up at 6 am to apply for the second round of 2012 Olympic tickets (since we got NONE in the first round) and see them off, and then went back to sleep for a couple hours.

Josh took the day off work, so after our mid-morning nap, we showered, ate breakfast, packed a picnic lunch, and walked up the hill to The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club to catch Day 5 of the Wimbledon tennis championships.  Yes, that's right: we WALKED!  One of the benefits of living in Wimbledon is that we are less than 2 miles from the world-famous tennis club.  We also have the option of taking the bus, but it's a nice walk that takes you through some of the swankier parts of Wimbledon. 

One of Josh's co-workers, whose father is a member of the AELTC, gave him two ground passes, so we didn't have to go through the queue, we just walked up to the gate and went in.  Sweet!
 These passes admit you to the grounds and courts 4 through 19, so you can still watch plenty of tennis.
And if you really want to see what's going on in Centre Court or No 1, you can sit on the hill and watch the action on the big screen.  Josh and I found great seats under a wisteria-covered trellis at the top of the hill to watch local favorite Laura Robson play Maria Sharapova.
Seated nearby was Chito Salarza-Grant and a friend.  If you watched the Royal Wedding on TV, you might recognize him as the guy in the crowd with the elaborate home-made hat.  They both were fitted out in their finest Wimbledon tennis hats.  She was filming a documentary about "the hat man of London" and had me take another photo of him after this one so she could film me taking the photo.  I wish someone could have taken a picture of that for me...
The Hat Man!
After the match, we enjoyed some traditional "strowbries and cream" while watching a ladies' doubles match.  Two women from Russia and India were playing two women from Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic.  I noticed on the schedule that many of the doubles pairs were from two different countries.  Not sure how they practice together, but they seemed to do pretty well.
After that match ended (the Indian/Russian pair won), we partook of another Wimbledon tradition: Pimm's.  We thought we should cheer on some Americans, so we headed over to Court 7 to watch Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy play against a pair from Spain.
It was a pretty good game, and we were right next to Centre Court, so we could keep an eye on the scores of the games going on in the big show courts at the same time.  Venus Williams seemed to be having a much easier time of it than when I watched her on TV on Wednesday.
And then it started to rain.  Within minutes, they halted play, dismantled the net, and pulled the cover over the court.  It only lasted about 10 minutes, so although most people cleared out, we decided to stay put and keep our seats dry in case they resumed the game.  While we were waiting, a British couple walked over and asked if we were planning to stick around.  When we said yes, they handed us  their Centre Court tickets and said they had to get home to their kids.  After thanking them profusely, we found our way to our new seats.  They were a bit high up, but we weren't going to complain!
Centre Court!!!
Soon after that they announced that play on all other courts had been cancelled for the rest of the day due to rain, so Centre Court which has a retractable roof, was the only game in town.  We watched the end of a ladies singles match that had been interrupted by the rain, and then it was time for the main event.
Andy Murray is the biggest tennis star in the UK, so the crowd was very excited to see him play.  We started feeling kind of bad for his opponent, who was from Croatia, but Josh speculated that he would get pummeled by thousands of Brits if he started cheering from him.  About 10 minutes later, we heard a male American voice yell out, "Yay, other guy!" from somewhere to our right.  Cheeky Americans!
 It was a very close game...
 But Andy triumphed in the end.

Andy, will you sign my giant ball?
It was still raining when we emerged from the stadium a little after 10 pm.  We made our way through the crowds and back home, still pinching ourselves that we were able to watch a game in Centre Court.  I'm not even much of a tennis fan, but it is a beautiful venue and I really enjoyed the experience.

If you are considering visiting us for next year's tennis tournament (June 25 - July 8), try to let us know well in advance.  I think you have to apply in December for tickets to the show court events.  It's a lottery, so there are no guarantees, but it beats having to stand in a long queue on the day of the event.  Our you can just get grounds passes and hope for a lucky break like ours...

This morning we decided to tackle our sadly neglected yard, perhaps inspired by the perfect lawns and landscaping at Wimbledon. Josh mowed the lawn with our electric mower...
 And I tacked the weeds that have sprouted up in our front garden.
When I got sick of all the snails and sowbugs, I went out back to help Josh.  When we finally called it a day around 1:00, the back yard looked significantly better
The front yard looked better, too, but it could still use some work.  It's hard pulling all those tiny weeds out of the gravel.  Not a great landscaping strategy
Our landlords are lovely people, but with a toddler and another baby on the way, they didn't have much time or energy to devote to gardening, so it wasn't in great shape to begin with when we moved in.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are renting the house, so it doesn't make sense to invest in making improvements to the property -- as tempting as it is now that we have a major home renovation under our belt -- we just need to maintain it.  Our yard will NEVER look as nice as either of our neighbors', but now that we've set their expectations incredibly low, I hope they'll at least appreciate any efforts we make to keep it looking neat and tidy.


  1. What a lovely post, sounds like you 2 are settling in a bit and enjoying the benefits of your current location. WALK to Wimbledon!?!? Woman, that just blows my mind.....

  2. I know, right? It blows my mind, too! We tried to get tickets to 2012 Olympic tennis so we could WALK to the Olympics, but so far no luck.


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