Sunburn and umbrellas watching the tennis at Wimbledon!

A trip to Wimbledon to watch the tennis is a must for every summer in London, so I was very excited to have a day out on court 2 last week. The weather is such a crucial factor of any Wimbledon experience, unless you are lucky enough to have the golden ticket which gets you into the Centre Court where the roof ensures all day play. Otherwise you are at the mercy of the rain and court 2 is exposed to the elements so we were keeping our fingers crossed.  Continue reading

Wimbledon fever!

It’s the last week in June so of course our annual Wimbledon fever has hit! Us Brits go mad for tennis for two weeks a year and put immense pressure on all of our home tennis players but mostly on Andy Murray!

Apart from the tennis, Wimbledon is famous for its queue so I decided to give it a go. My thinking was: it’s day 2, only the first week so there will be plenty to see on the outside courts and it’s a dry day so why not join the queue and hope for the best. Well, I was not alone, it felt like half of London had exactly the same idea. We joined the snaking line at 1.30 only to be told we wouldn’t get into the grounds before 5.30! Rather bad news but being Brits we stuck it out and it wasn’t that bad – we finally got in at 5.10! We passed the line of tents for the people already camping out for the next day to see Nadal on centre court! The queue is well behaved as you get a numbered ticket on arrival so any attempt to jump to the front by joining friends who were there earlier is stamped on – good news for proper queue-ers!

However, once inside all that waiting faded away and I roamed around the outside courts in the sunshine seeing loads of tennis action very close up. Many of the players were new to me but the better known included Bhagdatis, Nalbandian, Tsonga, Webley-Smith (Brit). It’s amazing how close you get to them and 3 and half hours of great tennis and the wonderful Wimbledon atmosphere was a good reward for all that queueing. Yes, it would have been brilliant to have centre court tickets to see the Federer and Djovovic matches I could only hear the shouts for but I recommend taking all your good queueing skills and giving it a go next year.

Photos – where we started at 1.30 with a handy sign so you know you are in the right place!; the tent city; beautiful outside court; one to show just how close you can be; the backdrop of the wonderful centre court; and, an action shot of the brilliant Tsonga.
Exhausting work so that’s all for this week!

 

 

Bye for now,

 

Sue

 

 

@itsyourlondon

Elephants and tennis and more sunshine…

The London heatwave continues much to everyone’s surprise and there was not a single rain stoppage at Wimbledon – must be that centre court roof acting as a anti rain device! This week’s blog focuses on the elephants and the tennis, with a street party and some Pride thrown in.

All the elephants that have been scattered around London for several weeks now were gathered together for a final parade before being auctioned off for the Indian elephant charity. I went down, as did so many other Londoners, as they were an irresistible sight. I’ve limited myself to just a few new photos but there were 250 to delight the snappers! The location was the old Chelsea Hospital which is famous for being the home of the annual Chelsea Flower Show but more famous for being the home of the Chelsea Pensioners. The hospital which was more a place of refuge for servicemen, was founded in 1682 by Charles 11 for veterans. It still does the same work for about 400 residents tho’ has accepted a servicewoman (!) and the average age is 83 for these famous red coats that we can see out and about and on special occasions. It’s a very large and grand site that you can wander round with a museum and shop so I’ve included one photo of one particularly impressive section.

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was off to Wimbledon as I’d been lucky enough to win 2 tickets in the public ballot for court 1 on the final day of the tournament. This meant we could get in early without joining the huge queue and spend time on Henman Hill as well as in our alloted seats. Being the last day the main event was on centre court but the Hill was great fun and absolutely packed and is a fun way to watch on the big screen – see photo. We then went onto court 1 to rest our weary bottoms (!) and saw the wonderful Martina Navratilova in the invitation doubles, and then Pat Cash in the invitation mens doubles – always good to see old champions at play. I love wandering around Wimbledon, Pimms in hand and we even caught sight of Nadal in the flesh as he waved to the crowds after his match.

 

 

Nearly forgot to mention Pride – a massive gay event which took over the centre of London with streets closed, amazing get up and huge fun being had – have a look at Trafalgar Square to see what I mean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just one more thing to mention is our annual street party. Where I live in Notting Hill we are in a cul de sac which has a little garden in the middle so each year the neighbours gather in it to catch up and have a few glasses of wine together. It’s always great fun and makes London feel like it’s a neighbourly place to live rather than the big beast it can seem like sometimes…

 

 

 

I’m off to USA for a couple of weeks so don’t think there’ll be any blogging until I’m back on 23rd so have a great time!

Bye for now, Sue http://itsyourlondon.co.uk/

Heatwave in London!

The last 2 weeks of June saw a couple of unusual events – a British player doing well at Wimbledon and temperatures hitting the 30s (90s)! To make the most of both I headed off to Wimbledon on Monday to see Andy Murray play on the centre court with the roof closed for the first time and play went on to a very untraditional 10.39 pm. Nails were bitten, eyes were hidden behind hands, Mexicans were waved and in end Andy prevailed and we breathed again. This being England, the fans are planning to queue for 2 days to catch his next encounter!

And still the heat goes on….

It’s Henry V111 year as it’s 500 years since he came to the throne and there are all kinds of events and exhibitions to visit to learn about this monarch who changed the course of our history. We visited Hampton Court and as well as getting lost in the famous maze (but finally found the centre to claim our sticker!) we joined Henry and his courtiers for pre-wedding drinks and a lively chat about his life and thoughts about wives! Henry was married, well one of his 6 weddings, at Hampton Court and there are re-enactments of the preparations and the wedding for visitors to join in and even Tudor dress to wear as you go round. It’s great fun and part of a very entertaining day out in this grand palace.

I was very happy to see Michael Palin in a one off charity show at the O2 arena entitled ’20 years of jokes and 20 years of comedy’, a treat for travellers and Monty Python fans alike. What a lovely man. The O2 is an amazing building designed as a huge tent and features in Casino Royale for those who know their James Bond films.

One of my visitors staying in Notting Hill wanted to try an English pub so we went to The Cow, known for its sea food. The menu offered ‘whelks and winkles’ so we decided to boldly go. I retreated to the Pimms as this went down much easier but, for the brave, this dish is really something to remember! Pimms is the classic English summer drink, refreshing but a little bit stronger than it seems.

One more unusual London experience worth telling you all about are the 30 pianos out on the streets all across London, for anyone to sit at and play, as part of Luke Jerram’s Play Me I’m Yours artwork. I found one in Notting Hill being played rather well by students whose days mission was to give a short rendition on each of the 30 pianos for Cancer Research, a huge effort on such a hot day.

Yes, it’s still hot…

Sue

The rain came and loads and loads of tennis…

So, second week after leaving work and this week’s highlights were: tennis, another street party, City of London Festival, Press Photographers exhibition and rain, rain, rain.

Wimbledon seemed to take up all of Sunday! It was compelling but also very hard to watch as a Roger fan, even from the sofa and goodness knows how exhausting it must have been to experience it in Centre Court. The rain added even more drama and gave us what must be one of the latest and darkest men’s finals to date and what is officially the longest.

Another street party – well more of a square party but that sounds rather dull and it certainly was not. It was in one of those amazingly beautiful London squares – all railings, greenery and surrounded by white stucco fronted terraces. For a modest entry price there was free drink, nibbles brought round as we stood and a chance to grill our local council members and MP on what’s happening with road closures, recycling, and other fascinating topics (!) to the sound of a jazz band. Some amount of drinking, meeting local residents and even nipping into the local pub after- good job it was only an 10 minute walk home and took place before the rain got set in.

A trip into the City for a friend’s work do led to a lucky find. We followed our ears which picked up jazz at 6pm just off Cheapside, very unusual in the serious surrounding of all the money making, and we found a Balkan jazz band playing in the Guildhall yard as part of the City of London Festival. Never heard of it before but it has free music over the summer across the City including on the steps of St Paul’s and at Liverpool Street Station to help out harassed commuters. Find more at http://www.colf.org/

The Press Photographers’ Exhibition in the National Theatre was sobering and interesting – sobering because of the number of stills and a video from Iraq and photos from Pakistan around the return of Benazir Bhutto. But also some great sport shots and quirky items. See attached: www.thepressphotographersyear.com/content/exhibition

And finally, rain, rain, rain. Annoying and always seems to lead to the break down of transport so I found myself and a friend stuck in Camden on Saturday for ages waiting for a bus home at 3.30am . Still there were lots of guys enjoying Gay Pride day long into the small hours so it certainly wasn’t dull. Inevitably decided on a taxi in the end and the sight of the little orange light was so welcome…

Sue