Saturday, 7 July 2012

Strawberries, Pimm's and the AELTC

Although not die-hard tennis fans, when in London at the beginning of July, one really should take in all that is Wimbledon.

And so we did.

There must be more staff and volunteers here than the rest of the Olympics...and every single one of them was incredibly nice & polite. Wimbledon saves tickets for each daily event to sell at the door - available to those in the Queue. Partaking in the Queue comes with a 20 page booklet of rules (bbq's not allowed; pizza deliveries to front gate only; two-person tents only) and manners (collapse tents at 6am when woken by the Queue Stewards). After you leave your camping equipment, you can collect it afterwards, paying a £5 fee (of which £4 is donated to charity). We were lucky on timing - no Queue for us, we walked straight in and purchased tickets to the 'grounds' (aka, the cheap seats).

After entering, we started filling in the Wimbledon card: strawberries and cream! Pimm's and lemonade! doubles-match!....I have a bingo!

So much tradition and order rolled into a single location. We watched with intense interest two stately rituals...the ball boy/girl server ball-reload (single ball held straight up when offering; or both hands out, low, when you're running on empty) and the call for 'new balls' (a process that must rival the changing of the guards at the Palace....which we can report more on later). Umpires are changed at regular intervals in time...not play - so suddenly a new slate of officials sporting blue stripe shirts and cream pants (with matching Wimbledon runners) will march onto court and change at the next stoppage in play.

And balls are always returned. Always. No souvenirs. Where ever it gets hit or rebounds to, someone, somewhere will get it back to a ball boy/girl. This is not the land of catcher's mitts in the stands.

A truly splendid, civilized day. And these were fabulous...

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