Num Num

eat. cook. write.

June 30, 2011

The Wimbledon Experience

Oh I know its such a tourist-y bore. But its a delicious cliche.

The journey
The Thames River at Mortlake

I like the overland journey from Mortlake to Wimbledon.
The train tracks rumble so loudly.
We whoosh past allotment gardens
Carrot tops.
Roses- white and pink.
An artichoke bush!
And then, in the beat of an eyelid- a sprawling river with houseboats as colourful as flags; and a woman eating her toast on the river.
There is:
Peeking into people’s houses
Cluttered offices
Mary’s Terrace
“This is Twickenham”
“This is Strawberry Hill”

This is another place, and these are more people.
Travelling makes me feel tiny.

The Golden Ticket

I meet a tennis-groupie couple on the train, they were so sweet. They knew absolutely every detail about Wimbledon and tennis. They showed me how to get there from the station via the bus. It started to rain. We laughed at that misfortune and they wished me well in my ticket hunt.

The closer I got to gate 1 the more rain fell from the sky, and the more useless my mission seemed to be. As I neared the gate I was approached my a tall man in a beautiful brown leather jacket. He asked if I was looking to buy a ticket. Wary of touts that I'd heard of and being ripped off, I asked him to show me. £65 for court one. I was suspicious. But the ticket looked real and he looked sincere. This will only happen once in my life, I thought. So I followed him to the gate and paid him my due.

Pimms, Missing Links, and Henman Hill

Play, of course, was suspended.
Sheets and sheets of rain were coming down. The crowd sighed collectively. There were rumours of better weather at 2 o’clock.. 3 o’clock.. 4 o’ clock. I bought a box of dodgy noodles and a Pimms (oh, yes dear). I sought out my seat in row Q on court one and helped my neighbour fill in his missing links crossword. American Pie. American Beauty. American dream. 

Then I settled myself down on Henman Hill to watch Lisicki (My favourite) beat Bartoli and I saw that banshee Sharapova starting her match. The best word to describe the afternoon would be “soggybottom”.

The sopping crowds watching soon-to-be defeated Bartoli 

I looked at the Pimms tent, and the queue for the bar. They were so empty, I thought. If this was South Africa, there would be a battle for beer. Well, people would at least be drinking. And then I moved onto court 1 for the quarter finals and I realised why one couldn’t combine tennis spectatorship and lager. You have to be quiet a lot of the time. Its not really a sport for the rowdy. I had a bit of struggle when the guy next to me said “South Africa- can’t go out on the street can you? Didn’t you have the Olympics last year?” I couldn’t contain my laugh. But my new acquaintance was good company, and kind.

The second golden ticket

He came and sat down for the start of the ladies quarter final and proffered a ticket at me- A ticket for centre court. He had been peeking in when someone offered it to him. He said the best games were on court 1 for now, but I should check later. I shared my tea with him, and we watched Kvitova- She was great, she deserved her win.

Azarenka vs. Paszek.

It started to drizzle.
The umpire shook her head.
The crowd’s mood plummeted
People donned their green plastic parkas and slouched out.
Everyone was sulking.
I was only wearing a thin cardigan
But I was happy
I had a golden ticket.

Tamira Paszek. I liked her, she has a positive jaunt in her step.
Victoria Azarenka. I'm pleased she won when the game was moved to centre court. She was the better player. 

1 comment:

Hanna said...

Wat 'n wonderlike ervaring - ek is sommer jaloers op jou!