Stratford upon Avon, Ascot and Wimbledon

It has been a fast paced few weeks as the British Summer has finally arrived. Tam has taken to bike, while Mitch braves the heat and humid winds of the London Underground to get to Canary Wharf. Cycle training is coming along nicely, with each ride south to the famous course used in the Olympics; Box Hill, Surrey, getting more enjoyable and faster with fitness. Tam got some pink tyres to match her pink bike, turning the heads of many cyclist fashionistas. Touch and Netball have been going well too, winning the Putney/Wandsworth mixed Spring touch league and taking a few big scalps in the Vauxhall netball.

Stratford upon Avon was a nice depart from London life, heading out with Larissa and Leights, a Te Awamutu/Otago Uni couple, to the local Beer and Cider Festival. After a good bus ride out and a steady walk, we found the camp ground/retirement village to erect and pop up our respective tents and make our way in. The festival had some very potent brews, ranging from 2% to 12.5% each with a distinctive flavour. Leights made friends with a few brewers who sold Whale Ale and Mich made a few friends with Men wearing Lions jerseys, calling them Welsh. After one or two too many, Mitch found a nice patch of grass to; roll around on, throw up and have a small nap. His resurrection eventually came and we made our way to town.

Streets of Stratford upon Avon with our camping gear
Streets of Stratford upon Avon with our camping gear

The following day, was a stroll through the birthplace of Shakespeare, full of romantic charm, thespians, novelty stores and thatch roofed cottages – thatch roofed cottages! After busting into the Holy Trinity Church mid service for a look at The Bards grave, we met a friendly Moroccan cafe owner who gave us the royal treatment, a warm lingering hand on the shoulder, Avocado smoothies and a good full breakfast. Our trip back took us past Warrick Castle, after that, we are not sure, as we dozed back to London.

Mutton dressed as lamb and Shakespeares' birthplace
Mutton dressed as lamb and Shakespeares’ birthplace

The next weekend was again, full of action, at the Royal Ascot Races. The day is probably the biggest racing event in the UK, with most not fronting for the races, but for a glimpse of the Queen and probably more importantly, the chance to smuggle in alcohol in many different packages. Mitch was somewhat not too keen on the booze again… The girls got glammed up, Tam in a green dress and the boys wore their Sunday best suits. Old Elizabeth was full of joy after her horse won the first time in many decades and rolled past in a carriage, covered in a clear plastic tarp to hold off the patchy rain. We were also up on our betting for the day by £2.50, not big betters, but very calculated nonetheless. Getting out was a bit of navigation through bottles, picnic hampers and passed out patrons. The next day we managed another good bike ride, Mitch breaking his chain and dodging a few road kill foxes.

Girls at Royal Ascot
Girls at Royal Ascot
Looking sharp
Looking sharp
The Queen and carriage
The Queen and carriage

Wimbledon Tennis Open would be the biggest highlight. With weather improving and the cloud lifting a late night camp out in “The Queue” with Larissa and Leights was a return to minimalist tenting. The buzz of he tent city as some camped for a couple of days set in quickly. We were lucky enough to secure, behind Centre Court and No.1 Court, seats on No.2 Court, which was lucky as this was where New Zealand Marina Erakovic was playing her match against the hometown favourite Laura Robson.

Queue city - tents at Wimbledon Park
Queue city – tents at Wimbledon Park
Start of a long line
Start of a long line
The days games - we were on Court 2
The days games – we were on Court 2

The first match between Viktor Troiki and Mikhail Youzhny was a good introduction to the tanking, tantrums and hero/villain nature of the tennis court. The atmosphere was much more intense and you got a good feel for the players and how they were coping. When the mid-morning heat turned on, the stadium tuned to a heat sink, raising the temperature from 16 to 28 degrees. Cooking many English to a sunburnt crisp.

Youzhny  returns a shot
Youzhny returns a shot
Troiki. The antics of the ball boys was a good laugh!
Troiki. The antics of the ball boys was a good laugh!

Marina’s match was a real duel, going to 3 sets. After winning the first set easily 6-1, much to the dismay of the home crowd, Marina had a lot of trouble in the second set, double faulting and losing a few longer shots. Eventually going down 7-5. Robson came storming back and so did the crowd, despite us trying our best to support as loud, Erakovic going down 6-3 in the last. Gutted.

Marina in play
Marina in play
Marina's serve
Marina’s serve

The last match of the day between Feleciano Lopez and Tommy Haas was a massive boost in intensity, with a strong serving display 32 Aces in fact. Haas has been formerly ranked at world no.2, but never won an open. The German support was very vocal, with many Germans arriving and later one unlucky guy exiting from a persistent mobile phone, followed by some rowdy drunk Brits.

The whitest woman we have ever seen. Didn't tan all day.
The whitest woman we have ever seen. Didn’t tan all day.
Lopez serves
Lopez serves
Wimbledon crew
Wimbledon crew

The heat took a bit out of us and we rounded out the day with a very long sleep and a lazy Sunday.

The Tour de France has also just recently begun, we will join it in two weeks in the Alps. Looking forward to it.

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5 thoughts on “Stratford upon Avon, Ascot and Wimbledon

  1. why did Mitch throw up at the beer and cider festival? did he eat somthing bad? remember, it’s not what we’re drinking, it’s how we’re drinking. Oh, the young people of today…

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