I interrupt this ambrosial Amalfi story to sneak a peak at the sweet verdant lands and the rolling hills of summertime England, where far away from the sun-baked mountains of the mediterranean, different peaks are being climbed – peaks of physical fitness and sporting prowess when the world’s best tennis stars come together for the ultimate in tennis championships, the creme de la creme of all tournaments: Wimbledon.
Wednesday may have been a grey day for British tennis, when national hopeful Andy Murray was chased out of the championships in a depressing straight-set defeat, but above the perfectly manicured lawns of centre-court where I was lucky enough to be a spectator all day, the skies shone a vivid blue, and all around the many courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the glamourous and chic of high society perambulated in their finery, clutching glasses of lansen champagne in one hand and a tub of the traditional Wimbledon accompaniment of strawberries and cream in the other.
For even those few who do not get caught up in the all-encompassing excitement of riveting rallies and tense tie-breakers, Wimbledon is an unmissable event of the season. With a ground filled with perfectly manicured floral blooms in the championship colours of green and purple, when styled summer frocks and panama hats get an airing, and some of the world’s best players and celebrity spectators gather together, Wimbledon is surely the high point of the British summer, when the tennis loving crowds include even the royals themselves – why yesterday the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (otherwise known as Wills and Kate) were in attendance.
Naturally, while I rode the emotional wave of highs and lows that came with watching Murray’s defeat and Federer’s later quarter final victory, I also felt happily immersed in the high-flying excitement of the entire Wimbledon experience, and these photos are testament to the day we had. As with the good english weather, these two weeks of Wimbledon are a transient experience – so like me, I hope you will enjoy the brief interlude of Wonderful Wimbledon while you can.
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It’s match point and Norm Normington, representing team GB is serving to win gold in the London 2012 Olympic tennis finals. However it’s not easy. Against him is world champion winner of various Norm Tennis grand slams, Norte El Normo, representing Spain. El Normo doesn’t just bounce around like a normal Norm tennis player would do. He can do backflips and high jumps and all sorts of distracting but spectacular moves which make him a real contender for the gold. Despite this, Normington, every the English gentlenorm, polite in his play but devilish in his super-fast serve and quick-fire backhand, is out on top, spurred by the proudest of all home crowds, rousing him to success with their roof-raising cheers and their chants of “Go Normington, Go!”. They’ve even been partial to the odd mexican wave or two during today’s match, which is most unusual for the reserved Englishnorm. Just goes to show how the Olympic spirit is lifting us all, and brining all Norms together as a single Normular nation under the sporting flag. But when it comes to victory, it’s nationality that counts. The question now is will Normington do it for team Great Britain?
Normington v El Normo – Tennis Final, London 2012 (© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2012, pen on paper)
I’m not a big sports fan. I don’t really know the terminology, and my familiarity with the various sports stars extends as far as those faces who regularly hit the headlines and are splashed across perfume promotions and London buses. However there is something utterly contagious about the Olympic spirit which has swept throughout London and up and down the British isles which just cannot be resisted. The aim of London’s bid was to bring all Britons and people from throughout the world together under the olympic flag, to create a huge party of spectators enjoying the adrenaline rush engendered by sporting achievement and to inspire future generations to enjoy sport and aim for sporting brilliance. They’re all cliches, the stuff of marketing machines, but what the last week has proved to me, is that those objectives have really manifested – I feel inspired by sport, part of the global sporting party and loving every minute of London 2012.
Wimbledon green with the distinctive Olympics purple
The Wimbledon Wenlock
As with many Britons, I found it difficult to get any olympic tickets, despite applying for a good few (and yes, like everyone else, I am secretly seething inside at seeing so many empty seats at the events – a byproduct of the Olympics’ necessary reliance upon corporate sponsorship and IOC executives who then don’t bother to turn up, depriving so many future generations of the opportunity to be inspired). However the one set of tickets I did get was to see men’s semi-finals tennis at Wimbledon. This was a double whammy for me. Not only did it mean I would get to visit the British home of Tennis (tickets for the main Wimbledon tournament are as easy to get your hands on as the holy grail) but it also meant that I would be treated to not one, not two, but three matches played by undisputed tennis royalty.