Greetings everyone! Happy holidays to all my teacher friends (remember I’m not one of you anymore, so you'd better enjoy.) How are the rest of you? I know the weather has been quite mild, except for Toowoomba of course.
We have obviously had some excitement in our lives this past week, although it’s certainly resulted in a desperate bout of homesickness. It seems everyone but us has met my lovely new nephew Charlie. Simon and I were absolutely thrilled with his arrival. After seemingly taking so long to get around to being born, he was suddenly in a tremendous hurry. I received a quick call and a text at work, and then a couple of hours later, he was born! I don’t know how long skype will sustain us (Charlie bawled on first sight of me – brilliant), but we are certainly grateful for it and all the photos we have received so far. I’m afraid to say Haddons and Dowricks, but I think Charlie detoured us and looks like every member of Tony’s family that I know. And he is gorgeous and healthy and has made his mum and dad so happy and proud.
Nothing compares with that, but there have been some other highlights during the last fortnight that will make for lovely memories for us both. Our good friend Miriam celebrated her 29^th birthday with dinner and then a trip to an 80s roller disco. As I watched hundreds of fluoro-clad Londoners glide/shuffle past, I was reminded of Toowoomba Skatehaven Saturday session (2pm til 4pm – no pass outs.) Remember the Skittles and the giant pythons? The speed skate? The outfits in Battersea were just as outrageous, but admittedly there were a few differences. The $30 cover charge would be one. The surlies on the door who confiscated packets of chewing gum (“you’ll throw it on the floor and people will hurt themselves.” No I won’t.) and bottles of water (no reason.) Guns and knives fine, but absolutely no hubba bubba.
On Saturday we went to our long awaited performance of King Lear at the Globe. I had never seen my favourite Shakespeare play performed and was so excited to see how it could be done. Our seats were excellent. There are 700 seats for groundlings at only five quid, but the idea of standing for three hours didn’t appeal. We had front row balcony seats in the middle gallery with a perfect view of the stage. The performance was hilarious in parts, incredibly bloody in others and just so moving. I pretty much cried the whole final scene. Loved it.
On the Sunday we finally made a trip to the Victoria and Albert museum. The exhibition I went to see was disappointing and we got through that in about twenty minutes. But the rest of the museum is exquisite. I loved the historical fashion, the jewellery room and the cast court, where there are enormous, yet intricate, replicas of famous columns and buildings from all over the world. As usual Simon was mesmerised with the sculpture section and plans on creating a bronze statue in the future. How long would that take? Five, six days?
A few weeks ago, my friend Bec and I decided that a surprise was in order for our husbands. There is a famous cabaret club in Chancery Lane called the Volupte Lounge. The boys were told to don suits, Bec and I glammed it up a little and we tottered down a dark alley (it wasn’t really that dark.) The boys were suitably surprised and very impressed with their introduction to a burlesque house. It was such a fun night; we drank classic cocktails painstakingly made by the bartender, were shown to our seats by a Russian with feathers in her hair and enjoyed a delicious three course meal. There was also singing, dancing and lots of sequinned flesh. All brilliant and in such good fun.
If you’ve considered queuing in the sun for four hours, but didn’t know how it would turn out, you could ask us. Wimbledon makes crazies out of a lot of people and we are delighted to be part of that group. We dragged ourselves out of bed to meet Bec and Aaron on Saturday morning and began lining up at 8am. It was actually quite fun; it’s on a big oval, with people playing games and picnicking. A couple of people I know, Jason and Sarah M, camped the night before and were 135 and 700 in the queue respectively. Stewards come round to give you a queue card with a number (we were 6677 and 6678) and if you’re not there to get a queue card, no one can get it for you and you’re on your own (I seem to remember this creating a problem for aunty Pat and uncle Ken.) Painfully the ticket booths didn’t even look at our queue cards; they just took our general ground fee of twenty quid and we were in!
These tickets gave us access to either standing or unreserved seating at courts two to nineteen. It’s a beautiful venue, so green and bright and I’d seen it so many times it felt familiar. We parked ourselves on Henman Hill with Pimms and strawberries and cream (simply too complicated to make at home) and enjoyed the sweltering heat and the big screen. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun, with drunken Scotsmen in eighties wigs providing entertainment in the form of huge Mexican waves. In the afternoon, for charity, people from centre court and court one can hand in their tickets to be re-sold. We were very fortunate to pick up two great seats on court one and saw James Murray (Andy’s brother) play men’s doubles and Molik versus Stubbs in mixed doubles. A strange thing (bit too quaint for my liking) about Wimbledon is that the male players are referred to by their first and last names only, but all women players are referred to as Miss this and Miss that. Overall, Wimbledon was one of the best days of the year and worth every second of the four hour queue.
Cannot wait to see the Elverys in only eleven days now! We'll meet them and Hannah in Norway on the 11th. Best wishes to you all. Hope you’re all well. Stay in touch!
Laura and Simon.