Your Woman in Wimbledon: Day Four

28 Jun

We chose a good day to take a break from visiting the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Early sunshine gave way to rain and the only evening play was on the covered Centre Court. We were also weary from three days of tennis on the trot and needed a good lie-in. I don’t know how the competitors do it!

Our studio apartment is next to Wimbledon Village and ten minutes walk from the start of Wimbledon Common. Our lovely landlords, former London cab drivers, Gloria and Michael, have an allotment bordering the Wimbledon Golf Course and the Cannizaro Gardens near the Common. They’d invited us to visit today while Gloria was watering their plot so we managed to combine that with a walk and some pub research to find a venue for the second test match between the Wallabies and the Lions (we are not only tennis tragics we’re rugby tragics too).

Cannizaro Hotel and Gardens named after a Sicilian Duke.

Allotments are a particularly British institution and the Cannizaro allotment is a great example. Small garden plots carefully mapped out and tended with care (with a few exceptions) are a source of recreation and healthy fresh food. Many like Gloria and Michael’s have small sheds for storage and to keep essentials like a gas burner and tea pot, and with their careful netting to keep out pests they almost look like commercial concerns.

We found Gloria and her dog Becky at the plot and over a cup of tea admired the results of three years of hard work. Heirloom potatos, the last of the spring asparagus, huge rhubarb and fresh herbs growing in raised beds looked lush and inviting. Good things come to those who wait, Gloria and Michael waited ten years to get their allotment and have plans to improve it even more.




On to sample the real ale at a pub recommended by Gloria, The Crooked Billet. Since the mid-1600s The Crooked Billet, old English for crooked stick, the symbol used to distinguish this pub from the competition, has been serving exceptional beer. They are also totally into The Championships and have several screens tuned to different matches and offer great pub grub. We settled in for the Li Na V Simona Halep match with a couple of half pints of Cornish Coaster.

Romanian Halep was another court casualty and spent the maximum time allowed being treated for hip and upper leg strain. That seemed to cause Na to lose her momentum and after being one set up 6:2 she lost the second 6:1. Happily Na came back to win the third 6:0. I’ve been a fan of Na’s since her early radio interviews in Australia. She is such a natural personality and a phenomenal player.



Next up was Serena against French qualifier Caroline Garcia ranked 100. Slim, fine-boned Caroline looked like it would take two of her to match Serena and so it was, the final score 6:3 6:2.

The next door pub, the Hand In Hand, is also an appealing old pub with a sunny beer terrace in front. They don’t have TV screens so we won’t be switching allegiance.


We did find the perfect pub with Sky TV to watch the rugby on Saturday so with tickets for centre court tomorrow and both British favourites Andy Murray and Laura Robson scheduled to play two fun days lie ahead! I should also note that Queenslander Bernie Tomic has gone through to the third round. After his shocking loss and temper tantrum in front of us on Court Two last year and continuing bad behaviour off the court, I am pleased to see he has let his A game speak for him.

I found the Wimbledon Piazza big screen that shows tennis for the duration but it’s not very appealing in drizzle.

Some Wimbledon history trivia for you. We stumbled on the home of the first Wimbledon champion, all round sportsman, Spencer Gore. In the 1877 gentlemen’s singles Gore beat William Marshall in three sets after a rain delay of four days. He had paid one guinea to enter and won a silver trophy and prize money of 12 guineas, the equivalent of 792 pounds today. Gore reached the final the following year but was beaten by Frank Hadow in three sets.

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