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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wimbledon and not a Womble in sight...

One lovely thing about travelling with DH is that spontaneity he has if he suddenly gets a good idea and so it was yesterday. Instead of just buying an a navigational app for the iPad, DH decided he would prefer a GPS such as our trusty TomTom that we use at home. We had the name of a chain of stores called Halfords that sold such items and the nearest shop was in Wimbledon...so we caught the train there. 

Just outside Wimbledon Station...


We soon found the shop, purchased said item, then went to another shop and bought a mobile wifi device and then I thought we would be heading into the city to look through museums and galleries. Instead DH suggested we catch a bus to the Wimbledon Tennis Centre to look through the museum there.

 When we arrived there, there was a tour of the tennis centre in just over half an hour, so we bought tickets for the tour. We were told the tour went from 11.30 until 1 which I thought was a bit long...it actually went to 1.30 and I found it the most interesting tour I've done for a while. It was wonderful learning about the history of the game of tennis as well as the history of the Wimbledon Tennis Centre. We got to go to places the public would never be allowed in.
For security purposes, we were all given a wrist band which had to be visible at all times during the tour..


Our tour guide was Richard and he gathered us all together to talk to us about the rules etc of the tour...he also passed around a 2014 ball which is part of the thousands that will be used for this year's tournaments...

The old pony roller on display...


Richard talking to us with Court #1 in the background. There is an electric fence around the court which is used as a deterrent for some wildlife at the centre...apparently at a loss to explain why the grass was dying in patches, CCTV cameras installed showed 42 foxes in the area at night. So the patches of dead grass were foxes' loos! Lol. Hence the fence! 



There was a lot of building work going on in front of No 1 Court...


We were then taken up to a 'new area' of the complex known as Cloud Hill. Apparently there is a push to rename it Murray Hill in honour of Andy :-)


Another view of Cloud Hill...

From Cloud Hill you can see the city...I did use the zoom though for this pic...see the Shard?
Looking up towards Cloud Hill...

We then moved downhill and stopped at another court...I loved the row of topiary trees around the wall on the left and the back of the court...

Now talking of topiary...how's this example? This is in honour of the first TV crews in 1960... TV Cameras have changed a bit...

We also looked down on some new courts that are being prepared...not for this year's tournaments but for next year. They leave them for a year to be completely settled...the court is made up of layers...that layer looked like pebbles...Richard told us that soil would be laid over that and then the turf of rye grass...

The tour then took us through corridors and rooms that the public don't normally get to enter including a new media room which is huge and has all sorts of technologies for those journalists :-)

Looking over yet more courts and up towards to Wimbeldon Village...

We were taken into a building that contained honour boards showing the winners in the various divisions.

Then we went onto the complex that contains Centre Court....really sporting hallowed ground! Firstly the room where the media conferences are conducted with winners...


And look, there's a media conference now! 


What fun that was! We all got a chance to have our photo taken at that desk. 
And finally Centre Court...

The gantry in the foreground has lights in it...the gantry passes over the court and the lights replicate sunlight to boost the grass's growth...
The royal box in Centre Court...

The roof was open and this photo shows how it all folds back..

Another view of that roof...




We both thoroughly enjoyed this tour and the Tennis Museum which is also attached. DH commented that even though he doesn't have a Bucket List...if he did, touring the Wimbeldon Tennis Centre would be on it and so he could now tick it off! 

7 comments:

Lin said...

What a brilliant tour - lucky you!! xx

Alison Holstein said...

Looked like amazing fun Maria and Bruce :)

Nanette said...

I was pleased to see your security wristlet matched your handbag lol Fun to do things you weren't expecting to do.

Nanette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vireya said...

Fantastic! Even a blossom tree in one of the photos. But my favourite is the press conference shot.

Susan said...

Oh wow, I love this post too. My man is the same - off we go on an unplanned adventure! That's what makes life so interesting isn't it.
A great look through Wimbledon. Ha ha loving you both at the desk :D)

Susan said...

What a great post Maria. Must be interesting to see it all from a different angle.