Saturday, July 10, 2010

God Save the Queen

It’s more than 4,000 miles from St. Louis to London; yet anticipation, a cancelled connecting flight and a six-hour time differential makes is seem more like a million light-years away. Lynn and I have been planning this vacation for a year. Weather conditions cause our trip to be delayed by a full eight hours. This is the year in which we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of our marriage. We’re going to Wimbledon to see some tennis and the fashionable Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London is our headquarters for the duration of our stay.

Our accommodations at the Chelsea Cloisters luxury serviced studio efficiency apartment is a modest flat arranged for us by Chi Chi Travel Services in St. Louis. This is home-base from June 22 through June 29, 2010. Lynn and I remember the last time we spent this much time living in such close quarters was when began our life together and lived in a garage apartment in Miami.

Nothing like airport delays at the top of a journey to bring all sorts of anxiety, frustration and general disappointment to mind and ruin the mood. Needless to say, the beginning of our get-away vacation was having the exact opposite of the intended effect on both of us, Lynn especially. But our travel nightmare finally came to a close as we checked in and settled into our London flat mid-day June 22. We soak in a little local color (colour) and look forward to our seats at Centre Court at Wimbledon the very next day.

An English breakfast on Kinds Road, a short walk to the Sloane Square underground station, and a ride on the Underground Tube (subway) to Southfields Station and we are on our way to Wimbledon. The weather was fantastic and unlike what you might expect this time of year. The entire week was in the 70’s and the skies were blue to partly cloudy and no rain. Before we knew it we were in our seats at Centre Court. We were impressed at the intimacy of the venue we’ve seen on TV for so many years. We saw the American Andy Roddick win. We saw American Venus Williams win easily. We absorb the atmosphere and know that we will always remember being here.

Of course, Strawberries and Cream are in season and delicious. The whole first day made the travel endurance test worthwhile. We got everything we bargained for at Day One of our trip, The rest was “sugar on top.” We returned to Wimbledon again on June 24th with tickets to Court One just in time to greet the Queen of England! Elizabeth II arrived via small motorcade and we had the unique and rare pleasure of seeing the Queen in her stunning soft sky-blue dress and matching hat exit her car and be escorted on her way to the Royal Box. This was her first visit to Wimbledon in 33 years. We just happened to be in the right place to catch her arrival. What a thrill. A moment in history. She was there to see the English favorite, Andy Murray.