Sunday, July 1, 2018


We meet up this morning in the lobby and embark on a reconnoitering mission to Wimbledon. On the subway we meet a couple who appear to be carrying a tent. Gary speaks with them and they are, as their accoutrements would suggest, going to camp out at Wimbledon to make sure they get in for tomorrow's matches. Last night I met a woman who had travelled from Los Angeles. She and her husband were here with her mother. They would not be camping out. They had purchased tickets in advance for the games. The price was approximately 800 dollars a seat. She said, and I can understand it, they did not want to travel all the way to London and not get in. We saw them, both the daughter and mother again this morning. On Tuesday they will all be going to Scotland so getting in on Monday is imperative.

We decided to follow the couple with the tent.  We both got off at the Southfields subway stop.  He and she started race walking to the field where the queue begins.  We walked through a gate and there, 24 hours approximately before the matches are to begin, there are officials answering questions.  There are, I am estimating close to 1000 people in tents waiting for tomorrow. The couple we met on the train get in the back of the line.  An attendant tells me that the field will be complete with campers over night.  A veteran attendant says he has never seen it so populated.

A fellow I know in Boston told me that as long as we arrive by 7 in the morning we ought to be fine. Gary is nervous and wants to get to the queue by 6.  I am not so nervous. I want to slay the attendant who says we should arrive by 530 tomorrow morning.  I want to murder the next attendant who suggests we arrive by 5.  Gary is all for it. I suggest we cancel our hotel rooms and pitch a tent if we want to get here any earlier than 5.

Tomorrow we have scheduled an uber for between 4 and 415. We will get to Wimbledon by 5. I have acquiesced to his request to leave at 4 by making a deal. The deal is he does not squawk if we cannot get in to see a certain group of matches he is interested in seeing.

Pablo, a clerk at the hotel, tells us to go to a city area called Portabello to watch Spain play in the world cup. We do. Interesting scene. We leave after regulation with the score tied 1-1. Boring game even for the aficionados who are populating this outdoor bar.  Spain eventually succumbs in penalty kicks.  I wonder if Pablo will show up for clerking tomorrow.

We go out to dinner to a very good restaurant on Gloucester street recommended by the concierge.  The place is jammed and is adjacent to another italian place that is nearly empty.  We get seated and have an enjoyable conversation with a couple from southwest England, a three hour train ride from London.  He is a tennis player and with his wife are going tomorrow to see the games as well. They have secured a reasonably priced ticket through a club to which he belongs.  After dinner Gary spots the mother, daughter and husband here from LA.  They say they have met others at our hotel who are leaving at 730 in the morning to queue up.  Such sweet music that.  But I have agreed to the 4 am uber ride in exchange for the no squawking promise.

Across from the italian restaurant is a pub, so we stop there and see the shootout between Denmark and Croatia. Bad day for western europe. The Russians beat the Spaniards, the Croatians beat Denmark. Bad day for soccer as well. Two less than exciting contests in the world cup.  Last stop of the night is an ice cream place like no other I have ever seen. They actually make the ice cream, right in front of the customer. Not just put the scoops in the bowl. They pour the cream, mix the ingredients, have a freezing contraption like none I have ever seen, and serve up a scoop of ice cream.

Another interesting note. Waitresses are taking orders on mini cell phones. No pads here, none that I have seen.  I should get some sleep. My wake up call at 340 London time will precede the last pitch of the Yankee Red Sox game starting at 8 pm Eastern Time.

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