Monday, July 6, 2009

Kirk's Weekend in London

Kirk's note: I hate to hijack Reid's blog but wanted to add my two cents on this day. We'll go with green font in honor of the All England Club.
Kirk's weekend in London consisted of two very special events we had anticipated for months: He queued for same day Wimbledon tickets on Saturday and saw a Dave Matthews Band/Bruce Springsteen concert in Hyde Park on Sunday!!!

At first we thought we would all wake at the crack of dawn and queue for Wimbledon tickets. We tried the official ticket lottery and didn't win, so thought this would be a chance to see the famed All England Club event. But when we were up into the wee morning hours laughing with Kate and realized the queue would involve leaving the house before 6 AM to wait hours to MAYBE get in, the ladies decided we would let Kirk do the honors and take pictures for us instead! Plus Henman Hill with a stroller and a toddler was suddenly not seeming so glamorous!

Kirk woke with the dawn and took the tube to Wimbledon. He is hard core like that. He got his official queue card (everything in England is official!), and sat under a gorgeous sky. I had to chuckle when he called to tell me that even after being there before 7 AM he was number 7,056 in line.
(I was pretty cocky riding the tube because there didn't seem to be anyone heading for Wimbledon. I thought I would be inside the grounds in no time. That changed, when I saw the thousands queued up. But I was confident that I would get in since they let in 7,500 people)
If I thought sitting confined with Connor on The London Eye for 30 minutes was hard, try waiting 5 hours in a line to go see tennis! We definitely made the right decision to split up.
But Kirk reported the line was actually part of the fun. Everyone was cordial and proper, like good Brits always are. England's own Andy Murray was to play this day, so that contributed to the enthusiasm (and the long lines!)There were newspaper hawkers everywhere. I bought The Guardian with a Wimbledon DVD for 60p. Not a bad deal considering this was right after Michael Jackson's death and there were 10 pages about MJ. I now know more about MJ than anyone ever should, but it was something to pass the time.
There were marshals and "honorary marshals" - I couldn't figure out if the two had different responsibilities, but the marshals were generally 20-somethings dressed casually and honorary marshals were retirees in proper Wimbledon suits and hats. I noticed a dozen people setting up camp near the "Overnight Queue" sign. These folks were starting the queue midday Saturday for Monday (since Wimbledon takes a break on the "middle Sunday")!

Kirk reached the gate and paid his 20 pounds for the grounds ticket around 12 PM. Not bad! When he called to tell me he was IN, we all cheered.
He got to see many of the scenes we have come to know through "Breakfast at Wimbledon" broadcasts...the ivy walls, Rolex marquis and Henman Hill/Murray Mound (which is actually called Aorangi Terrace). He spent time on Court 14 and saw several doubles matches.
He ate 'strawberries and cream' TWICE. We tried to make it 2 years ago for a Wimbledon party at our house and the cream was a big flop. Glad he was finally able to taste it done right!
Kirk assured me he was taking photos of all the hot tennis girls for his friend, Ko, back home! Yeah right!
Hey, I was only doing what David told me to do! I caught up with our Oakhurst friend David who was also at Wimbledon. We thought Ko would get a kick out of our view!
I liked the juxtaposition of the picture above - beautiful Russian tennis player (Daniela Hantuchova) with large, shirtless, sunburned Russian dudes sitting in the stands and cheering words of encouragement!

Connor was engrossed with the sticker that shows her daddy queued at Wimbledon and the tennis ball he brought her that was actually used at the tournament. I think we may have a future tennis player on our hands! She loves the "men hitting balls!"

On Sunday Kirk's music idols, Dave Matthews Band, played at Hyde Park. It was an all day event with lots of artists - ending with The Boss! I used to traipse to the Dave Matthews Band shows with Kirk every year when we dated, but since we married I bowed out for him to enjoy the shows with his more appreciative buddies. I don't mind Dave's music, but am saturated enough with what I hear on our car trips!
The concert was my first foray to a European music festival. It's not Glastonbury, Roskilde, or Werchter, but still a fun experience. I enjoyed The Gaslight Anthem before James Morrison, DMB, and Springsteen. The lead singer sounds like Springsteen (both from NJ); I liked the band's music a lot. I was surprised no one seemed interested in James Morrison even though he is a Brit. DMB was the next act and they were excellent. They only got to play for 75 minutes, but they made the most of their time on stage. The crowd seemed only somewhat interested, but All Along the Watchtower seemed to get them excited.
Bruce Springsteen came on at 8:00. I was looking forward to seeing a Springsteen show because everyone raves about his shows. I don't know what it is, but even after downloading music to ready for the show I was never able to listen for too long. I guess that should have been a warning. I stuck around through the first hour, but the crowds became unbearable and Springsteen wasn't much better. While he is a great showman - running all over the stage and into the crowd - his preachy commentary between songs was annoying. I backed out of the crowd to see if it was better with some food, a beer, and some breathing room. After another 15 minutes, I decided to call it a night. Maybe Springsteen was just handicapped following DMB, but I'm glad I've seen him now and don't need to pay to see him by himself.
I find Kirk's loyalty to Dave endearing. And it is this quality of steadfast loyalty that also keeps Kirk loyal to me after so many quirky as that sounds. So Kirk goes to see Dave and I hang out with Kate. Not a bad deal at all!

It was quite a weekend - to put it mildly.

Click here for full album photos of our time in London (Reid's Weekend AND Kirk's Weekend!)

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