Paris France

Wow, what a city!  It’s been a long time since we last visited Paris, pre-kids in fact.  We loved it then, but we thought this time round was even more amazing.  There is just so much to see and do around this city that you would need a life-time.  We drove up with Sue and Dave and found our hotel without too much trouble.

 

We stayed at the Hotel Liberty, handy to Gare de Nord and a 30 minute stroll to The Seine and all the action!  Four fantastic, fun-filled days followed.  Apart from a couple of taxis for longer stretches, we walked the lot, and most of it with Sue and Dave.   I won’t bore you with all the details but we enjoyed every minute.

 

Highlights included:

End of the Tour de France (see separate blog)

Sidewalk cafes for coffees and drinks.  You might pay more on the Champs Ellysee but the people watching opportunities are brilliant.

 

The meals: fabulous 3 course dinners in the Latin Quarter, with wine, for far less than you would pay in Australia.  Brilliant atmosphere!

 

 

 

Sacre Couer, Notre Dame and other churches…. wow!

The architecture generally.. brilliant buildings and structures all over Paris.

Montmartre… the fabulous artists area of Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, the bridges and other landmarks.

A cruise along the Seine.

Galeries La Fayette.. so much more than a shopping centre… stunning leadlight dome and magnificent views over Paris from the rooftop garden and bars.

Moulin Rouge area, even though we didn’t see a show this time.

 

 

The fabulous sandy beach they have set up along the banks of the Seine: picnic and drinking opportunities, stalls, games, entertainment

The museums… so many, and so good!

Robert’s Place, a single building we discovered on Rue de Rivoli…. seven floors of working artists and their creations… just brilliant!

Such an amazing time.  We are looking forward to another visit later this year.

End of the Tour de France

On our second day in Paris we were able to see the final stage of the Tour de France.  After 20 days of gruelling riding, this is a chance for the French public to acknowledge the riders in the streets of their stunning city.

We arrived early to find a good spot and it’s lucky we did because the crowds began to build soon afterwards.  We secured a position on a prominent corner near the Carousel Bridge near the south-western corner of the Louvre.  With front row positions right on the corner we could see the riders gunning down the Tuileries before they took a sharp left hand turn and disappeared under an underpass tunnel.

 

 

 

Before the race we met up with a number of Aussies so it soon became ‘Aussie Corner.’  First we met Phil and Jenny from Noosa who have been here with a group of riders from Australia.  Then we met Rob and Maryanne Harding from Adelaide.  Rob was Principal at Linden Park where I once taught and they are the parents of Nicole who once took my class when I was on Long Service Leave from Magill.  Then we met an American Army General and his French-teaching wife.  He became an honorary Aussie by wearing a Fanatics cap.  Finally, we met another Aussie couple who have just cycled 2800 kilometres through Europe.  We were all part of a crowd of 100′s of thousands!

The pre-race caravan was entertaining with all the sponsors trying to outdo each other with their vehicles and floats.  Highlight for me was the Vittel water truck with two attractive women spraying the crowd with water.

 

After a long wait, the riders arrived!  The crowd cheered them on enthusiastically, although not as loudly as the Tour Downunder, we thought.  After a 60 kilometre ride, they did 8 laps of the Champs Ellysee circuit in front of the crowds.  We picked out Cadel Evans in his Number 1 jersey, Brad Wiggins in the yellow and Mark Cavendish, arguably the greatest sprinter of all time.  They passed within metres of our spot, which was great.

 

 

 

Every 6 minutes or so they flashed past.  There was a bit of a breakaway but the peleton reeled them in.  In no time at all it was all over and we headed off for a 6pm cruise on the Seine, rather than fighting massive crowds for a long-distance glimpse of the category winners.  Another amazing experience in the memory bank.

 

 

 

San Sebastian, Spain

After a week in a tent in Pamplona at the San Fermin Festival, we were looking forward to a night in a real bed.  Our first night in a pension in San Sebastian would have to rank as one of the best night’s of sleep in our lives!  I didn’t know a bed could feel SO good!

 

 

Pamplona was full-on so we decided on four relaxing days in San Sebastian to recuperate, before heading into France.  We bussed it into San Sebastian and then walked towards the beach to find a suitable pension.  Found a nice little place with our own balcony only 5 minutes from the beach near the railway station.

 

 

San Sebastian is just a wonderful city!  You would not find a more picturesque place anywhere.  The combination of stunning seafront, boats, horseshoe-shaped bay, sandy beach, beautiful blue water, charming old buildings and surrounding hills, has to be seen to be believed.

 

Jenny and I just loved promenading along the beach-front.  The people were friendly and there were lots of joggers, cyclists and inline skaters. The bike tracks are extensive and you can hire bikes to go exploring. They even have their own ‘Wimbledon Tennis Club.’  In the surrounding streets there are heaps of quaint little shops, cafes, tapas bars and places to explore.  We just felt as though you wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else.

 

And it’s not expensive.  We wined and dined for less than we did at the Pamplona campsite.

 

 

 

 

The best activity is just to wander around and soak it up!  Friends who have been here agree it has to be right up there with the best cities in the world to visit.  Make sure you make the effort to climb the massive hill to see the monument of Jesus.  There is a cute little museum up there, but the views are incredible.

 

If you get the chance, go there!

 

San Fermin Festival, Pamplona Spain, July 6-14

What a fantastic festival.  Too much sangria, too many people, too many bulls, too much music, too little sleep, but a wonderful, wonderful time that will stay with us forever.

I’ve written up the Running of the Bulls elsewhere on this site, but I wanted to give people a taste of the full package.  It starts with an Opening Ceremony at 12 noon on July 6 and ends with a Closing Ceremony on July 14th.  Almost everybody dresses in white and red for the duration of the festival and it’s a wonderful sight!  Many of the revellers finish almost drowned in sangria, so they take on a bit of a pink look, but the locals seem to change their outfits regularly and maintain an almost pure white!

At the Opening Ceremony everyone used to gather at the Town Hall square, where dignatories appear on the balcony and declare festivities open.  Now there are so many people there that you are almost crushed to death, so people spill over to the huge main city square and the surrounding streets.  The main square has a massive screen where you can watch proceedings live.  Just before 12 noon everyone holds up their red scarves.  People shower each other with sangria and other liquids along with flour, sauce, or even mustard.  It’s like a giant muck-up day!  After the opening announcement the scarves are placed around your neck, where they stay for the duration!

Once that’s over, the partying continues for another 8 days!  There is a ‘Running with the Bulls’ each day at 8am and a Bull Fight in the main arena at 6:30 in the evening.  There are bands, buskers and hundreds of bars and restaurants in full swing.  Huge super-soakers of sangria and other fluids, traditional goon skins, buckets of fluid thrown from balconies, it’s all part of the fun!  Amazingly, in the entire 6 days we were there we didn’t witness a single fight or scuffle, although the alcohol was definitely flowing!

 

There are street parties that appear to go all night.  After the Opening Ceremony people partied into the night but I was amazed to see that the bars were still full at 5:30 the next morning when I walked down to the town hall square for the start of the run! There were also many party goers asleep on the lawns and benches.

Then there are the bullfights!  Every night at 6:30 there is a fullhouse to watch the action.  The 6 bulls that have done the morning run take on the matadors in a two hour show.  You can queue for ages for a ticket or pay a bit extra to the scalpers outside!  You can choose to sit in the ‘sun’ or ‘shade.’  Things are somewhat livelier in the sun and you can expect another spraying with sangria and other liquids.  The shade is more for families.  We went ‘sun.’  You can pretty well take what you like into the stadium, with full buckets of sangria apparently OK.

When the bulls enter they are teased a bit by the matadors before a guy on a horse plunges a spear into the bull’s back.  A couple of other dudes thrust up to six swords into the bull’s back.  Then the top matador takes over and finally rams a sword into the bull’s back.  The bull collapses in a heap and then a guy with a small knife finishes the job, if necessary.  Three horses drag the dead bull from the arena to the cheers of the crowd!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s gruesome stuff but with all the tradition, rituals and amazing atmosphere we really enjoyed it!  At least six live bands, Mexican waves, sangria sprays, songs and chants, it is a brilliant thing to be a part of!

Meanwhile, in the streets, people promenade, socialise and are amazingly happy.  They eat, drink, shop and mix.  People party in a variety of ways and apart from Saturday night, it was quite OK for families with younger kids.

Viva San Fermin!

 

Running of the Bulls, Pamplona

OMG – CRAZY! CRAZY!  But I survived!

The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, would have to be one of the most amazing experiences in the world.  It is all part of a massive festival called San Fermin that goes for more than a week: always July 6 – July 14.  All of the accommodation in town is booked out for months in advance.

We had always wanted to see this amazing spectacle so when we saw that The Fanatics were offering packages out of London, staying at a camp-site with pool, rock bands and fellow revellers, we jumped at the chance.

I must say that my original intention was NOT to run with the bulls, but once I arrived in Pamplona and got caught up in the excitement of it all, I just had to do it.

My next plan was to watch the first run on the big screen, work out my tactics, and run Day 2.  But then I figured it might scare me off, so I just went for it. Thus, Monday, July 7th, the first run, will remain with me as one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I spoke to a number of veterans of the run and worked out my tactics.  It seemed that the best starting point was in or near the square and the key was to beat the bulls around ´Dead Man’s Corner.´ This is where the bulls turn at almost a ninety degree angle, so the risk is that you can get slammed up against the fence by a 600 kilogram beast running much faster than Usain Bolt.

On the morning of the run we all jammed into the square around 5:30am and had a long wait before the start of the run.  The Police moved people on at about 7:50 so I stationed myself about 50 metres from Dead Manś Corner.  I later found out that those who took the chicken option of moving around the corner, or failed to resist the prod of the Police batons, were taken off the course.  This was part of the Police plan to reduce the number of runners!

At 8 am the starting rocket went off and we RAN.  My intention was to get around Dead Manś Corner and then tuck in near the right hand walls of the buildings, because the bulls tend to charge up the middle of the narrow, cobbled street.  The problem was that everybody else had the same idea!  With the scent of fear in the air (mine I think!) I charged up the road at top speed, jostling for position with several thousand others, hoping not to fall, and was able to eventually pull in about 2 people deep.  It was at this point I broke the Golden Rule of never looking back.  And there they were!  A pack of enormous, unbelievably fast, horned beasts, charging through anything in their path!

 

 

As the mass of bulls and steers (apparently the steers keep them on course) charged past, I ran towards the arena, thinking that all the bulls had passed and only the ‘mop up steers’ remained.  We were soon to discover that one bull was separated from the pack and was still behind us.  It gored and bunted past us less than a minute later, thankfully about a metre to my left!

The remaining 3 steers posed no problems.  After perhaps a total of four minutes of frenzied running, I burst into the arena to thunderous applause from a packed stadium.  It was an awesome feeling, right up there with a football grand final win!!

When we were feeling safe and secure in the arena, with the bulls locked away, the locals released six younger bulls to attack us!  They may be smaller, but you don´t want to be in their path.  I spent the rest of the time near the fence avoiding their charges, while other, braver souls, took them on!  This went on for about half an hour with the punters being tossed, bunted and trampled to the roars of the crowd.  Plenty of great youtube material!

 

It is frowned upon to handle or mistreat the bulls.  One guy discovered this when he grabbed a bull by the tail.  He was beaten ferociously by the locals before being dragged off by the police and apparently beaten again.

 

 

 

It was a great feeling to finally emerge from the arena with my body intact!  It was then time to share all the amazing stories with fellow revellers and witnesses.  They even sell amazing photos and DVDś of the day’s action around town later in the day.

This event has become a massively supported tour for The Fanatics.  As word spreads, it is hard to imagine it becoming any smaller!  If you get a chance, go there!

Oaklands Grove, Shepherds Bush Hostel

Being budget travellers, we search long and hard to find the most economical places to stay around the world.  Going to London during Wimbledon and The Olympics, there weren’t a lot of bargains to be found!

After a lot of searching, we used budgetplaces.com to find ‘Hostel Houses,’ run by a charming Frenchman named Mario.  Budget Places apparently take a whopping 30% of the booking money, so Mario advised us, and we advise you, to try and deal directly with the owner/proprietor if you can.  Mario actually rents his hostel(s) and then sub-lets the rooms to others.

Mario tries to create a kind of family atmosphere in his hostel(s) with a communal kitchen, lounge with satellite TV, outdoor areas and shared cooking encouraged.

So we arrived at Oaklands Grove, Shepherds Bush, not really knowing what to expect, because this was our first time in 6 months that we had to deal with a ‘shared bathroom’ situation.  It was a four storey attached terrace house and it was brilliant!!

 

With 9 bedrooms in the hostel, and as many as 3 per room, there were approximately 20 staying there during our stay!  We had our own room but had to share one of the three bathrooms.  This worked surprisingly well.. you just left the door open when you weren’t using it.  We tended to get up before most of the others anyway, because most work late and many are party animals.

There were several Irish guys, some Italians, some Spanish, some French, a German, a Greek, a Swede, even another Aussie from Perth. Including Jenny there were five females, which probably helped keep things tidier, as well as our host Mario who also did the ‘cleaning.’

 

 

I am sure this kind of living arrangement would not suit everyone, but Jenny and I both loved it!   They were a great group of people and the nearby community of Shepherds Bush is amazingly multicultural, cosmopolitan and lacking nothing!  Excellent transport, a huge range of shops, pubs and restaurants and very competitively priced.  Shepherds Bush Market is just down the road too.

But it was the people who made it!  Every day there were great conversations happening, indoors and out.  Everyone spoke ‘English’ at various levels, but sometimes we had trouble understanding.  Wayne, with the strongest Irish brogue, told us that “everyone spent most of last night in the Walkabout” (the local Aussie hotel.)   Jenny thought he said “in the water-bed!”  We went to Wimbledon with Albin (he Tsonga, us Hewitt) and shared drinks and conversation with most of the residents at various stages.

Although many are staying long-term , there is almost a revolving door of short term residents which adds to the mix.  Everyone goes out of their way to include everyone, whether they can underdstand them or not!

Two of the Irish guys, Wayne and Ryan, are staying here away from their families, but work hard to get ahead.  We had builders, caterers, chefs, ex-teachers and waitresses all living under the one roof.  With the kitchen, TV and lounge area all downstairs, we were always touching base.

After a day of Wimbledon, Lords or sightseeing it was great to share a few drinks, and sometimes a meal, watch the Euro 2012 soccer, Wimbledon or even the equally crappy English version of ‘Deal or No Deal.’

Shades of Number 96!!!  I can smell a movie script, TV drama or book coming out of this one!

Abbey Road, London

No visit to London is complete without a visit to Abbey Road.  A short stroll from St John’s Wood subway station, Abbey Rd features the famous crossing from the Abbey Rd album cover as well as the Abbey Rd studios, where The Beatles recorded many of their songs.

We had great fun there.  Lots of Beatles fans arrived over the twenty minutes or so that we were hanging around.  There was a lot of interest in my Abbey Rd T-shirt (scored in Thailand) because it featured the actual photo for accuracy purposes.  There was a guy called Brian, ex-Winnipeg, who had all the camera angles sussed out.  (You need to face up the street towards the studio and stand on the square shaped man-hole for best effect.)

Also there during our visit was a group of four young American guys, all born after The Beatles had ‘finished’ and a bare-footed guy in a suit who was doing a tribute to his mate for his birthday.  He was singing the line “You say it’s your birthday!” as he was being filmed.  Surprisingly there were no salespeople around to milk the moment.  We reckon T-shirts, souvenirs, even suits for hire would be popular.

 

We happily photographed some other groups and made up the numbers for groups that were short of their 4 members.  The road was quite busy, with cars, buses, vans and taxis all zipping past so you had to choose your moments for the photos.  We scored a few blasts from peoples’ car-horns but most of the motorists didn’t appear too fussed.

 

We ignored the ‘Do not enter’ sign at the Abbey Rd studios for a few photos on the steps (thank you Brian!)  We also noted the website where you can check out CCTV coverage of the crossing for 24 hours, and later found ourselves.

You are encouraged(?) to write graffiti on the wall outside the Abbey Rd studios at number 3, which is painted over every 3 months.

Well worth a visit!

 

Cricket: Australia v England at Lords

On Friday I had an opportunity to see England play Australia in a One Day International cricket match, at Lords.  Lords of course is the home of  cricket, so it’s something I wanted to do at least once.

When we arrived in London the match was officially sold out, and had been for three months.  Amazingly I managed to score a returned ticket through the Lords website, for normal price.  Nice.  I thus avoided having to bargain with the scalpers on the morning of the match.  (I met 5 of them as I wandered down from the tube station!)

The day before the match Jenny and I called in to Lords to pick up the ticket.  It was late afternoon and final preparations were underway for the big day.  We had to go through a security check but once we were through we went for a wander.  We met the Aussie team bus driver who tipped us off that the Aussies were practising in the nets.  So we strolled over and checked them out.  There were no official tours available because of the match but we certainly enjoyed our self-guided tour.  And surprisingly nobody kicked us out or even questioned us.

On the day of the match I was sitting in the Edrich stand, adjacent to the new media centre and facing The Pavillion.  It was a great spot, with views of both scoreboards for the replays.  I was surrounded by Poms and there were very few Aussies in the crowd.

Being the middle of Summer, it was a very mild day.  We had a few showers early on and play was stopped on three occasions.  In spite of that they managed to play out the whole match without having to reduce the number of overs.  The sky went through a number of changes but when the sun broke through it was glorious.  And the English kept saying so!

“Oooh, that’s a nice bit of sunshine!  Mmmm, lovely!  Oooh, better take my jacket off.  Oooh, if I take my jacket off the clouds might come back!”

The fullhouse all basked in the occasional sunshine and soaked up the atmosphere.  I chatted to all the people around me so it was pretty good fun.  I was sitting between a teacher and a medical specialist, whose daughter was getting married the next day, with a couple of Jamaicans in front of me and an ex-Chicago Aussie behind.

The lunch break gave me a number of dining choices.  Fish and chips, burger and chips, Jamie Oliver and chips, even Indian and chips.  I went for the Indian.  Met a few Aussies and chatted to some more Poms.  Lots were sporting jackets and ties.  “And how are you enjoying your Lords experience?”  They really do think they are quite special just being there, and can’t imagine any place on earth rivalling their Lords!

Back to the cricket.  The jackets kept going on, then coming off again with the intermittent sunshine.  It hovered between about 15 and 22 degrees I would say.

The Ausies lost, but we were all winners.

Some people paid more than 700 pounds for their corporate packages, give or take a dozen cocktails in Cambodia.  In addition to their ticket they received food, drink and the presence of a cricketer.  They blew more in one day than  many Asians earn in a year!!!  Aah, the ways of the world.

Had a nice chat to an English chap at the subway station about cricket, the Olympics, Tour de France, Asia and so on.  After 6 stops he then realised he was on the wrong train!  The destination is never as important as the journey.

How the World Works

Following our 5 months in Asia on this trip, backed up by several years travelling/living in Asia previously, I would like to explain to you how the world works!

How The World Works

The big corporations like Apple, Nike, Adidas and the like, driven by growth, pursuit of profits and answering to their share-holders, lay off their own country’s workers and produce their goods in the poorest nations, like Cambodia, China, Thailand, The Phillipines, Bangladesh, etc

The corporations sub-contract production to foreign-owned companies to avoid scrutiny and distance themselves from the horrors of their factories.  For example, one factory producing Nike goods in Cambodia is Taiwanese owned.  The companies pretend it is not their responsibility when they are not directly employing their workers.  They hide behind things like ‘Codes of Conduct’ where the conditions are never adhered to anyway.

Their workers, mainly female, are paid unbelievably poor ‘salaries’ under the guise of ‘minimum wages.’  For example in Cambodia the minimum wage is $66 per month, including a $5 health allowance.

They pretend to care about safety and conditions in their factories but do almost nothing, even when their workers are starving, overworked, abused, fainting, being injured or even killed.  The internet is full of such examples.

The wages are so low that they do not constitute a ‘living wage’, but there are no alternative employment opportunities for the poor, generally female workers, other than prostitution.

Unable to provide for their families, or even themselves, on their meagre salaries, they must find alternative employment.  They are generally on short term contracts so can’t complain or attempt to unionize, or they will lose their jobs.  They are not really workers, they are clearly slaves.

Desperate for more money, the impoverished women often finish up in prostitution anyway.  Then they are really screwed!

Meanwhile, the corporations, selling their goods at inflated Western prices, return massive profits.  The shareholders are happy.  The CEO’s typically earn more than the entire foreign workforce in the impoverished country’s factories.  For example the entire wage bill for a factory of 5000 workers in Cambodia is less than $4 million a year.  The typical American CEO made $9.6 million in 2011.

Back in the home country, people from the manufacturing industry who have lost their jobs are also unable to find gainful employment, so they are screwed as well.

Unemployment rises, particularly youth unemployment, because, strangely, there is no manufacturing sector to employ them.

The home country’s  trade balance blows out horribly.  The economy, with manufacturing no longer a possibility, is screwed as well.

Governments are unable to make the necessary improvements because the voters will not accept higher taxes or loss of working conditions.

The rich still get richer, the poor still get poorer.

An observation

A few million dollars from the billion dollar profits would provide the workers with a living wage.  This in turn would provide support for families in poverty and keep many of the women, and girls, out of prostitution.

Some questions

Can the rich sleep at night?

For how long can the rich continue to exploit the poor without dire social consequences?

Do CEO’s need such mega salaries when their workers are starving?

What are we, the citizens of the world, going to do about it?

Some suggestions…..

  • Research this stuff
  • Tell your friends
  • Write to your politicians
  • Teachers, expose your kids to this very real issue
  • Find companies that produce goods ethically
  • Boycott companies that are unethical
  • Demand a living wage for the world’s workers.  We are talking only a few dollars a day here.
  • Live a frugal life and support those living in poverty.  There is enough wealth and food to go around.

 

Wimbledon with The Fanatics

You can go to Wimbledon and see the tennis or you can EXPERIENCE Wimbledon, with The Fanatics.  We decided that the best way to make sure that we saw the Aussies at Wimbledon was to do it with The Fanatics.  And it was great!!

 

 

 

To get ‘normal’ tickets for Wimbledon you have to send a letter to The All England Tennis Club before December 15th the previous year.  Then you cross your fingers and hope you get something from the ballot.  Then there is ‘The Queue.’  The committee kindly leave 500 tickets at each of the major courts available to the general public, so if you queue early, you are guaranteed a good seat at either Centre Court, Court 1 or Court 2.

 

 

When the draw is released on the Friday prior to Wimbledon, The Fanatics choose which night to queue.  Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic and Matthew Ebden were all drawn for Tuesday, so we queued Monday night.  The Fanatics organisers arrived early afternoon with lots of tents.  You pay only 5 pounds each for your tent.  You also need to buy a Fanatics T-shirt and optional visor, cap or sunglasses.

Mid afternoon the Wimbledon stewards and ‘Honorary Stewards’ start handing out numbered queue cards, guaranteeing your place in the queue.  You are then free to wander around, socialise, buy food or stroll down the street to the pub, off license, shops or whatever.  This is a great time and you meet fantastic tennis fans from all over the world.  The pub we went to for dinner had a fantastic atmosphere.  Many people said that they love having the Aussies at Wimbledon.

The next morning they start waking people up at 5 am to pack up all your camping gear and form a proper queue in front of the early morning arrivals.  You leave tents, bedding etc at ‘Left Luggage’ for a pound per item.  The queue eventually moves off towards the gates and the stewards start allocating wrist bands according to the courts people want.  Of course the Aussies all wanted Court 1 for Lleyton Hewitt v Tsonga, effectively snubbing Andy Murray and Rafa on Centre Court and Bernard Tomic on Court 2.  Spoilt for choice!

 

 

 

The gates opened at 9:30, so the Fanatics all lined up at the Court 1 turnstiles.  At 10;30 we were FINALLY let into the courts area.  Play started on the outside courts at 11 am so we all headed for Matt Ebden’s match on Court 17.  Near the start who should join us, but Patty Rafter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around 1 o’clock we went to our reserved seats on Court 1, only 8 rows from the court and directly behind the umpire.

Group leader Carl then orchestrated the songs.  There were no rehearsals – could have spent some queue time? – but it all went pretty smoothly.  The highlight for me was singing the national anthem in front of 1000′s, plus a TV audience of millions around the world.  As we finished we receieved a great ovation and then our phones started receiving texts from people who had seen us live in Australia.

Lleyton played really well but he was no match for the powerful Tsonga, who must be a big chance in the tournament.  Tsonga had 10 aces in the 1st set alone.  To me, Lleyton is playing much better tennis than he was as the winner in 2002, but the game has moved up a few notches.  He even said post-match that he couldn’t have done much more.  We were all proud of him.

Aussie comedian Hamish Blake arrived during the match and sported a Fanatics cap and sunglasses.  After the match he came down and spoke to all of us and put on a Fanatics T-shirt.  Everywhere we went, as a group or individually, we were warmly acknowledged by the public.  I did three media interviews: Daily Mail, The Australian (Jenny too) and Sky Sports!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Lleyton match we wandered around, had a couple of feeds and checked out play at many of the outside courts.  Unfortunately, we just missed the finish of the Casey Dellacqua match.  With our reserved seat on Court 1 we were free to go back any time, so late afternoon we strolled back for the Roddick v Blake (UK) match.  Blake was matching him point for point in the first set, with huge British support, but lost in a tie-breaker before going down in straight sets.

In spite of the Aussie losses.. worst performance since 1938 apparently..we had an unbelievably good time and would highly recommend it!

Can’t wait until Friday for Australia v England at Lords!

 

 

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