Day 7 December 16th: Wimbledon and Waterstones
I wake up this morning feeling oh so slightly lonely and just a little homesick, so I decided to go to the Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Museum (the museum itself is closed for renovation, but the gift shop and grounds are open). Several of my close friends are tennis buffs, so I’ll have them with me in spirit.
According to the directions on the website I’m to take the tube to Southfields, but I decide to go one (or is it two?) stops farther to the Wimbledon stop so I can take a picture of the Wimbledon tube sign. I’m curious to know how the Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Museum got its name since it doesn’t seem to be located in Wimbledon, or is it? On the other hand, it may not even be in Southfields since I notice later that my receipt from the gift shops says Chiswick.
I make it to the Southfields tube stop and head to find the bus. The website doesn’t say in which direction to catch the bus, so I ask for directions from this woman who kindly tells me that it might be awhile since the bus I want isn’t that reliable; sure enough it’s about 15 minutes late, but I don’t think that’s too bad. It’s only a couple of stops to Wimbledon, and when I arrive there I find it under heavy construction. The website says to go through gate 4, but on this day the visitors enter through gate 3.
In spite of all the construction going on, I still feel a sense of awe at being in the place where so many tennis greats have played. In addition to the gift shop being open they also offer tours every ½ hour (and yes they do show you Center Court!).
First though I head to the gift shop—and what a fantastic gift shop it is! I see so many products, and the little voices in my head scream BUY BUY BUY, but before I go crazy, I pull out my cell phone and call one of my dear friends back home in California (waking her and her hubby up at 5am) and proceed to describe the contents of the store to her so we can decide what I should buy. If you’re a sock nut, Wimbledon makes the best socks—so comfortable and they last forever! I still have (and wear) the pair I bought in 2003.
After I leave the gift shop I head up to the restaurant for a spot of tea before touring the grounds. Even on this very very cold almost winter day the grass shines a spectacularly sparkling warm green. Because of the cold I don’t dawdle for long and soon I head out to the bus stop right outside the exit.
When I arrive back in London I go to Harrods for a suckao, to help warm me up. Then I head for Waterstones for a few hours of book browsing. I could stay here forever. I pick up a copy of the children’s edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I make it back to my hotel around 8:30 pm and spend the remainder of the evening relaxing in room watching gameshows on BBC and writing postcards.
Next Stop: London Eye, the British Museum, and a night at the theatre