So the three amigos spent most of tha late afternoon exploring the grounds of the All England Club, we even managed to sneak back into Centre Court to sneak a peak at Mr Rusedski who was in action. That evening we wearily made our way out the gate of SW19 and began to walk back to Southfields Tube Station. It was then when we had a brainwave, we joined the already swelling queue for the next days tickets, got the queue cards and sat ourselves down on the pavement of South London and watched all the fans come past in their droves. It was then it was decided that one of us would keep dick in the queue whilst the other two would go home get a burger and freshen up. I drew the short straw and ended up on me bum watching the then trickle of people leave the All England Club to make their way home. There was plenty going on to keep me occuppied, the takeway and fastfood outlets all handed out their flyers and the newspaper sellers were trying to sell me the evening standard for the order of play. I duly obliged, always enjoyed reading the tennis press anyway.
Just as my stomach had grumbled for the 5oth time, the two amigos appeared in the distance all fresh faced and preppy looking. They could see from the look on my face that I wasnt the happiest camper, hungry and feeling quite dirty but they soon put a smile on my face when they produced a belly busting 16′ pizza. I demolished it quicker than an Andy Roddick serve. Feeling quite restless and numb from the road, we took a little run to the front of the queue to see how the other folk were living. Most it must be said had nice tents, some had deck chairs, others were roasting some sausages on the BBQ and sipping on a few beers. There seemed to be a nice buzz all along the queue as most settled down and tried to get some sleep. The three amigos though were feeling quite chatty and keen to strike up conversation with anyone that would take us on. We must have stopped at a dozen different tents, each with a different nationality and differing reasons why they were in the queue. We bumped into a nice Ozzie called Tim, eager to see Lleyton in action, others from South Africa just eager to be a part of it. All very incredibly friendly and nice, some even offered us a beer or two. Nobody could seem to differentiate the Northern Ireland accent from the Irish one so we were just happy to be the Paddys in the queue!
We played the ‘we are Paddies’ line quite frequently and I can honestly say it was a fantastic night of meeting like minded tennis fans. We even sneaked up to the main gates, the ones that the players go in and probably could have wangled our way into the grounds at 1am in the morning but we thought better of it! We eventually tiptoed back to our tent and tried to get comfortable ( if such a thing is possible ) on the South London pavement! Senor Murphy found a nice comfortable and sheltered spot at the entrance to the mens toilets. Senor Scorah, sat in his sleeping bag under an umbrella and I rolled up my Evening Standard to make a pillow. When we eventually stopped chatting with each other it must have been 4am and we drifted into a light sleep until……..
Good Morning Campers its Day 4 of the Championships, wakey wakey! It was then we began to regret our queue frolicking just a few hours before. A typically English night steward woke us up one by one, he seemed like he enjoyed it. I looked at my watch it was 5.05am flip me, I never knew play began so early! When we eventually coerced ourselves out of the foetal position and to our feet it must have 6am, most people were dismantling their tents. Shortly after the queue rather amazing began to move, we trundled along with a £4 bacon butty in one hand and our queue cards in the other.
Then we had to make our big decision, did we go and see Henners and Federer on Centre or Roddick, Venus and Clijsters on One. We all opted for Centre, having sampled a little tasted the day previous we were all mad for more. The queue continued its merry path toward the turnstyles and we received our gold coloured wristbands. By 9am we had our tickets and were nicely squashed in a pen until the grounds opened at 1030am.
Part three to follow!