So, I'm back from my holiday of super-Englishness, and I'm already looking forward to doing this again every year that I possibly can. The only downer was the weather - everything else about the week was absolutely glorious. I could definitely get hooked on this!
At Wimbledon on Tuesday I managed to get the worst comedy sunburn yet in the morning - a huge patch on my right knee, my T-zone and my neckline complete with pale oval where my necklace was. This was followed by a torrential thunderstorm in the afternoon which scuppered all further play for the rest of the day. Bizarre! Celebrities spotted on the day: Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Ann Jones, Mr and Mrs Henman senior, Alex Bogdanovich (well, people in tennis know who he is!), Alan Mills (ditto) and, brilliantly, Cliff Richard who waved to us all from the members' balcony. Shivers up the spine to be walking round the hallowed ground: many. One day I will come back and sit on Centre Court in the glorious sunshine. I fell in love as soon as I walked through the gates and I will be back time and again.
Much the same can be said of Henley which is like an enormous society wedding with boats instead of brides. The rain was much more bearable on a couple of glasses of Pimm's, and we only had a few showers and no thunder. In future my aim will be to get hold of some Stewards' Enclosure badges, but for this year sitting on the bank was great fun and gave us a good taste of the atmosphere. Brilliantly, Simon won his first race which was so exciting - it would have been Easily if they hadn't been gentlemanly and slackened off in the great tradition, but in the end it was four lengths which is a good margin. Unfortunately they lost in the second round to the University of California who are unbeaten all season in America, but it was still a very respectable run. In the sunshine in future years I think it will be an amazing day out.
If anyone manages to get time off in future first weeks of July, I urge you to consider either of these fantastic days out. Henley especially is free to get into as long as you don't want to go into an enclosure, and offers many opportunities to dress up, get merry and have a great time even if you don't know anything about rowing. I do have to say though that my heart still belongs to Wimbledon. I shall be back as many years as I can to soak up the atmosphere and the beauty of the place. And one day I'll do it with strawberries and cream instead of warming pasties!
Tomorrow's plan is to have a lie-in and eat virtually nothing. I think my gorgeous fish and chips in a fab Oxfordshire pub this evening has just about finished me off! This has been a fattening but very happy few days. Bring on next year!