WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
SOME OF MY DOINGS:
POLESWORTH A PLACE FOR POETRY – DIG THE POETRY – 2012.
As promised in last weeks blog as I am able to confirm the dates and poets for Dig the Poetry, which many of you have already shown an interest through clicking the red button on Dig the Abbey website www.digtheabbey.co.uk
Polesworth a Place for Poetry – Dig the Poetry – 2012.
DIG THE POETRY WORKSHOPS – All from 10:00 – 14:00
1. Friday 27th July – with DAVID CALCUTT
2. Friday 3rd Aug – with JENNY HOPE
3. Sat 4th Aug – with MAL DEWHIRST.
(Please note this is a non-digging day.)
4. Fri 10th Aug – with MATT MERRITT
5. Fri 17th Aug – with JACQUI ROWE
6. Sat 25th Aug – with MAEVE CLARKE
7. Sat 1st Sept – with JO BELL
PLUS POETRY EXHIBITION ON THE HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 7th – 9th Sept – with Readings on Sat 8th Sept.
In addition to this Cat Weathrill will be running a workshop with students from the Polesworth School on the 18th July.
These workshops are an exciting unique opportunity to discover new themes in response to the Archaeology and I would encourage all writers, from beginners to published poets and authors to come along and find your muse.
There will be opportunities throughout the dig for writers to go along and observe making notes or creating new pieces in the peaceful haven of the Abbey grounds so even if you can’t make the workshops do find sometime to go along and soak it all up.
Last year it was lunch at the Ritz that was the event that I thought I would never do, this year it was Wimbledon.
Wimbledon, the Championships that kept our interest alive to the very end, where British hopes were raised as we held our breaths on Sunday afternoon.
Our day at Wimbledon was on Saturday, tickets for number 1 court, the mixed doubles semi-finals being the main event. The trip was an organised weekend that saw us travel down to London on Friday for an afternoon in the sunshine as we road the London Eye. Sunshine, I hear you whisper, I have heard of it but never seen it. London looked magnificent from the capsule at the top of the wheel, Westminster, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Battersea Power station without the flying pigs. The latest piece of this busy landscape rises like an arrowhead and points to a space in the sky where the clouds bow. The Shard, its glass fragility hidden beneath its confident stance.
We wended our way through the tube to Covent Garden, with its street theatre and market stores, surrounded by designer brands that were not there last time I looked. A beer at a street bar, listening to the world of languages passing through.
So Saturday arrived to bring the main event. We left our hotel in Croydon by coach and headed across to Wimbledon arriving just after 10am. The gates opened at 10:30, but that was no matter we were about six feet from Gate no 1 and would make the most of the day. We were queuing because that is what we do in England.
As the gates opened we entered and made our way to Murray Mound where the large screen displayed to days events. Our matches on Court No 1 were not until the afternoon, so when we saw that on court no 3 at 11:30 there was an invitation match with McEnroe and Nystrom vs Bahrami and LeConte then this was the place to go.
All seating was unreserved and we took over the front row of the Press seating and waited for the match to begin. Surrounded by ladies with Welshcakes and Champagne, young couples and elderly ladies who were old hands at Wimbledon.
The first thing that struck me was the regiment of the proceedings. Everyone had there position, their uniform defined their role; everyone knew what was expected of them. No one would be asked to do anything that was not defined as part of their duties. Boys and Girls in dark blue were ball boys and girls; they did not put up the net or manage the covers that was the ground staff dressed in dark green. Umpires and line judges wore smart purple blazers. It all felt right that there was order here, that tradition and ceremony was delivered as a delight.
Then the rain came, first a passing shower and brollies covered the stands as if an installation had been created, hiding faces but not the spirit of the participants whose calls and laughter, said this is OK, we can handle this.
The shower passed and an army of green, swept on to the court, raising the net, bringing on chairs, laying out those familiar towels. Then the blue clad youngsters marched in through set routes, choreographed to perfection. They opened the tubes of balls and rolled them with precision to the service ends. The Umpire arrived in his pale trousers and purple blazer with its cream piping. He inspected the court and measured the net, adjusted his seat at the top of the ladder and only when he was satisfied could our players enter.
McEnroe the tall American, it was Patrick and not John, alongside Joakim Nystrom the quiet Swede. Then the whirlwind that is Mansour Bahrami, the court jester whose tricks and jokes thrilled but hid the trauma of his upbringing in Persia, where he could be a ball boy but not a player. When he was caught playing his racket was smashed and so he had to learn his craft with a frying pan. His partner the famous joker Henri LeConte whose impersonations of players both passed and present created enthralled laughter.
Bahrami was by far the star of the game. He really is a truly great player, even at the age of 56 he has a sharp eye and movement that saw his opponents fooled into think he had missed the short only to hit it with a swift turn of the racket.
We saw him hit a ball thirty feet into the air and then catch it in his trouser pocket. Hit shots whilst talking to the audience or through is legs with such power and speed. He was boundless with his jokes, impersonating Patrick McEnroe’s more famous brother, selling bottled water to the crowd and at one point taking on all three of the players.
This was not a serious game; it was showmanship at its very best.
The game was interrupted by a heavy shower, the Umpire suspended play and the covers were drawn across. This was theatre in its own right. We have all seen the ground staff grab the hoops and run across dragging the cover into place, but I for one had never seen them drag it back and put it away.
The storm was heavy as the clouds heaved themselves over the court, our brollies raised we settled in until it passed we were not going to miss the rest of this game.
As the shower passed the ground staff lifted a rope to the centre of the court and attached it to the sheet and hooked it over pulleys at either end of the court. They then raised the columns that held the pulleys so that the cover lift in the middle to create a ridged tent as the water ran down to the sides and drained away.
The cover was lowered and folded away as the sun broke through and the game recommenced, Bahrami/LeConte took first set, McEnroe/Nystom the second, the game was decided on a tie break which McEnroe/Nystom won. But it was Bahrami/LeConte who delighted and brought so much laughter.
It was time to head to Court No 1, for the first of the mixed doubles. This had all the tradition and ceremony but with the seriousness of the challenge. Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond executed the game with short shrift to beat Zimomjic and Srebotnik in two straight sets. This was followed by Mike’s brother Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber being beaten by Leander Paes and Elana Vesnina over three sets. This was determined tennis where in both matches the most clinical of finishing won the day. Taking the chances as they came and not releasing hold of the game once you had the upper hand.
The Mixed Doubles final which followed the Mens Singles final proved to be a thriller when it was played out on Sunday evening and in some ways it meant so much more to me as I had witnessed the semi-finals first hand, I some how had a part in the outcome. Something you can only get from being there, creating the atmosphere rather than watching it in the isolation of your front room.
If you get the chance to go to Wimbledon, or if not create the chance yourself, it is a wonderful experience one I shall pursue next year.
I will return to my lost poets next week and I think I will re-start with Leander Paes Great Grandfather.
THE FIZZ IN JULY – with guest poet Terri Jolland.
SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in July
10th July – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café, Lichfield
20th July – Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern, Burton On Trent.
24th July – The FIZZ with Terri Jolland at Polesworth Abbey.