Fortunately, my team comprised my Longest Serving Friend who has been negotiating the ways of Wimbledon for years, and taught me everything she knows, trained me up, drove me hard. "Sign here", she said, putting the ticket application form under my nose. After winning the tickets, we needed to work out a strategy for play. It involved staying for the week at Wimbles Farm , East Sussex, a train from East Grinstead, and sun cream.
Wimbles Farm is paradise for those who want to get off-grid, on the ground and out of doors. The first night I unzipped my tent, made my way out for my 2am nightly stop-off, and entered a sky which was velvet-indigo, deep with constellations, strewn with the Milky Way. The view of our pitch the next day was no less extraordinary:
We could have spent the whole week in Eden, but left for bike rides, swims and, last Wednesday, Wimbledon. After our train ride, we watched nine hours of tennis in what felt like a moment of joy. The day was dense with drama: loose balls an art form as they were collected up by the precisely trained skills of ball girls and boys; grass courts edged to perfection; line judges performing a synchronised dance of standing up and sitting down between games; gods on court who gifted us with out-of-this-world visions of grace, speed, cunning, flight and power, and the occasional outburst of mortal frustration. Wawrinka, Opelka, Halep, Buzarnescu, Anderson, Tipsarevic: names worthy of any pantheon. We took sides, grew to care about each shot, each game: got caught up in it all. It was wonderfully exhausting.
On our final morning in paradise, we noted a dead grass snake on the path as we rode to a lake graced with rushes and water lilies. We undressed by the water's edge, clambered down and swam around in widening circles, before floating on our backs and looking up at the clear sky, letting happiness soak through our skins.