From the age of nine to eighteen, I attended school a stone's throw from the All England Club in Wimbledon. With the men's final due to be played today, I thought this would be a great opportunity to photograph the area to show that it has more to it than tennis balls and tennis whites.
I spent a great deal of my time walking up the steep hill between my school and the quaint 'Wimbledon Village'. Whilst strictly speaking not a village, it certainly has a lot of charm and is peppered with designer boutiques, artisan delicatessens and several watering holes. At this stage in my life, where I am a childless married and marginally obsessed with my dog, the village is great as I can walk the mongrel on the nearby common before taking him in to The Dog and Fox or the Rose and Crown to meet friends. Both these places serve their purpose extremely well, though at expensive prices that they somehow get away with. During the two weeks just gone, it is hard to be served, sometimes it is even difficult to breathe, they are both that busy. The same happens again on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. In my teenage prime, I relished the hubbub, but now Harry and I, and if we are lucky the army husband, prefer to frequent the nearby Crooked Billet or Hand In Hand. They're still busy pubs, but a little more off the beaten track. Close to these two pubs is the elegant hotel Cannizaro House, which is situated in a picturesque park and has an elegant Orangerie restaurant at the back that is frequented by yummy mummies and pedigree chums.
Down in the town, the shopping in the aptly named Centre Court is all about the high street, and the station serves both trains and tubes, making it a good commuter town. The town itself is no way near as pretty as the village, but is has other restaurants and bars that fill any hunger when the walk up Wimbledon Hill is just that little too far, and little too steep. More recently, Wimbledon has become the location of the first Stix and Sushi restaurant that I am a massive fan of. This shop front has changed numerous times over the years, but I hope this one STIX around for a long time yet. Whilst it will never be the cheapest meal out, the quality of the sushi and the always entertaining service makes it good value in my books.
As our my pictures! In my humble opinion! My shots of Wimbledon can be printed in our usual shapes and sizes, but I hope that they really show another side to Wimbledon outside of the courts. It was a great place to spend so much of my formative years, and I always enjoy going back, not least in the sun this week. It really does come into its own. At the time of writing, the men's championship is still to be played for, but I hope the final is a great match to end this great tournament.