Wednesday July 3, 2013

Greetings from the banks of the Thames.  Jen and I slept until 9:00a!  Now we are up relaxing in the executive lounge at the hotel drinking strong coffee.  This blend comes from a commercial coffee maker that is available down here (the exec lounge is on the 9th floor - our room is on 11).  One more night in Central London.

We have expanded our horizons most definitely over these last 5 days.  Mind the gap and top up your Oyster are key phrases we've learned to understand as we navigate London's Underground aka The Tube.  Truly an international city, with languages and cultures coming together for business and pleasure.

However, our pop cultures are in sync - John Legend's "Ordinary People" plays as I log in and write in the lounge on a big-ass IMac Pro.  Monday night we made it down to the Theatre district to take in the show Once at the Phoenix Theatre.  Jen woke early and queued for "day of" show tickets and scored us front row tickets for £25 each.

This is certainly a brand aware culture.  We did see a TK Maxx - don't suppose Jen and Erin will shop there today?

Jen, Erin and I have a photo contest going.  The winning photos will end up on a wall at home to remember the trip.  Dan's entry is entitled "Textures, Form and Cheap Sparkling Wine".  I found this scene the other day near Westminster Abbey;
Photo contest winner
There are too many highlights to fit into one blog entry.  But I have to say it was fascinating to take in Erin's cousin-in-law Dr. Doug Mackaman lecturing to U of So Miss "London Alive" students as we toured galleries and historical sites.  Erin O'Hara and cousin Mugs blended right in;
Dr. Doug outside St. Paul's
While Jennifer very much enjoyed her birthday at Wimbledon, Tuesday's return to the AELTC (All England Lawn and Tennis Club) was a mind blower.  Eric Butorac's family had departed so Jen, Erin and I became Booty's family-for-a-day and enjoyed privileges that included all access badges to player dining and practice facilities.  
That's what I'm talking about
There were no top Men's matches scheduled Tuesday, but as we sat and chatted up Booty after his practice hit, all the top guys were walking by and hitting the practice courts where we stood; JMDP, Andy Murray, Jokerman, Thomas Berdych... they were all there and many said hi to Booty.  Jen was in jaw-drop-mode.  I was of course, cool-as-a-cuke.  (Full disclosure; Erin was so embarrassed by my iPhone camera usage...she thought it was soooo uncool.)
Rochester's Eric Butorac
Great to see Eric in celeb mode - he laughs when the autograph seekers ask him what his name is.  

Jen will need to write about her experience; but there was a rain delay and Erin and I tubed back to the hotel and left Jen in heaven.  She sat in the player dining area visiting with Booty and others (Wimbledon Champion Goran Ivanesivic among those sharing a table at one point).  Truly a who's-who of professional tennis.  

Eventually, play resumed and Eric and his partner won in straight sets to move into the third round of the mixed doubles draw. Congrats to Booty - as his sleepy little pro tennis career continues at age 32.  Jen got back to the room well after dark, tired and smiling.

Tonight we will honor Shannon and Henry Mackaman with ceremonies and book signing event at the Oxford and Cambridge Club.  No kidding.  Tomorrow we Chunnel for Paris.  GTG.