The weekend immediately before the All England Lawn Tennis Championship fortnight begins is more than ever a great time to be at home in SW19 and SW20.
For some years the small shopkeepers of Wimbledon Village have held a fair on the
Saturday before the tennis takes over (not to be confused with the more commercial fair which makes camp for a couple of weeks in June on another part of Wimbledon Common). Originally the Village fair was little more than a couple of stalls outside High Street shops, along which one moved in a desultory kind of way. Soon however the Village fair began to expand onto a piece of the Common near to Rushmere Pond. A small horse show was included in subsequent years and the Village fair later expanded to take up most of the Common around Rushmere.
We visited the fair last Saturday and were amazed at how crowded and popular it had become. Of course the lovely sunny weather which has continued ever since, helped but a great feature was that many of restuarants from Wimbledon Village High Street had set up stalls barbcues, beer tents, strawberry and cream stands, coffee pitches and makeshift kitchens to sell their wares al fresco with ample outside tables and furniture to make savouring their culinary wares really enjoyable.
One usually expects Village restuarants to be quite pricey especially at this time of year but mrs maytrees and I having opted for the ubiquitous hamburger from the Butcher
and Grill restuarant's BBQ, were amazed at how good it tasted and at its relatively inexpensive price tag of around £5. Maybe we will visit their main kitchens sometime...
Meanwhile another positive feature of the fair was the number of other locals who were doing much the same as us. The opportunity for spontaneous meetings and and catching up with news and views of many local people who we had not chatted to for a while or in some cases, before at all, was embraced by many. In a large City/connurbation like London such opportunies can be surprisingly few and far between.
Interestingly enough a good percentage of people we chatted to, recogised us and vice versa from Church. The reduction in Church going, apart from any theological issues, I conclude therefore raises the issue of limiting the opportunities for social interaction within the community - an English urban one anyway.