They say that June is the kickoff of the “social season” in England.


There is a rapid succession of posh events:  Royal Ascot, Queens Tennis, The Henley Regatta, and Wimbledon.  And there are more inclusive events: countless music festivals, street fairs, and outdoor theater.

And guess what?  The sun actually shines on most of them!

Having never spent the month of June in London, I now understand the appeal of the season.  It certainly was “social” for my family.  Here is a blow-by-blow account of our mash up month that I like to refer to June-apolooza!

First came travel to celebrate the end of the school year.  Jackie went to Mykonos with a friend and Katie set off to London-Amsterdam-Prague with an entourage.  Both girls came back with their own travel tales and have certainly caught the travel bug that infected me long ago!




Jeff returned to Ireland for his annual trip to enjoy fun on and off the links with his good buddies.  Is there a pot of gold or an even more valuable hole-in-one at the end of that rainbow?!


With the warm weather comes the opening of the Globe Theater.  I took Katie and her friend Kelly to see As You Like It and absolutely swooned at the actor who delivered the famous line:  “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players…”  Honestly, I could go on and complete the entire soliloquy as it truly is as good as it gets; the writing is sublime and the message is so very true.


Tennis is in season and players flock to England to get on the grass before Wimbledon.  The Queens Championship is a favorite event.  The venue is a private grass court club located in the middle of the city.  We stepped out of the Earl’s Court tube stop and walked one block into this tennis oasis.  Under blazing sunshine with Pimms cocktails for refreshment, we watched Andy Murray triumph in the Quarters en route to eventually win the tournament.


The festivals in the parks are not limited to music.  The Taste of London is a giant food fest in Regents Park at which the finest restaurants open tents offering the “greatest hits” on their menus, boutique liquor companies tempt with delicious cocktails, breweries offer bespoke beers, cheesemongers, jam makers, gourmet popcorn poppers, chocolate designers and more arrive in droves…all for the tasting!  Or as Jeff and I experienced, all for the drinking!  We sampled every tipple from fresh margaritas to St. Lucian rum to craft beers to bubbly champagne.  Jeff even took a class on mixing the perfect bloody mary.  In the end, we ate, we drank, we NAPPED!


And then it was time for tennis again!  We traveled just outside the city to Stoke Park to see the Boodles Tournament, a corporate sponsored event that pulls big names to get out on the grass for one last time the week before Wimbledon.  There is not a bad seat in the house at this event, and center court is a small intimate affair.  I felt like I was attending a mid-summer garden party.  The sun shone again and the heat index soared as people drank champagne like water at picnic tables spread out on the gorgeous grounds of the Stoke Park country club.  The clubhouse is a beautiful old mansion whose claim to fame was being featured in the James Bond movie as the backdrop where Odd Job throws his deadly bowler hat and decapitates the statues.  We watched Djokovic wield his deadly forehand and win a close battle in a tie breaker.  He won more applause for taking his shirt off in between sets than for triumphing in the match!



June was filled with visitors.  Two sets of friends from Greenwich came through London, reminding us of how nice it is to see familiar faces from home.  I met up with my friend from the Ashram, a woman I met on the trail, last saw two years ago, and with whom I fell back into conversation and laughter as if we had just been together yesterday.  And then, my brother arrived with his two youngest children.  I put on my Julie McCoy hat and happily traipsed throughout the city for a few days visiting the Tower, riding the London Eye, climbing the Trafalgar lions, wandering through Westminster Abbey, drinking tea, and basking in family time.



The Gorilla Circus rolled into town just outside Regents Park.  Despite its name, this is a not an ape spectacle, but a fully participatory trapeze school.  Jeff and Katie were willing candidates for the aerial acrobat feat…I was a happy photographer who preferred to stay grounded.  They both passed the first few tests and ultimately caught the hands of another trapeze artist as they flew through the air and made a successful transfer.



Last came the Grand Finale, opening day of Wimbledon on June 29th.


I was thrilled to see the sun shining bright in clear a blue sky for our day at the most famous tennis tournament of them all.  We had tickets to Centre Court and entree into the Gatsby Club, a “pop up” dining and hospitality zone.  Though the space was temporary, the luxury was substantial.  There was an outdoor garden lounge with a wading pool to dip your toes into…


…and delicious food inside to sink your teeth into!


The first match of the day featured Djokovic, and he triumphed in three sets against a worthy opponent who kept him working hard for the victory.



It was time for afternoon tea in between matches, so we ambled back to the Gatsby Club for the famed strawberries and cream…


…and some champagne to wash them down!


We shuffled back among the throngs of people to Centre Court to see Sharapova trample her opponent, delivering her signature high-pitched scream/grunt with each and every shot.

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We strolled around the entire complex and enjoyed watching the well dressed crowds seated at each of the outer courts as they enjoyed the live action and the people picnicking on the famed hillside to watch the televised jumbo-tron.  Though there were loads of people at the All England Club, it felt like an relaxed day out for our family.  I’d say the whole experience was a home run, but in tennis parlance, it was more like a Grand Slam!


Today is June 30th, and with the end of the month, we say goodbye to London for the next few weeks.  It is time for us to find our “way out” and return to Connecticut for some summer fun with friends and family.


This June has certainly been a wonderful ride!


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