This is the time of year when life comes to a standstill and I am at risk of getting square eyes. It is Wimbledon Fortnight. Somehow it just isn't the same now that Tim Henman has gone into long trousers and graduated from the tennis court to the commentary box. The tennis is not as riveting as it used to be and I really miss the silky smooth commentary of Jimmy Connors, but it still seems to be compulsive viewing.
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Wimbledon. I bought my first flat there, as soon as my salary was enough to support a mortgage and have many happy memories of my bachelor girl days in SW19. The flat was in the wrong part of Wimbledon - I could not afford the village or up the hill. It was about as far away from the All England Lawn Tennis Club as you can get and still be in the SW19 postcode. But the address and post code were Wimbledon SW19 and I was on the first rung of the property ladder. The flat had only one bedroom. The windows rattled in the wind and the bathroom had a damp patch, but it was mine. When I moved in I had a cooker, a bed, a stool and a portable television. Within a few years I had out grown the flat and moved. From the flat I used to go, to queue, to get in, to stand, to watch the tennis on Centre Court or the No 1 Court. The contrast between watching the tennis on my old black and white portable television and seeing it live in 3-D colour was amazing. Today television is so good that seeing someone in the flesh can be quite a let down.
Wimbledon itself became a different place during Wimbledon Fortnight. The area around the railway station was tidied up and smartened up with hanging baskets while a variety of stalls, appeared within the confines of the station, selling souvenirs. The roads were clogged up with cars and crowds thronged out of the station. It was almost like being on holiday.
Now, when the television camera pans across the London skyline then zooms in to the Southfields area, I am transported back to a green and purple period in my life.