I was invited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of our suppliers, Air Business, at The Boodles in Stoke Park. The Boodles is an exclusive tennis tournament sponsored by Boodles, Patek Philippe, Jaguar and Pommery – you just know it's going to be a glamorous event:
My day didn't start well – it was raining hard so I had to completely re-think what I was going to wear (and obviously didn't bode well for any live tennis later), the rain led to traffic and I missed my train, and then I had a 20-minute wait at Slough station waiting for the shuttle to Stoke Park. There were a few other people waiting for the shuttle so we got to talking and the time seemed to pass fairly quickly.
It was raining even harder by the time we got to the grounds. The champagne reception was held in The Boodles Gallery where the jewellery was being exhibited – it was too crowded to see much at this point, but I went back later and had a good look! The intention was to spill out onto the patio where there were tables and seating areas, but this didn't happen because of the rain. Amazingly, about 20 minutes later there was glorious sunshine and it stayed that way almost until the end of the day!
After having our glasses constantly refilled for over an hour, it was definitely time to eat. Lunch was served in The Player's Enclosure – a three-course meal, wine, coffee – there was a lot to eat! We had a seafood starter – sea trout tartare and gravadlax with a potato and broad bean salad, the main course was grilled chicken with chorizo, pomme puree and thyme jus, and dessert was a collection of mini tropical deserts – mango, lime and mascarpone panna cotta, coconut and lemongrass sorbet, caramelised lemon and passion tart and some pineapple thing (which I didn't like – I'm not a huge pineapple fan)… While we were having dessert, David Ferrer came up on the stage and answered a few (very odd) questions from the audience, such as: Could you beat Serena Williams in an arm wrestle? Where can I find you on a Friday night? Who do you think is the Ryan Giggs of tennis (he didn't answer this one)? Where would Serena Williams rank in men's tennis (I don't understand the fixation with Serena)? And you get the gist!
After lunch we headed out to the centre court – I was surprised at how intimate it felt. I was two rows from the court, and this should give you some idea of how close I was to Djokovic and Simon:
And Nalbandian and Gasquet:
I don't need to tell you that the champagne was still flowing, throughout the matches. After the Djokovic/Simon game, Djokovic entertained the crowd with his brilliant impression of Maria Sharapova playing tennis!
After the Nalbandian/Gasquet game, we went back to the Player's Enclosure for tea and scones (and more champagne).
We finally left Stoke Park at about 7pm, some in worse shape than others! All in all, it was a fantastic day out – and if you can afford it, you should go!!