Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Anyone for Tennis?

This week is my annual foray into the world of professional tennis.

Once a year for the past eight I have worked at the Stella Artois Championships. However this year there is a new sponsor, AEGON - an insurance company.

I have to say that my first impressions are that the tournament has lost a lot of its character and of course heritage, which in a way can't be helped. You simply can't replace a 29 year partnership overnight.

I know some of you reading this will think 'wow, that sounds like a glamorous job', but in fact it's far from it. The whole team here work incredibly long hours to make sure that the tournament runs as smoothly as possible and all of us are dedicated to our jobs. It's a great feeling to be part of such a fantastic team and to be able to come back year after year and see the same faces once again, ready to put their hearts and souls into the event.

A few people in particular make it a great week:

Fraser Russell, who runs http://www.headconcierge.com/; he takes care of all the players' needs and is definitely the person anyone would need if they ever got stuck on a desert island. When he is not busy taking care of all the guys he finds time to make me laugh which always puts me in a better mood.

My good friend Charlotte who deals with a whole variety of stuff and is the ultimate professional and of course Chris Kermode, the tournament director, who has been a family friend for many years. I love popping into the office at the end of the day for some funny stories and anecdotes.

I have never been far from tennis as my Dad has been a fan for much of his life. My introduction to the sport came one year at Wimbledon when I was a teenager. A good friend of his was a pro so we got to spend the whole day there feeling very special wandering round all the VIP areas. I have to admit that I loved seeing all the top names like Sampras and Rafter, relaxing in the Player Lounge reading a newspaper or chatting with friends.

Now, as I look towards a decade of working behind the scenes, I have to say that not knowing how the magic trick is performed is definitely better.

As a final thought though, I will say that I have had some really great times here and I will always try to come back and work here; if only for the great sense of team spirit that this place seems to give me every year.

PS - Andy Roddick to win!

Friday, June 5, 2009

In memory of Flight 447

When I started thinking about my next post, I imagined it would be based on all my thoughts and feelings about coming home to London for a visit after spending five months in Brazil. But I knew as soon as we called home once we had landed, and heard my mother-in-law's tears that somehow those things weren't important.

We took off from Sao Paulo 45 minutes after the Air France flight, which means that we were flying through the same area only 1hour and 45 minutes later.

Despite having a wonderful time and enjoying being back in my hometown and seeing all my friends, the passengers on that flight who lost their lives are never far from my mind.

I cannot imagine how tangibly painful it must be to have had a relative on that flight but I do hope that the French nuclear submarines that are being despatched recover some clue as to how and why the flight went down.

In remerberance of flight 447 and all who perished aboard, I have selected a poem by an anonymous author.

Poem of Life

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay...
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the lord