Back in April last year (16 months ago) I joined in the frenzy of applying for as many Olympic tickets as I could through the ballot. At the time I obviously had no idea that by the time the games came to London I would be nearly eight months pregnant with a rather large bump. I went for the cheapest tickets in all the obvious events – opening and closing ceremony, 100m final, swimming etc and also added on the canoe sessions that are local to us in Hertfordshire and a few odd-ball ones – mainly the tennis as I figured it might be the cheapest way to see some WImbledon Centre Court action.
When we all started seeing money being taken from our credit cards I was delighted to see something go out and by reverse engineering the amount I guessed it might be the tennis. I was right and have to admit that at the time I was a tad disappointed that it wasn't an event in the Olympic Park itself, but then I figured that getting to see something was far better than nothing – which is what many of my friends had been left with.
A few months into my pregnancy I realised that I would be rather large by the time the games came around, but after all the luck that went into actually getting some tickets in the ballot I wasn't going to give them up unless I was actually in labour at the time. So on Saturday Little Miss C went off to her Grandma's and Mr C and I headed off to the train station along with my hospital notes – just in case! The thought of two trains, a tube, and a mile from Wimbledon station to the ground was a bit nerve-racking, but armed with a comfy pair of trainers and a bottle of water I was prepared. I needn't have worried though as it was one of the most straightforward journeys through London that I've ever had. I easily managed to get seats on the train journeys and someone instantly jumped up and offered me a seat as soon as I got on to the Victoria line.
Everywhere in London was completely swamped with Games Makers in their 2012 tracksuits, police and people in high-visibility jackets all telling people where to go and helping them. There were bright pink signs galore and at St Pancras special lanes set up for people who were going on the Javelin train to the Olympic stadium itself. When we arrived at Wimbledon station we were greeted by a mass of signs showing which way people should walk to get to the tennis, but handily I also spotted a smaller sign pointing people towards the "mobility bus" that was available to take people in wheelchairs, or anyone else that wasn't capable of walking. I waddled along and asked if I "qualified" and was quite relieved when they just waved us aboard along with a wheelchair user and her family. After a quick trip round the local one-way system this sped us up the hill to the All England Club, through a couple of security checkpoints and straight to the nearby drop off point next to all the blue badge parking that had been provided. Rather than then have to walk all around the ground to the normal entrance we were then allowed to go in via a nearby gate that was usually reserved for special pass holders too. Having seen the queue at the main gate I was pretty relieved as by this stage I really didn't fancy standing for ages – and I was pretty keen to find a loo too!
Once through security and in the ground the Olympic branding and sponsorship was pretty obvious. Lots of 2012 logos stuck over some of the usual Wimbledon ones and a huge 2012 shop with a woman trying to hand out shopping baskets to everyone as they went in (just how much were they expecting everyone to buy?) and a cafe area covered in a certain red logo for a soft drinks company. A quick pit stop to go to the loo and fill our water bottles (you can take bottles in but not the liquid contents so instead they had a load of water fountains and taps for people to use) and we were off to find our seats. I knew we were going to be pretty high up and that having only paid for the cheapest seats in the house were weren't going to be court-side, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good a view we did have. A nice angle onto the court and still able to see everything going on. Our luck was also in as amazingly we were also on the end of a row meaning that my frequent loo breaks didn't disturb anyone else.
The tennis itself was spectacular – four matches in total. Firstly Andy Murray and Laura Robson playing in the mixed doubles quarter finals and it was great to see Team GB in action – and even better for them to win! Then it was time for the Americans to take over the court. Serena Williams won the women's singles finals (against Russia's Maria Sharapova) and then we watched the Bryan brothers win the men's doubles too. That wasn't it though – the day finished with both the Williams sisters planing in the women's doubles semi-final. Four world class matches all for just £65 each! Completely amazing.
Facilities around Wimbledon were great – and the queues for food and drink weren't even too bad at all. As it was expected I had the obligatory strawberries and cream and a Pimms (or a No 1 Fruit Cup as they had to call it seeing as Pimms weren't an official sponsor) and yes both were pricey, but seeing as this was a rare day out with Mr C we didn't mind too much. With so many matches on Centre Court we didn't get much time inbetween to check out the rest of what was going on and mainly ate and drank at our seats whilst the games were ongoing. Luckily the seats aren't the usual hard plastic that you get in most sport's venues, but instead came with a bit of padding making all those hours sat there not as uncomfortable as I feared.
By the end of the day I was completely shattered, but in a lovely happy-tired kind of way. The journey home was uneventful – save for watching Jessica Ennis winning her gold medal live on the BBC Olympics iPhone app whilst walking through Kings Cross underground station on their new in-station wifi – and we managed to walk through the front door just as Mo Farrah crossed the line. We might not have been at the Olympic Stadium on Super Saturday, but we were there at the Olympics that day, along with bump, and luckily in comfort too!