Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wimbledon 1992

Ali at Wmbledon on 22 June 1992, with her bear Julian.

On this day 25 years ago, 22 June 1992,  Ali and I were at Wimbledon to see the tennis.  Ali had already been to Wimbledon several times, but it was my first time.

One of Ali's bears, called Julian, spent 50 weeks of the year sitting quietly on top of a bookcase in Ali's bedroom.  However, during Wimbledon fortnight he was always to be found in the living room, sitting in front of the television, so that he could watch all the tennis (!)  I cannot recall how he developed such a love of the game, but it was natural that he came with us - in 1992 and in subsequent years -  when we went to Wimbledon.

On that first occasion, we had only a ground pass which enabled us to see matches on the outside courts.   When I discovered that Ali's favourite player, Boris Becker, was about to play on centre court, I somehow managed to talk our way onto that court to see him play.

Ali was pleased to have a ring-side seat to watch Boris....

Ali (back of head, on left) watching Boris Becker
Boris Becker on centre court

.....and also very happy to meet him afterwards:
Ali with Boris

Of course, when considering whether Julian or Boris should get top billing here, it was easily game, set and match to the bear!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Birthday remembrances

8 January 2002
Ali's birthday 15 years ago on which she was "well and truly garlanded!"
Today is the 62nd anniversary of Ali's birth.  When I think back on her birthdays I recall, above all, the birthdays she celebrated in India. We were there for two weeks each January between 2001 and 2006, visiting the projects for disabled children funded by the charity Ali had founded. Sometimes we were there just after her birthday and on those occasions we celebrated while we were there, but on a slightly later date.

On the back of the photo shown above Ali wrote the date and "Ali well and truly garlanded!"  If the truth be told she found all the attention given to her on her birthday a little excessive and embarrassing, but she knew that the children greatly enjoyed the festivities and so she was happy for their sake. There was a large 'function' in her honour on the night of her birthday, at which the children would perform songs, dances and plays that they had spent weeks and months rehearsing.  It was an evening of high spirits and enjoyment for them.

8 Jan 2002: A group dance by some of the girls
8 Jan 2002:  Boys who cannot walk dancing while seated
8 Jan 2002: A drama performed by some of the girls

Above all, Ali was happy just to be with the children, whom she loved with a mother's passion, and who called her "Mummy Alison."

8 Jan 2002:  Ali with many of the children

Jan 2002:  Ali with Lakshmi, Nagalakshmi and Anuradha

Jan 2002:  Ali with Santhi and Parvati