Hi everyone. It's Mike blogging today. We'll mix it up during the Wimbledon 'fortnight' to keep you on your toes. Bob will make his first post Monday.
We've settled into a three-bedroom apartment about a 10 minute walk from Wimbledon village and we've set up our music studio in the garage. The biggest problem so far is that our neighbors have a six-month-old baby. The other night we were wailing it and they were pounding on the door telling us to shut up but it was so loud we couldn't even hear them. But we've come to a compromise. We can go for it all we want during the day and we keep it down at night.
This is a different apartment to the one we had last year, which was even nicer. But we scratched the floor with the amplifier and the piano so we can't go back there. We had to pay $2500 for a new floor to make good. This place isn't bad... it's not huge but it's got three bedrooms and has wireless internet, which we need, and cable, so we've been watching all the big World Cup soccer games. We were looking at another house which was a lot bigger but they had pets. We've already been struggling with hay fever over here so we didn't want to make our allergies even worse.
Between the two of us our per diem doesn't quite cover the cost of the apartment, which runs us about US$550 to US$600 a night. So we're coming up a little short but we're both playing mixed - Bob with Venus and me with Corina Morariu - and hopefully we'll make up a little of the shortfall there. My girlfriend is also coming in to stay so we'll get her to cook a few meals to save us some cash!
When we got here we went to AC music and rented a piano, guitar and a PR system and we have the garage rigged up pretty sweet. The garage isn't sound proof - there are a couple of holes in the garage so the sound penetrates the walls. And we like to crank it up! Andy said he could hear us from the bottom of the street as he was walking up the other day. We've been practicing a lot since we've been here and we have a gig on Wednesday night. We could be drawn to play on Thursday but we go on at 7.30 and we'll just bust out 10 songs and then get back to the apartment.
Andy's been coming over and listening to our music and we're trying to get him to make a cameo at the gig. But he needs to step out of his comfort zone with 'Ice, Ice, Baby.' We've been rehearsing some new material including Eminem and 8 Mile. Glenn Weiner has been here the past couple of hours - he has a great voice.
We're staying pretty close to Andy - we're in the same little subdivision. We had a poker game the other night at Andy's house with the American guys including Mardy, James, Todd Martin and Scott Humphries. I took Andy out in the first five minutes of the game but John Roddick ended up winning the game.
For dinner we just have a 10 minute walk up the hill from our apartment to the restaurants. Our favorite is the Thai Tho - we've been making a lot of take-out runs. Usually the loser of a card game will walk up the hill to get it. We've been having a lot of red curries and green curries. For breakfast we've been meeting Andy each day at Giraffes. I've been going for a full English breakfast of two fried eggs, sausage, bacon, potato wedges and baked beans. They also specialize in fruit smoothies and we've been going for the papaya fruit smoothie: mint, lime and banana. It's called the Giddy Giraffe.
Oh, in the photo of us you'll also see Raj Chaodhuri, who coaches Corina Morariu, Lisa Raymond and Jill Craybass. He's from California and is one of our buddies who loves to sing. Also in the photo is our trainer, Eric Wilkinson, who sings and plays guitar.
I'm glad Venus is playing Mixed, and Bob Bryan should definitely be a great partner for her. Hopefully they'll win. I just wish ESPN would actually air one of their matches, which is definitely not going to happen.