The first was watching, on Friday afternoon, the Djokovic / Del Potro men's semi-final at Wimbledon. I have watched Wimbledon every year since I was small, and cannot remember seeing another such match. Both men played exceptionally well, covering every inch of the court, and becoming involved in some amazingly long, exciting rallies. Even the commentators on the BBC were awestruck by the tennis that was being played. And both men seem to have realised that they were doing something special too. In the paper, yesterday, Djokovic commented: "I've had some epic matches and some long five-setters ... but I know that I have been pushed to the limit today. It was one of the most thrilling matches that I have ever played, especially here in Wimbledon. It was high-quality tennis from the first to the last point." And Del Potro commented "This match is going to be remembered for a few years." Yes, I think it will be.
Part of the pleasure of watching it for me was in having played tennis myself, as a girl, and therefore knowing quite how amazing some of the play was, in contrast to anything I could ever have done. It was a real pleasure to watch their expertise, and to relish the clever play.
And this was part of what I enjoyed about yesterday's event too - my husband and I joined 60+ other Unitarians from the Midlands and South Wales in a visit to the National History Museum in St. Fagan's, near Cardiff. It is a wonderful outdoor museum, which consists of fifty-odd houses and cottages, and a couple of churches (including Pen Rhiw Unitarian Chapel), which have been moved from their original locations all over Wales, and lovingly re-assembled on one site, to preserve Welsh architectural and way-of-life heritage. And it is splendid. We saw inside all sorts of buildings, from the medieval church which has been re-painted inside as it might have been back in the day, with bright instructive scenes from the life and passion of Jesus (see above), through Tudor and Georgian buildings, to a post-war pre-fab. But my favourite was a terrace of five houses, two-up, two-down, which had been refurbished in varying styles from the early 19th century to 1985, and you could walk into each one, noticing the changes - from paintings to photos, from hard wood, to soft furnishings and so on. It was fascinating.
What it had in common with Friday's tennis match was the loving care and expertise which lay behind the experience that I had come along and enjoyed. Both events were a tribute to the hard work and skill of the people involved. And the dedication, and the belief that what they are doing matters. And being aware of this lying behind both events made the pleasure keener.