When CatMac Met Judy Murray

Being from the capital of rural Scotland, there weren’t many opportunities to meet anyone famous while I was growing up. I think I received an autograph from Cobra from Gladiators when I went to see a pantomime at Eden Court, back in the yonder 90’s. I upped my game (slightly) at university, meeting Bradley from S Club 7 at Potterrow one Big Cheese night. I even got my photo taken with him and everything. I know, right? I’m basically a pop star. 

I hope these anecdotes illustrate why I proved myself to be the ultimate fangirl the time that I did actually meet someone who is known to a global audience; I have minimal experience of playing it cool!

So where and how did I meet Judy Murray? Earlier this summer, Judy published Knowing the Score, an autobiography that details the pivotal role that tennis has played, and continues to play, in her family’s lives. Over the summer, she travelled around the country, promoting the book, and after I missed her doing a book-signing at Waterstones, I jumped at the next opportunity to meet her. This turned out to be an event run by the delightful independent bookshop in Dulwich, Village Books, complete with interview, Q&A, and an opportunity to get your copy of the book signed by the lady herself.

Skipping to the end of what was a very entertaining evening, uni-friend James and I headed straight for the signing queue meaning my turn to speak came around very quickly…

CatMac: ‘Hi, I’m Catriona and I’m from Inverness and I’m a huge Murray fan!’ (could I be speaking any faster?)
Judy: ‘Oooh, there are lots of Scottish people here tonight aren’t there.’
James: ‘Yes, there are.’
CatMac: ‘But he’s Northern Irish.’ (indicating James)
Judy: ‘Oh, that’s not the same.’
CatMac: ‘No, definitely not.’
Judy: ‘Would you like me to address the book to anyone?’
CatMac: ‘Well I have a wee story for you.’
Judy: ‘Oh?’ (have you seen how many people are behind you in the queue?)
CatMac: *unveils t-shirt*. ‘This year I turned 30, like Andy (why am I telling Judy how old her son is), and to celebrate I decided to go to all of the grand slams! Andy went out before I even got to Australia (why am I highlighting this, move along quickly), but then I saw him in Paris and twice at Wimbledon, and then I saw Jamie twice at the US Open!’
Judy: ‘Ooohhh, that’s good’. (No idea if Judy actually said this).
CatMac: ‘So can you address it to catmacbirthdayslam ?’ (I think I forgot to say I blogged about my grand slam tour so this probably seemed extra random).
Judy: ‘catmacbirthdayslam’ *writes*.
CatMac: Thank you! (I hope I said thank you, I actually have no recollection of how it ended).

Cue us walking away and then me reliving the entire conversation to James over and over again on the bus back home. And then to my flatmates, and then to my sister, and then to my fellow Andy Murray fans Alison and Becky. And then, of course, I had to tell Twitter.

Now there are many reasons why I am a fan of Judy Murray, but what happened the next morning probably tops them all. She tweeted me back!

So kind of her to imply there was mutual waffling.

So Jamie Murray has liked my tweet, Judy Murray has tweeted me back, and Andy Murray? Does not use Twitter. Will need to think of another way to get his attention!


A Postcard from New York

Dear Mum and Dad,

This is it. The final, electronic, grand-slam postcard of 2017. All the way from New York City! At least that’s where the photos were taken. As per tradition, I am writing this a few weeks after the event concluded (five, to be precise), which I’m going to argue is because I am in denial. How can the grand-slam tour be over already?

So I didn’t see Andy this time round 😦 But I did see Jamie play 🙂 Twice! I even had an almost-conversation with Jamie’s bodyguard. It went something like this:

Bodyguard: “Ma’am, please put away your (amazingly beautiful Scottish) flag,”.
Cat Mac: “Oh. Yes… Sorry…” *shuffles awkwardly and removes flag from innocent position around neck*

The photo below depicts said bodyguard doing his bodyguard thing, moments after telling me my flag was an inappropriate accessory. Seriously, what do these grand-slam tournaments have against flags? Anyway, between my flag fiasco and me cheering “Well done Jamie!!!!’ a million times in my proudest Scottish accent, I think I achieved my goal of letting Jamie know that his fellow country-people had his back. I’ve also learned that when there’s a competition to get to court-side for signage opportunities, the cute, tiny children are always going to win. No worries, guys, I’ll just chill back here in the second row, grinning madly like the cool, 30-year old mahoosive fan that I am.

Tennis aside, I really enjoyed my brief stint in New York and for the first time in three visits, I felt like I was finally getting to grips with the city – a feeling I also had when I was in Paris. FYI the number 7 subway line in New York is the equivalent of the Victoria line in London; it’s the line that takes you everywhere you need to go. At one end, Flushing Meadows. At the other end, Times Square and Grand Central Station. And somewhere in between, our hotel for the first few days, and my Air BnB when I returned for the final day of the slam. Oh yes, I have this NYC thing all sussed out!

One particular novelty from this New York adventure was the rare reunion with Kenneth and Anna, aka both siblings, at the same time. Sure, we never meet in the UK but New York, you say? Yes, let’s have brunch!

We also wandered along the High Line, once a rail-track, now an elevated linear park, which towers above street level, allowing you to get away from the traffic and explore central New York from a raised perspective. It’s a very cool concept which offers a slice of relaxation in an otherwise hectic Manhattan.

Brunch was a common theme on this trip, as it is in most weekends in my life, and New York did not disappoint. Though I’m not sure I’ve ever paid quite so much for a brunch as I did when Anna and I went for brunch at Bluestone Lane beside Central Park (post-run, might I add). Oh America, with your crazy tax and tipping systems. This is where the girl hovered an iPad in front of me, but didn’t let go, so she could fully observe just how much I tipped. No pressure at all. Thankfully, the food was delicious and fortunately for my bank account, I do not live in New York.

Another highlight, later the same day, was going up the Rockefeller Center which gives you sweeping views over Manhattan and, crucially, the Empire State Building (as opposed to being inside it). Whilst I may have bought my most expensive brunch of life earlier that day, at least this ultimate tourist experience was free, thanks to my pal Sara hooking me up with free tickets via her friend who works in the same building. A recurring theme of all of my blogs: having friends is the best. Fun fact: I stole photo inspiration for the pic below from a Lonely Planet blog post titled: ‘10 iconic NYC Instagram Spots‘. LP knows what it’s chatting about.

Though I’m a fan of Manhattan, I’m really glad we stayed across the water in Long Island City, and explored, albeit very briefly, a different part of New York. Before I headed to Flushing Meadows on that finals Sunday, I took the scenic and novel $2.75 NYC Ferry from the end of my street (Hunters Point South) all the way down to Dumbo, a great starting-point to explore Brooklyn, and view the landmark Brooklyn Bridge. I didn’t really have any great purpose other than wandering about aimlessly but loved having the freedom and time to do just that, especially with the sun on my side. 

I came away from this final trip thinking, ‘I could do this again’. In fact, with the exception of the Australian Open, for obvious reasons, I’m half considering doing the rest of the grand-slam tour again next year. Is that crazy? At least, in my mind now, it seems pointless going to Paris or New York unless I’ve coordinated the dates with the respective grand-slam tournaments. If tennis can feature, why go there at any other time?!

However, for 2017, all that’s left for the era of catmacbirthdayslam is to focus my efforts on the rest of my parkrun challenge. Can you believe I’ve been running consistently for 10 months? Maybe next time I go to NYC, parkrun will be there, too! I can dream!

CatMac X