Wimbledon Corner: Dispatches from SW19

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The Independent Online
WHEN CHRIS Patten was appointed last month as Northern Ireland's independent chairman of the Police Commission, he said he had a great affection for the province and would do all in his power to help to implement the Good Friday Agreement. While other politicians were yesterday busy trying to make history, Mr Patten showed his greater affection for tennis by taking his seat in the royal box at Wimbledon.

He was there last week too - on the day that the Brighton Bomber, Patrick Magee, was released from prison - sitting a few seats away from the former Tory home secretary, Michael Howard, who had not let his impassioned opposition to the release stop him enjoying his own day out. It's a good job that the Wimbledon weather two years ago was so off-putting, otherwise Mr

Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong, might have been tempted to miss the handover of the colony for a trip to SW19.

Today's number: 30

The number of days' play, including Tuesday of this week, completely rained-off at the championships since the first tournament, in 1877.