Trecker’s Travels, Day Sixteen: Rain, Rain, Go Away

May 25th, 2013

Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker

Maxwell J. Lieberman was a desk editor at the Hartford Courant, back in the 1950s and 60s, and a special breed of man. Desk editors are a reporter’s secret weapon: they are by nature patient and meticulous, with a clear grasp of how to get from A to B. They make us look sober and sensible. But they are not reporters: we a far more reckless breed. Sadly, the desk man’s affliction is the burning desire to be out in the field, where he imagines the romance to happen.

Courant legend has it that Liberman got his chance. It was a slow news day in Hartford and he was sent out to recap the Elizabeth Park lawn bowling tournament, about as tame as you can get. Unfortunately, his first line was: “It was a beautiful day…” and no one remembers the rest, because the editor in chief came down, ripped the story out of the paper and told Mr. Lieberman in fragrant terms that he was not going to lead the sports section with a weather report.

I’ve been thinking a lot about poor Max, because it’s so difficult not to lead with the weather here. It’s awful. London is experiencing its coldest spring in 37 years. On Wednesday night at the women’s Champions League final, you feared pleurisy; it rained so hard that the normally packed Covent Garden was empty. At Inverness Market, the vendors didn’t even bother to set up the stalls. I guess there are German fans here, but they are so bundled up in rain suits that it is hard to pick them out.

My colleagues saw a few more Germans over at Stratford, where the fan fest kicked off on Thursday. But at Trafalgar Square, where luminaries such as Cafu were supposed to be offering “lessons” of one sort or another, the artificial pitch had puddles several feet wide. Most decided they’d rather see that exhibit at the National Gallery after all.

I, however, was one of the foolish, walking from Covent Garden to Trafalgar Square, then over to Baker Street and back through Regent’s Park along the canal. By the time I had reached Camden Town, I was thoroughly soaked, head to toe.

I walked that route because my mother is working on the third volume of a book in a trilogy about the painter Francis Bacon. It is fiction, and it reimagines him as a sort of a gay Sam Spade of the Blitz era. My mother needed places to ditch a revolver, and I dutifully photographed various places one might toss such an object. Regent’s Canal might do the trick. Should you be curious, you can check out the first volume, the Fires of London.

Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

As we set up for our telecast on Saturday night, I’m envious of those ensconced in the pubs. As they say in Dundee, that’s the one place it never rains.

This piece is part of a series of pieces sponsored by the new Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. The pictures that accompany this blog post were taken with it. I’m traveling across Europe this month and you should tell me where you’d like me to go and what you’d like to hear about. Tweet me at @JamieTreckerFOX or use the #heytrecker hashtag @FOXSoccer.

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