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Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012

LONDON POSTCARD

No reason to complain about weather or traffic


Staff writer

Whingeing about the weather is a national pastime in England.

Thick clouds hover overhead as I write this from the press box at Lord's Cricket Ground. It's a cool, pleasant day. The forecast is for 18 C.

Who am I to complain?

On Thursday, it's not ridiculously hot nor is it bordering on frostbite-dangerous levels of cold.

So what's the problem?

More than a few have been overheard throughout the great metropolis lamenting the fact that it's not beach-festival weather with a perfect blue sky and ideal sun-tan temperatures.

"It's supposed to be summer," I heard a patron say at The Kitchen, an eatery on Mile End Road in East London.

Meanwhile, it's hard to find a legitimate reason to gripe about the traffic. The streets are not jam-packed at all hours of the day, and train service has been mostly a smooth-running operation.

The Jubilee Line had dozens of empty seats Wednesday afternoon as I traveled from Olympic Park to North Greenwich Arena to watch the men's gymnastics all-around final.

"The streets of London are a fifth cleared than before the games," the Sun quoted Olympic officials as saying in Thursday's editions.

* * *

How significant was cyclist Bradley "Wiggo" Wiggins' gold medal-winning effort on Wednesday?

The Sun, a daily tabloid, chose to run a two-line headline with one word, "Gold!"

Check that, the word took up two lines of text in gigantic capital letters, and for emphasis it featured the letter "O" 11 times. What's more, in a clever photo illustration, Wiggins sat on a throne with Olympic rings above him.

Indeed, he's become Britain's Olympic king, with seven medals (four gold, one silver, two bronze) to his credit, eclipsing legendary rower Steve Redgrave's record haul of six medals (five gold, one bronze).



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