Sep 04

September and October are my two busiest months of the year.

In September my writing classes start up again for the Autumn. I usually do two, one on a Tuesday and another on a Thursday, but on occasion that has been stretched to a third, when I’ve had enough writers to run a Wednesday evening session as well.

The courses are about to kickoff, and I always panic about a week out, that I’m not going to have enough students join. At the minute my Thursday course is near enough full so that’s fine, and now all my energy will be going into trying to fill Tuesday’s class.

In general, people do take their time, and it’s normal for there to be a raft of last-minute sign-ups, but it doesn’t do my blood pressure or sleep pattern any good. My writing courses are where I make most of my annual salary, so if they are slack, well… no operation for my dying grandmother this year I’m afraid.

I guess I should go and hound my mailing list to join me, my friends and family to spread the word, and use my social media skills to get the word out. I’ll let you know how it goes next month…

Aug 01

I was going to write, “N’Awlins,” but I think people from here get annoyed by that. It’s kind of like what tourists, who don’t want to be thought of as tourists, call the place. Nobody who lives here calls it that to be fair.

The funny thing is, when I was here on my stag trip / bachelor party in 2000, we had an artist paint a caricature. He wrote that version of the name on it. He obviously lived here though, so I guess he must have done it for the tourists. Which I was 19 years ago, although I’m, not any more.

Anyway, I’m back home (or from home), and sweltering through the near-90 degree heat. It’s brutal to be back, and I’m always sad to leave my friends and family in the Old Country.

What has made the last three weeks better is that my daughter is here with me. Yesterday was her twelfth birthday, and her and three of her friends went to the little amusement place in City Park. I have not got to see her a lot over the past two years, so I’m enjoying my time with her now.

Speaking of which, I’m off to do that right now. Enjoy your summer everyone.

Jul 01

I have maybe written a post from this site from Belfast before, but I’m not sure. Since www.stephen-rea.com was launched, which I think is about a decade ago, I have written something every month (save once or twice I slackened off). The longest I have spent in Northern Ireland in that time was three weeks last year, which straddled June and July I remember, so maybe I wrote one then? Or maybe not, I could go back 12 months and find out, but sure what fun would that be?

I’ve been in Europe now for almost four weeks. I flew into the Republic of Ireland for a couple of days, went to France, came to Northern Ireland, flew back to the States for a few hours to pick up my daughter, then flew back to Belfast. I was here a few days and then went to Holland for four nights. When you read it all like this, it seems like more of a whirlwind trip than it feels. Or maybe I’m just getting used to it.

I was here last summer with my daughter and we did lots of touristy stuff. This year it has been less frantic, with more time just hanging around the house and catching up with people. We have still hit a few sights we missed last year, and in fact hopefully we will get to a couple more tomorrow and the day after. But in general it’s been a lot less busy than last summer.

The good news is that Chelsea are coming to play in Dublin next week, so before I head back to the States, I’ll get to see them play. That is an unexpected – and welcome – surprise.

So I’m headed back across the Pond again next week, and this time I’ve no plans to criss-cross again for a while. So North American blog posts, here I come! Cheers until next time…

Jun 02

Three years ago I went with my friends Gordon and Paul to the football / soccer European Championships in France. It was a fabulous trip and I had the time of my life, heaps of football, wonderful food, lovely wine, lots of laughs.

I’m going back next week, this time to watch the Women’s World Cup. We are only there for three nights but I’m looking forward to it. We have tickets for one game, the USA v Thailand, but it’s in a city called Reim, a place I’ve never been to before. It’s a medieval town in the Champagne region of the country, so there are a couple of extra benefits as well.

But before that, I’m headed to Dublin for a couple of nights to see Metallica. I’m not the biggest fan in the world but their show is spectacular and it will be fun I’m sure. Then it’s off to Paris, before ending our trip with five nights back in Belfast.

It’s always good to get home, and this will be extra special hopefully. We have arranged a bit of a get-together for those of us who are turning 50 soon, and I will get to see some guys I haven’t caught up with in years. A few I see regularly when I’m home, others the odd time, but the rest… well, it may have been more than 30 years since I’ve chatted with them, all the way back to 12988 when we left school.

So lots of look forward to in the coming weeks, and I can’t wait to escape the 95-degree heat in New Orleans. It’s probably going to be even warmer when I get back of course. Til then, enjoy your summer.

May 01

May is a crazy month for me, maybe one of the busiest I’ve had since I moved to the USA almost 15 years ago. I mean that both socially and professionally – well, as professional as things get with me.

As far as work goes, I’m teaching writing classes on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The former has been held in four different locations around the city, the latter has found a temporary home in the CBD. But I still need to secure a permanent venue.

As well as those, I will be teaching a four-week writing session for the New Orleans Public Library. It will be the second class I’ve led for them, although this is at a different location.

There are a slew of concerts coming up this month, maybe the biggest concentration of live music I’ve had since crossing the Atlantic. I’ve the Cult and John Fogerty at Jazzfest. Then in the space of four days I’m going to Bryan Adams, Garbage and Collective Soul. The following week is Paul McCartney, the first time I will get to see (and hear) a member of the Beatles live.

Then there is a mixture of business and pleasure, with Chelsea coming to the States for the first time in three years. I’m flying up to Boston to see them play the New England Revolution, and I’ll spend a couple of nights up there. I’ll enjoy seeing my team of course, but I’ll be hoping to get some more writing work out of the trip as well.

There are a few other bits and pieces in there as well, but that’s enough to detail for now. See you when I come up for air in June…

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