Jun 01

After Hurricane Katrina there were emails going around reading things like, “You know you live in New Orleans… when you rap your neighbour’s door and ask if that’s his roof in your garden.” I was reminded of this last week when I spent three days in Hartford and the bars closed at 1230am. This seemed just so ridiculous to me, almost like an affront to civilised society. It took my wife to point out to me that they closed at 11pm at home for a long time. I’ve been living in the Big Easy too long already…

But anyway, May was a busy month for me with two trips. Which was good because I’m still a crock on the field.

Finn’s First team won the league and cup double and went the campaign undefeated, the second time they’ve done it in three seasons. We finished third in our league – coulda shoulda woulda etc – and lost on penalties in the cup. Again. We’ve never won a penalty shootout.

But the season was more or less a write-off for me since that injury months ago. I hardly played, and when we did have only 11 men – thus guaranting me 90 minutes for the last week of the season – a huge storm sent us packing off the pitch after 15 minutes. My knee is still hurting and just last week in Toronto, after walking around the city all morning, I had to head back to the hotel because it was throbbing so bad. These things happen when you get old.

My two trips were good fun though. I went to California for a wedding which was great, this beautiful mountain-top home with fantastic views. The next day I had an early start to get to a pub called the Olde Ship in Santa Ana where I watched Chelsea win the league with a big group of fans – if you are interested you can read about it here:

Then I had a spell back in New Orleans to watch Chelsea do the Double – I know, really, I can’t believe it either – before a week away to Canada, New York and Hartford.

Toronto was great. A real multicultural melting pot along the lines of New York or London. Football crazy as well from the merchandise in the stores. I was doing a book signing in a record store of all places and the staff could not have been more friendly and helpful, I had a great time. It was also great that I called into three big book shops and all had 10 copies of my book – the most I’ve ever seen outside of New Orleans.

I had a quick stop in New York before heading to Hartford for the USA v Czech Republic and Northern Ireland v Turkey games. It was a laugh to spend a few days with boys from back home, there were around 50 split between those who live in the States and those who crossed the Atlantic just for the match. Living in exile, as it were, you sometimes forget what the craic and banter is like, though those fellas can drink… three days was plenty for me.

Considering the team we put out and the conditions we were all delighted with a 2-0 defeat, and I did a TV interview after the game which was a nice wee added bonus. Having visited all 50 States though I can safely say – no offence to anyone from Connecticut – that Hartford is a dump.

So now I’m gearing up for a full month of the World Cup. Disney DVDs will be babysitting my daughter. And here’s hoping for a quiet hurricane season…

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