Oct 21

We had to put our heat on last night. Winter has battered New Orleans early this year.

No, not really. A day when the temperature dips down into the fifties hardly qualifies as the Arctic Tundra. As I write the sun is shining and by next week we will be back up into the eighties. It’s still “short-sleeve order” in these parts, as we used to say in school.

You’ve heard the expression, “living here thins your blood?” I’m beginning to think that may be true. Do people who live in hotter climates really have thinner blood? Does that make sense? Us fearless warriors from the chilly inhospitable regions of Northern Europe – well, we have thick, sludgy blood that traps heat and means we can stand for 90 motionless minutes on a windswept terrace watching football. On the other hand weak Southern Louisiana inhabitants have insipid watery blood which constantly sloshes around their body, leading to their inability to sit still and watch the Saints for more than three seconds without needing to run for a beer or more nachos.

Can you tell I have no medical training? It doesn’t make sense, you know, when you poke fun at the thought like that. But after seven years living the American Dream, having switched chilly Belfast for sultry New Orleans, I do feel the cold more. Is that just me getting old – 42 next month – or has my body adapted to its new habitat? How come I could wear shorts in Northern Ireland in January but now need trousers in Louisiana in October? Old age? Yeah, probably…

In other news, I start my new football coaching career next week. Should be fun. I’m enjoying both writing classes I’m teaching at the Walker Percy Center, and I’m delighted that there’s plenty of first-rate ability amongst the students. I’m lucky so many talented writers signed up and produce interesting pieces every week (and no, I’m not just writing that in case any of them are reading this). I finally finished our bedroom and have now moved onto painting our bathroom. How people renovate a whole house at one time and still live in it is beyond me.

Anyway, next month my mum arrives in New Orleans, Stephen King arrives in New Orleans, my birthday arrives in my house, and Thanksgiving arrives all over America. Maybe Old Man Winter will arrive and rattle this old man’s aching limbs as well.

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