Houston – 6 (“over and out”)

Such a splendid start to the day, walking into H&M in the Galleria and hearing Billie Marten’s new single “Betsy”. I’d never heard it before and instant knew it had to be Billie. Completely brilliant. [If you don’t know Billie, then please check out her marvellous CDs. 2019 her breakthrough year; she has some gigs in the US supporting Snow Patrol..!]

Thus far it has predominately been a day of walking, starting with the remarkable Boot Room and the chance to be ‘gobsmacked’ by their vast array of cowboy hats – and then by an even greater range of cowboy boots. If only I had the head for hats and the legs for boots… Oh yes, and the money to buy good quality in both!

When I used to go to the States a few years ago I always brought back something for the kids, usually t-shirts and suchlike; most were never worn to extinction. Now everyone’s older, it seems present buying is simultaneously both harder and easier. Walking through one of the world’s largest malls is certainly harder on the feet!

But it’s also been a morning of writing. I actually started ‘chapter two’ [though physically it will probably go somewhere else] thankfully able to recall its opening two lines, lines that came to me around 1am. Time for a little more perhaps before I Uber off the airport for the flight home.

It strikes me that Houston is not a place you can easily come to know and like. Admittedly on a phenomenally smaller scale, Newport News is my yardstick, having been there numerous times and knowing it well enough to feel comfortable driving myself around. I suspect in Houston you get to know ‘pockets’ of the place, small circles of geography defined by a tight radius centred on an office or a hotel or a mall or a restaurant. The strictly limited confines of City Centre could end up being one such pocket over the next three or four years, who knows?