Day 9: Suit fittings and horse racing #KentuckyTour2014

lexington, winchell's, geno's, kentucky, bloody maryI broke my Bloody Mary duck over breakfast, and what better group to do it with than the rest of the Groom party; Joe, Me, Dad, Andy K, Jimbo, Johnny, Mark R, Mark W, Bruce, Will, Foster and Paul.

We’re at Winchell’s Bar for breakfast, next door to Geno’s who have the honour of being the official suit supplier to the #TeamColliver Wedding. We’re here to get our final fittings for our Groomsmen tuxedos before heading off to Keeneland Races for a day of gambling with the rest of the gang.

Despite us all providing our sizes 6months earlier, they’ve still buggered up most of the kit. They’ve pretty much gone for the much practiced and much failed one-size-fits-all approach, despite clearly getting a heads up that unlike Ellen’s Bridesmaids (a fine collaborative cohort of Southern Belles), Luke comes equipped with a band of men of all different shapes and sizes.

Anyways, after given the store clerk a wedgie and leaving him hanging from one of the outside lampposts, we jump in Paul and Foster’s shuttles and head for Keeneland.

Now’s a better opportunity than ever to say the ease would not of been possible without Foster and Paul. Jumping from one vendor to the next, these two made sure of a seamless experience. We did our bit (i.e. waking-up in the morning) but they did the hard, and often thankless, bit of making it all come together.

Meanwhile, the Bridesmaids party spent the morning in a town called Nonesuch, about 20 minutes from Lexington, for a Bridesmaids Brunch at a restaurant called The Glitz. Mum said how the beautifully lit restaurant sits below Irish Acres, a huge gallery housing antique furniture, jewelry, dolls, toys and glassware. It sounded a bit like my Nan’s house back in Kingsbury.

keenland, kentucky, horses, racesWe all meet at the prestigious Keeneland, the no.1 thoroughbred horse race track in the USA, for a day of laughs in the sun.

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Day 8: Back to Lexington #KentuckyTour2014

lexington, winchester, hellenic, bluegrassRight, enough pissing around; let’s get up to Lexington for what promises to be the wedding of the decade.

But in all seriousness, the State of Kentucky has impressed me massively. Prior to this trip, telling people my plan to spend two weeks in Kentucky was often met with looks of disbelief, eyes searching for an explanation and/or a punchline. Me too, I was quick to justify it with “my Brothers wedding, he’s getting married to a girl from there” before making sure that they understood “they both live Manhattan, New York”.

But I’ll say now, and I’m rarely wrong about these things, add this State to that US roadtrip you’ve got penciled in.

So we jumped on the motorway and set off, cruising past the signs to the birthplace of Colonel Sanders. And no, we didn’t stop.

We gathered our thoughts at a Cracker Barrel on the outskirts of Lexington, before making the final leg of the journey to our hotel, the Hilton. But first we popped into the nearby town of Winchester where the actual wedding was taking place. Winchester is where Ellen’s Dad grew up, and was also the location of her Grandparent’s restaurant that was famous for its Irish stew for over 60 years. It’s still fondly remembered by locals, with the site recently being honored by the Hellenic Ideals Program of the Bluegrass. Now here stands a metal plaque to mark the spot where “4 Greek Immigrants served the public from 1909 to 1973”.

The first person I bumped into at the hotel was Johnny and his girlfriend, one of Luke’s oldest mates. The last time I saw him was at Kilburn tube station? Or was it the Claddagh Ring in Hendon last Christmas? Eitherway, this is Kentucky and the rest of the London gang come pushing through the doors to check-in; Andy, Lou, Gary, Orla, Patti, Lawrence, Martin, Jimbo (another expat living in the US), James K, Sheryl, Conor and Tara.

Then Mum followed by auntie Maureen and Michelle; a Nolan Sisters tribute act if ever I’ve seen one. The two aunties flew over with uncle Patrick and auntie Paula this morning.

Mum has been in Lexington since Sunday, staying with Mrs C and helping with the preparations aswell as heading out to the Woodland Reserve distillery with Joe and Kate. Her roles have ranged from the essential (driving to the civic center to get wedding licenses) to the essentially thoughtful (helping the A-team put together the wedding buckets).

Wedding buckets? Civic Centre? Two terms that may suggest traditionalism is on its way out. But no, wedding buckets were the carefully put together welcoming gifts that everyone received when they checked in at the hotel. A large KFC bucket, filled with goodies including a can of Ale-8-One (bottled in nearby Winchester since 1926 and the only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence), local guidebook, local history book, an apple bearing the “I love NY” logo sticker and a pack of Walkers crisps. Also the wedding itinerary that included an illustration by their friend Jason, featuring Luke and Ellen outside their New York flat flanked by landmarks from both New York, London and Kentucky. In addition to the big names, it also included several personal sites of specific interest including the place they met and The George pub in Kingsbury.

Later the family headed out to the suburbs of Lexington, to Mrs C’s house for the first night of the wedding. A perfect first night over nibbles and beers in Mrs C’s lovely house, getting to know the family more and more on a minute-by-minute basis.

Ellen is one of three triplets. On one of the walls was a framed newspaper cutout from The Lexington Leader (dated 4th Sept 1981) with the headline “Triplet threat… Parents think thrice about it” accompanied by an image of the three children, which went some way of describing their uniqueness. Ellen, Liza and Foster were local heroes according to 1980s folklore.

I’d met Liza way back in 2009 when I was last in New York but she’s since moved down to Washington DC where she manages a designer shop. She’s got one of the biggest roles of the weekend as the Bride of Honour.

I’d never met Foster, her brother, but heard nothing but great things. I’d tried to glean as much from Facebook as I could pre-Kentucky, but was none the wiser. Would he index highly as the All-American hero, or higher as a Pee Wee Herman? Truth is, he was neither, but simply an original nice guy.

After having a read of the article, Luke took Joe and me down to the basement, where the rest of Triplet Mania memorabilia from the 80’s could be found.

“Wow, it’s the actual triple seated baby carrier from the actual front page photo!”

It was this same night we met Angie and Paul, Ellen’s Auntie and her boyfriend from Columbus, Ohio. It’s fair to say you don’t meet truly good people everyday. But today we’ve met a batch of them. I’d thought today’s quota had already been exceeded by Foster and the waitress at breakfast who let me pocket an extra bottle of syrup. But then these guys too!

We headed to a bar called Cheapside in town to meet up with the rest of our family, Luke’s London friends, Luke’s New York friends and any other person who’d just arrived in Lexington for the wedding.

Day 7: Searching for falls in the physical space #KentuckyTour2014

mammoth cave, geography, teacher

Me, rocking the Geography teacher look!

Our last full day in Cumberland Falls and so we head out to the train yard which would dispatch Kentucky’s coal to the rest of the Country during the industry’s heyday. It’s closed, but the lady kindly lets us have a look around the yard and museum.

So we headed out to Yahoo Falls instead.

“Bet you had to use a search engine to find that one” somebody said, most likely me.

It’s a real optical illusion. When you see it in photos or from the many viewpoints that hover above it, it looks big but not worth-the-trip-big. It’s only when I climb aboard one of the boulders next to it do I realize just what we’re dealing with. I’ve let Dad, Kev and Mary follow the pathways into the rock behind the waterfall. Within minutes, they’re almost lost amongst the vast backdrop of grey, resembling nothing more than little florescent rain-proof dots.

yahoo falls, cumberland, kentuckyThe downpour from up above is no trickle, as first thought, but a pounding of water. Nonetheless we get the photo of Dad pretending to take a shower underneath it.

“Would be a great place to have a music show in this cave, think of the sound and the natural acoustics” says Kev.

“That’d be some rock concert” I hit back quickly, secretly knowing that Kev was lining that piece of word magic up for himself.

We make tracks out to the viewpoint where The Natural Arch of the Daniel Boone National Park can be viewed. We also continued along a dirt pathway that loops around the northwest end of the arch for more specular scenery of the thick forest below.

Even at the height of the financial crisis “Recession? What recession?” appeared to be a key phrase said by many in London, whilst marveling how it was possible to get a full English breakfast and a pint of Stella for less than £6 in JD Wetherspoon. I mean the graduate market was dire and even when employed you had to be constantly reminded of how good things used to be by management. But really, after the initial panic, jobs came back and restaurants and pubs seemed to do okay. But it was never London that felt the real pinch but places like Chester, Warrington and Red Ruth.

Assumingly the similar of the USA, where a severe drop in standard of living wouldn’t be New York but places out here. Driving back from Yahoo Falls, I noticed an out of business petrol station. A petrol station? No longer in action? That’d normally be quite symbolic, making an apt cover photo for a book entitled The 1970s: A Retrospective Look. It wasn’t the only sign of a once thriving tourist spot falling into a spot of economic decay.

Eagle Falls Resort, a large classic American motel about 2 minutes from the actual Cumberland Falls waterfall, lies derelict and abandoned. After asking about it at the front desk at Du Pont, we’re told it’s been in some state for a few years after going bankrupt and falling into the hands of looters. People around here loot?

Jerry Hoake for Mayor.

Day 6: Kayaks and black bears #KentuckyTour2014

Two things I remember about this day.

The first was Kayaking towards Cumberland Falls.

The second was the bear.

Joe and Kate had left shortly after dinner, as Joe wanted to get back to Lexington for some pre-wedding Best Man duties. Whilst having a few drinks on the balcony and reviewing the great day we’d had, came the call from Kev.

“We’ve got company” Kev shouted from the kitchen.

black bear, cumberland, daniel boone, kentuckyAnd right we did. Right outside the kitchen window, a giant black bear was going through the bin. He quickly scrambled and raced across to one of the other cabins when he heard us fumbling around for our cameras.

To be honest, bears are nothing but scavengers. And the state of California decided to put one on their flag. Bloody liberals.

We rang Du Pont lodge, as instructed, and they sent out a Ranger to track the bear’s movements. It’s actually quite mad how wild they actually are; they’re not electronically tagged, and only manually recorded when sighted.

One regular visitor said there could be as many as 11,000 bears in the region (Kentucky and surrounding states). That’s mental. That’s the equivalent of the population of Henley-on-Thames. This same visitor had never actually seen a bear in the 30 years they’d been coming here.

The population is actually believed to be much lower, at around 500 black bears in Kentucky. That’s like a whole Lenwade in Norfolk populated by bears. Or a decent turn out for an early FA Cup preliminary round.

We later headed into the nearest town for some dinner. On our return, driving through the darkness towards our cabin we noticed what assumedly was a stray dog lurking around in the trees. It looked scared, as if it was hiding out.

We parked up and that’s when we saw the bin had been smashed to bits. The bear had ripped off the thick wooden slates, removed the metal container from inside and flattened it. Needless to say we didn’t waste any time getting in.

Nothing was going to beat that. So we watched a documentary about the life of Pat Tillman, a former NFL footballer who retired to enlist in the US army following the 9/11 attacks. He was killed in friendly fire. The programme sought to reunite the man who may’ve been responsible with one of Tillman’s fellow soldiers.

If you don’t particular appreciate the wit of Bill Hicks you may still be aware of his stance on advertising and marketing. Essentially, if you work in advertising, kill yourself. That’s literally it. Like too many things, his style of comedy is applied to our stages via your ‘alternative comedians’ and others who grew up with Hicks as an inspiration. But having sat through my 8th or 9th TV commercial break in one sitting, I can kind of empathize. If they’re not manipulative (Quick Buck Solutions Ltd) they’re undignified (Place4Mum.com).

We all awoke at different stages of the night by the apparent movement lurking outside our bedrooms. If the bear could smash that bin, there was no reason he couldn’t break the wooden bannister and kick through the glass sliding door of our rooms. We knew he wasn’t too happy with us.

Day 5: Nashville to Cumberland Falls #KentuckyTour2014

cumberland falls, black bears, kentucky,  Daniel Boone, Despite being the last one back, I’m the first up and make use of my time by having a coffee on the little veranda that overlooks Downtown. Again it’s a beautiful day and amongst the chirpy birdsong I can make out the light and dissipating thunder of a rolling freight train somewhere in the distance.

Right about now, Luke’s friends and family from London are beginning to touch down at various US ports for the wedding; Atlanta, New York, Chicago. Myself and cousin Elizabeth had been uploading photos to Instagram using #Colliver to track each others whereabouts (a rare justification for the hashtag). She was travelling with my other cousins, Simone and George, and had just picked up their hire car after a night at the baseball watching the Atlanta Braves.

Once the others were up, and we’d made a half decent effort of drying our laundry on the outside porch, we headed to where Joe and Kate were staying. A bowl of granola later at the Sky Blue Café and we were on the road to Cumberland Falls.

I jumped back in with Joe and Kate, whose trusty yet exhausted playlist via USB stick provided ample respite from the world of tin riffs and questionable innuendo’s that come with a life of solid country music. The radio was on repeat with the new Keith Urban song Cop Car. Quite fitting, as I wasn’t the only one who’d had a brush with the law last night. Joe and Kate had accidentally set off the alarm of their house and the cops were round in a shot.

There’s something quite unenviable about Keith Urban. For a guy who makes million of pounds doing what he loves and is married to a Hollywood superstar, I just couldn’t imagine anyone actually wanting to trade places with him. It’s no indicator of my contentment with life. Offer me the life of a semi-professional footballer, a bit part in Eastenders or a place on the next series of Castaway in lieu of my own existence and I’d bite your hand off. But Keith Urban? Nah, you’re alright mate.

I dropped Jim from last night an email, just to send him my best wishes. He managed to get back in the flat but isn’t speaking to his flatmate.

Once we’re about 10miles from Cumberland Falls National Park, we notice several houses displaying campaign posters championing those seeking election for a number of roles.

“Jerry Hoake for Mayor”

“Susan Knoxville for Magistrate”

“Bob Yardley for Jailer”

One can only assume these are for positions of power, and not simply for roles in a play put on by the local amateur dramatics society.

Our log cabin is huge, and about a 5 minute walk from the central Du Pont Lodge where Joe and Kate will be staying. There are 6 other log cabins in our area. With two king-size twin rooms down below and a huge kitchen and lounge area up above. We have two balconies that overlook the forest below. Though obscured by the thick woodland, the roar of the river down in the valley can be heard easily enough.

There’s been a number of bear sightings in the area recently. At Du Pont we were given some tips on what to do if we came face to face with one. From Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods I know that black bears can be dealt with using techniques such as making yourself big while not looking threatening. Running only makes you look like prey and odds are they’re better at running, climbing and swimming than you.

Whereas if a brown bear wants to rip your throat out, he’s going to rip your throat out.

“So, the bloke at reception said if you see a bear, you need to walk backwards, keep calm and clap your hands” I called out to the group up ahead, as we walked through the woods and down towards Cumberland Falls.

“Clap? What if he isn’t any good” came Dad’s sharp reply as he listened out for laughter, paying no attention to my safety advice.

We continued down into woods towards the falls, where instead of the breathtaking scenery, we took in some good puns and bear-related material.

The falls themselves were incredibly impressive. The weight and power running through them could be felt from our viewpoint. Like most able-bodied men, Joe and myself couldn’t resist the urge of jumping over the viewpoint to climb a large rock below for a better view. Never, ever be content with the safety of a viewpoint.

We stayed for a good 20 minutes taking in the powerful medium of nature, before making our way back through the woods.

“Rob, I just seen saw paw prints” Kev called up ahead, “then I saw some good prints and then I saw some excellent prints”.

Back on the balcony of our log cabin the champagne was popped and the jokes continued. The trees were occasionally lit up by the inhabitant glowworms, which reminded Kev of his last trip to the US back in 1974. While visiting cousins in Pennsylvania, they were introduced to some kids who’d go into the woods to crunch up glowworms to give the impression they had fluorescent rings on their fingers. But the glowworms were okay though, right?

“Nah, they were fucked”

kev, oliver, tuxedo, cumberland fallsKev goes out to the car to surprise us with one of his many new outfits for the wedding, returning in a T-Shirt with a Tuxedo printed on the front of it.

“I must be the only person in the country with a Tuxedo folded up in the glove compartment”.

Day 4: More film quotes and cop car escorts #KentuckyTour2014

nashville, jackson paddleboat, victoria memorial bridge, broadwayIt’s a sunny morning in Nashville, noticeably warmer than the slightly more northern mornings we’ve had. After breaking my Grits duck at a café in Germantown we walked through the Bicentennial Mall State Park before catching the free bus service to where the Cumberland River dissects Downtown. It’s our meeting point with Joe and Kate and also a great place to catch the great General Jackson Showboat paddle and puff down the river.

From here, headed to the Goulch area to sit outside and plan our day. Then back up to Broadway to Printer’s Alley, the former burlesque district. Colorfully decorated and cleverly named rubbish bins, such as Dolly Carton and Johnny Trash, line the small narrow street while music plays out of every door. Wheelie bins and puns, this was definitely a town built for us.

Ryman Auditorium, a 3,200-seat live performance venue. Originally built by Thomas Ryman, a riverboat captain and local businessman, in 1892 it was intended to serve as a venue for the charismatic revivalist Samuel James Porter.

From 1943 to 1974 it housed all the greatest musical acts as home of the Grand Ole Oprey and aired The Johnny Cash show from 1969 to 1971. After falling into disrepair following the Oprey moving out, it was renovated in 1994 and continues to house the world’s biggest acts. Lana Del Ray was due to play here the following week.Printer's alley, nashville, dolly carton, johnny trash

Our highlight however was jumping up on the same stage as Johnny Cash for our photo, complete with microphone and guitar. While he played hour-long sets, I’ll be content with the repetitive riff from The Exorcist that I managed to pull off on the perpetually out of tune acoustic provided.

Then on to Tootsie’s rooftop bar for some live music followed by a lazy walk to Whiskey Kitchen for dinner, where ribs, fried chicken and chili dogs made sure we’d struggle replicating last nights fun on Broadway. The oldies called it a night, while me Joe and Kate continued the façade that we could stomach yet more beer and country music.
But not full enough to hit up Savannah Candy Kitchen on Broadway to load up on nostalgia through the medium of sweets. All the big names, and the old ones too. As if me and Joe hadn’t been quoting films enough (neither of us are films buffs, we just had a small pool of easily applicable films to rely on), himself and Kate found a kindred spirit.
“The snozberries taste like snozberriers” said Joe, overcome with emotion whilst quoting the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Just when he was settling for appreciation amongst our group, a woman turned round.

Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a Snozzberry?” she replied, playing the role of Veruca Salt to perfection before disappearing into the crowd forever.

Cabs were a nightmare to get hold of. Not necessarily to flag down, but just difficult to deal with once inside.

We parted ways and I decided to walk back as it didn’t seem that far. Plus I had a load of taffy and Nerds to munch on for the walk.

I went on a detour and ended up by Public Square Park. A bit of navigation took me back to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum building, instantly recognisable by its domed shape roof. Cutting through a empty pedestrian path that ran alongside it, just thinking how it should be littered with kids on skateboards smoking their dads cigarettes, when I saw some guy lurking in the shadows on his phone.

I knew that I was back on track when I saw the Tennessee State Capitol building. Nevertheless I was intrigued, so asked the guy if he knew the best route.

He took his phone out and asked for my address, fumbling his way on his mobile internet.

“Sorry, just give me a sec” his Google Maps giving him grief.

“Oh don’t worry, it’s really not a problem mate, don’t put yourself out” I said, already regretting my attempt at making friends.

“No, it’s all good” he replies, “It’s good to be able to talk to somebody, is all”.

He tells me only last night he’d been kicked out of his flat by the one person he considered his friend. He’d moved down from Michigan where he lived with his Mum, having spent the last 30 of his 55 years washing dishes in whatever restaurant would take him on. He was taking yarn lessons with the dream of one day owning his own shop here in Nashville. There’s apparently a market for bespoke crochet and weave down here. He showed me some photos of his work; Christmas tree dresses and pillowcases.

He’d almost given up on his dream altogether only a few hours ago. Not far from here, where Victory Memorial Bridge crosses the Cumberland River, Jim stood ready to jump over into the murky water below. I told him it was crazy. Not least because suicide is never the way out, but if he really was suicidal, jumping from a bridge only 30yards above water would surely be ineffective solution. If he thought he was depressed before, he’d be even more so walking around town all night in damp clothes.

Though I later learn that last year a 19-year old boy jumped in from the very same spot and never resurfaced, until being found dead some days later.

Jim was more than happy to escort me all the way home. Once we walked over the grassy banks and back down through Victory Park, we were presented with a great view of the twinkling street lamps of North Nashville and Germantown. From here my next point of reference was the Farmer’s Market, from which I knew my house was not too far.

However this meant crossing through Bicentennial Mall State Park as this was the way I’d come earlier. Jim was nice, but I guess so is every successful murderer who manages to lure their victims into a dimly lit park at night.

“Okay Jim, I think I got it from here mate” I said.

“No, it’s okay. You might get lost” He replied, “besides I enjoy talking to ‘ya, it’s not often I get to do it with someone”.

We made it through safe enough and once I spotted the back of my house from the street I stopped and thanked Jim for the company. We talked a bit more over the cinnamon taffy I’d bought in Savannah’s.

Minutes later, a police car slowly pulled up on the corner where me and Jim were winding down our midnight walk ‘n’ talk. The sole police officer pulled up across the street and came over.

“Where you guys from?” The young ginger copper asked.

He was definitely more concerned about Jim than an English tourist with a bag full of sweets. He probed Jim further. What was he doing having a conversation under a street lamp in a residential area?

“There’s been a series of robberies around here recently” the cop confided in us “a gang going around in cars, jumping out beating up people walking home alone”.

“Well that’s why I was walking him home, Officer” Jim said, pointing at me.

“You want a lift home, Sir” the officer asked me.

“No, he lives right over there” Jim said pointing over the house where I told him I lived (I actually lived two down from it). Though the copper never took his eyes off me.

It was getting late, and realistically this was my only chance of avoiding having to wake up my Dad, Auntie and Uncle with an explanation as to why I’d brought back some homeless man.

“Sure”.

I invested the $20 I’d saved from walking (and risking a good buggering for) into Jim’s latest yarn projects. We swapped emails to keep in contact. Then I jumped in the cop car.

Day 3: Sinking holes and heading South #KentuckyTour14

The Caves

At the door to the cave entrance, our dry-witted Ranger announced a few do’s and don’ts.

“And finally, guns are forbidden inside the cave. So if you’ve brought your gun with you, you can’t come in” came John’s sardonic precaution.

mammoth cave, kentucky, bowling greenIt tickled the three of us to great length. But looking around the 60-strong tour group it appears we were the only ones who’d consider bringing a gun to a tourist attraction rather inappropriate.

The caves were pretty goddamn cool, but still as a source of written coverage they can prove hard as inspiration. But it’s more the grand size of these caves that provide the most wonder.

It’s estimated that these caves could stretch in total (i.e. not in a liner direction) to around 200 miles, but in reality they have absolutely no idea how big this range of cave is. One of the park rangers back at the hotel told us that she was on an expedition a few years ago when she stumbled into a large cave that appeared to be lit up with diamond and crystal coated stalagmites. However after going back with the rest of her group, she was unable to relocate it. They’ve been looking for it ever since.

They’re no better placed in finding out the reach of these caves. The soft rock means new caves could be opening up all the time.

About 30 miles down the road in Bowling Green (our next destination) a 40ft wide and 25ft deep sinkhole opened up at the National Corvette Museum, swallowing 8 models. This was just last February, with the last one being fished out only last week.

Bowling Green

As often the case with the human psyche, the day is broken up by food stops. We get to Bowling Green by 3pm to have some lunch. It’s perfectly placed between our starting position this morning and our final destination of Nashville where we’ll be reuniting with Dad, Auntie Mary and Uncle Kev who’ve been travelling south from Washington DC since last Saturday.

Dad (who did this trip last year on the way to Luke and Ellen’s engagement party) describes Bowling Green as “just like the town from Back to the Future”.

He’s got a point. The central square and clock tower could easily have been where we’d expect Marty to come whizzing past us on a hover board. And just like the film, you’d be just as likely to see somebody still using a fax machines in some of the older looking office buildings. The place seems to range very much from the past to the future, with nothing in between.bowling green, back to the future, chaney's ice cream, kentucky

We find a pizzeria called Mellow Mushroom (est. 1974) not too far from the central green. We’re drawn by the pink and turquoise exterior and its psychedelic interior. You can’t move on the backpacking trails of South-East Asia without stumbling on a pizzeria with the words ‘mellow’ and ‘mushroom’ in the title. And often the case you leave unable to walk, coming to terms with the possibility your mind will never return to normal service again.

Though this place was actually more committed to a puritan existence, just with individuals pizzas the size of car tyres and a drinks list dominated by 12-15% alcoholic lagers.

Then on to Cheney’s Ice Cream dairy barn before cracking on to Nashville.

Nashville

Joe and Kate have joined the AirBnB movement and have a nice little house sorted near the Five Points for the weekend. I’m sharing with Dad, Auntie Mary and Uncle Kev. After helping to get Joe and Kate settled, Dad and Kev pull up outside the front lawn and after getting an executive summary of their trip, I jump in to dump my stuff off at the ground floor flat we’ve got over near the German Quarter.

nashville, peace love little donutsThe city skyline gives you the butterflies that only a famous one can seeing for the first time. As I listen, Dad speculates that the dominant AT&T building was used for several Batman films.

I’m not too sure. I mean he’s got a point in that the design certainly does resemble Batman’s helmet. It’s just I don’t ever recall the covert superhero ever needing 33-stories of office space in the middle of a Southern city.

We meet Joe and Kate at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, an aptly suited country music bar on Broadway. Reunited at last!

The next few hours are spent doing exactly what we were advised; let Broadway guide you, and don’t stay in any one place too long.

The older three of our sextet have picked up some new buzzwords since hitting the road last weekend. Dad has been guilty of adopting buzzwords into everyday parlance before, albeit a good solid decade after they’ve first entered the public’s lexicon. But him, Kev and Mary are all at it. It appears with social media, adoption of such language has been exacerbated, as they’ve skipped all the way to ‘Selfie’ and more disturbingly ‘Twerking’. Strange, as neither of them know who and what Miley Cyrus and Instagram are.

Anyways, as long as they remain words and not actions, I’ll be happy this holiday…