I’m seriously considering renaming this blog “I apologise for the lack of blogging recently.”

It’s not a very snappy title for a blog, I grant you, but might set expectations appropriately.

This week finds me back in Nashville and Franklin, visiting old haunts. With last year’s experience still fresh in my memory, I gave careful thought to the timing of the shoe-to-flip-flop transition. Anticipating an arrival temperature of 34C/93F, I decided an early transition was called for. I made the leap in Heathrow, while the feet were still relatively fresh.

Heather, Jacq and I were flight pioneers on this trip, taking an almost-brand-new flight route direct to Nashville from London Heathrow. I had slept badly the night before we left, due mainly, I think, to a certain amount of childlike excitement at the prospect of coming back to Nashville again. 

Both of our flights went off without incident, although my carry-on bag took the dreaded diversion down the inner track at security screening. 

Do you mind if I look through the bag, sir?

Absolutely, I said, brimming with confidence that a mistake had been made. And besides, what’s the alternative answer to “yes” for that question?

Minutes later, the nice security lady was holding up a large Phillips screwdriver, in the now tension-filled space between us.

Uh. I’m so sorry.

No problem sir, I’m afraid you can’t take that on the plane as it’s a tool.

Yes, yes, I understand. I’m so sorry!

I’m going to lay – fairly and squarely at the door of sleep deprivation – the blame for failing to take that out of my bag before flying.

What’s slightly more concerning is that this happened in Heathrow, which means the nice security people at Edinburgh didn’t pick it up…

Once on the flight and getting settled in to our seats, it became quickly apparent that we were co-pioneering with a great cloud of Essex-ness. 8 or 10 of them. Their exact origin was a subject of some post-flight conversational dispute. Jacq reckoned London. Whatever, they were loud, not overly-endowed in the self-awareness department, and had the energy to maintain their volume pretty much throughout the flight. 

I quaffed a plastic cup of orange juice with ice, and being in bulkhead seats, placed the empty-but-for-ice-cubes cup in the stretchy pocket fixed to the bulkhead at floor level.

I made good use of my custom IEMs to drown out the Essex noise, and managed to claw back some of my lost overnight sleep.

But not for long. I was rudely awakened by someone kicking my cupful of ice over my bare feet. Coming to, slowly, from a distant and pleasant place, I realised a few important things:

  • There was no-one standing or walking nearby
  • I must have kicked the cup myself
  • I had done a decent job of distributing ice cubes around the cabin, including over the large gnarly bearded dude sitting across the aisle.

I apologised. In the light of near constant loud Essex-ness, I actually don’t think he minded the ice shower all that much.

Never managed to regain that distant land of sleepfulness.

First morning in Franklin meant a visit to the Factory was imminent. My three year old host Jude, on learning I was going to the Factory, immediately wondered if I was going to have a bowl or a donut. By “bowl” he means an Açaí bowl from the Franklin Juice Company. This is a bowl of frozen fruit sorbet, topped with organic granola and fresh fruit.

Donut means a 100-layer donut from Five Daughters Bakery.

Which one do you think I’m going to get Jude?

With a sidelong glance at my profile, he replied without too much consideration


That’s right Jude, that’s right. Nailed it.

Leave a comment here!