Saturday 13th September. Pleasant Shade, Tennessee USA

Pleasant Shade. Sounds quite the paradise doesn't it? Well it is, and just you try to find it on a map. It's about firty-five miles east of Nashville. My hosts in Pleasant Shade, Glenn and Shirley, had offered to come and pick me up if I made it near Nashville. After breakfast, I phoned them from Tim and Donna's and arranged for them to collect me after lunch.

Tim was off to a local farmers markets to get some fresh produce for dinner. Funnily enough, in the twelve months that they'be been members of GlobalFreeloaders I was their frist guest, but they're expecting more guests- a Brazillian couple- tonight. The farmers markets was interesting; I think the pumpkin farmer thought I was some sort of spy from a competitor's farm! Also, I found this map that showed me where Pleasant Shade is. Lucky Glenn and Shirley live there and not in the next town!

punkyins. Pleasant Shade, next to Difficult, Tennessee.

Pleasant Shade is a tiny village with a post office and a general store. Surrounding Pleasant Shade are a number of other tiny villages with names like Monoville, Difficult and Defeated. This is the rural south. This is redneck country as red as red can be... and I don't mean that in offence to any of the wonderful kind people who live around these here parts. *dang! Now Ah's startid ta talkin' like them*

Glenn and Shirley carved out their piece of heaven here six years ago. Initially they were looking for a ten or fifteen acre block of land, but finally fell in love with this place, just slightly larger at a hundred and fifty acres! By the look in their eyes when they talk about the changes they've made over the years, I don't think there's been a day in between that they've regretted buying here. As we sat on the verandah chatting the afternoon away, I got the feeling that these were two people who had found what many of us are still searching for. Glenn retired early from a fairly stressful career in engineering, and now keeps himself busy with property development. Shirley works four days a week in an office in nearby Murfreesboro, and spends three nights there with her daughter and four grandchildren, while Glenn is at home with the cats.

Shirley, Glenn and I relaxing on the deck. The barn and the cemetery, as viewed from my bedroom window.

Their neighbours and great friends Jeff and Connie joined us, and we all bundled into the car. Our destination? Cherokee Steakhouse in Gallatin, home of the best steak in the world, according to Glenn, Shirley, Jeff and Connie. Well I've had a few damn good steaks in my time, and they'd take quite some beating. When we turned up and saw the crowd waiting outside, I had a feeling I was in for a treat. There was over an hour's wait *lucky Glenn brought the esky* and if this many people were prepared to wait that long, it said one of two things. Either this was the only restaurant for fifty miles around, or these steaks was dang good!

If anyone from the Breakfast Creek Hotel in Brisbane, or the Brazilian Steakhouse in Jerusalem, is reading this, you better come over here and take some notes! These steaks was perfect. Mine was cooked medium to textbook perfection, and was tasty and tender and it's making me drool again just thinking about it! As the waiters' tshirts say, 'You can whip our cream, but you can't beat our meat'


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