Knoxville’s a pleasant enough place to walk around for half a day or so, which was nice because when the temperature is 95F you don’t want to be doing too much walking around. Most of the city seems to be currently being either built or rebuilt with construction and roads dug up all over the place.
It’s soon apparent that there’s definitely more of the stronger southern accent going on here. Ordering a burger in English was more of an ordeal than asking for a coffee in France using my dodgy French. It’s normally the other person who can’t understand me but on this occasion I was really struggling.
As nice as Knoxville is, sauntering around it was not the reason why this day will long live within the memory. When people ask if they remember what they were doing the day the UK left the European Union (I refuse to use the awful Brexit term), my reply will have something about trying to avoid getting heatstroke in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’d spent a fair bit of the previous night deliberating whether I should betting on the Leave outcome as insurance against any potential currency devaluations. Odds of 6/1 were widely available at 7am Knoxville time (noon in the UK) so perhaps the sensible move would to put a couple of hundred quid on this. Even if the expected Remain outcome prevailed I should get this stake back through the short term boost to the pound. I soon discovered that all of the betting sites I’m familiar with seem to be blocked in the USA. If I was placing such bets for a living from a Wall Street office it would be regarded as a respectable profession but for Joe Bloggs to be doing this via the internet at home is classed as illegal gambling for some reason. I wasn’t hugely concerned about not be able to get the bet on as all indicators were pointing at a Remain victory.
Fast forward to 7pm. I’ve found a stream for Davey Dimbleby on the BBC. Initial polls are indicating a comfortable Remain majority. Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage seemed resigned to this and the £ was trading at above $1.50. From there it went pretty much downhill (or uphill depending on your point of view). I was so engrossed in the coverage that I left my Just For Men beard dye on for way longer than the intended 6 minutes although luckily it hasn’t gone an OTT shade of brown. By midnight Knoxville-time it was all done and dusted. Sterling was trading at $1.32, dropping 12% in five hours. Ouch. The sight of Keith Vaz almost crying on telly, John Mann acting an even bigger gobshite than normal and the incredibly smug and abhorrent Jacob Reese-Mogg smarmimg all over the screen was enough for me. I was off to bed.