Dear Waitrose

cork screw and bottle opener

To whom it may concern, why is it that your seventeen year old checkout staff can join the Royal Marines Commandos, but is unable to sell me a bottle opener and corkscrew because it’s on the ‘restricted list’.

Canal Walk

too bright dad

A Sunny Saturday walk along the Grand Union Canal

tow path walk

Rooney and Rooney came with us.

bottom lock

Some of the terminology gets some getting used to. I guess this would have been called Butt Side Lock. Whatever, it was half empty…

lock gate garden

…possibly because the bottom gate of bottom side lock was leaking a fair bit.

checking the overflow

H inspected the overflow – maybe a future aqua-engineer in the making?

out next boat?

While F inspected some of the nicer boats to live in on the canal.

pure genius

Our destination? The Three Horse Shoes pub, a delightful spot for a pint and some nosh.

Berko Walk


Here be Berkhamsted, snug in the valley.

The English Countryside

And here be the view the other way, across the fields.


You know that you’re on the right path here because of the fence.

H route finding

Although H was checking via the GPS-sync’d map on the new fangled Windows Phone 7 prototype all the same. At work we call this kind of exercise ‘dog fooding’.

Whatever was wrong with a compass and a good OS map?


Northchurch Common

family excursion

An early-ish morning walk at Northchurch Common

old road

old trees

Starting in the woods along this wonderful woodland road

clouds over northchurch common

northchurch common

before opening out onto open common land.


H found sticks. Big sticks.

tree climbing

F found trees. Big trees.

fay finds bees

And Fay found things hanging from branches, buzzy things, bee buzzy things.

Lovely Cross Oak

cross oak

Awesome to be back in berko. It’s a bit smaller than the last place but you wouldn’t know it.

gareden in progress

We’re also making progress on the garden thanks to loads of help from Chris, Kim, Jessica & Les.

berkhamsted sky

The skyscapes from the back bedroom are pretty amazing too.

Publishing Crossoak

wifi (almnost) anywhere

Everything is hard here (or at least harder than we’ve been used to).
Cancelling services in the US was far easier than signing up here. Anyone would think I was asking them to give me money.

One exception has been this nifty do-da. Since we’re not going to be settled for a while signing up for a broadband lock-in didn’t seem like a good idea, instead 3 has this little mifi thing that pumps secure wifi around the house (or car, or coffee shop, or wherever) and runs it over the cellphone data network 3G or 3.5G (aka HSPA).
Monthly and PAYG options available.


bread machine

Having moved 4,500-ish miles with only what we could carry, what was top of the essentials list? A bread machine. Obvious really.


First challenge was weighing 450g of flour (g = gram = unit of weight in these parts, equal to around about 15.873282864 ounces). To the rescue was this amazing measuring cone, courtesy of amazing Jessica.

finished loaf

Lovely stuff.


seaside jump

Health and safety Les took the boys for a short walk at Barton-on-Sea. They were gone for a long time…

danger cliff

…Fay & Jessica looked everywhere for them.

3 generations

But everyone was safe-and-sound.

Please look after this Ewok

please look after this ewok

Ewok flew over as *the* advanced party, to check out the UK was still an okay place to be. Just in case of problems with customs and immigration, Ewok is an American Australian Labradoodle after all, his travel crate was suitably decorated with informative info.

[Note: this entry is appearing out of sequence,
something that never happens here on c r o s s o a k]

Ready to fly

final state-side nosh at anthony's

Our last meal on US soil – Anthony’s at Seatac.

ready to fly


Hanging out at Gate S10 before “10 hours in a metal tin can”, as H said, or “movie all night flight”, for Mr. F.

[Note: this entry is appearing out of sequence,
something that never happens here on c r o s s o a k]

Last Day

last day

Our last day in the USA. A relaxing time thanks entirely to the generous-as-always Clarke’s who let us squat in their gaff. The neighbours said it was the best party in years!

[Note: this entry is appearing out of sequence,
something that never happens here on c r o s s o a k]

Last Picture

last pic at 18926

The last picture from 18926. A great house. Hope that Tim finds someone that can enjoy it as much as we did.

[Note: this entry is appearing out of sequence,
something that never happens here on c r o s s o a k]


xoak garden

The garden at xoak. A tad overgrown and a smidgen small.

Work party?


granddad grabs a crab

The boys had a successful crabbing expedition with Granddad

setting free

But, of course, they had to be put back again.

making a run for it

This one made a bee-line for the surf.
I didn’t know that crabs knew anything about bees.




Pizza Express, our fav.
Except F who thinks Domino’s is better (based  on his experience in Longview).

That said, service wasn’t.


after the regatta

Henley on Thames – the day after the regatta finished.
Maybe next year…