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READER’S LIVES Just On A Boat Passing Through

I first came to England as an undergraduate on exchange from Eastern Michigan University. I studied at Reading and fell in love with my wife Kate, and the boats on the Thames and the canal. It was really hard to leave when the exchange was finished but I needed to finish my BSc in Physics and obtain my teaching credentials to find a job. Kate came to the states the following summer and we decided to return to the UK to live and work here; she had finished her studies and had already lined up a teaching job-clever girl! It was not easy convincing the Dept of Education that my degree and teaching qualifications were valid; the result of too many bogus diploma mills in the states. But I persevered and eventually got both recognition and a job. Not long after that we decided to build a boat to live on so we could be mobile and take up any job offer in a more rural area should one become available (Kates’ idea-told you she was clever)! 32

American In Britain

I had filed my application with the American schools on the NATO bases but had not heard anything for several years until they contacted me. So began a long career with schools on 6 different bases in three different countries all thankfully in Europe, mostly in the UK. I lectured undergraduate science and maths courses in the evenings via the education centre on the bases. I still try to remain active in education by helping out both The Association for Science Education (UK) and The National Science Teachers Association (USA). I will be presenting a lecture about The Arbour Project at the ASE’s annual conference in January at the University of Reading and taking delegates to Stonehenge for a private viewing for graduate credit. I never thought retirement would be so busy! Along the way we restored a lock cottage and then found some land for sale along the canal in Oxfordshire with 18th century derelict stone barns. One of the good things about teaching is that you have long holidays to do things. We eventually got planning permission to turn the largest barn into a house so came off the boat and now live on the land. We have been registered Organic for many years and have a few hens, an orchard, hives of bees, and grow lots of different types of pumpkins and squash. We grow lots of trees as we heat and cook and have hot water almost exclusively via wood burners. Sarah, our daughter lives not too far away with her husband Jonathan and our grandson Gabriel; they come often to help around the farm. Sarah is a Forest Schools Instructor which we are really proud of. Sometimes I think that is the only salvation for the world-grow trees and pray we are not too late to at least slow down global warming. Most of the squash and pumpkins go to London to high end restaurants like Kew Gardens,

Royal Academy, National Gallery, and Michelin starred restaurants like Murano, or River Café. We also supply high end places like Quo Vadis or Mildred’s in Soho, or all of the Palpo restaurants and we have been supplying Lidgates for pies for at least 30 years. Oliver’s Wholefoods in Kew is one of my first stops on delivery days. We also have supplied Stella McCartney the last few years for a big Halloween party. We never advertise but I do make sure I take my tipi to Wilderness Festival to give samples out to all the chefs who make the festival such a brilliant success each summer; Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, and the local festival in the village of Cropredy are also nice distractions from weeding the pumpkins. I would love to take the crop to London by boat, but finding a wharf that would be available for the season is impossible with all the live-a-boards stacked up three deep on most moorings. Maybe when the new Embassy opens there might be a chance for me to moor up alongside; we will have to wait and see who Hillary sends over.

If you would like to feature in our Reader’s Lives article in a future issue, please contact helen@theamericanhour.com

American in Britain Autumn 2016  

The features in this issue include Mid-Year Tax Round-Up by Westleton Drake; Wealth Management: The Role Of Foreign Exchange in Investing by...

American in Britain Autumn 2016  

The features in this issue include Mid-Year Tax Round-Up by Westleton Drake; Wealth Management: The Role Of Foreign Exchange in Investing by...

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