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Leigh Zimmerman starring in A Chorus Line. American Eye Interview with Leigh on page 10. Photo credit: John Ganun
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Top Tens Top Ten BritEats and Taste Treats by Judith Schrut
oin us on a culinary tour around Britain as we share our Top Ten unmissable BritEats and Taste Treats. With so many delicious British mouthfuls to try and to love, we've struggled to limit our shortlist and are sorry to leave many well known favourites back in the tasting room. 1. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS: THE FULL ENGLISH To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day, according to writer Somerset Maugham. The Full English is the world's most famous breakfast and the only
one named after a country. Also known as 'the Fry Up' and 'the Full Monty', this enormous, traditional morning meal, we must warn you, is not for the fainthearted, for those watching their cholesterol, or for eating every day of the week. Nowadays your average Brit is likely to limit intake of the Full English to a special treat on weekends or holidays. It's a meal which will keep you full for the entire day and, according to The Breakfast Bible, requires key components of eggs, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans, plenty of toast with jam or marmalade, ideally washed down by builder's strength mugs of tea. Optional add-ons include porridge, potatoes, kippers, bubble and squeak and, if you dare, lashings of deep fried bread. In Victorian times, when British breakfast took pride of place on the menu, you might also find hashed mutton, kidney omelette, tongue and guinea fowl in jellied aspic. Calories? What calories? Nowadays you can eat your way round the country on the Full English, as it's easily found in every town, village, hotel and farmhouse bed and breakfast. A few scrumptious options in London include Hawksmoor, Bill's, the Regency Cafe and The Wolseley; outside the capital we've heard great things about the Market Diner in Brighton ('Home of the Original Gutbuster'), Cafe Al Fresco in Dartmouth and Tebay Motorway Services near the Lake District. And if you'd like to know more about the Full English, we recommend you to the London Review of Breakfasts. Here you'll find frank, reliable and frequently sidesplitting reviews from dedicated breakfasteers like Chris P. Bacon, Malcolm Eggs, Salmon De Beauvoir, Homefries Bogart and Rhys Chris-Peese. londonreviewofbreakfasts.blogspot.co.uk thehawksmoor.com/breakfast-brunch-roasts www.bills-website.co.uk The Hawksmoor's Full English, photo by Dan Lepard
2. SAY CHEESE: THE PLOUGHMAN'S Lunchtime already? Although beer, bread and cheese have been a winning combo in Britain for hundreds of years, the Ploughman's Lunch is a recent invention, dreamt up by the Cheese Bureau in the 1950s as a way of increasing sales after wartime rationing ended and to promote pub eating. 'The Ploughman's' quickly became classic cold pub fare, served with 'a pint'. At its most basic, The Ploughman's is a wedge of cheese, a pickled onion, a mound of butter and a hunk of crusty bread. Variations include sliced ham or add ons like pork pie or Scotch eggs. We think this one's best tried at a country pub, preferably after a rustic walk or a tough morning traipsing round village antique shops. Ordering a Ploughman's also gives you the chance to try some uniquely British condiments like branston pickle or piccalilli-- sweet and savoury chunky relishes made from pickled veggies, herbs and spices. Nowadays it can be hard to find a good Ploughman's, and impossible in a big city. The best have handbaked country bread and local cheeses â€“ so look out for local cheesemakers, where you're likely to find a wedge of their finest on the local pub menu. The Ploughman's is also the perfect opportunity to sample the huge and joyous range of regional British cheeses like crumbly Cheshire, tangy Blue Stilton, Cornish Yarg with its rind of nettle leaves, pungent Stinking Bishop, made from the milk of rare cattle and washed in pear cider, or moist and flaky Wensleydale, favoured by Wallace and Gromit. 3. CRIMPING WITH THE CORNISH: THE CORNISH PASTY Although the origins of the Cornish pasty are obscure, no one can deny the pasty its long and illustrious history and close ties with Cornwall, England's westernmost county. The pasty's been featured in cookbooks since the 14th century, noted by Shakespeare ("if ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more") and complained about by Samuel Pepys in his 17th century diary ("dined...on a damned venison pasty, that stunk like a devil"). For hundreds of years it's been closely associated with Cornwall's once vital but now extinct tin mining industry. In the dim damp deep of the mines, the pasty worked well as a hot, handheld convenience meal for Cornish tin miners. At its most basic, the Cornish pasty is a thick, D-shaped pastry filled with a steaming combo of chunky meat, potatoes and vegetables. Its iconic crimped edges were invented both for ease of eating and to keep the pasty innards safe from dirty digits, creepy 3
London's Latest Taste Sensation, 'the MacBeth' Haggis Toastie , photo by Tim Walker
Get them while they're Hot - Cornish Pasties by Pasty Presto, 2013 World Pasty Championship Winner
crawlies and traces of poisonous arsenic left on miners' fingers. The pasty could stay warm for hours or be re-heated by candlelight. Traditional pasties often had two pockets, one for the meat meal and one for a hot fruit dessert. Modern pasties come in a wide variety of tastes. In addition to the traditional filling, you'll find Stilton cheese, chicken tikka, lamb and mint, spinach and ricotta or apple, rhubarb and custard. Fans of food trivia might be interested to know that the world's largest Cornish pasty measured 15 feet, weighed 1900 pounds and contained 1.75 million calories. You may have noticed the pasty has been experiencing a revival and can be found everywhere, from pop-up street stalls to high class eateries. But a true Cornishman will tell you that authentic pasties can only be made in their true home, and we therefore do strongly recommend that you experience Cornish pasties in Cornwall, ideally washed down with Cornish beer, sitting by the harbour quayside and accompanied by the acappella strains of the county's most famous choir, Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends. If you need an excuse to visit Cornwall, there's no shame in making it this one. www.pastypresto.com www.cornishpastyassociation.co.uk 4. SIMPLY OFFAL: HAGGIS Och Aye the Noo! We're heading north now to shake hands with the haggis, Scotland's national dish - a delectable concoction of roasted sheep's innards (heart, liver, lungs), oatmeal, barley and secret spices boiled in a sheep's stomach. You won't find haggis on any menu in the USA, and you are warned not to attempt to take one home in your suitcase. Since 1971 it's been illegal to import food containing sheep lung. By all accounts haggis should be tried with 'neeps and tatties' – mashed potatoes and rutabaga (swede in Britain). Tempting variations include haggis deep fried in batter, on top of a pizza or slathered over guacamole and 4
nachos. Or sink your choppers into what's been described as 'the latest street food sensation', the Haggis Toastie, lovingly created by Scottish chef Carol Deeney for her London pop-up cafe - spicy haggis sandwiched with caramelised onions, melted cheese and rocket. Just ask for The Macbeth. Haggis also stars in the unique sport of haggis hurling, which involves throwing a haggis as far as possible. The world record is held by a young Scotsman who in 2011 hurled his haggis an astonishing 217 feet. The haggis sits centre table at annual Burns Night Suppers around the world on January 25th, when Scotland's national poet Robert Burns is celebrated with readings of his famous Address to a Haggis, "that great chieftain of the puddin' race". North of the border, it's popular year round. Macsween of Edinburgh, a family company at the forefront of traditional haggis-making for three generations, produces award-winning products using unique recipes and fine ingredients. Macsween is particularly fond of welcoming those 'curious about haggis but scared to give it a go'. These haggis virgins are urged to sign up for a free taster pack – and guaranteed to become experienced haggis lovers in no time. Macsween is sold in supermarkets across the UK or, like Carol Deeney, you can buy in bulk at Smithfield Market. What's not to love? www.deeneys.com www.macsween.co.uk Fish & Chips with Banksy, photo by Amanda Benjamin
5. OH MY COD: FISH AND CHIPS Michael Jackson liked them with mushy peas, First Lady Michelle Obama treated her daughters to them on a recent UK visit and actress Kate Winslet served them at her wedding banquet. Deep fried and crispy battered fish nuzzling against a mound of fat golden French fries is the nation's favourite meal and number 1 take out food, and no reputable Top Ten BritEats list would be complete without them. No one knows exactly when fish and chips came together but the first recorded 'chippy' (fish and chip shop) was opened in 1860 by a teenager from London's Jewish East End. By the 1930s there were 35,000 chippies, and fish and chips were famously one of the only foods not rationed during World War II. Today there are far fewer outlets and health regulations mean that fish and chips are no longer wrapped in newspaper, but business is still booming with an estimated 229 million pieces of fish and 277 million portions of chips sold each year. Most likely the fish will be cod and the traditional chunky chips will be liberally sprinkled with salt and malt vinegar. Be sure to sample add-ons like mushy peas, curry sauce, pickled onions or gherkins, and up North you might try scraps - deep fried blobs of fish batter - or chip butties. Finding a chippy is easy but we do still think this is a meal best tried near its natural home, the seaside. For that authentic experience visit Famous Fishpan on Scarborough's South Bay, "fish and chips to die for", award-winning The Bay in Aberdeen or Mrs T's, sold from a hut in Southwold harbour. In London, take Leigh Zimmerman's advice (our American Eye interviewee, page 10) and try the Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Garden, The Golden Hind in Marylebone, or become a true 'Codfather' by enrolling on a fish and chip training course with the National Federation of Fish Fryers. www.thefamousfishpan.co.uk www.thebayfishandchips.co.uk www.rockandsoleplaice.com 6. ALL HAIL: REAL ALE Spicy haggis, cheese, salt and vinegared chips– no doubt you'll be thirsty by now. Treat yourself to the people's favourite, a pint of British beer. For this important Top Ten nominee we were lucky to consult some native experts, cousins Ivor and Amanda. And to get the full
Swigging London: Pinting the Town with cousins Ivor and Amanda, photo by Amanda Benjamin
experience we needed some serious beertasting lessons at local hostelries in East London, like the Dove in Broadway Market, its walls covered in painted cherubs and its ceiling an homage to Michelangelo - with Adam and the Lord toasting each other with beer glasses. The beer industry is about as ancient as anything in Britain could be, with most beer still consumed in that quintessential British fixture, 'The Pub'. Beer is an entirely natural product brewed from malted barley, yeast, water and the all important hops for flavour. In times past it was traditionally brewed by women (brewsters) and a common beverage for the whole family – a healthy alternative to oft-contaminated water. More recently there's been an explosion of small local breweries and specialist quality beers across the UK. Lucky us! Let's start with the basics that every British beer novice should know. First, these are nothing like American lager beers. There are a huge range of British beer styles, each with different tastes, qualities and strengths, the main ones being pale ale, bitter, brown ale and stout. Second, when tasting beer the best advice is don't sip it, swig it. Chug at least a full mouthful to wash the flavour over your tastebuds and experience its full glory before swallowing. And finally, some old-fashioned beers come in wooden barrels and need to be handpumped, but be wary as some local beers can be as strong as wine. Amongst the wonderful beers we sampled were London Pride bitter, East London Brewery's citrusy Pale Ale, Double Espresso, a stout ale with a unique rich coffee bean twist, and Newcastle Brown Ale, affectionately known as Newky Brown or Dog, the archetypal strong Northern working class beer associated with shipbuilders, bikers...and rock stars!
If you'd like to get serious about the British beer experience, cousin Ivor recommends a visit to one of many beer festivals happening around the UK each year where small local breweries show off their lines– try, for instance, The London Pigs Ear (Cockney rhyming slang). For a reasonably priced allin ticket you will be given an empty glass and the chance to sample every beer in the place – with plenty of rest areas and spitoons to hand- err...let's just say that a few beers might not quite make the grade. If you're unsure which to choose, take cousin Ivor's advice and "just ask for a pint and point to the tap with the prettiest picture". www. camra.org.uk www.pigsear.org.uk
7. SUGAR RUSH: BRITISH SWEETS On an early Spring day in 1953, exactly 60 years ago, Britain's Ministry of Food finally lifted the rationing of sweets (candy), imposed many years earlier as part of World War II austerity measures. This was truly an earth-changing event for a generation of British schoolchildren. Some companies gave away free sweets; one London shop handed out 150 lbs of lollipops to juvenile swarms. Excited adults also joined the sugar frenzy, queuing up in droves to buy sugary treats. The monthly sweets ration had dipped to a meagre 8 ounces per person; one bar of chocolate would have to last a week. The 1953 de-rationing had a dramatic effect
Something for everyone at Hopscotch Sweets, Barnet, photo courtesy of Alice and Michael
on confectionery trade, with spending up ÂŁ100million in the first year and ushering in an era of stereotypical bad British teeth (recently spoofed, for example, in the Simpsons' Big Book of British Smiles). For proof that times haven't changed much, just pop by your local newsagent at school closing time, when the traditional pupil stampede causes signs to go up in shop windows across the country: "No more than two schoolchildren allowed in at a time". If you're harbouring a sweet tooth and prepared to hide secrets from your dentist, you're in for a sugar-rush surprise. From the huge range of uniquely British sweets on sale you can sample traditional varieties like jelly babies, sugar mice, sherbet fountains, blackjacks, aniseed balls and mint humbugs or modern variations like roselychee delights and foaming blue cherries. Victorian-style chain, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, boasts some interesting varieties, like black death mega-sour pips and cola flavoured millions. If you're in Scotland don't miss buttered tablet, lucky tatties, soor plums and jethart snails. At the phenomenally successful Mr Humbug in Greenwich Market, you can choose from a vast assortment of sweets sold in the traditional way, poured from large glass jars by friendly and knowledgeable staff. Current best sellers include foam mushrooms, strawberry bonbons, shrimps, flying saucers and rhubarb custard chews. 'Hopscotch Sweets' in north London extends a particularly warm welcome to Americans visiting its independent sweet shop. Along with an astonishing range of classics, it offers candy classes and sugarcraft supplies, and if you've always yearned to see your loved one on top of a cupcake, Hopscotch has an edible printing service. www.hopscotchsweets.co.uk www.mrhumbug.com Cream Tea for Two, photo by Joanna Wilkinson, courtesy High Tea of Highgate
8. AFTERNOON DELIGHT: CREAM TEA Traditional afternoon cream tea has long been top of the list for visitors to Britain and an immensely enjoyable special treat for the rest of us. You'll find cream tea, that quintessential British afternoon treat of joy + calories, served throughout the UK, from village tea shops, church halls and takeaway huts by the seaside to the full-on five star hotel experience. Wherever sampled, your basic cream tea should comprise freshly baked scones, a generous portion of clotted cream, strawberry jam and a pot of tea. However, to truly experience the real scrumptious deal, you'll need to go west, to the counties of Devon and Cornwall. It's endlessly disputed if Devon cream tea or Cornish cream tea came first or is best. Luckily, these two attractive counties are next door one another so it's only a matter of a few extra worthwhile miles to decide for yourself. It's also worth knowing that the true Devon method is to cut your scone in half, cover each portion with clotted cream and spread jam on top, while in the Cornish version your scone is first buttered, spread with jam then topped with clotted cream. Try 'Cornish at Muffins' in Lostwithiel, 'Cardinham Woods Cafe' in its beautiful forest setting near Bodmin or 'Croust House/Roskilly's', where teatime comes with homemade jam and jawdropping clotted cream from the farm's own Jersey cattle. Devon devotees will love 'Dartmoor Tearooms' at Otterton Mill, fragrant 'Cheristow Lavender Tearooms' or charming and remote 'Docton Mill Tea Gardens'. You can read much more about the wonders of British teatime in our Autumn 2012 issue (Top Tens Takes time out for Tea), available on our web site. www.cheristow.co.uk www.doctonmill.co.uk www.roskillys.co.uk 9. COMFORT CLASSIC: THE SHEPHERD'S PIE Sitting comfortably in our BritEat Top Tens is that warm and hearty all-in-one classic, the Shepherd's Pie. It's not really a pie at all, nor is it usually made with real shepherd. Shepherd's Pie has forever been a convenient way of using up leftovers, a staple for home cooking, school dinners and college student cuisine. Traditional Shepherd's Pie features ground lamb, layered with carrots and onions, topped with creamy mashed potato and baked till golden brown, but there are many twists on the basic recipe. Made with beef it becomes Cottage Pie; other versions use sweet potato, curried mash or turkey. For vegetarians there's 'Shepherdless Pie' made with lentils or tofu. Delia Smith's mouthwatering version is topped with cheese-encrusted leeks; Gordon Ramsey's recipe uses red wine. And although
Traditional Sussex Pond Pudding, (licensed for re-use under the Creative Commons Licence)
we've not tried it, there's always the Sweeney Todd variation, "Shepherd's Pie peppered with actual shepherd". 10. JUST DESSERTS: ENGLISH PUDDINGS When eating British be sure to save some room for the beloved Pudding, a.k.a. dessert. Chef Jamie Oliver defines pudding as "wobbly, heroic and wonderful" and there are dozens of must-tastes, from the traditional to the newly invented, some delectable, some dubious. There are tried and true favourites like trifle, bread-and-butter pudding and Spotted Dick. If you like your 'pud' exquisitely sweet, rich and steamed, go for butterscotch sponge or sticky toffee. If you're fond of Brighton and the South, try Sussex Pond Pudding, featuring a whole lemon steamed inside suet pastry- spoon in for a pond of sweet, sour and buttery sauce! If you prefer fruit, there's simple seasonal Summer Pudding, made with gently simmered berries poured into a bowl of bread, chilled and served with double cream, or apple classics like Crumble, Charlotte or Eve's Pudding, topped with hot custard sauce. Last but not least, there's Jam Roly Poly, nicknamed Dead Man's Arm. Originally a poor man's pudding but now a retro classic, this dessert gained fame in Beatrix Potter's 'The Roly Poly Pudding', a charming tale of two kitchen rats who torture poor Tom Kitten, rolling him in stolen butter and dough and attempting to bake him according to the traditional recipe. This is one we won't suggest you try making at home. This is the latest in our featured series of Top Tens for Americans in Britain. If youâ€™ve got a hot Top Ten tip to share with our readers, we'd love to hear from you: contact Judith at judith 0777@ gmail.com
Theatre Some Reviews Of London's Theatre by Lydia Parker The Audience Written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry at The Gielgud Theatre. Helen Mirren returns in triumph to the West End stage, once again portraying Queen Elizabeth II, but this time in a new play by Peter Morgan, writer of the award winning film 'The Queen'. It is a role she easily inhabits, one of grace, good humour and keen intelligence. The play is broken up into different scenes depicting the Queen’s weekly meetings with her different Prime Ministers over the years, known as audiences. These meetings are confidential, no notes are taken, so this play imagines the exchanges between Queen and Prime Minster. The meetings are an opportunity for the Prime Minister to update the Queen on events of the week, but she is not supposed to involve herself in the politics of the nation. She can offer an opinion or advice, but ultimately must always support the Prime Minster in his decisions. As Queen Elizabeth 8
The Audience, Johan Persson
has been on the throne since 1953, (her first Prime Minister was Winston Churchill) she is more knowledgeable about the workings of the British government than anyone. The play does not run in chronological order, but jumps around in time, with Miss Mirren smoothly changing wigs and outfits while hardly leaving the stage. The first Prime Minister we see is John Major, opening his heart to the Queen in 1995 about the mess the country is in. The Queen replies calmly “I am keen to help you here. Why don’t you resign?” Helen Mirren has impeccable comic timing and she gets most of the punch lines. As a tearful Major bemoans his failures at school, the Queen mentions that she had no formal education, the female royals were home educated at that time. Major declares this gender discrimination and the Queen asks “Do you think we should sue?” We then go back in time to a fiery young Elizabeth accusing Winston Churchill, ably played by last minute replacement Edward Fox, of delaying the coronation so that he can hold on to power. This Queen is eager to participate, asking about the end of rationing and the development of nuclear weapons. She makes it clear that she reads every paper she is ever given and would like to be treated as an intelligent person not just a figure head. She yields to Churchill, however, when he insists that she must not take her husband’s name, it is not something a Queen does. Her role as monarch comes before her role as a wife. Aside from which, Prince Phillip's surname is not actually Mountbatten, it is Shleswig-HolsteinSonderburg-Glucksburg. Harold Wilson introduces himself to the Queen by saying “I suppose I should kick things off with an apology” to which the Queen coolly replies “Why? For winning?” She dislikes this Labour Prime Minister immediately and tries to cut short her audience with him. He interrupts her dismissal however, by letting her know times are changing, a revolution is happening and there is no more ruling class. He then asks to have his picture taken with her and declare it his proudest moment. By the time we see
Wilson again at the beginning of Act II, it is at an informal meeting in Balmoral and it is clear that they are now good friends. When asked by David Cameron towards the end of the play who her favourite Prime Minster was, we see a final scene of her with an older Wilson who is developing Alzheimer’s disease and wants to offer his resignation. It is a very touching moment. Gordon Brown, Anthony Eden, James Callaghan and a ruthless Margaret Thatcher also make appearances. The differences between their relationships with the Queen are fascinating. Eden is almost condescending, taken by surprise when she suggests the British instigated the battle for the Suez Canal. Brown is open, honest and respectful- she worries that he is depressed and not sleeping enough. Thatcher, on the other hand, is competitive, dismissive and domineering. She declares the Commonwealth out of date, won’t impose sanctions on South Africa and hates unions. When a story is leaked to the press that the Queen finds Thatcher “uncaring and divisive”,
The Audience. Johan Persson
Thatcher is outraged, declaring that the Queen should be supporting her every decision. The Queen later says that Thatcher should also be supporting her, not demeaning heads of Commonwealth states as “tin pot dictators.” The audiences are introduced to the theatre audience by The Queen’s equerry who sets the scene, gives dates and background information and even the origins of the furniture. The scenes are also interspersed with dialogues between Queen Elizabeth and her imaginary eleven year old self, played in this performance by Maya Gerber, a very confident young actress who believably adopts the crisp, old fashioned enunciation of the young Queen. The performances are uniformly excellent, beautifully held together by the simple yet effective staging of Stephen Daldry. Edward Fox, not obvious casting for Churchill, deserves special mention for filling in for the ailing Robert Hardy whilst they search for a suitable replacement. Nathaniel Parker was a very engaging Gordon Brown and Richard McCabe perfectly cast as the down to earth Harold Wilson, seemingly a working class lad but one who is highly intelligent with a remarkable photographic memory. Haydn Gwynne’s Thatcher verged on a caricature but caught well the huge personality of the Iron Lady. It was definitely Helen Mirren’s play, however, as she once again captured the beauty, solidness and warmth of the formidable Elizabeth II. She well deserved her standing ovation. Quartermaine’s Terms Written by Simon Gray and directed by Richard Eyre at Wyndham’s Theatre. Quartermaine’s Terms, a revival of Simon Gray’s 1981 play, marks Rowan Atkinson’s return to straight plays after twenty five years. It is an unusual role for Atkinson as although Quartermaine is mentioned in the title, he is not the lead character of the play. Furthermore he is a bit of a cipher or indeed a hole in
Quartermaine's Terms, Rowan Atkinson. Nobby Clark
the middle of the play around which the other characters buzz. Set in an English for Foreigners school in Cambridge in the early 1960’s, Quartermaine’s Terms follows the lives of seven very different teachers, of which St. John Quartermaine is the least interesting. As the curtain goes up on the wood panelled staff room and we see St John sitting in a leather armchair staring vacantly into space, I immediately wondered what Mr Bean was doing on stage. Atkinson has a job dispelling that image and he is mostly successful. All the other characters in the play are terribly selfobsessed and inconsiderate, cancelling plans with St John when they have something better to do but pouring out their woes to him when they are down. He is so lonely that he makes excuses for their rudeness and takes whatever scraps of human company he is offered. As the play begins, Anita is apologising to St John on behalf of her husband, a magazine editor, for not getting together with him the previous evening. St John replies that it was fine; he got a call from Henry who needed him to babysit. He puts a positive spin on everything, even as he relates how horrible the children were to him. Anita mistakenly lets slip later that she had her hair done as they had a very important dinner party the previous evening, one from which St John was obviously excluded. The slights continue throughout the play but as Quartermaine seems so entirely lacking in personality, one can almost understand why no one wants to spend too much time with him. He is however, a kind man, listening to Mark when his wife leaves him and offering to sit with Melanie’s bed ridden mother so that she can go out. The play’s focus is not really on St John at all but on how he reflects the other characters and their complicated lives. Anita’s husband Nigel has been cheating on her for years and making her have abortions, but by the second act she is pregnant and still struggling through her marriage. Mark thinks he is writing a great novel but loses his wife and child in the process only to realise he is a better teacher than writer. Henry, beautifully played by Conleth Hill, has to deal with a clinically depressed teenage daughter and an unhappy wife. He is flattered by the attentions of frumpy and tightly wound Melanie who is miserably bound to take care of her stroke victim mother. When the mother dies in the second act, Melanie’s transformation is extreme. Derek, the new teacher from Hull, seems to be despised by all except St John, who is happy to befriend anyone. The awkward Derek is constantly falling over or colliding with things. However, he is a good teacher who works hard and is well liked by his students. He resents the fact that the Principals will not make him full time and he is forced to work as a postman in the holidays to make ends meet. This resentment
grows as he realises St John gets paid more for his incompetent teaching which gets worse as the play progresses. Eddie, one of the Principals, is very loyal to St John, however, and although he doesn’t seem to much like him, he would never fire him. Unfortunately Eddie’s health is failing and when his partner Thomas (whom we never see) suddenly dies, the situation takes a turn for the worse. This is a very traditional English play which actually felt a bit like an old BBC TV drama, which isn’t surprising as Simon Gray wrote over twenty five television plays. He packs a lot of stories into one play but as he shows the weaknesses and failures of his characters, it makes the play surprising and relevant. Everyone, except St John, talks and talks but doesn’t really want to listen to each other. There is something quite Chekhovian in Gray’s writing, especially putting a non-hero in the centre of the play, much like Uncle Vanya. Chekhov is even referenced as St John is once again blown off by Anita and Mark and left with extra tickets to some Ibsen or Strindberg play which turns out to be The Cherry Orchard; he tries to invite Melanie who says she hates the play. The acting is mostly excellent. Conleth Hill is a stand out as windbag Henry Windscape, full of his own self-importance in his ill-fitting suit and bicycle clips, but deftly leaping about the room to impress the love-sick Melanie. Felicity Montagu captures the desperation and bitterness of Melanie but occasionally descends into overacting, especially in the more emotional scenes. Malcolm Sinclair is excellent as the bustling Principal Eddie, who is always in a hurry and can never seem to find Thomas, his co-principal and probably gay partner. He epitomises the snobbery of a certain type of Englishman who will look down on someone just for being from up North. Rowan Atkinson is at times heartbreaking as St John but as we never really know much about him, it is difficult to identify with him. One cannot tell if this stems from the writing or is Atkinson’s and director Richard Eyre’s interpretation of the role. Does his dimness and gormlessness stem from his innocence or from stupidity? At one point he asks Melanie if she is copying out a recipe for roast swan for a dinner party. Atkinson plays him as a fuddy duddy, an old man who is losing his grip on reality and drifting off into his own world, yet he is a bit young for that. Quartermaine goes from telling meandering stories about his own life in class to spending an entire lesson in silence to finally missing a lesson as he was asleep. Occasionally Atkinson can’t help but turn towards the audience with a very slight Beanish expression of confusion, which takes him out of the play, but in general it is a measured performance. It is nice to see Rowan Atkinson back in the West End. n 9
American Eye Judith Schrut speaks to Leigh Zimmerman, now appearing in 'A Chorus Line'
Courtesy of Mark Goucher LTD
‘A Chorus Line’ at the London Palladium. Photo by Manuel Harlan
e are thrilled to welcome the new British-American production of A Chorus Line to the London Palladium. This issue's American Eye belongs to the exquisite and talented Leigh Zimmerman, who can be seen lighting up the stage as Sheila in this smash hit show. In the new Chorus Line production you play the role of Sheila. What are you most looking forward to? I'm looking forward to getting back on the London stage and to working with some of the show's original creators, soaking up their great stories and wealth of experience. I'm really looking forward to playing Sheila. It's an exciting challenge to bring my own thing to this well known role. You're blessed with a variety of stage talents the triple whammy of dancing, singing and acting. Tell us a little about how you got started. In many ways, my life has been parallel to Sheila's. I'm originally from Madison, Wisconsin and was brought up a Midwest girl. At 16, I auditioned and joined the Boston Ballet, and with love and support from my family I moved there to finish high school. I was exclusively a dancer until 19, training in ballet and other forms of dance like jazz, tap and character. Up to that point I had never sung or taken any acting lessons. When I finished, however, I realised that a career in ballet would be a big challenge mainly because I was so tall, so I had to change direction. Who inspired you along the way in your career? I've had so many inspirations along the way. Tommy Tune inspired me to be more than a dancer, Cy Coleman inspired me to want to sing, Betty Comden and Adolph Green and
the brilliant film director Jerry Zachs taught me about comedy and Susan Stroman taught me about digging deep to find the whole person in my roles - the actor, singer and dancer in whatever role I'm doing. A Chorus Line is about the life of a dancer and how you may go beyond that kind of life. It was hard at the time, but looking back I'm grateful that I was faced with my challenges. And for these inspirations. What’s top of your favourite things to do and see in the UK when you’re not rehearsing or performing? I especially like London's gardens and wonderful outdoor places. Two of my favourites are Hampstead Heath and Regents Park - with its wonderful Rose Garden in the summer, fabulous outdoor theatre, bandstand and those iconic green and white striped deck chairs. And of course all that London culture - museums, theatre and the ballet. What essential things would you advise Americans in Britain to be sure not to miss? They should definitely see all those favourite and famous London sights like the London Eye, the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels and double decker buses. And it's absolutely essential to try fish and chips! I particularly recommend the Golden Hind in Marylebone or the Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Garden. Can you share with us any special treats or guilty pleasures you enjoy when you're here? In addition to fish and chips, I'd say shortbread and everything Cadbury. My daughter, who's 13, always requires me to bring back bags of Marks and Spencer's sweets –especially Percy Pigs! But my favourite super-indulgent treat when I'm here is going out with friends for high tea at the Ritz.
â€˜A Chorus Lineâ€™ at the London Palladium. Photo by Manuel Harlan
What American comforts do you miss most when touring abroad? I think we Americans are used to spreading out, and many things are smaller here then in the States. I do appreciate you don't always need 'big' but I do sometimes miss the space, the bigger homes and cars, the spacious highways and roads. I also admit to missing efficient American-style service! Here at American in Britain we like to promote Anglo-American relations - whom would you invite to your fantasy AngloAmerican dinner party?
Joining my husband Domenick and me for an intimate dinner would be Marvin Hamlisch (composer of A Chorus Line), Mel Brooks, Catherine Tate, J. K. Rowling, Sir Paul McCartney and Keith Floyd. I never got to meet Marvin and I would be fascinated to hear his stories about creating A Chorus Line. I had the honour of working with Mel when I played Ulla in The Producers, although he might keep us laughing so we wouldn't be able to eat. My daughter Cayleigh LOVES all of the Harry Potter books. Sir Paul apparently owns the publishing rights for A Chorus Line - I've learned all of the Linda McCartney har-
monies and would love to sing with Sir Paul after dinner. I'd like the late chef Keith Floyd to prepare the meal but I would prepare the dessert - my passion is baking and my speciality is Whoopie Pies! By the way, my husband and I will be opening our first shop in London soon, combining Whoopie Pies with a very special twist! n Don't miss Leigh Zimmerman and the rest of the Chorus Line in London's long- anticipated revival of this multi-award winning show at the London Palladium.
Investments Seven Things You Need To Know
erhaps not that surprisingly, not everyone is interested in investing and therefore doesn’t care whether a company’s dividends are growing or how much a five-year government bond is yielding today. However, nearly everyone is interested in getting on with life, enjoying time with family and friends, pursuing careers or enjoying a relaxed time in retirement. For those that are interested in investing, the truth is that decisions we make relating to our investments may well have a profound impact on our lifestyle both today and tomorrow. So how much do you really need to know to be able to make the most of your investment programme? Luckily, the answer is possibly not that much. What you really need to know though is enough to spot when things clearly don’t make sense.
Tip 1: Investing can be a ‘get rich, slow’ process However much we would all like to “get rich quick” the reality is that investing is a rather long-term and sometimes laborious process that uses the power of compounding across time to magnify the two steps forward, one step back journey. Much of what is taken for investing is not actually investing but more akin to gambling – activities like trying to pick ‘winning’ stocks, attempting to time when to be in or out of the equity market, or chasing the latest star fund manager or hot market. Sensible investing is about owning a wellstructured, highly-diversified, low-cost portfolio, put in place for the long-term, and rebalanced back to its original mix when appropriate. It is also about having the fortitude to keep ‘on message’ when the markets feel extreme. Sometimes emotionally challenging, but nevertheless effective. Remember, the tortoise beats the hare. Tip 2: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is There are no dead certainties in investing apart from the fact that any product that appears to deliver great returns with low risks probably has a high chance of disappointment. There are two main types of product that fall into this category: a fraud wrapped up in a good story, and a bet wrapped up in a good story. The recent Ponzi scheme fraud involving Madoff was a classic example of the former, a complex strategy that few investors understood and an air of exclusivity and secrecy. The second is usually something that sounds so fantastic that you get sucked into the upside and blinded to the risks. Alternatively, it could be an investment strategy that is akin to picking up pennies in front of a steam roller. Good until you stumble. If you get excited about a specific opportunity, stand back and ask yourself where the catch is. Return and risk are closely related. Ask yourself why, if the opportunity is so great, is it being sold to you? Tip 3: It’s not rocket science There are pretty much only two things that you can do when investing your money. The first is to become a part owner in a company (equity investing). The rewards are the regular dividends the company pays, and the hope that the strategy of the company will be reflected in growing profits, and a rise in the price of its shares. The second is to lend your money, be it to an individual, a corporation or a government. In return, investors can receive interest and capital back at the maturity date. In
general, the higher the risk of default and the longer you lend your money for, the higher the rate of interest. When you next place a bank deposit, remember you are lending your money to the bank. Perhaps in this context, Icesave and Northern Rock’s high deposit rates may have been telling a useful story. The most critical decision you will make in your investment programme is finding the balance between the two that is right for you. This balance is a consequence of your emotional capacity for taking risk, your financial capacity to suffer losses, and your actual financial need to take risk. Tip 4: Don’t put all of your investment eggs in one basket The future is uncertain. This is nowhere more true than in the investment market. Placing all of one’s investment eggs in one, or just a few, baskets makes little sense. Diversification is simply good practice and should be employed widely in any investor’s portfolio. Diversification takes place at several levels. The first is that as an owner of a company the value of your investment is beholden to the specific fortunes of that company. The owners of BP found that out when it suffered the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011. Owning a broad number of oil companies may have smoothed returns. But the oil sector faces its own specific risks so it makes sense to diversify by sector. It may well make sense to have a material allocation to other developed and emerging markets too. Equities, while expected to deliver higher returns than bonds, deliver no certainty, although the odds can increase over time. Diversifying away from equities and holding other assets such as bonds could be considered. Tip 5: Capturing the market return is a valid objective Human nature drives many of us to try and win at whatever we do, or aim to be above average. The majority of fund managers fall into this category, which in itself raises an obvious paradox – not everyone can be better than average. The problem for some investors is that they have not thought clearly about the definitions of ‘winning’ and ‘average’. They tend to regard winning as generating returns from their investments that beat the market, and for that reason, employ fund managers who try to do so. The supposition is that the market bogey is an easy one to beat, or at least it is easy to pick a fund manager who can. Where this falls down is that it is not in reality that easy! The definition of being average needs
some thought. Viewing ‘average’ as being the return of the market pushes investors emotionally towards a ‘try-to-beat-the-market’ strategy. Yet all investors are the market and after the costs deducted from trading with each other, the average trading investor will probably be below the market return by the average level of the costs incurred. The mathematics stipulate, therefore, that the market is likely to beat the average active fund trying to beat the market. As a consequence, capturing the market’s ‘average’ return becomes a worthy goal. Be sceptical of ‘market-beating’ performance promises and claims. Do not underestimate how hard it is to pick a market-beating fund. Tip 6: Investment costs truly matter In investing, costs matter because they are a drag on a) achieving the market return, which is the goal of a ‘passive’ manager, or b) beating the market, which is the goal of an active manager. From an investor’s perspective, the differential between the actual outcome and what could have been achieved at lower costs may be substantial over long periods due to the negative effects of compounding these costs each year. A pound saved this year, is saved again next year, etc. Any extra money saved remains in your portfolio and compounds with time.
Passive funds are very cost conscious, while actively managed funds tend to be less so, as they believe they can add skill-based returns in excess of the costs they incur. In fact, passive costs have fallen considerably in the past three years – you can now generally access a UK equity ‘tracker’ fund for a TER of around 0.2% to 0.3%. On the other hand active costs have been rising in the UK and across Europe. In fact 90% of all active funds reporting changes in fees reported upward movements. Never embark on an investment strategy without knowing exactly what the cost drag will be. Always ask whether there are any other costs that you will suffer. Costs really matter. Tip 7: Manage yourself as tightly as your investments Human beings are afflicted with minds that battle between being reflective and intuitive. Unfortunately (in terms of investing) the intuitive side wins regularly, resulting in panic and elation as markets fall and rise. If the intuitive mind dominates in making investment decisions, then investors risk damaging their wealth, usually by buying at the top in a state of euphoria and selling at the bottom in panic. Investors are overwhelmingly bad at doing this, giving up somewhere between 1% and 3% a year. The possible key to success lies in a number
of areas. The first is to own a portfolio that is well diversified. The second is a clear understanding of the journey and acceptance of the fact that it will be two steps forward and one step back and occasionally two steps back and one step forward. Finally it is about an investment process that mitigates some of the leakage from the portfolio due to emotional, rather than rational, decision making. This includes regular rebalancing back to the original mix when appropriate, selling assets that have performed well and re-investing in assets that have done less well – a systematic, contrarian investment process. Accept that you are prone to emotional pressures that can drive you to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Learn to be comfortable with the diversified portfolio that you own. Lean heavily on your adviser when you need support at times of emotional, investment-related weakness. In conclusion Even if you are not that interested in investing, the tips outlined above are important messages to take on board. MASECO Private Wealth’s investment programme is designed to help clients avoid these pitfalls and deliver them the greatest chance of a successful investment experience. Please contact us at MASECOcommunications@masecopw.com. n
Foreign Exchange Britain Loses Its AAA - Does This Mean A Weaker Pound?
t has been a turbulent couple of months for the UK and Sterling. At the end of February, Moody’s cut Britain’s AAA credit rating to AA1. Against the US Dollar, Sterling has lost almost 9% of its value from the high in January 2013. The rate has fallen as low as 1.5027 (1.5035 at the time of writing) with a drop below 1.50 highly probable. While the credit rating certainly
formalises the deterioration in the UK’s economic outlook, the cut itself generally confirms a rocky road ahead as the UK grapples with slowing growth, possible further BoE easing initiatives, and austerity measures. The outlook is complex and it is important that expats living in the UK keep an eye on the market. Growth in the UK has been sluggish for some time. There is a very real threat the UK will slip back into recession. The austerity measures put in place by the coalition - at first garnering approval from the ratings agencies - have had little effect on the national debt. Moody’s had already downgraded the UK’s rating outlook to negative in February 2012 citing "weaker growth prospects". Without the economy demonstrating signs of recovery over the last year, and with the national debt levels failing to fall despite the implementation of austerity measures, the downgrade was inevitable. At the start of 2013, Sterling reached a high of 1.6381 against the Greenback. Over the first two months of the year - strong performance in the labour market aside - the economic figures released from the UK provided no indication that the economy was likely to sustain the meagre growth posted in Q3 following the Olympics. At the end of Feb, a -0.3% contraction in 4th Quarter GDP was confirmed. This contributed to Sterling’s continued fall in value, and made the cut from AAA to AA1 highly likely. However, most of the damage had already been done. Although Sterling fell 1% following the Moody’s downgrade, most of the negative implications of the move had already been priced in. Markets were more focused on two other key factors that have played a greater part in Sterling’s decline. UK Inflation stance The first is the UK’s change of stance on Inflation. The UK has traditionally targeted 2% inflation to promote price stability whilst encouraging healthy growth. However, QE and stubbornly high external energy costs has led to inflation levels soaring to 4%. The Bank of England has failed to reach its inflation target for the last 2 years. Nonetheless, inflation numbers that continually breached the target supported a remote chance of interest rates rises at some point. This initially supported Sterling, and ensured cable held around 1.60 for some time. This stance has changed in the advent of recent BoE comments, which appear to be shared by the soon-to-be BoE Governor Mark Carney: "In my view, flexible inflation targeting - as practiced in both Canada and the UK - has proven itself to be the most effective monetary policy framework implemented thus far….As a result, the bar for alteration is very high," - Mark Carney - Feb 4th 2011.
With 2% inflation targeting effectively off the table, the Pound can no longer rely on nearterm rises in the UK base interest rate for support. In fact, further extraordinary monetary measures are expected to further support the ailing economy. A lack of inflation targeting implies an active policy of currency devaluation. Whether the intention is actual currency manipulation, or support of the domestic market (more likely), measures to inflate the UK out of its current predicaments will continue to undermine the currency’s value. Inflation can cause a dangerous spiral. On the one hand it will devalue the pound, reduce the value of debt, and boost export demand. On the other, it will cause import prices to soar, erode savings, and further undermine an already weak economy where consumers are stretched to the max. The second reason for on-going weakness in Sterling is due to fears that if the UK economic outlook continues to disappoint. Markets could start driving up the risk premium, or interest rate, they charge the UK government to borrow. Gilt prices are currently high, but investor demands for higher yields could severely hit the UK bond market. This would lead to heightened concerns about the ability of the government to raise further funding at sustainable levels, or finance the interest rate payments due. Is there good news for Sterling? With all the negative sentiment surrounding Sterling, much of the bad economic news is probably already priced in. With an almost 9% fall against the Dollar in 2 months, positive news for the UK in the coming weeks could see a bounce in Sterling’s value, as markets deem the recent move excessive and take profits. The biggest concern is further easing measures from the BoE. In its latest inflation report the BoE remains cautiously optimistic about the UK economy; “The MPC continues to judge that the UK economy is set for a slow but sustained recovery in both demand and effective supply, aided by a further easing in credit conditions - supported by the Bank’s programme of asset purchases and the Funding for Lending Scheme and some improvement in the global environment. But the risks are weighted to the downside, not least because of the challenges facing the euro area.” - Bank of England Quarterly inflation report. If any recovery does begin to materialise, we could see Sterling start to climb modestly back against the Dollar as the risks of further economic weakness slowly diminish. In turn, a higher pound may reduce the effects of inflation and the negative sentiment surrounding the possibility of higher government borrowing costs.
Conclusion - short-term downside risk - how low? In the short-term, risks remain to the downside. The path of least resistance points to further declines, and Sterling has a long arduous journey ahead. GBP/USD seems to be firmly testing the 1.50 level. Over the last 5 years, when a significant break of this level has occurred the rate has moved to the 1.45 region (see chart). If this does happen it would be too simplistic to attribute it all to the loss of the UK’s coveted AAA credit rating. Anyone that may be affected by an adverse movement in the GBP/USD rate should stay on top of the market and make sure they speak with a specialist to help manage their needs. If you are looking to take advantage of the current GBP weakness then things could improve further but don’t take a weaker Pound as given just because the UK has lost its AAA credit rating. n Find out more from www.travelex.co.uk/aib
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Taxing Matters Adam Smith, Partner At Westleton Drake, Offers This Quarter’s Tax Advice
uring December 2012, one story seemed to be dominating the financial news and it didn’t matter where you were tuning in; the US ‘fiscal cliff ’ or ‘taxmageddon’ was top of the agenda. So what was all the fuss about and what actually happened? Following a last minute two year extension in December 2010, the Bush-era tax cuts were once again scheduled to expire on 16
December 31, 2012. This combined with the expiration of President Obama’s stimulus measures such as the payroll-tax holiday, and a government preparing to make deep cuts in federal spending (negotiated as part of a 2011 deal to raise the federal debt ceiling), led many commentators predicting a US economic catastrophe that would have global consequences. After going to the wire with the “will they won’t they plunge over the fiscal cliff ”, US Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on 1 January 2013, which was subsequently signed into law by President Obama. The perfect fiscal storm had been averted. Below is a summary of the headline Federal tax issues for US individuals for 2013. Income Tax Tax Rates • The tax rates for individuals earning less than $400,000 and married couples earning less than $450,000, are permanently retained • For higher income taxpayers with earnings over these thresholds the ordinary income tax rate increases to 39.6%. This is the first time in two decades that the rates have been revised upwards • Long-term capital gains tax rates and qualified dividend tax rates both increase to 20% for higher income taxpayers and remain at 15% for those taxpayers under the thresholds • For any taxpayers whose filing status is 'married filing separately' the increase in tax rates apply on earnings over $225,000. This is likely to hit a number of US taxpayers married to non resident aliens whose spouse doesn’t elect to jointly file a US tax return or who cannot take advantage of the Head of Household filing status • These income thresholds apply for the 2013 calendar tax year onwards and will be adjusted annually for inflation • Although introduced in 2010 rather than in ATRA, from 1 January 2013 an additional 3.8% Medicare tax is payable on investment income of taxpayers with income in excess of $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for joint filers. Deductions and Exemptions • There is a re-introduction of the phase out of itemised deductions for taxpayers with earnings over a certain level ($250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for joint filers) For these taxpayers, the total amount of itemised deductions will be reduced by 3% of their income over the threshold • Similarly, the phase out of personal exemptions is re-introduced for taxpayers whose income exceeds $250,000 for individuals or $300,000 for joint filers.
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) • The AMT patch is made permanent for 2012 onwards and the AMT exempt amount increases to $50,600 for individuals and $78,750 for joint filers • These amounts will be adjusted annually for inflation. Payroll Tax • There was no extension to the payroll tax holiday. From 1 January 2013, the rate of FICA paid by individuals returns to 6.2% from 4.2%. Estate and Gift Tax • The exemption amount is permanently set at $5 million, adjusted annually for inflation from 2011, giving an exemption for 2013 predicted to be $5.25 million • There continues to be a unified exemption for estate and gift tax • The maximum gift and estate tax rate increases from 35% to 40%. These are both a significant improvement on the exemption and tax rate that would have automatically taken effect if no legislation had been passed • Portability of the estate and gift tax exemption between spouses was introduced in 2010 and has now been made permanent. This provision allows the decedent’s surviving spouse to elect to utilise the unused portion of the decedent’s exemption. This only applies if both spouses are US citizens or US domiciliaries. This new legislation increases the top rate of tax for wealthy US taxpayers quite significantly, especially when considered in conjunction with the new Medicare tax imposed on investment income and the re-introduction of the phase out for itemised deductions and personal exemptions. However, it did avert some of the worst of the tax increases that would have automatically applied if the Bush tax cuts had automatically expired. Again looking on the positive side, the new law dramatically reduces the estate tax planning uncertainty of the past few years as unlike most recent estate and gift tax legislation, the exemption and tax rate under ATRA is now permanent, i.e. it is not set to automatically expire, until Congress enacts new law. The continuation of the $5 million estate and gift tax exemption was a welcome surprise as it had been predicted that the exemption would be set at a lower level. Couple this with the permanent enactment of the portability of the exemption between US citizen or US domiciled spouses, and couples now have a $10.5 million joint exemption. For those individuals with asset values over the exempt amount and who ran out of time to make gifts at the end of 2012 or opted to wait
and see what any new legislation brought us, you should consider making lifetime gifts to reduce future estate tax liabilities as any additional appreciation will be outside of your estate. For the majority of UK resident US taxpayers, the increase in the income tax rates to 39.6% and the re-introduction of phase outs will have a minimal impact. As we head into the 2013/14 tax year, the top rate of UK tax is still higher at 45% and so foreign tax credits should ensure you are not paying the IRS a dime on your UK taxable earned income. Where some US taxpayers may see an increase in their worldwide tax rate is where they have significant unearned investment income which is subject to the 3.8% Medicare tax. This new tax is assessed on interest income, dividends, annuities, royalties, rents, capital gains and other passive activity income. It may also be assessed on the gain from the sale of your main home if that gain is in excess of the $250k exemption. There have been arguments put forward that those US taxpayers ordinarily resident in the UK and subject to UK National
Insurance regime would be exempt from the new Medicare tax thanks to the UK/US totalisation agreement. Others have suggested that foreign tax credits may be used to offset the charge. Indications coming out of the IRS are that neither route is available, and this is a real increase in the tax burden of US taxpayers, wherever they are resident.
Investment Companies (PFIC’s), which includes interests in foreign investment funds would have needed to be reported on Form 8621, irrespective of whether distributions or a disposal event had taken place. Those additional reporting obligations are on hold until regulations are published. n
Long-term budget issues The issues the legislation did not address were the long-term budget decisions, deficit reduction and spending cuts. These were postponed for two months to allow for further negotiations and legislation.
Adam Smith is a Partner at Westleton Drake who are a specialist provider of US and UK tax services for individuals and businesses. Westleton Drake have offices in London and Geneva. For further information please visit www. westletondrake. com or contact Adam Smith on 020 3178 6041 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ongoing Information Reporting And finally... Those taxpayers used to filing the foreign bank account reports (TDF 90-22.1) and the foreign financial asset reporting on Form 8938 may breathe a slight sigh of relief that the new 8621 reporting obligations have been put on hold. As part of the FATCA regulations, Passive Foreign
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UK Sports Our Quarterly Overview Of UK Sports
here is much to review and look ahead to in this issue of UK Sports, with some dates for some upcoming sporting events in the next quarter including NFL matches at Wembley. Soccer What a disaster for the Premiership teams in the European Champions League!! Only two teams had qualified from the Group stage to the knock out ‘Round of 16’, Manchester United and Arsenal, and both went out to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. United’s defeat to Real, 3-2 on aggregate, was influenced by the Turkish referee who sent off Nani for a debatable foul. Arsenal lost on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw - the damage being done in a first leg home defeat by 3-1.
So, for the first time since 1996 there will not be a Premiership team in the quarter finals. In Europe’s secondary competition, the Europa Cup, the Premiership has three contenders in the quarter finals. Chelsea have drawn Rubin Kazan, Tottenham Hotspur are playing FC Basel and Newcastle United drew Benfica. Newcastle have, on paper, the hardest opponents but there is a reasonable chance that all three English teams could get through to the semi-finals, and an eventual winner is a strong possibility. The first legs will be played on 4 April, the second on 11 April. In March, Premiership clubs will have played some 800 matches since the league started in 1992. Seven clubs have been in the Premiership since that time. An analysis of the points won by those teams shows Manchester United with the highest points record (1,734) followed by Arsenal (1,496), Chelsea (1,454), Liverpool (1,376) Tottenham Hotspur (1,137), Aston Villa (1,113) and Everton (1,079). By and large, these seven teams represent the clubs that have historically been successful over many decades at the top level of English football. Indeed, Arsenal have never been relegated from the top division since the re-formation of the old Division One after the First World War. Congratulations, then, to all seven clubs. As we mentioned in our last issue, the Premiership title had already come down to a race between the two Manchester clubs. Now, with United fifteen points ahead of City with, at the time of writing, nine games to go, it looks all over. City look fairly comfortable to finish second with qualification to next season’s European Champions League, but there is an interesting fight for the remaining two qualification places between Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Everton. Our predicition - Chelsea and Arsenal, again!! There is also a huge battle going on at the other end of the table to avoid relegation to the Championship league. Queens Park Rangers, despite some recent successes, still look like favourites for the drop, probably along with Reading. The third place is a battle between Wigan Athletic, who seem to be in a relegation fight every season, Aston Villa, Southampton and Sunderland, with possibly West Ham and Newcastle on the fringe. Our prediction - QPR and Reading, but not sure about the third!! Wigan’s away game to QPR (7 April) and home game against Aston Villa (19 May - last day of the season!) will be crucial games. Aston Villa have a home game against Sunderland (27 April), Southampton are at home to West Ham (13 April) and away to Reading (6 April) then Sunderland (12 May), and Sunderland have an away game against Newcastle (13 April). These will all be critical relegation matches.
At the time of writing, the FA Cup has reached the semi-final stage. Millwall from the Championship Division will play Wigan Athletic, currently in the relegation zone of the Premiership, whilst the three current top teams in the Premiership will play each other; Chelsea have a quarter final replay against Manchester United on 1 April and the winners will play Manchester City. The FA might consider the draw to have been a little unkind!! The semi-finals will be played at Wembley on 13 and 14 April with the Final at Wembley on 11 May. Our prediction - Wigan Athletic to win the Cup!! Finally, congratulations to Swansea City for winning the League Cup and gaining entry to next season’s Europa Cup. Rugby Union Well, England blew it!! Having beaten Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, only Wales stood between England and the Grand Slam and the Six Nations Championship. Whilst a defeat would have prevented the Grand Slam, a defeat by less than eight points would still have left England with the championship. Wales would not have any of it for they too could be champions with a victory by more than eight points. At the end of the day it was a rout, Wales annihilated England by 30 points to 3 and denied England everything. After England’s victory over the New Zealand All Blacks, the next world cup favourites, last December, everything looked good for this young England team and their chances in the 2015 World Cup which is in New Zealand. Now, as the victorious Welsh crowd kept reminding the English fans, Wales are in the same Group as England in those finals - oops. Could be a problem! Cricket It does not seem possible but another Ashes Test Series against Australia is again upon us later this summer. Indeed, following a change in the scheduling process, England will play Australia in England in July and August and again in Australia between November and January next year. In the past, the return Ashes Series in Australia has been a year later and this new schedule brings these historic Test Series too close together. England’s preparations for the Ashes have gone well, winning a four Test Series in India for the first time in twenty eight years by two Tests to one with one drawn. Once again, captain Alastair Cook, leading England in his first tour abroad, led the way scoring 562 runs at an average of 80.28. Matt Prior, England’s wicket keeper/batsman averaged 51.60 runs and has become possibly the best wicket keeper/batsman in the world right now. Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Jonathon Trott all averaged over 40 and Nick Compton, on his first England
tour, averaged 34.66. But keep an eye on young Joe Root who was selected for the final Test and scored an impressive 73 in the first innings and 20 not out in the second which gave him the best average of 93!! Graeme Swann was England’s best all rounder with a batting average of 32.66 and 20 wickets at an average of 24.75. Swann has just had surgery in America on his right elbow and all England fans will be holding their breath that he will be fit to play in the back-toback Ashes Series. Monty Panesar and James Anderson took 17 and 12 wickets respectively at averages of 26.82 and 30.25. Currently, England are now on tour in New Zealand for a three Test Series. At the time of writing, England saved the first Test after a dreadful first innings score of 167. One day lost to rain and a second innings total of 421 for 6 helped England’s cause. The second innings did, however, produce centuries from England’s opening batsmen, Alaistair Cook (116) and Nick Compton (117). Bowler, Steven Finn, was a real hero. Going in to bat very late on the fourth day to protect a recognised batsman, he batted for over five hours on day five, faced 203 balls and scored 56 invaluable runs. Following more rain delays, the second Test, which England looked like winning, has also resulted in a draw. Before the Ashes Series, England will play two return Test matches in England against New Zealand, the first at Lord’s, London (16-20 May) and the second at Headingly, Yorkshire (24-28 May). Here at 'American in Britain' we like to be objective and dispassionate about UK Sports but, guess what, the Australian cricket team seems to be in a bit of turmoil!!! Currently touring India, Australia have lost the first two Tests and sparks have started to fly. Australia’s National Cricket Coach, Micky Arthur, has dropped four players for failing to fill in a questionnaire designed to obtain suggestions as to how the team could improve their performance in India. Vice captain, Shane Watson (one of the four dropped for missing their homework) then walked out on the tour! The other three players dropped were James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson, both front line fast bowlers, and Usman Khawaja. The new National Team General Manager, Pat Howard, an ex-rugby union fly half, has encouraged a team rotation policy which many ex-players think is more relevant to rugby or soccer than cricket. So there you go; in our objective and dispassionate reporting - this is just great!!! The England/Australia Ashes matches will be played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham (10-14 July); Lord’s, London (18-22 July); Old Trafford, Manchester (1-5 August); Emirates Durham ICG (9-13 August) and the Kia Oval, London (21-25 August). Between 6 and 23 June, England will host
the Champions Trophy, a one day format tournament, involving England, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Group A, and South Africa, India, Pakistan and West Indies in Group B. The top two Group teams will progress to the semi finals with the final at Edgbaston (Nottingham) on 23 June. Tennis ‘The Championships’ at Wimbledon will be held between 24 June and 7 July. With some pressure lifted from his shoulders as a result of winning last year’s US Open Championship, can Andy Murray become Wimbledon champion for the first time? After losing to Roger Federer in last year’s final and his tearful interview on court afterwards with “I’m getting closer” (having won one set in a Grand Slam final for the first time) he came back to defeat Federer in the Olympic final on the same court. With that victory and his defeat of Djokovic, the world number one, in the US final a few weeks later, Murray must surely now have the confidence and belief that he can claim a British victory at Wimbledon. He will remember, however, that Djokovic beat him in four sets in the Australian Open final in January. Whether Federer can again rise to his best at Wimbledon, where he has achieved such an outstanding record, may be questionable. But Djokovic continues to be the player to beat. Nadal’s return to the ATP circuit in February after his surprise defeat to Lucasz Rossel at Wimbledon last year, and his subsequent injury lay off, will be warmly welcomed by all tennis fans. Having just defeated Juan Martin Del Potro to win the ATP title in Indian Wells, Nadal looks to be a real force in the game once again. But will those knee injuries return to curtail his career? David Ferrer, does not seem to have the game to dominate against the best players on grass. Will some of the big servers create a surprise? Anderson of South Africa, Tomic of Australia, Raonic of Canada, Isner of the USA and, of course, Argentina’s Del Potro all have very powerful serves which can be so important on grass courts, but can their all round game overcome that of the very top players? Can anyone stop Serena Williams winning yet another Wimbledon title? Currently, at the time of writing, back to world number one she remains, if fully fit, the one to beat. She is, of all the lady players, the only one with a service capability that would not disgrace the men’s game. In women’s tennis today so many service games seem to get broken by the receiver; the exact opposite to the men’s game. That is one of the main reasons why Serena has dominated ladies tennis for such a long time. How well will Heather Watson and Laura Robson do in their home tournament? To get to the second week would probably be the best to
hope for at this stage, but watch out for America’s Sloane Stephens who reached the Australian semi-final this year; she could be America’s next best hope in ladies tennis. Prior to Wimbledon there will be ATP and WTA warm up tournaments on grass at Queens Club, London (Men) and Birmingham (Ladies) between 10 and 16 June, and at Eastbourne (Men and Ladies) between 16 and 22 June. The Men’s ATP Champions Tour will take place in Edinburgh from 20 to 23 June. Athletics Congratulations go to the Great Britain athletes who won medals in the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. Perri Shakes-Drayton (Women’s 400 metres), Holly Bleasdale (Women’s Pole Vault), the Women’s 4x400 metres relay team (Eilidh Child, Shana Cox, Christine Ohuruogu and Shakes-Drayton) and the Men’s 4x400 metres relay team (Michael Bingham, Richard Buck, Nigel Levine and Richard Strachan) all won gold. Silver medals went to Eilidh Child (Women’s 400 metres), James Dasaolu (Men’s 60 metres) and Nigel Levine (Men’s 400 metres). A bronze medal was won by Mukhtar Mohammed (Men’s 800 metres). Great Britain came second in the final medal table. The London Marathon will take place this year on 6 April and the European Team Championships will be held at Gateshead on 22 and 23 June. Formula 1 Motor Racing The Great Britain Grand Prix will be held this year at Silverstone on 30 June. Paralympic Sport The London Wheelchair Marathon will be held on 21 April and the Loughborough International Athletics will be held from 20 to 26 May. The Diamond League Grand Prix athletics will take place at Crystal Palace, London from 20 to 29 July. Horse Racing Major meetings in the next quarter include the Grand National at Aintree, Liverpool (6 April), the Derby at Epsom, Surrey (1 June), Royal Ascot, Berkshire (18-22 June), and Glorious Goodwood, Sussex (30 July - 3 August). American Football An early notification of two scheduled NFL matches that will be played at Wembley later this year. Minnesota will play Pittsburgh on 29 September and Jacksonville will play San Francisco on 27 October. We hope you will all enjoy the culmination of our winter sports over the coming months and will look forward to an exciting array of our upcoming summer sports. n 19
Eating Out London Restaurant Reviews Del Mercato Park Street, London, SE1 9ED Telephone: 020 7407 3651 There are many unsung areas of London which, although slightly off the tourist routes, are well known by locals, and one such place is Borough Market. It is more than just a place to buy and sell food, it is a unique corner of London that captures the rich culinary history and is rapidly becoming one of the places to visit. By day there is a bustling market selling a wide range of fresh produce from all over the world, and by night it is a fashionable place to eat and drink, and all a stone’s throw from London Bridge. Del Mercato is one of these fashionable places to eat, and in fact caters for all of the varied market life as there are three enticing areas encased in one building, with an Italian
wine bar and informal trattoria on the ground floor and a more formal restaurant on the first, and each has its own ambience. The ground floor has high wooden tables and soft lighting providing an ideal place for a pizza with friends over a chilled glass of Italy’s finest, and the first floor restaurant has more of a contemporary New York penthouse apartment vibe. The restaurant menu compliments the décor perfectly with modern dishes using high quality fresh produce. The menu is split into four main sections. For Antipasta you are treated to delights such as Tuna seared in Guanciale with Aubergine Cream, Roman Puntarelle Salad and Taggiasia Olives Dressing (£9) or Cauliflower Cream with Marubini filled with Gorganzola Cheese, Mixed Mushrooms and Rosemary Oil (£7.5) the latter combining cheese and cauliflower again in a modern and inventive way. Whatever you plump for you really won’t be disappointed as each dish is a delightful mixture of flavours and textures. All the Pasta dishes can also be taken as starters with cleverly updated classics such as Pumpkin Gnocchi, Venison Ragu, Castelmagno Cheese Fondue and Crispy Artichokes (£9 starter, £13 main) rubbing shoulders with Tagliolini with Crab Meat, Spring Onions, Red Sweet Chilli and Lime (£9.50 starter, £14 main). All the pasta is fresh and was cooked to perfection with my Tagiolini having just the right sharpness from the lime to complement the sweetness of the chilli. The next sections are the meat and fish sections and continue the taste sensation. Quail with Polenta (£14), Shank of Lamb (£18) are two favourites but I chose the Grilled and sliced rib eye of Galloway Beef served with Rosti Potato, Sardinian Artichokes and aged balsamic vinegar (£21), which melted on the tongue and was ordered medium rare. Fish lovers are also well catered for with Tuna, Red Mullet and Octopus all available. What is lovely to see is that a restaurant in the heart of such a great fresh food market uses the produce available on its doorstep and adds its own special twist. The wine list although not extensive, is
what you would expect from a venture run by the owners of Vinopolis and is littered with gems. The list is totally Italian with wines for every taste and pocket, with many not often found in the UK, so don’t be afraid to ask the waiters for advice, as they are very knowledgeable and are happy to provide guidance. This is a restaurant, bistro, bar and bakery and if you find yourself near London Bridge is well worth a visit. Hard Rock Cafe 150 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QZ Telephone: 020 7514 1700 Every time we have visited the Hard Rock Cafe in London we have always had a great time as the atmosphere is lively and the food is good. It is always busy, and the night we visited was no exception. Our kids were very excited to join us, and enjoyed the party vibe as we entered the restaurant. There were a number of other families around us also enjoying an evening out. As some readers may already know, it all started with an Eric Clapton guitar. Back in the seventies, Clapton liked to eat at this quirky American diner in London called the Hard Rock Cafe. The place was this funky old building that used to be a Rolls Royce dealership, and it was run by a couple of young, enterprising and music-loving Americans – Isaac Togrett and Peter Morton. Clapton became friends with the proprietors and asked them to save him a regular table, put up a brass plaque or something – and one of the proprietors said "Why don't we put up your guitar?" They all had a chuckle, and he handed over the guitar, and they mounted it on the wall. No one thought much more about it until a week later, when another guitar arrived (a Gibson Les Paul, by the way). With it was a note from Pete Townshend of The Who which read: "Mine's as good as his. Love, Pete." The young proprietors put it on the wall. After that, the guitars never stopped coming. Today there are more than 70,000 guitars, drums, pianos, harmonicas, microphones, shirts, 21
pants, scarves, shoes, handwritten lyrics, cars, bikes, a bus and assorted rock memorabilia by far, the largest, most valuable such collection in the world - on the walls of over 163 Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos in 52 countries around the world. With this history in mind, you would hope that the quality of the food matches the reputation of the venue, and luckily it does! We started our evening with a drink at the bar, after help from the waiter to select a cocktail from an enticing list. I had the Hurricane – which is one of their signature cocktails (£7.95 - or there is an extra charge for a souvenir glass to take home). My partner enjoyed the Pickled Tink (£6.95) - a thick, delicious frozen milkshake style cocktail. The menu is extensive, with a wide range of choices, but again the friendly waiting staff are on hand to give useful advice. The starters include Nachos, Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings and Potato Skins. We started with the Jumbo Combo (£19.25) – perfect for a family of four, providing a good sample of the other starters on offer. It includes Santa Fe Spring Rolls, Hickory-Smoked Chicken Wings, Onion Rings, Potato Skins, and Tupelo Chicken Tenders. This large platter was served with four sauces for mixing and matching, offering a perfect accompaniment. There is a mouth watering selection of Entrees, including Steaks, Fajitas, Grilled Salmon and Beer Battered Fish & Chips – from £12.45. There is also a list of Smokehouse, Salads and Sandwich options. The Legendary Burger menu is excellent for burger lovers (count me in on this one!). The burgers are priced at £14.95 (with a variety of toppings available at extra cost), and the Veggie Leggie is £13.95. A smaller 6oz burger is also available for those with a smaller appetite for
£10.25. I chose the Legendary 10oz Burger (14.95) which was topped with seasoned bacon, Cheddar cheese, a crisp friend onion ring, lettuce, tomato and pickles. The burger was delicious and cooked to order; medium rare – just the way I like it. Options from the Smokehouse menu are all smoked in-house. My partner chose the Hickory-Smoked Bar-B-Que Combo (Duo Combo priced at £16.75), which offered Bar-B-Que Ribs and Smoked Pulled Pork. For someone who usually prefers a vegetarian option, this was a surprising choice, but one which I can confidently say was heartily enjoyed, proven by the empty plate! The Pulled Pork was a real hit due to its succulence and the accompanying sauce. The kids loved the Lil' Rocker Menu which is great value at £7.50 per child, and includes a drink. One of the kids enjoyed the amply sized Cheesburger, whilst the other tucked into Cheesy Mac – both offered with a variety of sides, but our kids chose Carrot Sticks (we had warned them to eat something healthy if they wanted a dessert!). The wine selection offers plenty of choice, and we enjoyed a bottle of Blackstone Merlot, California (£19.95). The large bar caters for a fantastic range of beverages. I knew we would have to save some room for dessert - we had promised the kids after all! The dessert list offers a fabulous selection, and we sampled the Fresh Apple Cobbler (£6.75) and the Hot Fudge Brownie (£6.75) – which I must say are two of the best desserts I have ever enjoyed. This was comfort food at its best - homemade, sweet and delicious. The kids enjoyed their Chocolate Fudge Sundaes, which were available for an extra £1.95 on the kids menu. As you enjoy your meal there is always something to entertain you from the music videos
or dancing waiters, to the the memorabilia that surrounds you. The music is loud, and there are many tracks you will find yourself rocking along to. There is an Entertainment In-House DJ, who selects the playlist throughout the evening. We enjoyed a broad range of classic rock hits, including tracks from Bon Jovi, Deep Purple and Queen, just some of the ones I can remember. Radio Ga Ga had the whole restaurant clapping in time with the video. You will find yourself tapping your feet to most of these familiar tracks, and it is impossible not to be distracted by the amazing collection of rock and pop pieces that are displayed all around the restaurant and between the tables. The service throughout was very good, and seems to work as a well oiled machine. Staff are cheerful, pleasant and helpful with menu choices, and cater very well to the kids. Hard Rock Cafe undoubtably houses some of the most fascinating and important pieces of rock and pop history. The Vault, in the basement of the Hard Rock Store over the road, is a must see. They seemingly offer tours every 20 minutes or so. It is housed in an old Coutts bank vault (the vault doors and some of the safes are still in place). Whilst the kids hadn't heard of some of the artists whose memorabilia is housed here, they were very interested to learn more. There are some fascinating original lyrics by John Lennon, one of Madonna's bustiers and the kids got to hold guitars played by Slash and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Take your camera. It is a fun venue, which is more than just a restaurant. If you haven't yet visited, add it to your list - either book before or get there early, as the queues can be long. Sushinho Devonshire Square, London, EC2M 4AE Telephone: 0207 220 9490 To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was invited to review Sushinho, which brings together Brazilian-Japanese food, but I wasn’t disappointed, and in fact, was pleasantly surprised! What may appear an odd coupling is actually a unique culinary hybrid born on the streets of Rio and São Paulo, and is something I highly recommend you try. Sushinho is the sister restaurant to their restaurant in King’s Road, that has spent the last four years showcasing this mouth-watering concept, so you now have the choice of two restaurants, one in the glamorous area of Kensington, whilst the other is in the City, just a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street station. Spread over two floors in a listed building that used to be the Old Bengal Warehouse, Sushinho features a ground floor restaurant complete with a 10ft sushi bar and, on the lower ground floor, the Cutler Bar cocktail lounge and private dining room.
The restaurant is headed by Brazilian-born Executive Chef Joni Viscardi who sources the highest quality seasonal ingredients to create innovative and inventive dishes characterised by bold and vibrant flavour combinations. We started our feast with some raw fish that was presented on ice and costs between £2 - £4 per piece. I was pleasantly surprised that Sushinho don’t serve tuna as it is now an endangered species, which beforehand I didn’t know. We followed the fish with some delicious House Rolls - Dragon - avocado, prawn tempura and tobiko; Sushinho - cream cheese, salmon and crab and Wagyu - crispy leeks, cucumber and truffle sauce. These to me were the highlight of the meal, with different textures and tastes and all priced from £8 - £15 for a plate of 4 or 5 generous pieces. I will definitely return for all three if I am in London and looking for somewhere for lunch. For our mains we chose Prawn Tempura which had a lovely light batter, and the Signature dish of Pork Belly with Feijodada, Kale & Crackling which had a cornucopia of flavours to pique the most cynical of palate. There are mouthwatering desserts that include Passion Crumble, chocolate, toffee, sesame tuille; Churros, cinnamon, doce e leite and Hot Chocolate Pot, brazil nut cookie and tonka cream. There’s also a tantalising range of ‘tartares’ and ‘tataki’ such as Butterfish Tataki with Truffle Jelly & Crispy Capers and Hamachi Tartare with Jalapenos, Lime, Chives & Tobiko; ceviche and salads also feature. At the Cutler Bar, Sushinho’s sleek basement bar, the exposed pendant lights are kept low to create a seductive lounge vibe regardless of your dinner plans. Reclaimed wood panels contrast with smooth chocolate walls, creating a subtle backdrop for the luminous marble fronted bar; leather banquettes surround candle lit tables, perfect for an intimate drink à deux or casual cocktail with friends. Unique house cocktails include the ‘Sushinho Sakeirinha’ with Akashi-Tai Honjozo Sake; ‘Mizaru’ with Angostura Reserva White Rum, Salted Cashew Nuts, Madagascan Vanilla & Brazilian Banana Liqueurs; and ‘Rabo-De-Galo’ a twist on the classic Negroni, with Sagatiba Velha, Cynar Bitters & Antica. The extensive selection of sprits includes 12 varieties of the Brazilian-classic cachaça and 17 types of sake, served warm or chilled, including Ozeki Karatamba Honjozo and Harakusumi Blue Label Ginjo.
From Europe to the Americas, the extensive wine list boasts bins from across the globe including 14 by the glass and ‘small batch’ varieties such as Lidio Carro Dadivas, Chardonnay, 2009 from Brazil. A stunning private dining room offers city cats a chance to show off with an innovative culinary experience taking in highlights from the sushi bar and Brazilian-inspired grill menu. An outside covered lounge area on the Square means that aperitifs can be taken al fresco whatever the weather. Sushinho also offer a lunch menu for £19.50 that includes Miso soup or Edamame; Duo of Temaki or Buzios Make Roll or Cripsy Vegetable Roll, followed by a choice of Sweet Potato Dumpling; Sushinho Fried Chicken or the Pork Belly mentioned above and then a dessert or selection of ice creams or sorbets for a supplement of £3.50. This seems to be a great way to introduce yourself to Japanese-Brazilian food and is something I will return for. Le Chinois 17 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 9NU Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7235 4377 Recently opened in October 2012, Le Chinois offers modern Chinese cuisine in an exclusive setting on Sloane Street. Located in the Millennium Hotel, Knightsbridge you enter the restaurant by an imposing white spiral staircase. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming ambience, furnished in dark wood with deep red and gold hues provided by the soft furnishings. Decorative lanterns, orchids and large oriental art works on the wall all add to the ambience and compliment the food perfectly. A warm welcome, bottle of wine (Chenin Blanc £25.00) and some prawn crackers helped us to forget the freezing conditions we had left outside, as we sat down to examine the menu and settle into the atmosphere. Master Chef, Chan Kwok, who has led the launch of Le Chinois, has succeeded in creating a menu that should appeal in equal measure to international clientele and die-hard fans of traditional Cantonese cuisine, such is the breadth of choice. The restaurant prides itself on Dim Sum, for which there is a separate menu between 12:00 and 5:00pm daily, and with this in mind we ordered the Deluxe Dim Sum Platter (£8.00) to start. A platter of delicious sesame prawn toast, spring rolls and other popular dim sum whetted our appetite for what was to follow. The choice of starters and soups is impressive and ranges in price from £6.00 to £11.00. The selection of main courses is equally broad, with many traditional meat, seafood, poultry and vegetable based dishes, as well as some new and exciting flavour combinations
and some ingredients I have not seen before. Main courses range in price from £11.00 to £38.00 with vegetable options starting at £8.50. If you find the choice simply too difficult to narrow down to one or two dishes, then there is a Chef’s sharing menu for £30, £35 or £40 per person giving you the chance to sample more of the menu. We were directed towards the house speciality: whole crab or lobster served in a choice of sauces. We opted for the Whole Fresh lobster cooked in spring onion and ginger (£38.00).As my partner and I intended to share, I could not resist the lure of my all time favourite dish: Aromatic crispy duck served with pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and hoi sin sauce. We ordered a half duck, which is suitable for two people to share (£24.00), with egg-fried rice as an accompaniment. The lobster arrived; beautifully presented. Its delicate flavour set off perfectly by the spring onion and ginger. This was an impressive dish, which we both enjoyed immensely. Then the duck was presented and carved in front of us. The remaining meat was used to prepare an additional dish of wok fried minced duck served in lettuce. This was an unexpected surprise! I was not disappointed by the duck- I am in love with the sweet/sour flavour combination provided by the duck and hoi sin sauce, and the texture contrasts between the tender meat and crunchy vegetables. For me this is perfection in a dish! It may be a little controversial to comment that Chinese cuisine, in my humble opinion, is less celebrated for its desserts than others. With this is mind I was delighted to find some classic favourites amongst the dessert menu (£6.00 for desserts). My partner opted for Crème Brûlée and I chose the Apple Tarte Tatin, served with ice cream. Other options include Banana Fritters and Red Bean Pancake with Ice cream. If you are a fan of Chinese cuisine then this restaurant should be on your list, and I can almost guarantee that even if Chinese cuisine has not been a favourite of yours up till now, you will find something to delight your taste buds at Le Chinois. n Le Chinois
Save The Date
Monday 3rd February 2014
The 2014 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition will be held at Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London This is a must for American expatriates as there will be free seminars on Third Culture Kids, Dual Career Issues, Tax & Immigration. There will be six free seminars and over 35 companies and organisations with products and services to help you whilst you are living in the UK. For further information please email: email@example.com
Food At 52 Helen Elliott Reviews This Very Personal Cookery Course
have always really enjoyed my job, and I’ve been publishing American in Britain for 18 years now, but there are some days when I really, really enjoy my job, and a Tuesday a few weeks ago was one of them! On a rare sunny morning I headed off to the Old Street area, to participate in a one-day Vietnamese cookery course, which was run by husband and wife team John and Emily. What was great about this course, well one of many things that was great, was that I didn’t need to take anything with me. No apron, ingredients, containers, nothing, just me and my inquisitive nature and eagerness to cook food from one of
my favourite areas of the world – Vietnam. I also didn’t need to take anything away with me as all the recipes were emailed to me and the other students. I arrived at 9.45am and was greeted by Emily and their lovely rescue dog, and was led downstairs to a fabulous kitchen, that has a huge, pine wooden table running from one side of the kitchen to the other. I was offered tea and coffee and a delicious biscotti biscuit that had been cooked the night before at their Italian cookery course. I have never tasted biscotti like it. It was soft and crumbly, nothing like the tooth breaking biscotti I have tried several times in my life. In fact it was so tasty I asked for the recipe but sadly haven’t had time to make it, plus it isn’t really part of my Slimming World diet I am on before ‘the big day’ in September! Anyway, biscuits aside, I took my place on a stool and introduced myself to the other keen students. Once seated, aproned and fed and watered, John then took us through what we were going to cook – Summer Rolls, Prawn & Coconut Soup, and Caramalised Pork Belly in a clay pot with rice and a lotus root salad with banana blossom. To say my mouth was watering at just the thought was an understatement, but when we had eventually cooked it all and ate it for lunch, the taste sensation in my mouth was amazing and I found it hard to believe that we had cooked something so authentic. We started by putting the Pork Belly, along with spices in a clay pot that was then kept in the oven for over two and a half hours, and we then turned our attention to the summer rolls. We chopped vegetables, vermicelli, cleaned the prawns, soaked our rice paper and then wrapped the ingredients together, which were then enjoyed with two dips we had made. The soup didn’t take long to do, and all the while everyone was exclaiming how healthy the food was and actually how easy it was to create. Our teacher John was great, fielding all sorts of questions about his travels which have inspired most of the courses, and questions on the ingredients, whilst keeping us all on track
and turning us into superb Vietnamese chefs! The day absolutely flew by and lunch was served with a delicious white wine, which was plentiful. We did all the cooking ourselves, sharing camping style hobs, whilst poor Emily did all the clearing up. I cannot recommend enough this magical experience. If Vietnamese food isn’t your thing, then you can choose to do an Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Spanish, or Thai course or baking and stress free dinner parties to name a few. Many of the students on the day were already trying to work out which course they would do next, and I am delighted to say that I have re-created the summer rolls several times, much to my guests delight! Courses are also at different times throughout the month, so for those with full-time jobs don’t worry, some of the courses run from 6.30 – 10pm. For further information on this course and many others, please visit www.foodat52.co.uk Enjoy! n
Travel Diverse Landscape on a small island
Magnificent, Marvellous Mauritius! by Lynne McAlister
arr Harr Mahadev" Glory to Shiva!, exclaims Ravi, with an enthusiastic wave to the eight young men who, with backbone and determination, are coaxing a kanwar up the narrow road to its intended destination. This kanwar is a larger-than-life Lord Shiva adorned in gold and tented with red and yellow ribbons that blow in the breeze of the Indian Ocean. The young men are en route to Ganga Talao, (Lake of the Ganges) the most holy place for Hindus in Mauritius. Mauritius is a compact volcanic island 700 miles off the coast of Madagascar. Mark Twain said of the lush isle, “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, then Heaven; Heaven being copied after Mauritius.” I can’t speak with authority on Heaven yet, but the ivory beaches, soaring central mountains, and the ring of tranquil, aquamarine waters hugging the shores of this emerald island seem like an excellent template. However, the most delightful aspect of Mauritius, are the people, which brings me back to Ravi and his jubilant conversation with the young pilgrims on their way to Ganga Talao to celebrate Maha Shivaratree. Maha Shivaratree, Shiva’s Great Night, is celebrated every year during a waning 26
moon in late February or early March (the thirteenth night of the new moon in the month of Phalguna, to be exact). During the week 400,000 or more pilgrims, many on foot, make their way to Ganga Talao. For those who live in the north of the island the walk will take four days. For these young pilgrims carrying the kanwar, it will be a 24 hour, non-stop journey. Upon our arrival, in a mini-van (I feel compelled to admit) pilgrims are arriving on foot, by bus and in tightly packed family cars. The atmosphere feels a little like a county fair, except instead of the blue of jeans there is a kaleidoscope of colour painted with silk saris and adorned tents. Given the number of people in a relatively small space it’s quiet and the smell of incense wafts through the air. All around me families are offering bamboo trays with bananas, pineapples, and mangos, along with local flowers to gods and goddesses alike. Each figure reaches about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5m) and is a vibrant red or deep blue and most have animal heads and human bodies. Each family takes a turn in front of Hanuman (the monkey god), Ganesha (the elephant god) and others. Ravi
explains that Parvati (Shiva’s wife) is very special to women because she is believed to be the ultimate source of power for all beings. However, the big guy that everyone is here to see and worship is Shiva. Just as a reminder we are always in his shadow, that is, in the shadow of his 108 ft (33 m) golden likeness. The pilgrims light small fires in coconut shells and walk ankle-deep in the sacred waters of Ganga Talao. They pray to him, and meditate all night. Finally, they will collect water from the sacred lake to take back home as a blessing. The legend of this crater lake is connected with India’s holy river Ganges. The god Shiva, the transformer and destroyer, and his wife Parvati, were cruising the globe in a ship. Shiva wanted to show Parvati the most beautiful places on earth, so naturally they stopped in Mauritius. During the journey, while carrying the river Ganges on his head, Shiva accidentally spilled water from the holy river. Thus giving us Ganga Talao. One of the many natural beauties of Mauritius, the lake is 1800 feet (550m) above sea level, surrounded by vegetation and the soaring upslope of the volcano.
Even if it weren’t a holy place, it would be an excellent destination for the sheer beauty of the location. While the festival lasts just three days, this tropical paradise is teeming with reasons to visit year-round. The cream coloured beaches are sheltered by one of the world’s largest unbroken coral reef systems. It almost encircles the island creating crystal-clear lagoons and uninhabited islets. The warm Indian Ocean is a huge swimming pool decorated with rainbow coloured sea life. If you are more of a landlubber, the hiking is rewarding with an abundance of waterfalls, thick forests and well maintained trails in professionally managed National Parks. Not only was I awed by views over the Black River Gorge, but one can walk without worry because there are no venomous snakes or poisonous spiders on the island. The rich culture here makes it more than just a beach destination. There have been lots of contributors to the Mauritius of today. The Dutch, who attempted settlement in the late 1600s, left behind deer and monkeys. They also started the sugar cane industry which even today accounts for their economic stability. As a matter of fact the US State Department sites Mauritius as one of the most stable economies in Africa. Today, happily, much of this sugar is turned into rum. If you’d like to see the sugar become rum, take a Napa style tour of Rhumerie de Chamarel. The French built Port Louis, which thrives today as the island’s largest city. They developed a road network and populated the island with slaves from Africa and Madagascar. In the early 1800s, the British colonised the island. Since slavery had been recently abolished, they brought indentured labourers from India. Today, 52% of the population is Hindu, making Mauritius one of only three countries world-wide where Hinduism is the dominant religion. After World War II, Chinese entrepreneurs came to the island fleeing the Japanese and then Communism. Though Sino-Mauritians only represent 3% of the population, according to a recent survey, 10 of the 50 largest companies on Mauritius are Chinese owned. All these influences create a tapestry rich in culture and amazing menus! There are over 50 holidays and festivals on the island. Locals brag that everyone celebrates them all, regardless of the religious or cultural affiliation! Mark Twain may have been on to something! n
Ganesha receiving gifts Beaches of Mauritius
British Airways flies 3 times a week non-stop from Gatwick to Mauritius, Air Mauritius flies daily from Heathrow.. Lynne stayed at the Four Seasons, Anahita and eagerly anticipates a return visit. In the mean time she may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 27
Hotel Review The Vineyard
s a place to visit what conjures up more delightful thoughts than a name of a restaurant/hotel called The Vineyard, and as a wine devotee, I think not many! What is unusual is that The Vineyard not only lives up to those expectations, it exceeds them. The Vineyard is situated just off the A4, near Newbury and is about an hour from London and only 45 minutes from Heathrow. The brainchild of Sir Peter Michael, founder and Chairman of Classic FM and the Peter Michael Winery in California, The Vineyard was created around a nineteenth century hunting lodge, and opened in 1998 as a luxury hotel and restaurant that has subsequently developed an unenviable reputation for quality and style. It styles itself as ‘a Restaurant with luxury suites and a spa attached’, but although strictly speaking it is, it is so much more, and if you found just one of these you would be delighted, but to find all three in one place is exceptional. You can however, understand the emphasis on the restaurant, as The Vineyard has enjoyed 2 Michelin stars for a number of years and you can easily understand why. The dining experience is so much more than just the food, and special food should be served in a special place, and The Vineyard creates that. The bar is warm and welcoming and around 28
a roaring fire you can make the extremely difficult choices around the menu before moving to the more contemporary dining area dominated by a sweeping staircase leading to a downside area that looks out over the picturesque garden dominated by a flaming pool. The menu is a first for me as it allows you to choose a number of dishes from a mixture of starters, mains and desserts (one dessert is mandatory). So for those with a sweet tooth you can select 3 or 4 puddings but although tempting, I would recommend holding off as the mains and starters are exceptional as well. All dishes are lovingly created using the freshest ingredients and vary depending on what is available. When we visited the menu included Seabass, Venison and Pork, all cooked to perfection and served with style and panache. You can also select The Discovery Tasting which comprises 5 courses for £49 and can choose to have wine pairings for £45. The menu for this includes: • Hand Dived Orkney Scallops, broccoli, almonds • Balmoral Estate Venison, butternut squash, pearl barley, hazelnut • Griottine Cherry and Cranberry Terrine, pistachio parfait
• Seasonal Farmhouse Cheese Platter, quince, fig cake, fennel bread. There is also a 7 course Judgement Day Tasting for £89 that includes dishes such as: • Velouté of Winter Leeks, cannelloni of leeks and tomme brûlée • Ballotine of Guinea Fowl, lemon, walnuts • Lyme Bay John Dory, Jerusalem artichokes, swiss chard, chanterelles • Scottish Halibut, cucumber, endive, watercress • ‘Jimmy Butlers’ free range Pork Ribeye, spinach, onion seeds • Sauteed Banana, Peanut and Chocolate Crémeux, peanut parfait • Dark Chocolate, Ginger Ice Cream, pineapple, tonka bean emulsion, and six red and six white wine pairings for an extra £89. Wine is never far away from things at the Vineyard, and the owner, Peter Michael provides a number of the 30,000 bottles that are available from his Californian winery, all of which are stored in a vast glass walled cellar which dominates the entrance area to the hotel and restaurant. The Vineyard has 32 suites and 17 bedrooms and are named, wait for it, after iconic wines, and although they are all individually
decorated and are different shapes and sizes, they all have large beds dominated by perfectly plumped pillows and soft luxurious duvets which guarantee a perfect nightâ€™s sleep. The Spa at the Vineyard is rightly award winning and it is easy to see why. The pool and Jacuzzi area is modern and light, but has an opulence about it, and if I won the lottery would be exactly how I would lay out the pool area in my home! The Spa is housed over 3 floors with a carpeted upper tier with loungers, magazines to choose from and complimentary bottled water, overlooking the swimming pool and Jacuzzi based on the middle level. The pool is round, and although not enormous, is large enough to swim in, and the Jacuzzi is pleasantly warming. The sauna and steam rooms are on the basement floor and are reached via a spiral staircase. The award winning spa offers a selection of spa days, evenings and a range of top-notch therapies and spa treatments, including scientifically advanced facials, pedicures and manicures, professional make-up lessons and Hot Stone Rituals. For the more energetic there is a Fitness Suite with cardiovascular equipment, weights and mats where you can burn the calories from the night before, or after your breakfast. Whether the Vineyard is a superior restaurant with a hotel and spa or a hotel and spa with a special restaurant I donâ€™t think really matters. All you need to know is nestling just outside London and Heathrow, is a perfect retreat with first class facilities with a top class restaurant. All of this with the largest selection of wines I would guess in the world. What a delight to be able to indulge all of your vices in the same place. As a well-known advert says, Priceless. n For further information please visit www.the-vineyard.co.uk Telephone: 01635 528770 The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8JU
The Wisley Golf Club American in Britain takes a peak through the gates at one of the World’s most revered Private Member Golf Clubs
here aren’t many golf clubs in the UK that replicate the US private club model. At most British clubs, visitor play is welcomed as an additional source of income and a way to reduce the cost to members: this is in stark contrast to the classic US clubs, at which access is extremely difficult without an introduction from a member. In the last twenty years, though, a small number of clubs have been created that work on the American model and exclude green fee visitors and corporate days. The first and most successful of these in the UK was The Wisley
which opened in the early nineties and was designed by renowned course architect, Robert Trent Jones Jnr. Located just across the river Wey from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Gardens, set in such a tranquil area of north - west Surrey, The Wisley is only a 30 minute drive from London's West End and was immediately ranked within the UK’s top 20 by Golf World when it opened in 1991. Twenty years on and The Wisley is clearly firmly established as one of the World’s leading exclusive private Member golf clubs, attracting captains of industry, sport and movie stars amongst its discerning membership. The Wisley is currently the home choice for fourteen tour professionals including some of the world’s leading golfers amongst its membership. Indeed, the club can boast an amazing statistic that ‘at least’ one of its Members has featured in every Ryder Cup since the Club opened and is testimony to its undoubted quality. The Wisley was the first Robert Trent Jones Jr.’ Course in the UK and has clearly been designed to challenge players of all abilities and features three loops of nine holes which combine to make three 18 hole courses each with a par of 72. Water is an integral feature; the River Wey borders the
undulating fairways and beautifully manicured greens while the lakes provide not only perfect reflection, but also extra challenge. The mark of a Trent Jones’ Course is the unique ability to combine love of nature and passion for the game of golf. The Wisley is a magnificent testament to his skill and creativity. The Wisley is wholly owned by its shareholder Members and despite its exclusivity, seems to have a real ‘club atmosphere’. A wealth of competitions, events and a varied and thriving social scene ranges from family Halloween and pancake nights to a Spanish restaurant night and during our visit preparations were underway for an Italian Ryder Cup night with one of its Members, Francesco Molinari. There appears to be an eclectic mix of nationalities, cultures and backgrounds that binds a common love of the game of golf, with an appreciation for the finest things in life. The clubhouse provides an ideal environment in which to relax. With influences from the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the clubhouse was designed by award-winning architect Charles Mador and the open-plan style and interior design creates a warm and inviting ambience with a comfortable contemporary edge. The dining experience at The Wisley is built upon a fine reputation for quality cuisine, freshly prepared by Head Chef Sam
Peschier and his team, and fantastic hospitality. Whether it is a quick bite between nines, or a formal dinner with friends and family, you will be served in the renowned and warm Wisley style which its chief executive insists upon and his team follow with such enthusiasm. The Wisley is a true private membersâ€™ golf club with 700 shareholder Members, and shares are only available on the secondary market through a monthly auction. However, we were told that from time to time a limited number of shares become available for rental, usually in circumstances where the shareholder/member has to move abroad for a period of time. The availability of these shares is limited and may only be used by the renter for a maximum period of 2 years. We were sad to leave as The Wisley really does offer an environment and ambience of luxury, elegance and impeccable service. However, it manages to mix such exclusivity and quality with a relaxed atmosphere evidently enjoyed and appreciated by Members, their family, friends and anybody lucky enough to be their invited guests. n www.thewisley.com
Property Focus On South Kensington
ituated to the south of Hyde Park, the prosperous neighbourhood of South Kensington comprises a wealth of prestigious and world-class museums, as well as a large concentration of elegant garden squares. Modern day residents enjoy the convenience of South Kensington and Gloucester Road tube stations for an easy commute into the City of London and Canary Wharf, as well as an array of shops, bars and restaurants within a short stroll of their homes. Until the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park of 1851, the area was largely undeveloped and mainly consisted of agricultural areas supplying London with fruit and vegetables. The streets around what is now known as Exhibition Road were purchased by the commissioners of the exhibition to create a home for the institutions of the arts and sciences. Coinciding with a boom in the development of areas around London, adjacent landowners started to build around the newly created roads, and with the arrival of the Underground stations at South Kensington and Gloucester Road in 1868, the area was directly linked to the main railway terminals of Westminster, the West End and the City of London. Modern day tourists continue to be attracted to South Kensington principally to enjoy the three large museums: The Science Museum, The Natural History Museum, and The Victoria and Albert Museum. The Science Museum was founded in 1857 as part of the South Kensington Museum, and 32
gained independence in 1909. Today the Museum is known for its historic collections, awe-inspiring galleries and inspirational exhibitions. Standing adjacent to The Science Museum stands The Natural History Museum (built 1873) is a world-renowned centre of research, attracting at present just under five million visitors per year who come to see the collection of some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. Amongst these collections, those specimens collected by Charles Darwin are one of the most popular attractions, not to mention its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons. The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, it was founded in 1852. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in many mediums from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. For those with a thirst for the performing arts, The Royal Albert Hall stands on the northern edge of South Kensington and is best known Courtfield Gardens
for holding the annual Summer Proms concerts since 1941. Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world's leading artists from several performance genres have appeared on its stage and it has become one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings. Arts and culture aside, South Kensington offers an array of shopping districts that amuse visiting tourists and local residents alike. The area around South Kensington tube station has recently been extensively remodeled to allow for new restaurants, coffee shops and bars. And the Fulham and Old Brompton Roads exhibit a considerable choice of high class specialist shops for those looking for designer clothing and furnishings, as well as everyday items. But undoubtedly, the reason for the extremely high demand for residences in South Kensington comes from those looking for the combination of period charm in the architecture and the high quality schooling for their children. The garden square, a famous signature of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is a prominent feature that is high in demand. Onslow Square is South Kensingtonâ€™s most prestigious square and is situated adjacent to
the tube station. Building began in the square in 1845, and the white stucco fronted houses overlooking the communal garden, equipped with tennis courts, are high in high demand. Admiral Robert Fitzroy used to live here, as did Andrew Bonar Law, the 'unknown prime minister' who was in power 1922- 1923. Modern day residents are now a mixture of celebrity and prominent financiers. Just north of the Cromwell Road above Gloucester Road and South Kensington tube stations stands Queen’s Gate Gardens. The communal garden was created in the 1860s when a residential square was built on the site of a former market garden. The landscaping of the garden largely retains its original Victorian layout and the old mulberry and catalpa trees are over 150 years old. Interestingly, there still remain circlesvisible in the lawn that mark the Underground bomb shelters from World War Two. South Kensington retains a notably large French population, principally due to the presents of The Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, usually referred as The French Lycée,
a large French primary and secondary school. With over 3,500 students, demand for housing from families wanting to be within short walking distance of the school is very high. Good local primary schools including Bousfield on the South of the famous Bolton Gardens, which stands on the site where Beatrix Potter once lived, and Our Ladies of Victories on Clareville Street, are further notably popular options for parents. As the popularity of the area continues to soar, with international and domestic property investors seeking stable investment in SW7’s prime postcode, the local residents enjoy the vibrant mixture of green spaces, elegant architecture, the convenient transport links from tube stations on the Piccadilly, District and Circle lines, a 30 minute car journey to Heathrow, and even a 15 minute ‘Boris Bike’ cycle to Oxford Street, as well as an array of fashionable shopping streets, bars and restaurants. But most prominently, South Kensington retains a sense of community from its residents, who welcome daily visitors to its world famous
institutions, and bask in its wealth of amenities, whilst idyllically set within the prominence of its architecture. n For further information on living in South Kensington, please contact James Simmons on email@example.com / 020 7835 0044. www.johndwood.co.uk
American Women’s Clubs News The Junior League of London The Junior League of London would like to thank attendees at our first annual gala event. Members and friends of the Junior League enjoyed an evening at the 1920s themed Speakeasy held on 17 March 2013. While flapper outfits were optional, fun, drinks and dancing were required – and all for a good cause. The Junior League is a women’s volunteering organisation working to improve the London community. Our current community focus is on alleviating the effects of poverty. With unemployment levels rising and austerity measures coming into effect, all our work has never been more important. If you are interested in learning more or joining, visit our website at: www.jll.org.uk, and watch this space for more information about next year’s gala! 34
AWC at the Taj Majal
AWC Swelling buds on the branches of the bare trees lining the streets, a daffodil bulb ready to burst and the longer days remind us that the long grey winter will soon be behind us. The optimism of spring beckons us from our flats into the greening parks of the city. The birds are singing, the breeze is warming, encouraging engagement with our fellow Londoners rather than solo over a cup of tea, wrapped in a warm blanket! Spring is also commonly a time when expat assignments are begun and finished and when we welcome an influx of new members and wish others the best as they begin new adventures in new places or repatriating and working themselves back into the lives they temporarily left behind. It is one of the most difficult, but at the same time most rewarding aspects of being an expat. You are forced to keep yourself open to new experiences, meeting new people, and learning the skills to keep in touch with those who have found a special place in your life. I am often reminded that a successful assignment requires that you be present “in the now”. What matters now is how things are done here, not at “home”. Observe and
respect the culture of your adopted home, embrace the differences. London is a truly multicultural city, a living laboratory of social norms and expectations, even native born Londoners need to often take a moment and think “is this an appropriate response” in the day to day interactions in such a diverse city. We have an opportunity to practice living in a global village respecting our differences but appreciating the many similarities that reach across all cultures. We at the American Women’s Club have an opportunity to practice this even more when we sign up for the many trips available through the club. Most of our trips run Monday to Thursday. We travel the globe learning about the history, geography and most importantly the food and wine of those countries we visit. Spain, Italy, Poland, France, Malta, Scotland and Russia have all been host to our educational, inspirational and fun outings! If more travel is not for you, we offer many varied activities here in London both during the day and the evenings. Afternoon teas, Bridge, Classical Music Appreciation, Drinks, Golf, Hiking or a trip to the Zoo, there’s something for everyone! Every third Tuesday of the month we host a new member coffee event
at the AWC offices in South Kensington and on the fourth Tuesday we hold our monthly meeting where some local vendors display and sell their wares. We hear an interesting speaker and meet for a bite of lunch afterwards, if you have the time. This April we are celebrating the 114th anniversary of the club with a Mad Hatters Tea Party at the Dartmouth House. Founders Day is the largest fundraising event of the year but also a time to honour the traditions of the club and the women who had the vision to start the club and those who continue it’s mission. Please contact the club to get your ticket and join us on April 18th! If you are interested in learning more about the American Women’s Club of London visit our website at www.awclondon.org or call the office at 020 7589 8292. kcwc – international women in London Submitted by Gamze Newell, Editor kcwc has 30+ Activity Groups catering to its membership with diverse nationalities and interests. Some of the activities are Open to
Evening Book Club: Discussing their chosen book over nibbles
kcwc got off to such a great start 30 years ago! With our thanks to the great glamorous Gala Committee (L to R) - Brittan Chepak, Tracey Good and Wendy Miller (with their spouses). Activity Groups In Action: Ballroom Dancing Group: Ladies in the afternoon class with professional dance partners.
the Public; however, you need to become a member to attend the Members Only activities. If you’d like to become a member, please send an email to membership@ kcwc.org.uk. 30th Anniversary Gala On Saturday 2 March over 160 members and their guests celebrated kcwc’s 30th Anniversary at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, The Great Hall. Susan Lenora (President), Mary Narvell (Former President) and Cindy Maceda (Former Programmes Chair) (L to R, above with their devoted spouses) each remembered “their kcwc” in funny speeches commemorating the Club and all the members who have walked through our imaginary doors over the past 30 years. A huge Thank You to Sandi Mardigan and Shari Lukas - Founding President and Vice President - who made the extra effort to travel to the Gala and remind us all why
Ballroom Dancing Group: Couples in the evening class with their spouses
April General Meeting - Open To The Public Thursday 18 April 9:30 am – 12 noon Royal Automobile Club 89 Pall Mall, London SW1 5HS (Nearest tube: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus) GUEST SPEAKER: Professor AC Grayling on “What Is Good About the Good Life?” There are at least two things that can be meant by "the good life"; wine and song or moral rectitude. Does there have to be a contradiction between them? Charming, down to earth, immensely intelligent and humorous, Professor Anthony Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA, is Master of the New College of the Humanities, which he founded in 2011, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He has written and edited over 20 books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are The Good Book, Ideas That Matter, Liberty in the Age of Terror and To Set Prometheus Free. He will be presenting to kcwc members and guests his thoughts on “the good life” and what’s so good about it. A lecture not to be missed! GENERAL MEETING SCHEDULE: 9:30 – 10:30 am Coffee and activity sign–ups 10:30 am – 12 noon Announcements followed by guest speaker 12:15 – 2:30 pm Hospitality luncheon at a nearby restaurant (Members Only) PLEASE NOTE: General Meetings are free for members and £10 for guests, redeemable toward the membership fee if joining on the day. May General Meeting - Open To The Public Thursday 9 May 7 - 9:30 pm The Lansdowne Club 9 Fitzmaurice Place, Mayfair, W1J 5JD Nearest tube: Green Park “A Night at the Opera... and Then Some!” kcwc members and their guests are invited to a very special evening of musical entertainment 35
with food and wine at our May General Meeting. We will hear wonderful arias, songs from musicals and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from two highly professional performers, accompanied by a world-famous pianist and conductor, in the elegant Ballroom of The Lansdowne Club. Tickets: £18 per person. Must be purchased in advance! You may purchase your tickets at the April General Meeting, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Sally-Ann Shepherdson is a professional soprano who has performed in dozens of famous roles in operas throughout the world.
Eugene Ginty is an accomplished tenor who recently became a member of the Three Irish Tenors and has been a member of the world-renowned BBC Singers. Peter Robinson, our pianist for the evening, has conducted most of the major British orchestras, including the LSO, RPO, BBC Philharmonic‚ Opera Holland Park and English National Opera. Since 1998 he has conducted many performances at the Royal Albert Hall. May In Mayfair - Tea And Art Tour (Members Only) On Tuesday 7 May, kcwc members will be treated to a specially crafted Spring time tea and art tour in Mayfair. They will first stroll through selected international art galleries where the curators will share their proactive insights, followed by a champagne tea. This event is organised by kcwc’s Special Events Committee and Contemporary Art Club. Activity Groups Starting In May: 1. GET FIT IN THE PARK: kcwc members will be getting even fitter with this new activity. Their trainer-led workout will include upper and lower body work as well as some cardio exercises in Hyde Park. 2. PASSION FOR FASHION AND LUXURY: This is an exciting new group for kcwc members interested in fashion and luxury items. Members will get together in the evenings and socialise while having fun with fashion and pampering themselves. 36
June General Meeting - Open To The Public Thursday 6 June General Meeting: 9:30 am - 12 noon Luncheon: 12 noon - 2:30 pm - June Royal Automobile Club General Meeting and Luncheon in Style with Hermès Guest Speaker: Mme Ménéhould de Bazelaire du Chatelle; Directrice du Patrimoine Culturel (Director of Cultural Heritage) The final General Meeting of the year promises to bring our milestone 30th Anniversary events to a stylish grand finale. Luncheon: £49 - includes 2-course meal, wine, coffee and petite four Book early as the tickets sell out fast! Exclusive Special Event - Feel Like A "Princess For A Day" The 10th Althorp Literary Festival Friday 14 June Organised for the third year, Earl Spencer is once again extending his personal invitation to kcwc members and friends to experience Althorp, home of the Spencer family for 5 centuries, on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of its annual Literary Festival. This exclusive event is now a highlight of the Club’s activity year. This whole-day package is £115 and includes: • Round-trip transport by luxury coach • Welcome tea hosted by the Earl Spencer • Three authors' talks with time in between to view some of the rooms, gardens and stables of the house as well as the resting place of Diana, the late Princess of Wales • Three-course luncheon served on the Spencer family china with one glass of wine that will be prepared by the Earl’s personal chef. For more information, contact Cindy Maceda: email@example.com.
kcwc Art Show: Coming In June! Start Being Creative Now! (Artwork by kcwc members, non-member visitors are welcome) kcwc is pleased to announce that this Spring we will be holding our second Art Show of members’ work only. The Art Show is an opportunity for our members to share their talents with the entire kcwc community, and for all of us to observe and honour the quality and diversity of their work. The show will include paintings, prints, drawings, embroidery, quilting, knitting, photography, calligraphy, sewing, tapestry, collage, sculpture, textiles, jewellery, hat-making and ceramics; all done by women from the Club, from all around the world!
Charles Spencer at Althorp Picture Gallery where KCWC members will have lunch
Paintings and photos: Courtesy of kcwc members
There will be no general meetings in July and August. Our next general meeting is in September. For details, watch this space! American Women of Surrey A Message from the American Women of Surrey...“Take a hike!” (or at least walk with us) Friday on Facebook is replete with pictures of smiling, cold-kissed ruddy faces under wind-swept hair; women arm-locked in obvious loyal camaraderie, amid the backdrop of breathtakingly beautiful English countryside with its ubiquitous sheep, rolling hills, and bucolic dwellings, and always punctuated with a picture of this happy group of ladies, huddled around a country pub table, eyes beaming from the glorious shared visions of the day. Why Friday? Friday is American Women of Surrey’s (AWS) Country Hike day. What drives these otherwise urban dwellers to the country to schlepp up hills and slop through mud? It’s the call of nature, the quest to commune with the world in its purest form, and a desire to build long-lasting friendships that ultimately transcend the expat’s stay in Britain. Carolyn Ryan says, “I was a member of AWS from 1986-89. My favourite activity was the country walks. Some of the friends I made on those walks are still friends. Several of the AWS walkers from the 1980's joined in 1995 to walk in the Cotswolds. Since then we have been walking together in the States, Canada and England almost on an annual basis. In 2015 we will try to meet again for a 20th reunion walk in Dorset.“ There is something about a walk with others in a beautiful natural locale that allows one to reveal one’s true self and not only accept but appreciate another’s inherent nature, no matter how disparate from one’s own. Those whose paths may never cross off the hiking trail, not only cross but inextricably intertwine on the trail…where strong bodies, strong minds, and strong friendships are made. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, overcivilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” - John Muir Even if hiking is not the experience you’re craving, AWS has something for all its members, and all of our activities come readied with a group of friendly folk just waiting to welcome and walk with you on this expat journey. So, come and walk with us. AWS holds general meetings for members once a month in Cobham, Surrey, September - June. For more information, please go to www.awsurrey.org. -Natasha Lowery Vice-President of Communications, AWS
photos by Lisa Browne and Jennifer Herrold
CAWC Chiltern American Women’s Club, CAWC, is a group of North American and International women who call this area home, either temporary or permanently. Our club offers the opportunity to network through meetings, over 15 social activities, and charitable events. This past year we raised over £18,000 for the National Society for Epilepsy and William’s Fund for child cancer research. We currently have 123 members and are a great resource to newcomers and returning members. For more information or to become a member, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Our News Unemcumbered - For those without guidelines or a set “pick up” schedule, the Unemcumbered group makes a full day of their outings. Twenty-four CAWC ladies spent the day
shopping at the pottery factory outlet stores in Stoke on Trent. They managed to buy over £8,000 of gorgeous china and crystal!! Stops were made at Burleigh, Portmeirion, Emma Bridgewater, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton Outlet Store and the Wedgewood Visitor Centre. The outlets have special sales in January. Thank you to Debra Dalluge Lennertz for organising such a fabulous day! If you missed it, join us next year! Day Hikes Club - In January, 16 of our hikers did a hike in the Seer Green, Coleshill and Amersham areas. They enjoyed the lovely gentle rambles to get us back on track after our Christmas break. The first hike was a 4.75-mile, easy walk begining in Seer Green, wandering through the edge of Hodgemoor Woods, sweeping by the edge of Coleshill and ending back in the pretty Seer Green village. Out To Lunch Bunch - We are a group who 37
like discovering new places to eat, whether it be a local pub or restaurant. We enjoy the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones over a casual lunch. Stitch & Chat - Ladies, do you like to knit, cross-stitch, patchwork, quilting or do some other kind of handiwork? Do you need some help with projects, start something new or would you like to chat with other ladies with similar interests? Please join our Stitch & Chat group! Moms & Tots - It's playtime for the 5 and under set, and their Moms, too! We meet every Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the home of one of our moms for coffee and snacks. Bring along your little one(s) and enjoy the company of other moms while the children play in a safe and friendly environment. Finders Keepers – Treasure Seekers - On Thursday January 24th, our ladies ventured to the beautiful village of Wendover. They visited the small antique centre in the old post office, small boutiques and the amazing garden centre, World’s End. Outings BUCKINGHAM PALACE - Get ready Buckingham Palace, we have booked for 20 ladies to tour the State Rooms in a private evening tour on April 12th & April 19th. The tour ends with a glass of champagne in the Grand Entrance, where official visitors to the Palace arrive. Tickets are going fast. The public can book at www.rceltickets.com/eventlist. asp?VenueID=1&proid=NET CREATIVE WRITING – Writing can be hard work and that is why the CAWC writing group is there to encourage, inspire and motivate. We meet regularly to discuss writing and publishing, do the occasional writing exercise, and share and comment on each other's work. LET’S SPEAK SPANISH - Sessions are focused for those with some knowledge of Spanish. Therefore, we have conversational sessions for all those interested in learning the language for travelling, cooking, or even helping your children who are learning Spanish at school as a friend to practice with, or to learn another culture or just keep your mind occupied! I am sure there are many of you with some basic Spanish who would love to refresh your knowledge and learn even more! GOLF - Playing golf is a great way of enjoying nice company and getting some exercise as well! We try to tee off for 9 holes around 9.30 at Wexham Golf course. After a round of golf, we usually have a nice cup of coffee with those who have time and discuss our (well played or not so well played) game, the plans for the weekend, school issues, in a word everything that is keeping us busy. COOKERY CLASS - Yvonne's Southern 38
Day Hike in Seer Green in a beautiful frosty day in January
Kitchen did an amazing Mexican cooking class in January. Over 15 ladies joined in for a meal topped off with margarita’s. Chiltern American Women’s Club Donates over £16,000 to Local Charities – National Society for Epilepsy, March 14, 2013 The Chilterns American Women’s Club opened its doors to over 1,000 people this year to raise money for the National Society for Epilepsy and Williams Fund – Cancer Research for Children. This year we've had one of the most profitable CAWC Charity Christmas Bazaars in recent years! With over 65 outstanding specialty vendors, crafters, and local artisans, we were able to raise over £16,000 towards our chosen charities. At our meeting on March 14, we presented a cheque to National Society for Epilepsy. The NSE connects and supports people through a range of charitable services, including a confidential epilepsy helpline, online epilepsy forum, epilepsy campaigns and awareness raising, epilepsy information, website, magazines and e-newsletters, and epilepsy information clinics in hospitals. Williams Fund was also a beneficiary this year. Money goes directly to run the William Dodd Foundation Research facility at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, there are no administration fees, as they run from home and with volunteers. Research is overseen by Dr Chris Mitchell (Paediatric Oncology Consultant) and the progress so far has been impressive. The excitement and energy that comes each year with our CAWC Bazaar always rests on the shoulders of a few super individuals. Thank you to our Christmas Bazaar Co-Chairwomen, Stacy Bowen and Kym Bryant. Their hard work and determination to make it the BEST really paid off! Also, a big thank you to our CAWC President Robin Smirnov. The CAWC is an active group of over 100 expatriate individuals from all over the world. We provide assistance to newcomers in Britain. A very important part of the club is to give back to the community. We are proud to
have raised over £200,000 for local charities over the past 20 years with our annual Christmas Bazaar and look to do much more in the future! We also have a very busy social aspect to our club! In addition to our many weekly and monthly activities, we are looking forward to a Riverboat Cruise, Buckingham Palace tour, Boodles Tennis, Royal Ascot and our famous May Tea Party! Our May Tea Party is always a fabulous way to showcase the gorgeous themed tables that members have decorated. The thought and planning that goes into these tea tables is immense and I know of one very special member who has tables planned out for the next few years!! This year we are thrilled to be holding our May Tea Party at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club located in Denham, Bucks. This beautiful setting will also be home to our monthly meetings starting in September. For more information on the CAWC please visit us at www.cawc.co.uk. Please contact CAWC for more information P.O. Box 445, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9 8YU, United Kingdom Phone: 07809 561344 or 07896 121273 Membership Information: email@example.com President: firstname.lastname@example.org Charity Bazaar Information: email@example.com Philanthropy: firstname.lastname@example.org n
Portmeirion Outlets @ Stoke on Trent where the SALE sign made us all excited!!!
The American Hour Our Website To Assist Americans Living In, Or Moving To The UK The American Hour Website Update Some of our readers may already be aware that we have recently upgraded our website www. theamericanhour.com. The site now fully 40
integrates our social media, and includes more helpful, fully updated pages full of useful advice and information for Americans living in the UK, or in the process of moving to live in the UK. The site has been in place since 1999, but has grown over the years in content and visitors. We are proud to be a primary resource for this specialised information and our Useful Advice pages include information on Banking in the UK, the American Embassy in London, Education, Having a Baby in the UK, Theatre shows, Restaurant reviews, Living In, and many more. Some of the most popular pages with our visitors are: Competitions & Offers - We continue to run some fantastic competitions and offers. Some of the latest prizes have included tickets to an invitation only event at Hard Rock CafĂŠ, ten pairs of tickets for The Country Living Fairs (Christmas and Spring), Bodean's BBQ vouchers every month, a case of Prosecco from Whole Foods, a bespoke floral centrepiece, and pairs of tickets to see Wicked, A Chorus Line, the Jersey Boys, Gatz, The Sunshine Boys and The King's Speech. Keep checking the page, as new offers and competitions are added each month. Living In - An fully comprehensive page dedicated to information on key residential areas in London and the Home Counties, popular with the American expatriate community. This page is sponsored by Knight Frank who have helped compile this invaluable information. Taxation - Tax issues for Americans living in the UK can be complex and ever-changing. The Taxation page highlights some of the latest issues, plus a number of useful contacts and links. Moving - Moving to and from the UK is something that has happened to our visitors at least once. This page summarises various considerations, and again provides useful links and information. When you are next on the move, remember to check this page! Restaurants - Which restaurants are popular with the American Community? This page highlights some of the great eateries in London, and provides regular updates on the special events and offers available to the website visitors. We also upload all our Eating Out reviews from American in Britain, so we can help you decide where to visit! Foreign Exchange and Investments & Wealth Management pages - Again these are important issues. We all want to feel we are getting a good deal and sound advice. The articles we publish in American in Britain are also published on this website along with contacts and links to relevant pages including our bespoke Travelex page (Foreign Currency) for readers: www.travelex.co.uk/aib
Healthcare & Hospitals - Another important issue for expatriates. Understanding the UK health system and the NHS can be a minefield. This page summaries a brief overview of the Healthcare system in the UK, with a number of helpful links. Expatriate Clubs & Events Pages â€“ We provide an extensive list of all the Expatriate Clubs and Alumni Associations in the UK relevant to our visitors. This is one of our most popular pages, with many visitors seeking to connect to and participate in, various clubs and associations. Please tell us about any updates or information you feel we should include. Various events and activities are posted on to the Events page of the website, which is updated on a monthly basis. Social Media - We are gathering more and more Twitter and Facebook followers so that we can keep the community updated with relevant information. Please like us on Facebook (American in Britain magazine and www.theamericanhour.com) and follow us on Twitter @ AIBmagazine. Please get involved and join in with the community. We continue to develop and enhance our products and services for our readers, and have recently undertaken a Readership Survey (thank you to all those who have completed the survey!). In addition to the partners we work with, this information helps us to ensure we continue to publish articles and provide information relevant to our readers and website visitors. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please contact us: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. JOIN US!
American in Britain magazine and www.theamericanhour.com @AIB magazine
The American Hour Monthly Email Newsletter The American Hour Monthly Email Newsletter is sent at the beginning of each month, and highlights forthcoming events, expatriate and women's clubs news and activities, competitions & offers, and other information and advice relevant to Americans living in the UK. To subscribe to our Email Newsletter please email: email@example.com
Education Relocating With Children: Practical Challenges For Families On Overseas Assignments
hen parents begin a new overseas assignment, alongside managing the myriad financial and immigration elements of relocating and the practical concerns such as finding a place to live, ensuring the positive well-being of their child during the relocation period is a top concern. It’s not surprising then that in their 2012 Global Trends Survey Report, Cartus, found that the third most common reason for assignment failure (44 per cent of respondents) was the inability of the family to adapt to the host country. Cartus’s research also revealed that concerns about schooling was ranked as the second biggest issue for a successful relocation (23 per cent of respondents cited it as a potentially
serious challenge, 48% as a real but manageable concern). The availability of quality schooling was second only to spousal employment opportunities in significantly impacting an organisation’s ability to attract talent to new assignments. It’s clear from these findings that employees are ranking family and schooling issues high on their criteria for assignment acceptance and success. ACS International Schools has conducted a survey of recently relocated students which highlights the vey real indicators of what children’s top relocation concerns are, and the potential solutions which organisations can implement to overcome or reduce them. For example, the survey revealed that the top three concerns for students are ‘leaving behind friends and family’, ‘fitting in and making new friends’, and ‘finding the right school/doing well’. All of these issues can be dealt with in a positive way if support is in place up front to encourage children and their parents to communicate openly with one another about any issues or concerns surrounding relocating. Giving families opportunities to voice concerns with employers or relocating experts ensures support can be offered quickly when needed, and major transition issues are nipped in the bud. More specific activities to help students cope with leaving old friends could include a ‘Goodbye Party’ which can make a positive memory of leaving behind loved ones and give students a reassuring anchor point during the initial relocation period. Encouraging families to connect with friends and family on social media and Skype before they leave also helps children feel more secure about being able to keep in touch with important figures in their life even if they are physically far apart. Sixty per cent of our students said the ability to keep in touch with old friends and family was the main factor which helped them settle in once they arrived in the UK, so it’s clearly a vital focus from the moment families know they are about to be relocated to help minimise anxiety. Keeping in touch with old friends instils confidence to make new friends, which was the biggest pre-departure concern for 44 per cent of new our students, interestingly for both English speakers and those who do not speak English as a first language. Again, good communication both within the family unit, as well as between employees and the sponsoring organisation and a child’s new school, can help minimise these concerns. Employers can help by providing support through written materials, or verbally, where children about to relocate can meet with those who have already experienced an overseas assignment to the destination country, or other experts able to help answer queries and address concerns from an early stage. The right school should be able to provide support programmes to help children,
and in turn their families, make new friends, so finding out about what these are before relocating can help students settle in more readily. One of our most successful programmes is our buddy system where new families are ‘buddied’ with a current family of the same nationality which has children of similar ages. Before the students start, their ‘buddy’ will be in touch and answer any questions they may have before the move, and once they arrive at school, will help them find their way around campus and introduce them to different friendship groups. One reason some students struggle to make new friends is because they feel that by making new friends they are betraying their old ones, so making a friend before they relocate, can act as a bridge between these two situations and ease the transition period. Concerns about school work was also ranked highly by students during the initial weeks and months of relocation, so helping employees find a school that’s the ‘right fit’ for their child before they relocate is important for both academic and personal wellbeing. Working with experienced relocation professionals and providing opportunities for assignees to network with colleagues who have experience of living in the destination country can help employers smooth the transition period and are cost effective, especially considering the cost of delayed assignments or worse still assignment failure. Encouraging employees to highlight any possible stresses early also ensures issues can be dealt with quickly to ease stress. When choosing a new school, many different issues have to be considered, not just whether the school offers the curriculum you want for your child, or extra-curricular activities they enjoy, but how other aspects could impact on family life. The family needs times together to transition from ‘tourists’ in a new location to being active citizens. A school can help provide a community for a newly relocated family which helps them put down roots to thrive in the new location. Starting the process of finding a school as soon as possible and having opportunities to ask for advice before relocating can make a huge difference with issues such as these. This survey shows the benefits can extend to improved performance at work when the family and children issues are resolved, and schools can play a vital role in these areas. To access the full survey - International Relocation: Exploring The Experiences Of Students & Parents please visit www.acsschools.com/about-acs-international-schools/ press-office/acs-research.aspx n Fergus Rose, Head of Marketing & Admissions at ACS International Schools. ACS offers a fully international curriculum for students aged 3-18. www.acs-schools.com 41
The Comard Mondello Nursery A huge thank you to all those who kindly donated to The Comard Mondello Nursery, in loving memory of my late close friend and business partner Assunta, and her husband Fabrice, two children Pierre & Claire and her brother Tony. The nursery has recently been completed, and we are now raising money for desks and chairs. I cannot thank everyone enough who kindly contributed in many ways, and I hope to go out there next year and take many more photos of the young students in their new nursery. Thank you for helping make this amazing tribute to a fantastic family possible. With lots of love, Helen xx
Arts & Antiques A Diversity of American Art Comes to London - Spring 2013 by Abby Cronin
his spring, four of London’s major galleries are exhibiting a remarkably diverse array of American artists’ work. You will find American Indian Portraits by George Caitlin at the National Portrait Gallery, Frederic Edwin Church’s Landscape Oil Sketches at the National Gallery, George Bellows: An American Realist at the Royal Academy of Arts and Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern. Whatever your taste in art, you can easily satisfy your interest and curiosity by heading out to view the innovative work by these exceptional artists. Caitlin’s portraits documented the Native American peoples in the 1830s. Church’s magical mid19th-century landscapes are a vivid record of nature’s wonders. Bellows, a leading member
© George Bellows. New York, 1911. Courtesy of the Royal Academy of Arts
of the Ashcan School in the early years of the 20th century, painted realist visions of urban life, war sketches and life at sea. By contrast, Pop artist Lichtenstein’s post-war work largely portrays contemporary satirical images and sculptures based on his interpretation of 20thcentury commercial and comical sources. Collectively, these artists have given us a rich and varied legacy. The National Portrait Gallery is privileged to be able to host an exhibition of George Caitlin’s series of American Indian Portraits (aka Native Americans or First Nations). Catlin (1796 -1872) was born in rural Pennsylvania and had ambitions to be an ethnographer, a geologist and a painter. He began his artistic career as a painter of miniatures, but with the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 he felt a sense of urgency to document the lives of indigenous peoples, Native Americans, because they represented a vanishing way of life. They were, he felt, a crucial feature of American ‘national art’. He made five trips to the Western frontier regions of the United States in the 1830s where he painted several portraits of American Indians and recorded their manners and customs. Pictured here is Stu-mick-o-súcks, Buffalo Bull’s Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe, whom Catlin found on his trip in 1832 to the mouth of the Yellowstone River. The Blackfoot chief sat for him. It is said that this Plains warrior image contributed to stereotypical representations for all American Indians, an image which has endured to this day. This painting together, with over
sixty exhibits, is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., where it has been housed since 1879. The British Museum has also contributed to the exhibit. Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), one of the major figures of the Hudson River School, promoted and developed the great tradition of American landscape painting. In his passion for making outdoor oil sketches he produced a unique series of informal and spontaneous paintings that captured the natural beauty and wilderness of the Hudson Valley area in upstate New York. As he gained in fame and fortune, he travelled widely, visiting Canada, Ecuador, Jordan and Jamaica; he recorded views of these foreign destinations in the form of oil sketches. Although Church was mesmerised by the extraordinary beauty of nature, he was also conscious that this was a period of intense industrial growth in the United States. He sensed a precarious tension between nature and civilisation and feared the natural wilderness might soon disappear. With this point in mind, his paintings reflect the language of a national landscape, the essence of a yet-unspoiled new nation. Among the 26 small oil sketches and two
© George Bellows. Stag at Sharkey’s, 1909. Courtesy of the Royal Academy of Arts
© Stu-mick-o-súcks, Buffalo Bulls Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe Blackfoot/Kainai, by George Catlin, 1832. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery 43
full-scale paintings in the exhibit, visitors will encounter diverse views of nature. Church skilfully framed natural features in landscape settings; many embody warm tonal sunsets with graceful clouds hovering. In his sketch Rising Sun, the glint of sun rising over a distant mountain range is balanced by a calm, luminescent river in the foreground. Immense icebergs from his voyage to Newfoundland rise gracefully beneath an iridescent sky. He mastered the difficult technique of painting water. Gaze at his vivid large-scale view of Niagara Falls, from the American Side, 1867. You can almost hear the water rushing –falling and crashing to rocks below. Mist and spray hover in the air. Look closely and you can see two people perched on a flimsy wooden platform on the far left side. The painting was sold to the Scottish-American businessman, John S. Kennedy, who presented it to the Scottish National Gallery in 1877. One of Church’s most memorable works was a small oil painting which made a striking patriotic statement. In 1861, only weeks after the outbreak of the American Civil War, he painted a vision of a tattered ‘Stars and Stripes’ set against a spectacular sky at dawn. Entitled Our Banner in the Sky, the cloud formation looks like the American flag flying from a barren tree. Stars shine through a glimpse of blue sky. It quickly caught the attention of the public and Church arranged to have it reproduced as a chromolithograph. It sold hundreds within only a few months. Church’s home, Olana, was built on a hilltop with a magnificent view over the Hudson River valley. Church wrote to a friend, “I am building a house and am principally my own architect.” You can almost see Olana in the distance when you view his oil sketch Clouds Over Olana. The architectural plans for Olana, completed in 1872, were strongly influenced by Church’s preference for mixing Victorian, Middle Eastern and Moorish elements. Described as a Persian fantasy, Olana is as beautiful today as it was when built. It is open to the public and well worth a visit. Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch is a small but highly
© Frederic Edwin Church. Niagara Falls 1867. Courtesy of the National Gallery.
significant exhibit of wilderness landscapes not only of the Hudson Valley but of locales as far afield as Arctic icebergs. Find time to see it in the National Gallery. The sublime wilderness landscapes of Frederic Church fade as we move on into the 20th century. George Bellows’ (1882-1925) art highlights the precarious tension between nature and civilisation. His paintings captured the rapidly changing, often brutal urban landscapes in early 20th century New York City. In 1904, aged twenty-two, he arrived there from Columbus, Ohio where his talent in athletic pursuits such as baseball had been in conflict with his distinct artistic bent. He trained at the New York School of Art and encountered the dynamic artist Robert Henri, who encouraged him to observe all manner of real life surging around him. Before the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the United States was bursting with change. Nowhere was this more apparent than in New York City. Bellows’ images reveal the chaos, power and upheaval driving the
© George Bellows. Forty-two Kids, 1907 . Courtesy of the Royal Academy of Arts
modernisation of the urban landscape. Bellows’ study New York 1911 shows the density of life in a throbbing metropolis. Juxtapose this painting with his studies of building sites. Numerous works captured the excavation of the city. Bellows’ sketches and paintings of Pennsylvania Station under construction are among his most famous. The life of tenement dwellers living in over-crowded conditions on the streets of the Lower East Side is the focus of many canvases. His renowned work, Fortytwo Kids (1907), depicts kids from the streets at play in the East River. Here we see young boys stripped and plunging into the murky river water while others lie about chatting. These urchins passed time without toys, swings or skates, unlike their well-to-do contemporaries. Bellows’ lithographs and watercolours portrayed these subjects vividly. One painting entitled Why Don’t They Go to the Country for Vacation?, (1913) presents a truthful picture of the poorer classes as do Cliff Dwellers,1913 and Paddy Flannigan, 1908. The media at this time printed stories and images of the ‘social problem’ in their midst. Boxing fascinated Bellows. A Stag at Sharkey’s, (1909) features fighters in the ring while a gleeful cigar-chewing audience revels excitedly as they watch the ferocious match. A gritty, dingy back-room atmosphere pervades these early boxing paintings; here is a parable of human force, of violence. Perhaps these images were particularly compelling because boxing was not yet legal in New York State. They convey the visceral, powerful realism, vigour and ferocity that thrived in the maledominated society of the period. He worked on the boxing theme in the years 1907–1909;
in that brief period Bellows became recognised as one of the most talented young artists in New York. As his short career progressed, his subject matter changed from revealing the raw energy and harsh realities of a turbulent, modernising New York City to picnics in Central Park, the coastal shores of Maine, portraits and the carnage of the Great War. These exhibitions are made possible by the Terra Foundation, founded in 1978 and dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. www.terraamericanart.org/ ■ Dates: George Bellows.Royal Academy of Arts. 16 March - 9 June 2013 Through American Eyes: Frederic Church & the Landscape Oil Sketch. National Gallery.6 February – 29 April 2013 George Catlin: American Indian Portraits. National Portrait Gallery. 7 March – 23 June 2013 References: Three Exhibition Catalogues 1. George Catlin: American Indian Portraits. Pratt, S & Carpenter Troccoli, J. National Portrait Gallery in Collaboration with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. 201 2. Frederic Church and The Landscape Oil Sketch. Wilton, A. National Gallery Company, London 2013
© Frederic Edwin Church. Our Banner in the Sky 1861. Courtesy of the National Gallery.
3. George Bellows. Brock, C. Produced by the Publishing Office National Gallery of Art, 2012 Contact: Abby Cronin firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.abbycronin.co.uk
Catlin image Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery© Church images Courtesy: National Gallery © Bellows images Courtesy: Royal Academy of Arts ©
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The American Church In London Revd. John A. D’Elia Senior Minister Of The American Church In London
ne of my all-time favourite films is called “The Best Years of Our Lives.” It was really ahead of its time. The movie tells the story of three soldiers returning from WWII, and the struggles they face as they try to get back into their “normal” lives after the trauma of war. One was a dashing pilot who still has nightmares about friends he lost. One was an infantry sergeant who came back to his family and job in a bank but can’t quite see the meaning in it anymore. The last young man lost his hands in battle, and he has to adjust to his family, his childhood sweetheart, and a new way of living. That’s really what the whole movie was about finding your life again. After the horrors
and death of wartime, how do you come back and live? How do you start over? We’re still in the afterglow of the Easter season. Spring is in the air (hopefully), the days are getting longer, and baseball season is getting underway (OK, I added that last one for myself ). More importantly for Christians, we are in the midst of celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah. After the long season of Lent, where we focus on reflection and repentance, Easter is the season of rebirth of renewal and restoration and rebuilding. This is the time when we are blessed with the invitation to leave behind our failures and failings, and to start all over again. In the next-to-last chapter of the Bible we get a glimpse of what “new” will look like. Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” God is in the business of making things new, and that is very good news. But what does that look like for us? In a movie called “City Slickers,” one character is trying to console his friend, whose life is a bit of a disaster. He reminds him of what it was like when they played baseball as kids when a ball would go out of bounds and the batter would get another go. They called it a “do-over,” a second chance to get it right. His life, the friend told him, was a do-over. He was getting another chance to get it right. The Apostle Paul describes what that means for Christians when he says of himself: “I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” I am free to start over as a child of God nothing from my old life has any hold or claim on me. Christ living in us means that we’re still “us”, just under new management. It’s still us, but it’s also something new and entirely transformed. It’s a reboot. It’s a chance to start all
John A. D’Elia
over again. It’s about redefining our lives as belonging to Christ rather than ourselves. It’s a do-over. The Easter season brings the natural world back from its winter slumber. Flowers bloom, trees sprout leaves that will make shade for the summer, and all around us we see the rebirth of living things in a symphony of sounds, sights and smells. That promise of newness is there for us as well. Of all the messages bundled up in the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, certainly one of them is that nothing no problem, no failure, no condition…even in death nothing can keep God from making us fresh and clean and new again. Is that an Easter miracle? What do you think? Back to those soldiers in “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Each of them finds a way to live and love again, never forgetting their pain, but never being controlled or doomed by it, either. It’s a touching and beautiful story told in a way that made sense to the audience, and one which still communicates a real-life hope, a real-life belief in making all things new. That’s the message of the Easter season. We rarely need reminders of all that can go wrong in our lives, right? But we all need to be reminded as often as possible that no one’s story has to end there. That’s the promise of Easter. May God bless you and yours this Easter season. n
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Useful Numbers EDUCATION - SCHOOLS
ACS International Schools Heywood, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL Telephone: 01932 869721 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.acs-england.co.uk Contact: Fergus Rose Three superb locations close to London, ACS provides a stable environment, high educational standards and a happy social life for relocated youngsters. ISL Group of Schools ISL Surrey Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY Contact: Claudine Hakim Telephone: +44 (0)1483 750 409 ISL London 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Contact: Yoel Gordon Telephone: +44 (0)20 8992 5823 ISL Qatar PO Box 18511, North Duhail, Qatar Contact: Nivin El Aawar Telephone: +974 4433 8600 Website: www.islschools.org Email: email@example.com Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, the International School of London (ISL) Group has schools in London, Surrey, and Qatar. The internationally recognised primary and secondary curricula have embedded language programmes (mother tongue, English as an Additional Language, and second language) which continue throughout the student’s stay in the school. A team of experienced and qualified teachers and administrators provides every student with the opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that 48
respects diversity and promotes identity, understanding, and a passion for learning. TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic program, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualized attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.
IMMIGRATION Legal Services
FRAGOMEN 4th Floor, Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP Contact: Charlotte Slocombe Telephone: +44 (0)20 3077 5250 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fragomen.com As the world's leading provider of immigration legal services and advice, Fragomen has served the immigration needs of clients ranging from individuals to the world’s leading multinational corporations for 60 years. With 36 offices in 15 countries worldwide, Fragomen has the resources and the reach to provide strategic and effective immigration solutions for over 140 countries around the globe.
TRAVELEX INTERNATIONAL PAYMENTS UKForex, 2nd Floor, 48-54 Moorgate, London. EC2R 6EL. Telephone: 0845 609 1356 Website: www.travelex.com/aib Contact: Chris Humphrey – Head of Private Clients Email: ChrisHumphrey@ukforex.co.uk Save money when you make international money transfers For a secure, safe and fast way to perform all your overseas money transfers. We regularly check the rates of major banks and key competitors to ensure we give you the best overall quote on your money transfer – that’s the International Payments Price Promise. With international money transfers to over 50
countries and 24 hour customer service Monday to Friday, it’s easy to see why we are the preferred solution for your international money transfers.
DT MOVING 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.dtmoving.com Contact: Tim Daniells DT Moving is a long established and awardwinning* international moving company. Founded in 1870, we have vast experience in moving Americans to and from the United States and to other worldwide destinations. With a customer satisfaction rating of 96% throughout 2012, we offer a quality service at competitive rates. First class storage facilities are available. *Awarded six global moving awards since 2010.
WESTLETON DRAKE LLP 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF Telephone: +44 (0)20 3178 6041 Fax: +44 (0)20 3178 4083 Email: email@example.com Website: www.westletondrake.com US and UK tax advisors who specialise in assisting Americans living in the UK, and corporations and partnerships doing business in the US and UK.
MASECO Private Wealth Buchanan House 3 St James’s Square London SW1Y 4JU Telephone: +44 (0)20 7043 0455 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.masecoprivatewealth.com MASECO Private Wealth gives peace of mind by providing expert guidance to US families on how to simplify their cross-border wealth management needs. We serve and care for Americans living at home or abroad through the planning and implementation of rational, practical and tax efficient wealth management strategies.
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Improvements in Passport Services Coming To The US Embassy Spring is here, and summer travel is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to renew your passport or apply for your very first one. You will find all of the information you need on our new and improved website http://london.usembassy.gov. Also, beginning April 2, 2013, the Passport Unitâ€™s telephone service will be replaced by an expanded email information service. This will enable us to provide faster, more comprehensive service. If you wish to renew a passport, register the birth of your child, add extra pages to a passport, or ask a question about citizenship, simply email the Consular Information Unit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at LondonPassports@State.gov, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible during office hours. Please note that the Embassy is closed on US and UKl public holidays.
Happy and Safe Travelling!
Published on Apr 15, 2013
The spring 2013 issue of the quarterly magazine for American expatriates living in the UK, American in Britain. Articles in this issue inclu...