Serving the American Community in the UK
THIS ISSUE’S FEATURES INCLUDE: Tax Issues • Eating Out • Wealth Management Days Out With The Family • Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News Travel • Arts & Antiques • Hotel Review • A Letter From Scotland Living in Kensington & Chelsea • Embassy Corner • Reader’s Lives
American In Britain
2 Eating Out 6 Arts & Antiques 10 Hotel Review 12 Travel 14 Tax
16 Wealth Management 19 Living In Kensington & Chelsea 20 American Eye 22 Theatre
24 Days Out With The Family 26 My Love Affair With British Life And Their Food 28 On Joining An Expat Group After 35 Years 30 American Women's Clubs News 34 The Wisley Golf Club In Surrey 36 Readerâ€™s Lives
38 A Letter From Scotland 40 Useful Numbers IBC Embassy Corner
PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott, Telephone: 020 8661 0186 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Director: Damian Porter, Telephone: 01737 551506 Email: email@example.com American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB www.theamericanhour.com
Cover Image: Robert Fairchild & Leanne Cope starring in An American In Paris, at the Dominion Theatre, London. Image credit: Tristram Kenton.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Origination and Printing by Gemini Group
115 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3LB Telephone: 0207 792 5454 Nestled amongst the shops, cafés and businesses of busy Notting Hill High Street is an Italian restaurant, unremarkable in appearance, named ‘Tentazioni’. The restaurant is small and intimate, with simple, comfortable furnishings. The addition of some intriguing pieces of art (all works from the same artist) adorning the walls, makes for a definite talking point if conversation is running dry! The restaurant is owned by Riccardo Giacomini, who took over in 1997 at the original Tentazioni in Bermondsey. Riccardo is also the chef. Authentic Italian cuisine is his passion, and seemingly it runs through his blood; as we hear from the waiter a brief history of Riccardo’s time training in the grand hotels of Italy before making the move to London. Tentazioni translates as ‘temptations’. This seems entirely appropriate as we are faced with a menu that offers a real challenge when it comes to making a decision. To begin we are served a trio of ‘amuse bouches’ from the chef; bite sized morsels of deliciousness - the prefect way to kick start the meal. In the end, I chose a Sardinian Organic Salad starter, whilst my partner opted for the Soup of the day which was an Italian onion soup. The salad was a delicious combination of fregola (a traditional Sardinian pasta) with roasted peppers, sun-dried tomato and thin slices of carasau; a thin, crispy, Sardinian flat bread. It had been explained
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to us that Riccardo cooks all dishes fresh to order; nothing is reheated, or pre-made, and our empty plates were testament to the quality and flavour of the dishes. The onion soup was among the best my partner had ever tasted, and having sampled a little, I had to agree. Keeping with Italian tradition, we followed our starter with a pasta course. My partner followed the recommendation of the waiter and opted for the Tagliatelle Tentazioni: Fresh Egg Tagliatelle with creamy black truffle sauce. I was tempted by the lobster tagliatelle from the ‘Specials’. It’s been a while since I have eaten home-made pastaknocking up a quick pasta with pesto is a staple meal in our house, and takes around 25 minutes from start to finish - but having the ‘real deal’ is quite another experience entirely! The taste and texture of the pasta is quite different from the dried, bagged variety I am so used to. The delicate sweetness of the lobster provided the perfect accompaniment. Knowing that there was another course to follow, I couldn’t manage the generous portion, but my partner gave a sterling effort, and found his tagliatelle with black truffle sauce absolutely worthy of its signature dish status. For the next course, I chose Seabass, served with sautéed potatoes and salad. My partner opted for the ‘Fritto Misto’, a selection of battered fish and seafood served with house fries. It certainly proved a test of our stamina, being again so generous in portion size, but the delicate flavours and freshness of the ingredients were too great a temptation, urging us to eat just a little more, and we did.
The break between courses, as dishes are being freshly prepared, is a welcome chance to appreciate what has been eaten and enjoy the contemplation of what is to come, along with some great conversation of course. In this case, it allowed us the chance to decide that yes, after all, we could manage a dessert! We shared a ‘Tiramisu’, a firm favourite of both of ours, but once again we were delighted by just how different Tentazioni’s Tiramisu is from the alternative version offered by chain restaurants and supermarkets. Incomparable. I am now officially a tiramisu snob! As you’d expect, Tentazioni, offers a full wine list with the perfect accompaniments to Riccardo’s dishes. We enjoyed the house red to complement our meal. I imagine that If you had stepped off the high street by chance into this ‘unremarkable’ looking restaurant, you would be delighted to discover the ‘remarkable’ cuisine within. Tentazioni remains true to authentic Italian cooking, in a way that leaves many so-called Italian restaurants as nothing more than a nod to the country and its cuisine.
Villandry St James
12 Waterloo Place, Mayfair, London, SW1Y 4AU Telephone: 020 7930 3305 When I hear the name Villandry it always makes me think of grand houses in France, so imagine my surprise when investigating this review, that I find that is exactly what it actually is, and is named after Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley that is renown for having the largest walled vegetable garden in France. Villandry has three very different restaurants at present, two in London and one in Bicester Shopping Village in Oxford, and my wife and I visited Villandry St James, near to Pall Mall, on a Sunday lunchtime in February, and rather than having the place to ourselves there was an incredible buzz from the many diners who were availing themselves of the unlimited Prosecco Weekend Brunch (£35), which has proved extremely popular. The St James restaurant is situated on the corner of upmarket Waterloo Place and Pall Mall in an area known for having some of the most impressive architectural buildings in London. The restaurant is split level with the lower level set out in a café style and the other a more stylish art deco restaurant boasting 1970’s style lamps that I know my parents would love. Both levels have soaring ceilings and are bathed in a warm light from the impressively large windows, making it a perfect location to while away a couple of hours with fine wine and good food. Indeed, Villandry’s purpose is
to provide its diners with delicious quality food, ‘fait maison’, at affordable prices with a light and sunny style, in comfortable casual Grand Café surroundings, and these surroundings are certainly ‘Grand’. Villandry opens at 7am for breakfast, providing a dazzling array of breakfast fare, and at another time I will surely come back, but as it was lunch time I focused my attention on the lunch and www.theamericanhour.com
dinner menu which is equally appealing. The starters are what you would expect from a high class French café/bistro, with Spiced Squid with fresh chillis and harissa mayonnaise (£11) and Dressed Crab (£11.50), but my choice was the Salt and Pepper Squid (£11), which had thin and crispy strips of squid accompanied by a lovely homemade crunchy tartare sauce. My wife fancied two of the mains so asked if
they could do a starter portion of the Seasonal Risotto, and like the good restaurant that they are, their kitchen was able to accommodate the request. Risotto on the face of it appears easy to cook, as it is just rice with a few additional ingredients, right? Wrong, risotto, although simple, is actually very hard to do properly, but our portion made us wish that we had just had the larger main portion as the rich and moist mushrooms complemented the just crisp rice to give us a perfect risotto. The main courses are equally enticing and I wanted something I wouldn’t normally choose but that would satisfy my hunger. I scanned the menu and there was only one choice, a Smoked Haddock and Wester Ross Salmon Fishcake with Salmorejo sauce, spinach herb and tomato relish (£16), with a side of Villandry Aspen chips (£6.50), which were light and crispy chips tossed with parmesan and white truffle oil. When I cut through the fabulously crispy outer shell I was rewarded with flaky white haddock interlaced with pink salmon, and the tomato relish was refreshing. This was accompanied with crispy fries subtly flavoured with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. Truly marvellous! My wife opted for the Villandry Burger with cheddar cheese on a sourdough bun served with salsa and chips (£14), and I think this must be one of the best burgers she or I have had. The meat was well-seasoned and so succulent that the juices seeped out into the bun making it delightfully gooey. A little difficult to eat genteelly, but perfect on your taste buds. Villandry also doesn’t disappoint with its dessert offerings, with Irish Coffee Crème Brulee (£6.50), very tempting, but my wife selected the Warm Chocolate Fondant (£7.50), which was a bundle of rich chocolate fudge joy, and I plumped for the Villandry Pudding Platter (£11), which offered a small piece of a number of desserts. This was nice, but I realised that although I got to taste a mouthful of a number of the desserts, in many cases that wasn’t enough, so no more hedging my bets in future and I will just select one. Villandry has an extensive wine list, as you would expect, which caters for all tastes and budgets, and as mentioned it has an unlimited prosecco weekend brunch offering, where staff ensure your glass stays full for the whole two hours. This offer includes a select choice of offerings from the breakfast and dinner menus as well as a cake platter and choices of pastries. As well as prosecco there is unlimited tea, coffee and orange juice. Other special offers include a steak night on Friday (£20), three small plates and a bottle of prosecco for (£26), or two beers for( £18.50), Monday to Saturday between 5 and 7pm, and on Monday you can celebrate the start of the week with Lobster Night where you can get a whole fresh lobster with chips and salad for £24. Villandry St James is a super place to meet up with friends and enjoy good food and fine wine which matches the palatial surroundings, and don’t forget the pastries/cakes as they are totally moreish. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
4 Riverside Walk, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 1QN Telephone: 020 8481 6788 The eating habits of the UK has dramatically changed over the last decade or so, and the usual favourites of pizza, fish and chips and curry have been usurped by a new Asian invasion led by one of my personal favourites, Thai. The reason for its popularity is that is combines exquisite taste with a degree of healthiness. Balance, detail and variety are of paramount significance for all Thai chefs, and what I love so much about Thai food is that although the dishes appear simple, they are in fact highly complex. This complexity takes the form of at least three, and more likely four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish, and the art is how the sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy flavours are mixed together to create that killer dish. Combined with this taste mixture you also get the other senses stimulated with the texture and colour explosions on the plate. I always think a testament to a restaurant’s quality is its longevity, and Busaba Eathai opened its first branch in Soho in 1999, and now 18 years on, there are eleven restaurants in and around London, with further restaurants planned. Busaba is named after a Thai flower, and I won’t insult you by saying what Eathai is a fusion of (think what you do in a Thai restaurant!!), and its philosophy is one I like of a more casual dining venue with a menu devised to feed you with minimal fuss. Eating should be an enjoyable
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experience, and that should not only include the food but also the décor, location and the service, and I can see why Busaba has thrived as I just loved the restaurant in Kingston. Kingston is on the River Thames, and just a stone’s throw from the main shopping area is a delightful terrace running along the bank which is where you will find Busaba Eathai. Each restaurant contains intrinsic sensory elements which are designed to welcome guests and create a congenial atmosphere in which to eat, so there are tranquil water features with floating candles and gerbera flowers, and the aura senses are also stimulated as lemongrass incense fills the air. The wall to ceiling glass windows at the Kingston restaurant also brings the outside in and inside out, creating a feeling that you are dining on the Thames despite being in the warmth of the main restaurant, and follows the traditional Buddist value of Sookjal, helping you to avoid the chaos of everyday life. Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisine’s in the world, and in 2011, seven of Thailand’s popular dishes, more than any other country, appeared on the list of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods in a worldwide online poll. They were: Tom Yam Goong, Pad Thai, Som Tam, Massaman Curry, Green Curry, Thai Fried Rice and Moo Nam Tok, and all of these can be found on the menu. On our visit, I initially selected one of Busaba’s signature dishes Thai Calamari, ginger and peppercorn (£7.75), and loved the contrast between the crispy glaze and the slightly chewy squid, all encased with a slight curry heat. My wife chose Chicken Satay with peanut sauce (£6.25), where a slightly crispy exterior encased
succulent and moist chicken. The second course was much harder to choose as the selection is wider, with dishes from the Bangkok Char-Grill including Tamarind Grilled Duck (£15.50) and Green Curried Grilled Chicken (£11.95), which almost tempted us, but my wife chose the Chicken Butternut Squash Stirfry with cashew nuts and dried chilli (£8.95), and I went for another of Bushaba’s favourites, the Massaman Duck Curry (£11.95). The chicken and butternut squash certainly has a kick to it, but this heat complements the fleshy butternut squash and goes perfectly with the cooling coconut rice (£3.50). I loved this slight deviation of a classic massaman curry, with the thick rich sauce, as it didn’t have too much heat, and it had a lovely hint of hoisin which complemented the duck, and this went perfectly with a classic Pad Thai (£9.50), which had just enough sweetness without being sickly. When looking at the desserts the Asian continent is renown for having very sweet, almost sickly offerings, but here the dishes are sweet but also very tasty. I plumped for the Salted Caramel Chocolate Slice with strawberry coulis (£6.50,) which combined a crunchy chocolate biscuit base with a smooth moreish chocolate ganache. My wife opted for the Banana Fritters (£5.95) where a light crispy batter encased soft fresh banana. Busaba has continued to keep itself at the forefront of this Thai revolution by providing good food in relaxing environments, and continues to develop dishes which will keep it there for many years to come.
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ARTS & ANTIQUES
Bernard Leach, International Potter: The East Asian Influence By Dr Susan House Wade
Fig 1 Bernard Leach in his studio Photo: Leach Pottery, St Ives Bernard Leach (1887-1979) (Fig 1), the famous English studio potter, and arguably, the most widely regarded and influential potter of the 20th century, contributed much to artistic sensibility in Britain. Although casual observation of the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall (Fig 2), would not immediately call this to mind, further examination of the wealth of material on
Fig 2 Leach Pottery, St Ives, 2017 Photo: Author 6
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display there reveals fascinating detail on not only the life and production of Leach, but also on the long line of artists from around the world whose work has been informed by him, such as the American potter, Warren MacKenzie, who taught at the University of Minnesota, and who, himself, has significantly influenced several generations of potters. Born in Hong Kong, Leach spent part of his youth in East Asia, but he was sent to England at the age of 10 to receive a British education. It was assumed that he would enter the banking profession, and he did engage briefly with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, but this was a pursuit that was entirely unsuitable for Leach. He was absolutely elated, then, when he was able to begin studying art at the Slade School of Art in London in 1903. It was from here that Leach embarked on a long and richly rewarding artistic career, which took him from etchings, his first pursuit, to ceramics, for which he is best known. Leach was a great fan of Lafcadio Hearn (18501904), the Irish-Greek writer who resided in Japan for much of his life, and this may have impacted in some way Leach’s decision to return to Japan in 1909. It was there that he eventually came to create pots alongside the Japanese master potter, Shoji Hamada (1894-1978), in the celebrated
pottery town of Mashiko, Tochigi Prefecture. In addition to this Japanese awareness and sensitivity, Leach was influenced by the ceramic production of Song Dynasty China (960-1279), and by Korean pots of the Koryo (918-1392) and Choson (1392-1910) dynasties. He travelled to Korea in 1918 and again in 1935, and he was moved by the aesthetics which he found not only in the ceramic production, but also in other objects which characterised the arts, in general. In 1918, Leach observed (of Korea) that everywhere there was, ‘beauty of line’, and we continue to see this impact evidenced in his descendants’ (son David and grandson John) work today. The spirituality which Leach experienced in Korea was revealed in his artistic production, which originated with some of the designs he found in old Koryo wares, (such as the weeping willow pattern, which is almost a trademark of his work), as well as in his pen and ink drawings of the Korean landscape. According to the Bonham’s sale catalogue, among those objects collected by Leach and sold in September 1998, as part of the estate of his third wife, the American Janet Leach (19181997), were Choson Dynasty water droppers, celadon and stoneware bowls, ‘a small pig iron figure of a mythological feline animal’, and a rectangular wooden chest within which many of the objects were transported to England. All of this material adorned his studio and home in St Ives, where they assumed an almost mythical quality for him, and continued to provide inspiration for his work until the end of his life. Objects collected as personal possessions by Leach endorsed not only the pieces themselves, but Korea as well. The characteristic asymmetry and the slight flaws found in both the potting techniques and in the glazes of these pieces added to their aesthetic appeal, and conformed to traditional Japanese taste, as found in tea ceremony practice. Leach’s Choson Dynasty ‘Spectacular and Highly Important Full-Moon Jar’ (acquired by him at an antique shop in Seoul), and sold by Bonham’s in the 1998 sale, was eventually purchased by the British Museum (Fig 3). It is on display in The Korea Foundation Gallery there at present. Called as such because of its resemblance to a full moon, I have only observed two other jars which approach this one in terms of quality and precision workmanship. One of them is located at the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka, Japan, and the other is in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul. The high profile position enjoyed by Leach meant that he attracted attention to Japanese and Korean arts and crafts, particularly
Arts & Antiques
Fig 3 Full moon jar, Choson Dynasty, Korea c 1600-1800, British Museum Illustration: Holly Maslen within the American and European artistic communities. He and his publications were influential, and the visits he made to Korea with his friends and colleagues, such as Hamada, and Soetsu (Muneyoshi) Yanagi (1889-1961), the philosopher, art critic and primary force behind the Mingei (Folk Art) Movement, played a critical role in the development of the concepts which he was to share with the wider public. Leach met Yanagi in 1909, and they forged a symbiotic relationship which would survive for decades. A recently published book, entitled Soetsu Yanagi and Bernard Leach, Letters-from 1912 to 1959, published by the Japanese Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo in 2014, reveals a detailed history of the dialogue between the two over a period of some 50 years. This includes their exchanges on religion, the arts, politics,
Fig 4 Leach Pottery, St Ives, 2017 Photo: Author www.theamericanhour.com
to name but a few of their areas of common interest and thought. According to Yanagi, and his theory of mingei, or folk art-in order for an object to be strictly ’of the people’, it needed to conform to the following principles: to be 1. Honest to utility and ‘healthy’ in form; 2. Particular about quality; 3. Produced without being forced, artificial or self-imposing; and 4. Conscientious of the user. Leach followed this criteria to a large extent in his own work, and this philosophy continues to guide the potters engaged in ceramic production at the Pottery at present (Fig 4). Leach’s seminal work, A Potter’s Book (1940) (Fig 5), with an introduction by Yanagi, is regarded as one of the most significant potting handbooks of the 20th century. Leach mentions Korea, and the ceramic making technology employed by potters there, often in this 283 page volume. Images of Korean bowls, jars and bottles are featured, as well as a modern stoneware kitchen pot, a diagram of a potter’s hut, and a photographic image of a Korean potter working at a kick wheel. The fact that Korea featured so prominently in this highly relevant potting handbook is important on several levels, not the least of which is the high regard which he afforded Korean ceramic making skill. Evidence shows that it was the Korean potters who originally provided the superior technological expertise to Japanese potters from the 16th century, and perhaps even earlier. When Leach returned to England in 1920, it was Hamada who accompanied him, and together they created the Pottery in St Ives, which continues to thrive as a working pottery at present. It is part of a larger complex, which consists of a Museum (including the Cube exhibition space), Gallery and Shop (Fig 6). Built using Japanese methodology, The Leach
Fig 5 Bernard Leach, A Potters Book, 1940 Pottery was the first in the West to include a fully functioning, East Asian style climbing kiln, and this was in regular use up until the 1970s. This kiln can be inspected close up at present as part of a tour of the site. Interestingly, there was, for many years, an American presence at the Leach Pottery. This took the form of the previously mentioned Janet Leach (nee Darnell) (1918-1997), who was born in Grand Saline, Texas, and who became Leach’s third wife in 1956. The two met at the illustrious Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada and Soetsu Yanagi were present as part of a US tour in 1952, the same tour which included Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they observed indigenous American ceramic production and met with famed potter, Maria Martinez. Leach and Hamada’s presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on the California leg of the tour attracted over 1,000 people to the audience. Janet Leach, however, was a significant potter in her own right, and she set up a working studio in St Ives from the start. Her ceramic production was not influenced to a large extent by that of her husband, as she had studied in a different tradition, both with Hamada in Mashiko and with makers in the Japanese ceramic producing village of Tamba, Hyogo Prefecture (1954-56). She worked at the Pottery for nearly four decades, from her arrival at the time of the marriage, until her death in 1997. After that, the Pottery languished for several years, until extensive renovations began to take place in the early 21st century. Expansion to the site included more kilns, a new studio workshop, an exhibition space and the Pottery Cottage Showroom, where a vast quantity of locally-produced pots are displayed and sold (Fig 7). Both student and apprentice potters come from around the world to live and work in the Leach tradition. At any given time, it is possible to see potters creating objects, side by side, from a whole host of different nations, always mindful of the historical East-West philosophical exchange concepts on which the Pottery was founded. The Cube Gallery exhibition space features a different show every six months, and there are four or five selling exhibitions per year in the www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Fig 6 Leach Pottery, St Ives, 2017 Photo: Author Fig 7 Pottery Cottage Showroom, Leach Pottery, St Ives, 2017 Photo: Author
main Gallery. Scheduled for early to mid 2017 are Clay: That Continuous Material in the Cube, which runs from 25 March to 27 August 2017; and Japanese Connections, a selling exhibition on from 25 March to 11 June 2017. Six or seven potters are regularly on site and producing standard ware, which is sold in the shop, online, and in selected outlets nationwide, such as Seasalt, which also provides an annual bursary for an apprenticeship at the Leach Pottery. In addition, three and five day classes are offered for those who are interested in improving their throwing skills, and also for beginners, who would like to learn the basics. These take place in Leach’s actual studio. It’s also possible to study handbuilding or throwing in evening classes. There is an impressive, ongoing programme of talks, masterclasses, workshops and demonstrations put on by both visiting potters, lecturers and by staff members. Apprenticeships and volunteer opportunities are available, too, and there’s collaborative support for MPhil/PhD research. The Leach Pottery and Sensory Trust are also working together on an arts and wellbeing project to benefit dementia sufferers in the St Ives area. It is worthwhile to check the website for the latest offerings at www.leachpottery.com, and follow them on Facebook at The Leach Pottery and Twitter @leachpottery. Note that there is now the welcome addition of a Resource and Seminar Room, as well as a Library, on site. The Leach Pottery is an absolute must-see in Cornwall, and it can be incorporated with a visit to the Barbara Hepworth Museum, also in St Ives, located not too far away. Hepworth was a highly important 20th century sculptor on an international scale, and her studio and garden have been well preserved. Find out more at www.tate.org.uk. Down on the seafront in St Ives is the just reopened Tate St Ives www.tate.org.uk, where there is a continuous programme of talks and activities, as well as the ongoing exhibited work of major artists. Further reading on Bernard Leach and the Leach Pottery at St Ives: Tony Birks and Cornelia Wingfield Digby. Bernard Leach, Hamada & their Circle. Oxford: Phaidon-Christie’s, 1990. Emmanuel Cooper. Bernard Leach: Life & Work. New Haven and London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Yale University Press, 2003. Bernard Leach. Beyond East and West: Memoirs, Portraits and Essays. London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1978. Bernard Leach. A Potter’s Book. London: Faber and Faber, 1940. Edmund deWaal. Bernard Leach; St Ives Artists Series. London: Tate Gallery Publishing, 1998. Dr Susan House Wade is a design historian, specialising in the exchange of visual cultures of the East and West. firstname.lastname@example.org
American In Britain
Cary Arms, Babbacombe, Torquay, Devon
The one thing in my life that I have learnt, is that in almost every situation the advice that my Dad has given me invariably turns out to be right. Many years ago, my Dad told me to be wary of returning to places that I had been to and had happy memories of, which is based on an experience he and my Mum had when they returned to Athens, only to be sorely disappointed with its deterioration over the intervening years. Therefore, it was with some trepidation on my part, that my wife and I returned the Cary Arms, having visited about 5 years ago having had an amazing time. Thankfully, some places improve with time, and the truly amazing thing that the Cary Arms has done is to retain the things that were special, and to build on them to keep them contemporary, whilst retaining the oldy worldy charm of a building that welcomed Queen Victoria and Prince Albert over 150 years ago. The Cary Arms takes a commanding spot in Babbacombe Bay, overlooking Oddicombe Beach, and one of the few still working funicular railways which links the town of Babbacombe
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with the beach. Located on what is known as the Jurassic Coast, this coast line reaches 95 miles in length, stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset. This area is so important in helping to reveal the Earth’s History, that it was granted World Heritage status in 2001. A number of walks are available from the Cary Arms along this rugged and fascinating coastline, and as befits a place that thinks of everything, the Cary Arms has detailed routes available for guests. The first thing I remembered when we turned off the main road at Babbacombe Theatre, was the very steep road that takes you down to the Cary Arms, and believe me, this isn’t for the feint hearted, but boy is it worth it when you get down it! The second was the board outside the hotel, explaining what wildlife has been spotted over the last month, and it was a pleasure to see that Sammy the Seal is still alive and well after 5 years, and is still being sighted in the surrounding waters. The Cary Arms is, for me, a step up from a usual 5 star hotel, as it not only has the facilities
required for this star rating, it also takes luxury to another level. Nothing is too much for the staff, and they always have a smile on their face, and it’s the other little touches and attention to detail, that elevates this hotel to another level. Those touches include buckets and spades for children when they arrive, a decanter of sloe gin, a stick of rock on your pillows, large fluffy towels, and a lounge for guests with books and games to suit every taste. Since my last visit there has been significant change, with a new £2Million investment which has added additional luxury and pizazz to an already special place. When I last visited the Cary Arms there were 10 luxury bedrooms and three self-catering cottages, but now there are an additional 6 beach huts and 2 beach suites situated right by the sea. The Beach Huts are two tiered, with the bedroom overlooking the lounge area, and have the most amazing views. As an example of the special touches, they have incorporated a porthole which allows the lazier of us to enjoy those panoramic sea views from the sanctuary of the luxury bed. All rooms are
HOTEL REVIEW well equipped with a state of the art TV, Sonos sound system, and well stocked fridges (another quality touch), and the mattress and soft bedspread are so welcoming they guarantee an excellent night’s sleep (if the fresh sea air doesn’t do the job)! This luxury flows throughout the room to the bathroom, with White Company toiletries and fluffy bathrobes, and all but one of the rooms in the main inn have balconies which allow you to enjoy a pre-evening drink whilst looking over the dramatic English coastline. The other significant change since my previous visit is the space age spa and gym complex at the back of the inn. This has the very latest hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam rooms, and an innovative aromatherapy and phototherapy shower, and in keeping with everywhere else has wall to floor glass windows which merges the inside with the generous outside sun deck, so wherever you are you get the feeling of space and light. There are also two therapy rooms specialising in marine based Thalgo treatments (well it is right on the coast). Thalgo treatments are renowned for their incredible results. World leader and originator of the marine spa and beauty trend for over 50 years, Thalgo harnesses the riches of the sea so you can benefit from powerful healing, revitalising and rebalancing properties vital for health and well-being. The food at the Cary Arms matches the quality of the property and the level of service, and has built up a deserved reputation with locals and
tourists alike, (in fact it is recommended in the Good Food Guide and in the Michelin Eating Out Guide), and serves fresh local produce in a simple but stylish way, in the relaxed and cosy bar area. Specials are determined every day, and make full use of the abundant seafood available, and mix well with the usual menu, including a succulent Wild Mushroom, Pea and Ham Risotto and a rich and warming Steak and Otter Ale Pie. My wife enjoyed the risotto so much she chose it both nights, and then declared the fried bread at breakfast to be the best she has ever had. There is a children’s menu for younger diners, and a delicious dessert menu. Dining can, in warmer months, be outside on the extensive sun decks,
and there is nothing better than watching the surfers whilst supping one of the many local ales. The Cary Arms is a true gem in a delightful part of the UK and I am so glad I didn’t take my Dad’s advice this time, as we were as pampered and spoilt from the moment we arrived to the moment we left, which is exactly how we remembered it. Nothing is too much trouble, and the little touches show that so much thought is put into every stay, and the new additions have enhanced an experience which I didn’t think was possible. For further information please visit www.caryarms.co.uk
American In Britain
Jardin des Douars, Essaouria, Morocco
Less than a twenty minute drive from Essaouria Airport in Morocco, and up an unmade, dusty road, almost in the middle of nowhere, is an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the form of the hotel Jardin des Douars. The hotel was opened just over three years ago, and is privately owned by three couples, one of whom run this hotel, which may be why the hotel has such a friendly, personal feel to it. The gardens surrounding the property are what first make you feel like you are in a very special place, as they are beautifully kept and are abundant in their numbers and species of plants. On the way from the airport our driver told us about the protected forests of argan trees which lined the roads, whose fruit yields Essaouira’s “gold”: argan oil. Argan oil has subtle properties scientifically recognised for their effects on skin and beauty and many botanists have tried to plant argan trees around the world, all the way to Asia. However, all attempts have failed, so seemingly the tree prefer its native land of Essaouira to all others. As you enter the property, there are three stunning villas, each with four bedrooms, that are available to rent, and believe me, are breathtaking, and the outdoor areas are perfect, with large swimming pools, comfortable, padded sun loungers, and their own beautiful gardens, just right for family holidays or trips with a group of friends. Each villa has its own staff member, who will come in every morning and make breakfast, and can then also cook dinner for you at an extra charge, or you can choose to eat in the hotel, or cater for yourselves in the well-equipped kitchen. We were told that there is a well stocked supermarket in Essaouria itself, which is about a fifteen minute drive from the hotel. Driving is very safe in this area, so you can either hire a car or take the shuttle or a taxi. The hotel itself is built in the Moroccan style, with rustic, terracotta walls, floor tiles and bedrooms which all have en suite bathrooms and their own private outdoor space. Some of these spaces are more private than others, and some rooms have rooftop terraces. All the buildings are no more than two stories high, and are built on different levels, so they are not imposing at all, and blend well with the ambience of the entire hotel. The bathrooms have showers, and some have large, tiled baths, that do take quite a long time to fill up, as they really are large, but well worth the wait if like me, you are a bath lover! The towels aren’t the usual soft fluffy type, but traditional cloth which adds to the authenticity of the hotel. The Jardin des Douars has two restaurants, one for families, with a large glass tiled wall looking out on to beautiful scenery, and a www.theamericanhour.com
comfortable communal area around the open fire, whilst the other adult only restaurant, which offers the same menu, is a quieter, more intimate atmosphere. There is also a fabulous outdoor terrace that is used for lunchtimes, and I am sure is popular in the summer, and would be a great place to enjoy a drink whilst chatting to fellow guests, before enjoying the Moroccan cuisine. Each evening there is a set menu on offer, as well as the à la carte menu, and this is the same for lunchtimes, although the menus are different. Breakfast is taken in the family restaurant, and is continental in style, offering cereals, cold meats, cheese, jam, and then there are four extra options to choose from the menu, including Moroccan pancakes, French Toast, Eggs and Omelettes. There are two immaculate swimming pools at the hotel, one for families and the other adults only, and both have a sunbathing terrace with thick sun loungers and the occasional waiter service should you require a drink. At around 4pm, Moroccan tea and cake are served to guests by the pool, which incidentally is heated
to a very acceptable level! The hotel does have a spa which offers the traditional Hamman treatment, but as I had a sun tan and didn’t want to lose it, I had a sports massage which was expertly done by one of the masseurs in a candlelit room that was beautifully scented with shafts of daylight shining through tiny holes in the wooden windows, creating a very relaxing and calming atmosphere. There is a shuttle service or taxi service into Essaouria, should you wish to go shopping or dine in one of the restaurants, and the hotel can also organise picnic lunches to the beach or waterfall. Flights to Essaouria are run by Easyjet from Luton Airport every Tuesday and Saturday, and take just over 3 hours. We spent a very pleasant three nights at the hotel, which, if you are looking for peace and relaxation, is a perfect venue, whether you are going with the family or just on your own. For further information please visit www.jardindesdouars.com
TAX ISSUES How UK’s New Investment Tax Rules Will Impact US Taxes The UK recently changed how it will tax your investment income – primarily dividends, capital gains, and interest income. The changes may affect how much tax you’ll owe on your US returns. The critical changes that began on April 6, 2016, were: • The UK will not tax the first £5,000 of dividends that you receive during the UK tax year • The capital gains tax rate (CGT) is reduced from 18% to 10% for basic-rate taxpayers, and 28% to 20% for higher rate taxpayers. However, no changes were made to the amount of the CGT tax-free allowance, which remains at £11,100. The CGT rates also remain the same for gains from residential property • The first £1,000 and first £500 of savings interest income from UK-based accounts will be tax-free for basic-rate taxpayers and higher-rate taxpayers, respectively.
UK Dividend Allowance For US tax purposes, worldwide income includes all dividend payments. Even with the UK’s £5,000 allowance, US taxpayers must still report all dividends as fully taxable income on their US returns. Furthermore, although HMRC does not tax dividends on shares from an ISA, those dividends are still fully taxable on US returns. Before 2016, the UK taxed dividends under the dividends tax credit system. When UK taxpayers received dividends, notional tax was attributed to the receiving taxpayer. This notional tax was not creditable through the foreign tax credit on the US return, but any additional taxes you paid on your UK return were creditable. However, now that the first £5,000 of your dividends are tax free in the UK this may have the effect of lowering offsetting tax credits on your US return. This could potentially increase the amount of US tax you will owe, because the dividends you earn in the UK will still be fully taxable on your US return. However, higher rate taxpayers, or taxpayers receiving large dividend amounts through a Pvt. Ltd., could potentially benefit from owing less tax on their US return under the new system. There is also the possibility of an additional 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax on your dividends if your income is over a certain amount in the US. If this tax applies, you can’t offset it with the foreign tax credit.
Decrease In CGT Rate While the decrease in CGT rates will benefit taxpayers on their UK returns, it may have a different effect in the US. If your capital gains are taxed at a lower rate in the UK, this decreases the amount of foreign taxes that are creditable on your US return. 14
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Alternatively, even though you may be paying a bit more out-of-pocket on the US side, overall your effective tax from both the US and UK side may actually decrease due to the preferential rates you receive for capital gains held longer than a year in the US, and the new CGT system the UK has implemented.
The UK recently changed how it will tax your investment income - primarily dividends, capital gains, and interest income. The changes may affect how much tax you’ll owe on your US returns. Interest Allowance Another UK change was that up to the first £1,000 of interest income from UK-based accounts will be tax-free for basic rate taxpayers, and the first £500 will be tax-free for higher-rate taxpayers. Importantly, this personal savings allowance does not apply to ISA accounts. This would mean that if you have interest income from an ISA account, that interest will still be tax-free and won’t count toward the allowance. You would additionally still be able to exempt £1,000 or £500, based on your tax rate, from non-ISA accounts. However, the US will still be able to tax this interest income even if the allowance applies on your UK return, potentially causing a liability.
US Taxation Of ISAs ISAs are a popular investment and savings vehicle for US taxpayers living in the UK. These accounts allow diverse investments, such as simple interest-bearing accounts or stocks and shares. While US taxpayers report the interest ISAs as interest income on their US returns, it’s a different story for other types of ISAs. If your ISA holds mutual funds or unit trusts, these investments will be classified as passive foreign
investment companies (PFICs). PFICs not only carry adverse tax consequences from the US side, they also create additional reporting requirements and compliance costs. Because of the complexity of PFIC investments, it is critical to discuss these investments with not only your financial advisor, but your tax advisor as well.You want to make sure that these investments are providing you the best overall economic benefit.
Remittance Based vs. US Taxation The US taxes its residents on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live. The UK taxes its residents in different ways. US expats living in the UK commonly fall under the UK’s remittance-based system.This system doesn’t tax the foreign income and gains of UK residents who are domiciled outside the UK (meaning, they are official permanent residents of another country) unless one of the following rules apply: • The amount of foreign income or gains is more than £2,000 in the UK tax year, and • The amounts are transferred to a UK bank account. Even if you earn more than the £2,000 amount the remittance based system can still apply, although there are additional tax and compliance considerations to weigh. So, while you may not end up owing any UK tax on amounts earned from your US brokerage and savings accounts, you can expect to potentially owe tax in the US on this income. This is so even when you pay more tax on your other UK income than you do in the US, as we discuss in the next topic.
Foreign Tax Credit Categories Because of the variances between the US and UK tax systems, you could end up owing tax in both nations on the same income. One method that can help alleviate this double taxation on a US return is the foreign tax credit (FTC). Essentially, the FTC reduces US taxes on foreign-sourced income. This includes all categories of income, including earned income, interest, capital gains, dividends, etc. Furthermore, if you file Form 1116 along with your US return, the FTC can also generate carryovers if only some of the foreign taxes are credited on that year’s return. An important note about the FTC is that this credit breaks income into different categories, and the excess foreign taxes from one category cannot be applied against another category. For example, suppose you are taxed only in the US
Because of the variances between the US and UK tax systems, you could end up owing tax in both nations on the same income.
Mohitindervir Sandhu is an Enrolled Agent as a Senior Tax Support Analyst with H&R Block Expat Tax Services. As a member of the training, quality assurance, research and support team, his expertise in international tax planning and compliance helps tax advisors prepare complex tax returns and resolve challenging tax issues. H&R Block Expat Tax Services is a highly specialised team of tax attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents whose singular focus is expat tax preparation for Americans abroad. Remember that due to the complexity of US tax reporting for expats and its highly fact-specific nature, this article is general in nature.
For further information visit www.hrblock.com/expat-tax-preparation
on dividends from Royal Dutch Shell and taxed in both countries on wages from employment in the UK. For the UK wages, you will claim the credit through general category FTC. If you cannot utilise all the credit from the UK taxes on your wages, you cannot then use the excess tax amount to apply against your US tax liability on the dividends which are classified under a passive category for FTC purposes. Planning ahead for these types of tax changes is a critical topic you should discuss with your tax advisor. By doing so, you can continue to maintain a strong rate of return on multinational investments.
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WEALTH MANAGEMENT Challenges Facing US Citizens Living In The UK US citizens living in the UK face a number of complex challenges when it comes to allocating and investing assets. Not only do you have reporting obligations in two jurisdictions that require consideration, but you also need to take into account conflicting tax considerations in building a tax-efficient investment portfolio to suit your financial needs. Below we discuss some of the challenges that are important to understand, in order to develop optimal wealth planning strategies.
Rules And Regulations US connected individuals living in the UK not only have reporting obligations to HMRC but also to the IRS. The US taxes the worldwide income and capital gains of all US citizens regardless of where in the world you live. In addition to annual tax filing obligations, the US Bank Secrecy Act requires that every US citizen, Green Card holder or resident alien must file an annual report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (more commonly called FBAR or FinCEN Form114) if you have a financial interest in (or signatory authority over) foreign accounts in aggregate worth $10,000 or more on any one day during the tax year. This includes US beneficiaries of foreign trusts. The passing of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act in the US and its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) provisions were set up in 2010 with the explicit aim of tackling offshore tax evasion. The Act requires all Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) to report all significant accounts held by US taxpayers to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). So, in addition to the selfreporting mechanism of annual tax return filings, the IRS receives reports from various jurisdictions outlining foreign account information related to US individuals. The UK’s previous introduction of a ‘stay-related’ threshold (resident for seven of nine years) automatically attracts UK income tax residency status. Once you are resident for more than seven tax years, a UK resident non-domicile individual has to pay either an annual levy to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to continue paying tax on a remittance basis, or UK tax must be paid on all worldwide income and gains as it arises each year. Beginning 6 April 2017, anyone resident in the UK for more than 15 out of the last 20 years will no longer have a choice to pay the annual Remittance Basis Charge and will be required to pay tax on an arising basis. The vast 16
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majority of Americans living in the UK elect to pay tax on an arising basis anyway and are therefore taxed by the UK on their global portfolios.
US citizens living in the UK face a number of complex challenges when it comes to allocating and investing assets. Tax Issues When dealing with the taxation of your global portfolio it is important to know how investments are viewed in both jurisdictions from a tax perspective. Investing in non-US regulated collective investments such as offshore Exchange Traded Funds, Unit Trusts and Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) will cause US individuals to fall foul of the IRS’s Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) rules. PFICs are taxed aggressively by the IRS and all gains may be subject to taxes and penalties of up to 100% of the growth in value of the investment. Utilising UK-based savings arrangements such as Individual Saving Accounts (ISAs), investment bonds, and Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) may have unattractive US tax consequences for US citizens resident in the UK. ISAs are not a recognised tax wrapper in the eyes of the IRS, investment bonds give rise to PFIC issues and the US tax consequences of SIPPs can be complex. The way the IRS classifies UK pensions is a complex and grey area often requiring advice from a qualified tax adviser. Most SIPPs would be classified in the US as ‘foreign trusts’. As a ‘foreign trust’, annual growth within a SIPP is exposed to US taxation. Fortunately, the UK has a treaty with the US that may allow the US taxpayer to treat the SIPP as a Foreign Pension and thus the growth in value will be tax deferred until distribution. The US-UK treaty may also protect the growth in company pension arrangements from becoming US taxable. Additional US trust reporting may arise for individuals with pensions as well. Many US citizens may consider using a
QROPS as a potential pension structure. However, care should be taken as the transfer of assets from a UK pension to an offshore QROPS is usually considered a US taxable event, and certain QROP structures may also not be covered by the valuable treaty protection on any future growth in value. From a UK perspective, HMRC classifies the growth of most US Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) as Offshore Income Gains (OIG) unless the fund has gone through the process to gain UK reporting status. If the fund does not have UK reporting status then the growth is taxed at the individual’s marginal income tax rate rather than at capital gains tax rate. This would mean being taxed at either 20%, 40% or 45% on all gains made on their portfolios as opposed to 10% or 20%. Additionally, it can mean the difference between being able to utilise the UK capital gain allowance each year. This can be exacerbated if the foreign exchange rate moves in an unfavourable direction. The net result is that there is a much larger gross UK tax liability for Americans who own US Mutual Funds or US based ETFs that do not also have UK reporting status.
Investment Considerations It is essential to appreciate that Americans are taxed on a worldwide basis, irrespective of where income and gains arise. Coupled with the various historical and current changes to the domiciliary rules in the UK, this creates an additional set of challenges for US citizens living and working in the UK. Their investments need to be risk-managed, currency-sensitive and tax-compliant. There are a number of key considerations in developing an appropriate investment strategy and it is important that they are not looked at in isolation. * Are any of the current investments US Mutual Funds and possibly taxed at income tax levels in the UK? * Are any of the current investments considered PFICs for US purposes? * Are US education (529) plans structured appropriately for UK residents? * Have appropriate tax wrappers been used to ensure that the currency of assets matches the client’s long-term liabilities? * Are excess foreign tax credits being used effectively? * For couples with multiple nationalities, are assets being structured in a way to tax advantage of opportunities available in both tax jurisdictions?
WEALTH MANAGEMENT * Have wealth plans been developed with an understanding of legacy plans for US connected families? There are many reasons why Americans living in the UK should seek out the advice of an experienced wealth manager who understands your unique circumstances and is authorised and regulated to give advice in the UK and the US. It is extremely difficult for investment advisers to adequately advise US citizens if they are not fully aware of the intricacies of US investment tax law, retirement planning and estate planning. Finding an adviser who is authorised and regulated by not only the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK but also by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, can allow you to navigate the complex US-UK waters and leave you with a level of comfort that you have implemented an optimal strategy to meet your needs.
Risk Warnings And Important Information The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. The above article does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individuals and is not to be construed as advice.You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. MASECO LLP trading as MASECO Private
Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. MASECO Private Wealth is not a tax specialist. Andrea Solana is Head of Advanced Planning at MASECO Private Wealth where she helps to provide financial planning and wealth structuring advisory services to US expatriates in the UK and British nationals in the US. Andrea spent the first 9 years of her career with a well-known Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she gained considerable experience advising high net worth individuals with multi-jurisdictional financial interests to design and implement strategies for tax-efficient and risk-managed asset growth. She has written numerous white papers regarding fundamental financial planning and investment strategies for US connected individuals and has previously been a speaker on financial planning topics at numerous places including both The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Andrea graduated from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management and completed her MBA at Imperial College London. Andrea holds her UK Investment Advice Diploma and US Series 65 license.
It is extremely difficult for investment advisers to adequately advise US citizens if they are not fully aware of the intricacies of US Investment tax law.
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American In Britain
Living In Kensington & Chelsea
Living In Kensington & Chelsea
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, situated north of the River Thames in South West London, is one the most popular areas to live in London. The area became an epicentre of culture in the swinging sixties with many legendary bands and acts calling it their home before later becoming the birthplace of the punk movement by the mid 70’s. Whilst this was a defining time for the area, it has always been enriched with history dating back to the pre Tudor era. The Kings Road is, and always has been the main artery of Chelsea, while High Street Kensington is considered the heart of Kensington, both of which are home to high street and high end brands as well as some of London’s most exclusive bars, Michelin star restaurants and elite nightclubs, frequently visited by the top celebrities. Sloane Square, South Kensington and High Street Kensington are the main tube station and are served by the district and circle lines. Over the years the borough has been the home of an array of famous artists, scientist’s and novelists, as well as the Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself. Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula lived in the quiet town until his death, as did Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Having been home to such influential and prestigious residents over the past few hundred years has only increased the area’s exclusivity and it is today considered one of the wealthiest areas in London to reside. For example, Sloane Street in Chelsea is now catching up with Bond Street as a premier www.theamericanhour.com
shopping destination, and is home to some of the world’s most couture brands such as Chanel, Dior and Cartier. Kensington & Chelsea is home to some of London’s most stunning architecture. From quintessentially British Edwardian houses, to redbrick art deco mansions blocks to the most expensive streets in Britain. The area offers a real variety of housing style which is very unique to such a small borough in London. The area is littered with Grade II listed houses, some of which have not been internally altered for a number of years, adding an almost historic feel to the neighbourhood. The majority of the prestigious streets in the area have access to private communal gardens, and only people who live in these streets can access these communal areas, and throughout the year there is always a large community spirit where people gather in them to celebrate all sorts of occasions. Residences include stucco fronted Victorian houses located north of the Kings Road in some of London’s most esteemed addresses, to the smaller, quaint mews houses, located on stunning cobbled streets. As you move further down through the borough and towards the River Thames, the property slightly alters and you are met with more Grade II and III listed properties, some of which wouldn’t look out of place in a more countryside setting, and old red brick mansion blocks which boast large lateral living spaces. Prices for rental in the area vary, one bed are usually marketed from £400pw upwards,
two bedroom properties tend to go for £700pw upwards, and for three bedrooms you would be looking to spend £1000pw upwards. As you move onto larger properties dependant on whether they are houses or flats the prices become very wide ranging. Whilst you could get a 4 bedroom mews house for £3000pw, a four bedroom Victorian stucco fronted house could be more likely to start at £5000pw. Kensington and Chelsea is also home to a large selection of primary and secondary schools. The most notable primary schools in the area are Eaton House, Hill House and Sussex House. The most sought after secondary schools in the area are Moore House and Francis Holland. You should consider the catchment areas very carefully before finding a new home as places within the schools are very competitive. International travel from the area is very easy, as you have good links to Victoria Station which houses the Gatwick Express and Paddington which has the Heathrow Express, both of which are easily accessible on the District and Circle lines. Harrods Estates covers the area with both an office on Kensington Church Street and on Fulham Road. Contact: Ed Woolgar, Lettings Director HARRODS ESTATES, 82 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1ER Telephone: Direct: +44 (0) 20 7225 6602 Email: email@example.com www.americaninbritain.co.uk
American Eye Judith Schrut talks with Stuart Milk Stuart in the UK for LGBT History Month 2017, photo by Dan Vo
Stuart Milk is a prominent American civil rights and LGBT activist, nephew of the late Harvey Milk and founder and President of the Harvey Milk Foundation. As a broadcaster, speaker, writer and campaigner, Stuart works alongside LGBT and civil rights organisations around the world. On behalf of his uncle, he recently accepted the highest US civilian honour, the Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama.
Welcome to American in Britain Magazine. We understand you visit the UK often - what brings you here this time?
I’ve been here for LGBT History Month 2017 - The Milk Foundation partners with Schools Out UK for this annual event, which I think is really the best in the world, with dozens of events, hundreds of participants and 15 different hubs around the country.
What have you most looked forward to on this visit? One highlight I always look forward to, wherever I go, is visiting schools and speaking to kids. I believe that’s where everything starts and that’s where our future is. I love their responses. In the UK in particular I see what I 20
American In Britain
Stuart Milk receives the Medal of Honor from President Obama, the White House, photo courtesy of Harvey Milk Foundation
call “the equality generation”. They’ve known nothing other than equality as a right. And that’s wonderful. But it’s important to teach them about some of the struggles too. History, as President Obama would say, doesn’t move in a straight line, so we need to know history to see a path for the future, both in the bright days and in the dark days. For example, what happened with the assassination of my uncle Harvey was very dark, but what has eventually resulted is very bright.
Your Uncle Harvey clearly had a huge influence on you and many others. Why? Well, you know, I’m LGBT myself, and my uncle
was my touchstone to my own authenticity. When I was young, I hated the fact I was LGBT because of the environment at that time. It was illegal, it was seen as mental illness, there were no gay characters in movies or TV. But I could talk to my uncle about anything. When I was around 12, he gave me a book called Seven Arrows, about American Indian traditions, and he wrote in it, “You, with all your differences, are the medicine that will heal the world even when the world doesn’t recognise that.” That became my life compass and still is.
Please share with our readers an inspirational moment in your own life. The year after Harvey was killed, 1979, I was at university in Washington DC. I had just come out. I was asked to speak there at the first memorial event. When I showed up, there were a handful of people for the memorial, and around 300 hundred religious protesters from the AME, an Afro-American evangelical church. It was really shocking for me. Suddenly, this very large black woman grabbed my hand and said, “You’re the nephew, aren’t you?” I guess even then I looked similar to Harvey. I thought I was going to get a dressing down. Instead, she turned to me and said, “My name is Dr Maya Angelou.”She grabbed my hand, faced the
american eye crowd of protesters and belted out: “I am gay. I am lesbian. I am black. I am white. I am Christian. I am Jew. I am Native American. I am human!” And she just stared at them. She was not so well known then, and at first I had not known who she was. But they knew, and they were very excited. They put down their protest signs, left them right there, turned around and got back on their buses. And we went ahead with our memorial service. It was such a vivid moment.
You’ve been here to promote LGBT History Month and that’s clearly very focused. When you have a completely free day off for yourself, how do you like to spend it? I love coming to the UK. I enjoy going to brilliant free museums like the British Museum: I love being able to see the world in one building. I like walking here. Often I get lost because some of the streets don’t make sense. But sometimes I like that. I’ll always walk if I can, although as an American, I really appreciate the signs saying ‘Look Left’ or ‘Look Right’, because I always seem to look the wrong way! I love all the open spaces, even when it’s cold out, where people are interacting, people are connecting. London’s Hyde Park is one of my favourites. And this is the best place in the world to get a haircut! Ted Baker, for instance, has great walk-in grooming salons. We don’t have anything like that in the US.
Some say these are particularly challenging times. But the abiding spirit of your uncle was positive. What would he have said? My uncle would say “you can’t live on hope alone but you can’t live without it”. We may have dark times coming around the world, including places we didn’t expect to see it. But we have some light too. For instance, due to social media, hope can spread easily across boundaries on a global scale far easier than in my uncle’s day, so rays of light can reach into dark places.
with Harvey’s message: that there’s always a positive to life, that we can change things, that we can take everyday conversations and make them into something important and meaningful. So, this dinner party would have lots of conversation, and perhaps Keith Jarrett playing piano in the background. To eat? A simple spread of fresh bread, cheese and fresh vegetables would be perfect. Stuart Milk has been speaking at LGBT History Month events around the UK; further information at www.milkfoundation.org and www.schools-out.org.uk.
Here at American in Britain we like to promote international relations. Tell us who you’d invite to your fantasy cross-country dinner party, living or from the past. There are lots of people I’d like to have. Uncle Harvey, of course, along with Maya Angelou, Nina Simone and Queen Elizabeth I. I’d also invite Nobel Prize-winning writers, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Octavio Paz, and two inspirational young rights activists I’ve known, Hungarian Milán Rózsa and Cesar Parra from Peru. I can really relate to people who bring forth a world vision that’s open, inspiring and collective, even during casual conversation. This connects
Photo courtesy of the Harvey Milk Foundation, photo credit Brook Fifer
Imelda Staunton in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Credit Johan Persson
Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker
‘Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf’ At The Harold Pinter Theatre From the moment Imelda Staunton, as Martha, comes on stage bellowing “What a dump”, we know we are in for a bumpy ride. Her husband George, played by Conleth Hill, calls her constant loudness “braying”, which actually seems more suitable. Martha is a woman on fire in every respect: unsettled, twitchy, longing, ready to burst and very, very angry. As she and George, who gives as good as he gets, spar and joke and tussle all within the first ten minutes of the play, we realise this is an unusual relationship. They’ve just come from a very boozy party at the house of Martha’s father, who is president of the university at New Carthage (a symbolic and fictional town in New England) where George is a History professor. While Martha tries to remember the Bette Davis movie from which her quote came, she uses it to express all of her regrets in having married George, whom she considers a massive failure, a “simp”, so insignificant that “I swear if you existed I’d divorce you.” She also announces that despite the late hour, she has invited over a young, good looking professor and his wife, “a mousy little type without any hips”. George mentions to Martha that she mustn’t “start in on the bit about the kid”, a mysterious warning we learn more about later. When the guests arrive 22
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a few minutes after, both seemingly squeaky clean and attractive, standing at the door like lambs to the slaughter, they are greeted with instant rudeness which is then joked away. Nick and Honey, whose names are never mentioned, are newly arrived at the university and eager to make influential friends. Nick is clearly wary from the start, but Honey is blithely unaware and also a bit drunk from the party. Despite this, the drinking continues unabated through the night as we see George attempt to humiliate the overconfident Nick, while Martha tries to seduce him and humiliate George. When Martha takes Honey on a tour of the house and tells her about their son, things take a turn for the even worse. George and Martha proceed to not only tear each other apart but their guests as well, in what they see as an inevitable game that must be played. Imelda Staunton is an extraordinary actress, by turns ferocious and sexy as Martha, who cannot get over her disappointment in being married to George, a man she loves despite his failure to amount to anything. Miss Staunton has an ability to transform herself in every role she takes on, whether on stage or screen, and the skill to deliver every line of dialogue as though it has just occurred to her. Martha is a gift of a role to one of the finest British actresses of our time and Miss Staunton’s performance is worth the price of admission alone. However, the whole ensemble was excellent and deserving of praise. Conleth Hill, familiar to fans of Game of Thrones,
was outstanding as George, a man whose only joy in life seems to come from manipulating other people. Although at times we feel sorry for him, especially after Martha’s frequent stinging criticisms, Mr Hill plays George as a man with a vicious sense of humour who would cry if he weren’t constantly joking. He is intent on destroying everything around him as he will never have the life he wanted. Luke Treadaway was a strong presence as the handsome Nick, a man so sure of his own place in the world that he is shell-shocked at being uprooted and turned sideways by the machinations of George and Martha. He starts out very smug and slightly condescending to George, convinced that his youth and field of knowledge as a biology professor on the forefront of discoveries makes him far superior to a paunchy, washed up history professor. We only feel pity for him when George happily blurts out Nick’s secrets about his own difficult marriage. Imogen Poots, making her stage debut, plays Honey as a naïve, oblivious child who occasionally shows surges of fury and rebelliousness. Her drunken dance to Beethoven,“I dance like the wind!” is hilarious, but also shows that she has hidden depths which are never allowed to be revealed. Edward Albee is known for writing unsettling plays; this production of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ shows it has not lost the power to shock a contemporary audience with its brutality, scathing wit and caustic dialogue. According to
THEATRE the programme, the play was denied a Pulitzer Prize in 1962 for being too“filthy”. Despite the vintage costumes and set, this play could be set in the present; it has not dated at all. Much of this is due to the skill of the actors but it is
a masterpiece by one of America’s greatest playwrights. This production is also extremely funny, a bold choice by the director, James Macdonald, playing what could be searing drama for dark comedy. It certainly pays off
as the audience laughed steadily through the first two acts at George’s non-stop barbed witticisms and clever insults. At three hours, it is a long evening, but well worth it for this superb production.
The full cast in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Credit Johan Persson
WIN ONE OF FIVE PAIRS OF TICKETS TO SEE SPRING
y in the UK
Our cover star, Robert Fairchild (dancing with his co-star Leanne Cope) plays Jerry Mulligan in the West End version of An American in Paris. Robert trained at the School of American Ballet before becoming an apprentice with the prestigious New York City Ballet in 2005. After becoming a member of the Company, he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer in 2009. Robert made his Broadway debut in 2015, originating the role of Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, the Astaire Award for Best Male Dancer and the Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. Other credits include Mike in the Hollywood Bowl’s 2016 production of A Chorus Line, and Bill Calhoun in Roundabout Theater Company’s benefit performance of Kiss Me Kate on Broadway. LUDE: TURES INC ement UE’S FEA alth Manag n’s Clubs News THIS ISS Out t We an Wome Scotland t Eating tAmeric er From t A Lett Tax Issues s t Theatre Review der ’s Live Family t Hotel With The ner t Rea iques Cor Ant sy & s Days Out bas tArt t Em tTravel & Chelsea ton UK Sports Kensing Living in
An American in Paris is now on at the Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road. For further information about An American in Paris, or to book tickets, please visit www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk
COMPETITION To enter our competition to win one of five pairs of tickets to see An American in Paris, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 April. Please be sure to put AN AMERICAN IN PARIS in the email subject. Terms and Conditions: 5 pairs of tickets, valid for Monday - Thursday performances. Tickets to be used by 31 May 2017. Travel and accommodation not included. The winners will be notified by email.
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY
Westminster Abbey Coronation-Chair © Dean and Chapter of Westminster.
Westminster Abbey With so many kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains, Westminster Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. Every year the Abbey welcomes over one million visitors who want to explore this wonderful 700-year-old building, and after many years since my last visit, I was excited to return with my family. Of course, it was busy on a Saturday midmorning, but fuelled with coffee and pastries, the kids (boys aged 11 and 14) were keen to see this establishment we have passed by so many times, seen in so many movies, and have heard so much about. We had pre-downloaded the Westminster Abbey app for the kids to follow, and upon entry we also picked up the self-tour audio packs. The narration, by Jeremey Irons, is very well done, and well-paced with time to stop, reflect and appreciate the vast wealth of history surrounding you. Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day. The present building dates mainly from the reign of King Henry III. In 1245 he pulled down the eastern part of the 11th century Abbey, which had been founded by King Edward the Confessor 24
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and dedicated in 1065. In the cloisters the Pyx chamber and the Undercroft still remain from Edward’s Church. Each side of the door into the Pyx masons marks can be seen on the walls. It is hard not to be amazed by this stunning gothic building, inside and out. The Abbey is a treasure house of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artefacts, and it is also the place where some of the most significant people in the nation’s history are buried or commemorated. Taken as a whole, the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom. Of course, the kids are interested in the fact that 3,300 people are buried or commemorated at Westminster Abbey, many of them among the most significant in the nation’s history. Apparently, there are many more whose names are now lost to us. There is not really any more room to bury bodies but ashes are sometimes interred here now. Not every person with a memorial stone is actually buried here, though. 30 kings and queens, including Henry III, Henry V and Elizabeth I are buried here. St. Edward the Confessor’s shrine is also his tomb. Other famous people include Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Sir Isaac Newton. Via the audio tour, visitors are given a description and summary of each of the significant monuments, each with their own fascinating story. Personally, I was most interested to see Elizabeth I’s tomb, and it is special to be able to look at the carved monument of her laid to rest. “Didn’t she have small hands” claimed my youngest son. Actually, (almost) everyone seemed smaller in history, assuming the monuments were made to scale. Possibly the most interesting tomb is the Unknown Warrior, an anonymous soldier from World War I, representing all those who have died in conflict. This area of the Abbey connects you emotionally to the building and all within it, and a moment should be taken at this point to reflect on the meaning of this tomb and the importance of it in our history. The Poets’Corner is also a fascinating area. This is a part of the South Transept where many famous poets and authors are buried or remembered. The last poet to be buried there was Geoffrey Chaucer who died in 1400. Other people with memorials or graves include William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, TS Eliot and Oscar Wilde. More recent poets’ names are recorded in a window on the east side of the Transept. Of course, the children recognise most of these names, and love them, or loathe them for their contribution, one senses how fitting it is to recognise these talents in this manner.
Of course, we all know that Westminster Abbey is famous for its royal associations. The Abbey has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066 and for numerous other royal occasions, including sixteen royal weddings, including Henry VIII’s to Catherine of Aragon. More recently, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson have all got married at the Abbey. In 2011, Prince William married Catherine Middleton here. It is also the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. We were especially fascinated by The Coronation Chair. The Coronation Chair was made for King Edward I to enclose the famous Stone of Scone, which he brought from Scotland to the Abbey in 1296, where he placed it in the care of the Abbot of Westminster. The King had a magnificent oaken chair made to contain the Stone in 1300, painted by Master Walter and decorated with patterns of birds, foliage and animals on a gilt ground. The figure of a king, either Edward the Confessor or Edward I, his feet resting on a lion, was painted on the back. The four gilt lions below were made in 1727 to replace the originals, which were themselves not added to the Chair until the early 16th century. The Stone was originally totally enclosed under the seat but over the centuries the wooden decoration had been torn away from the front. At coronations, the Chair with the Stone stands facing the High Altar. The Chair has been in use at the coronation ceremony since 1308, although opinion is divided as to when it was actually used for the crowning, but this was certainly the case from 1399 when Henry IV was crowned in the Chair. (Edward V and Edward VIII were never crowned). At the joint coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689 a special chair was made for Mary, as William used the ancient chair. (Mary’s chair will be on display in the new Jubilee galleries from 2018). The Chair was taken out of the Abbey when Oliver Cromwell was installed upon it as Lord Protector in Westminster Hall. It was used by Queen Victoria at the 1887 Golden Jubilee Services in the Abbey. During the Second World War the Chair was evacuated to Gloucester Cathedral and the Stone was secretly buried in the Abbey. Most of the graffiti on the back part of the Chair is the result of Westminster schoolboys and visitors carving their names in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the tourists carved “P. Abbott slept in this chair 5-6 July 1800” on the seat. The Chair was kept in the Chapel of St Edward the Confessor for many centuries until that chapel was closed to general visitors in 1997. In February 1998,
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY the Chair was moved out to the ambulatory and raised on a modern pedestal near the tomb of Henry V. In April 2010, it was moved to a specially-built enclosure within St George’s Chapel at the west end of the Nave for essential conservation work. The Abbey is still very much perceived as a living church, and each hour, for a minute or so, everyone in given the opportunity to pray, which helps reminds visitors of the Abbey’s primary purpose as a church. Worship takes place every day in the Abbey, usually four services daily at 7.30am, 8am, 12.30pm, 5pm. On Sundays, there are six services at 8am, 10am, 11.15am, 3pm, 5.45pm, 6.30pm. Visit the Worship tab of the website for further information. In 2010, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope to visit the Abbey. Westminster Abbey is currently embarking on an exciting new project to build a new museum and gallery, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, in the Abbey’s medieval triforium, due to open in spring 2018. The gallery runs 70ft above the Abbey floor, and has been hidden to the public for over 700 years. The new galleries will give visitors magnificent views to the Palace of Westminster and into the church, displaying treasures and collections reflecting the Abbey’s rich and varied thousand-year history. In this modern day of technology and fastpaced world we now live in, the Abbey provides an opportunity to appreciate our rich history in the most mesmerising, stunning building where it is impossible not to sense the value of history and worship, which the kids can see and appreciate with their own eyes and ears. Even if mostly undertaken on an app! Westminster Abbey is usually open to visitors from Monday to Saturday throughout the year. On Sundays and religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas, the Abbey is open for worship only. All are welcome and it is free to attend services. Our family ticket was £45. Verger-led tours of the Abbey are available, in English, for individuals or family groups only (and not for larger parties or school visits). They start at the North Door, last for approximately 90 minutes and include a tour of the Shrine (containing the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor), the Royal Tombs, Poets’ Corner, the Cloisters and the Nave. There is a schedule of Family Days throughout 2017, with events also scheduled during the halfterm holidays and the summer holidays. Visit www.westminster-abbey.org for further information.
Westminster Abbey, The Quire, Looking East © Dean and Chapter of Westminster. www.theamericanhour.com
Kents Cavern The last time I looked, Torquay, where Kents Cavern is situated, is in Devon, so I am unsure of the origins of the name, but that mystery just whetted my appetite for all the additional questions I had during our visit, as these Cavern are a magical place and certainly should be on your list of things to do if you are visiting the Jurassic Coast. As a child, and even to this day, I have always been fascinated by the past and how things have evolved, and so Kents Cavern is my kind of place, as there is so much history here a week would not be long enough to see and explore everything. Kents Cavern is, in fact, so important as a prehistoric cave site, with a story of human activity going back over 500,000 years, that it has been recognised by UNESCO and is frankly spell binding. Access to the caves however, cannot be more bizarre. You step from a modern tourist centre via a large wooden door into the stone age, but what is clever is that all the modern touches in the caves enhance the beauty of these caves rather than spoil it. The first sign of this is the initial sound and light show which starts your journey back in time and sets the scene perfectly, and the guides are not only very knowledgeable, but are also brilliant with both the children in the tour and also those not so young kids like me. The tour takes you down what was once a fast-flowing underground river, now named The Long Arcade, past the place where a jawbone from a human dated 41,000 years ago was found, and the Wolf’s Cave where mammoth bones were found.Yes these caves were shared by many animals over the years! The guide fully explained all the way how the caves were created and also how they were excavated over the years starting in Victorian times (including using dynamite as the ground was too hard!!). We then tuned into The Rocky Chamber (discovered in 1870) where you can’t help but marvel at the incredible artistry of nature, with its stunning richly coloured Stalactites and Stalagmites filling the
chamber, all sympathetically lit to show off their rich colours. It is here that you are also shown a number of artefacts found in the caves including skulls and bones from a variety of animals, and after one of the most novel ‘show and tells’ I have experienced in my lifetime, we went on into the furthest part of the cavern to the Cave of Inscriptions where one inscription shows that this part of the cave had been visited in 1688 by Robert Hedges of Ireland. It is here you see just how olden cave life would be, as lamps made from moss and shell are lit, and all the electric lights switched off to show just how much light and warmth could be generated by such small lamps, but then everything is blown out and the darkness is truly overpowering as you can’t see your hand an inch in front of your face, and you realise just how far underground you are. This tour is truly a must, and the guides bring the caves to life with tales and anecdotes of their long history, and my daughter, wife and I were constantly pointing out rock formations which resembled faces, animals etc. Time flies by underground, and after passing a bear’s skull embedded in the cave ceiling in the aptly named Bears Den, and other stunning rock formations, we sadly approached the final cave where a full history of the excavators shows you how hardy the early excavators were. Famous residents of Torquay including Agatha Christie and Beatrix Potter have visited the Cavern, and the Cavern is even mentioned in Agatha Christie’s book The Man in the Brown Suit, although under the name Hampsley Cavern, and I am sure one of Beartrix’s character could easily reside behind that wooden door. I loved the Cavern, and it is at times like this I wish I had a time machine to whizz me back in time to see the caves when they were inhabited by Neanderthal Man and the many animals, some now extinct, but unfortunately I guess I will just have to use my imagination.
For further information please visit: www.kents-cavern.co.uk www.americaninbritain.co.uk
My love affair with my British life and their food By Julie Nobles Woodcock
Springtime in England is scenic and picturesque as the days become longer and the start of beautiful flowers opening in bloom. With spring and summer approaching, I look forward to a few simple indulgences such as a nice cup of early morning coffee with a scrumptious muffin, a book or magazine and definitely a bit of American comfort food. Being an American transplanted into the British world, I am quickly learning that food and life here can be quite an adventure. I do admit that living abroad is fantastic and even so, there are times when I find myself longing for familiar situations and of course memorable foods that were a part of normal everyday American life. I am sure that we all have our“what we miss most”lists of the things, activities, places, and people from America. I miss my family, driving on wide roads, glasses full of ice, all day Sunday shopping, mixed water taps and of course American comfort food. I am sure that all of us Americans remember our most-loved comforting foods, those particular delicacies that trigger thoughts and signify spring break times or summer vacation events. American mixes and cooking shortcuts have always been my back up when cooking but these are not at times as easy to locate here. I 26
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am finding with a bit of ingenuity that simple substitutes are easily reproduced in order to refresh memories and satisfy the palette. It was a total shock when I discovered that my English kitchen fan-assisted oven setting of 200 degree Celsius was quite different and definitely not the same 200 degrees Fahrenheit, as I was familiar to in America. Because of these differences, I began writing myself cooking notes for future reference and techniques when preparing my American recipes. Having a few of my immediate notes at hand in the kitchen makes baking much simpler for me. My collected details take some of the guesswork out of calculating those recipes from Fahrenheit settings to my British Celsius fan-assisted oven settings. My notes include what works, as well as information to myself regarding the oven temperatures that did not really bake as productively as I expected. I found that baking sponge cakes, muffins, and most bread recipes requiring an oven setting of 325 degrees Fahrenheit will bake nicely in a fan-assisted oven set at 160 Celsius; shorten the cooking time by approximately 10 minutes. American recipe for a denser cake or muffin batter (i.e. blueberry muffins, fruitcake, breads or cakes with nuts, cakes heavier than a sponge type)
which required a setting of 375 degrees Fahrenheit can be baked in a fan-assisted oven at 190 degrees Celsius, also less cooking time than the initial recipe suggest. I find that the less cooking time “rule of thumb” for me is generally 10 minutes less than most instructions indicate for most of my American recipes as they were initially intended to be cooked in a Fahrenheit oven. A simple basic table offering a quick solution: 90°C (200°F), 150–160°C (300–325°F), 180– 190°C (350–375°F), 200–230°C (400–450°F). I have collected a list of shortcuts that work nicely for substituting some familiar American products. My list was created by trial, perseverance and determination in most instances. British biscuits work fine for most cookie crumb crusts. One of my favourite American simple deserts specifically requires a Graham cracker crumb crust, which I have easily been able to replicate by substituting the British biscuit (cookie) Digestives. They have a similar texture when crumbled, are comparable in flavour to the graham cracker taste, and work well forming a delicious crust. As a reminder of home, occasionally I would like the Sunday roast to include a bit of American style stuffing. My usual state side shortcut for stove top stuffing mixture is
My love affair with my British life and their food obviously not available in the shops here so I found that it was quite easy to copy. The copy, cheating version that I find works best; 2 c breadcrumbs (dried toast works), 2 T poultry seasoning, 2 crumbled chicken cubes (bullion cubes), 2-4 T butter. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, add 1 c boiling water to this mixture, cover and set aside for approximately 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork and it is ready. If you prefer the mixture can also be baked or prepared by microwave. Extras can also be added to ingredients such as chopped celery, onion and parsley, all sautéed in a bit of butter. These will add a bit more flavour to the stuffing mixture, depending on your own personal taste. Thankfully, we now have online shopping offering anything from around the world that we desire. The exception to that simple buying solution is the time when you can not wait for the parcel to be delivered and then substitutes are useful. A few of my favourite American recipes call for cornmeal, which I found is not available in any of my local shops so I found an alternative. Cornmeal substitutes: Polenta serves this purpose, and you may want to experiment with this a bit on your own. Bramata is the most common form of polenta and it seemed to be very versatile. This type of polenta is traditionally a rustic stone-milled corn flour making it moderately coarse and similar to American corn meal. Polenta can be used for a crusty breading, baking cornbread or used
as a replacement for grits, since Polenta can be cooked to a creamy consistency. Oh, but how lucky I am to be in the United Kingdom with all of its history and traditions. This is definitely the best of both worlds here so I will continue finding ways to combine a touch of Britain into my American food favourites.
Oh, but how lucky I am to be in the United Kingdom with all of its history and traditions. I think that “trial and effort” are wonderfully ambitious endeavours. Remember that there are some situations in cooking when you do not have such the luxury for experimental time, so be prepared with your own back up plan. I sincerely hope that you have found a few of my private cooking tips helpful and useful for your own use. My challenge to you is to find your favourite American recipe and make it amazingly British American….
Julie Nobles Woodcock
Recent NAC board meeting with new friends Becky, myself, Heather, Abby, Catherine and Jennifer
Joining An Expat Group After 35 Years By Karen Storey
I was sitting on a plane that had just taken off from JFK, New York, back to my home in the UK and already that familiar feeling was starting within me. I could never have imagined this 30 odd years ago, when I first knew that I would be making the United Kingdom my permanent home. That this would still be happening to me after every visit to my family in America, a strange ambivalence in leaving my parents, brothers and countless cousins behind, and the home of my childhood and teenage memories. If anything, this feeling seemed to be getting stronger with the passing years. Perhaps it was the realisation that I really am not ever moving back, a thought that had lived somewhere in the recesses of my mind for so many years previously. I love my life in the UK, but on these return trips back to England it’s like that whole feeling of being American had been crammed into two weeks and was now being lost to me again. However, I have been here on this plane journey many times before. I knew that after several days, I would soon settle back into my life in the UK, the adopted home that I have come to love. It helps to have a wonderful
husband who is British and a beautiful teenage daughter who is an American/British dual national. I also have a job I enjoy, (I’m a sign language interpreter) and I have very many, absolutely lovely British friends. So even as that ambivalent feeling on the flight began, I knew eventually all would be fine again, the post USA blues a distant memory. Until the following year and the next trip back home to the USA. My British husband and I married in 2015. I had already been living here as a permanent resident for over 30 years. (I have been married before, well, more than once but that’s another story that wouldn’t possibly fit into this article!). Our trip to New York last June was the second time Richard had visited the USA with me. He was concerned after this last visit when I went into my usual maudlin few days of post USA depression. I knew it was temporary. My daughter knew too, so neither she nor I worried much about it. But it bothered Richard so he suggested I look for and join an expat group. I was incredulous at the suggestion! An expat group? I had lived in this
country for 35 years! How would someone like me benefit from joining an expat group? Wasn’t that for people who were new to the country? Also, I had plenty of British friends and felt completely integrated into the British life style. Surely these clubs were for people who just wanted to confine themselves to American culture and American people? “Besides”, I told him, “those groups are only in London. We live in Warwickshire. There won’t be anything like that for me here anyway”. A few weeks later, I was getting past my post USA blues and my husband Richard came home with a glossy magazine that he had picked up in London, which just happened to be this one, ‘American in Britain’. “Have a look”, he said, “There are some American Women’s groups listed in here. “ I left the magazine on the table for a few days before eventually picking it up out of curiosity. When I got to the women’s clubs section, to my surprise I found that indeed the clubs listed weren’t all in London. To appease my darling husband I googled American Expat groups in Warwickshire. And there it was, The North Staying American: Myself and daughter Sophie casting our postal votes in the recent election
Thanksgiving at home in Warwickshire with my daughter Sophie, myself, husband Richard and his sons Bruce and Sam with their partners, Rachel and Kate.
American In Britain
On Joining An Expat Group After 35 Years American Connection.“A group for expats living in Birmingham, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and all points in between.“ So I gave it a try. I remember attending that first coffee morning last September and feeling I was finally home. I was suddenly amongst people who were just like me, they had grown up some place else, had left most of their family behind and either for long or short-term, they were here. It hit me that although I thought I had been fully integrated into the British lifestyle and culture, this was the first time in 35 years I was amongst a group of people where I one hundred percent fit. Although I love my British friends it dawned on me that there would always be things that made me feel slightly apart, something I wasn’t consciously aware of before. Was this feeling of being slightly different one of the reasons for my annual post USA blues? Very insignificant things started to come into my consciousness, like a mention from a dear British pal that they were popping over to visit their mother or brother at the weekend, something that cannot be part of my life experience in the UK without a lot of forward planning and expense. I learned that my fellow expats also shared the feeling that you didn’t completely belong in America either. An expat’s life experiences changes your perspective of the world and you can find yourself thinking and feeling very differently from old friends and family members in the USA. After that first coffee morning with my new expat friends, I felt lighter, happy. These other
people ‘got’ me. Within weeks I found myself volunteering to become the NAC’s marketing chairperson and joining the Board. I was hooked. Then just recently, I attended my first FAWCO conference in London and I was doubly hooked. Now I was meeting women like myself from all over the UK and the rest of the world too. I have happily just become the FAWCO rep for my club. So there you have it, my husband was actually right. Joining an expat group after 35 years in the UK has added to my life in a way I could not have predicted. Experiences like for the first time in
I remember attending that first coffee morning and feeling I was finally home.
My new NAC friends. From left to right Myself, Jennifer, Abby and Becky
many years, my husband, daughter and I spent Thanksgiving with a group of Americans, about 80 in total! We still had our small British family Thanksgiving celebration at home which included my lovely stepsons and their partners, but sharing the holiday again the following week with a large group of Americans was very special for me. I’m looking forward to the 4th of July celebration my club is planning. Again, it’s been many years since I’ve shared this day with lots of other Americans. Another thing I was mistaken about members of expat groups aren’t people who just want to mix with other Americans. A lot of the members were just like me. ‘Lifers’, American ladies settled here permanently, some with British husbands. All had British friends and friendship groups. They also enjoy mixing the cultures and traditions of both countries. I have only been a member of my expat group since last Autumn so I haven’t been back to the USA again just yet. But I have a feeling that it may be slightly easier the next time I am sitting on that plane having just waved my family in America goodbye for another year. This time, I will be coming back home again to a little bit of America in Warwickshire and home to my new, other large American family who just happen to be living near to me right here in England. For further information on The North American Connection visit www.naconnect.com. For information on various Expat Clubs please visit www.theamericanhour.com/?p=expatriate.clubs.
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American in Britain is a quarterly, glossy, A4 magazine for American expatriates living in the UK Regular features include: Theatre, Eating Out, Arts & Antiques, Travel, Hotel Reviews, American Women’s Clubs News, UK Sports, Top Ten Tips, Tax, Education, Property, Health and US Embassy News To apply for your free annual subscription, please email email@example.com with your name and the address you would like the magazine sent to, and put AMERICAN IN BRITAIN FREE SUBSCRIPTION in the subject line. Please visit our sister website www.theamericanhour.com for information on living in the UK
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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS North American Connection (NAC)
West Midlands With the warmer spring weather, here at the North American Connection we are looking forward to some more exciting social events, some of which will be raising money for our chosen charity, MacMillan Cancer Support. We have our usual, and very popular, monthly coffee mornings planned. In April, we have the pleasure of welcoming chartered accountants, Dyke Yaxley, to give us an informal talk and advice on our US tax returns, all in good time before that mid-June deadline! In early May, for one of our evening events, we will be organising a “Cinco de Mayo” night. A quiz night kindly hosted at the home of one of our members which will include Mexican snacks and plenty of freshly made margaritas! Money raised from the quiz participation will be donated to MacMillan. The NAC organises a variety of monthly social events for its members throughout the year and this often includes educational and philanthropic activities. In addition to our popular monthly coffee mornings, we have mom and tots days, craft days, day time and evening book club gatherings. We also organise regular pub lunches, day excursions, dinner evenings and events that include spouses as well. We have a ‘Third Thursday’ evening event for ladies every month, which is well attended. It might be a cinema trip, a ladies meal out, or a show. For example, in June, we are very much looking forward to our theatre outing to enjoy the musical ‘Oliver’ in Solihull! Most of us are women from the United States or Canada, but we welcome other expatriates with a particular connection or interest in joining. We’re quite a diverse group ranging from short or long-term expats and we also have quite a few ‘lifers’, expats who have chosen to settle here in the UK permanently! We live in the West Midlands with members reaching
American In Britain
as far as an hour radius outside Birmingham, including Solihull, Leamington Spa, Lichfield, Stratford upon Avon, Worcester and Oxford. We are always happy to extend a very warm welcome to new members who wish to join our expat ‘family’! We would love to meet you at one of our events! If you are interested in coming along and trying out an event or signing up as a member please visit us at www.naconnect.com
Are you new to London or interested in attending lectures from leading experts, enjoying exclusive experiences, and meeting new friends? Then KCWC is a great starting point. As one of London’s longest established and largest women’s organisations, we have more than 800 British and international members from over 52 countries. Each month KCWC holds a General Meeting with a high profile guest speaker at a prime London location. Past speakers have included HRH Princess Michael of Kent, Anthony Geffen, Zac Goldsmith, John Simpson, Earl Spencer, Anton Du Beke, and Rebecca Stephens. The meetings are a good way to meet other members, sign up for activities, enjoy listening to a keynote speaker and join fellow members for an optional lunch at a prestigious local restaurant afterwards. The General Meetings are also a great opportunity to know more about discounts and promotions offered by our preferred partners as they display their products and offers at our showcase tables. KCWC members benefit from special discounts on these showcase tables. In addition to the General Meetings, KCWC also offers approximately 35 activities. These are organised by members who volunteer their time and skills by running a wide variety of weekly and monthly activities. Topics include history, culture, art, design, fashion, music, theatre, local tours, UK and international travel,
special events, technology, sports, golf, tennis, languages, arts and crafts, food, dining, wine tasting, book and lecture groups, country walks, bridge, feng shui, and much more. There are also a variety of evening and weekend activities which working women can enjoy. These include theatre, happy hour, dining out, jazz and music appreciation, evening speakers, and special events. For those interested in making a difference in the community, KCWC’s Volunteers for Charity group works with several local charitable organisations. There is so much on offer at KCWC and members get to discover London while making new friends at the same time. Recent Highlights The festive season brought plenty of good cheer to our members and the club. At our December General Meeting, BBC Radio 3 presenter Dr. Natasha Loges introduced performers from the Royal College of Music who entertained us with a saxophone quartet, solo pianist and opera singers. Also in December, thanks to the generosity of our members’ donations, we distributed holiday gift baskets to Befriending Plus, part of One Westminster. Our guest speakers in the early months of 2017 covered a diverse array of topics. In January, author Anne Sebba spoke about her most recent book, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s; in February, art critic Estelle Lovatt gave our members insight
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS will stop for lunch at the historic Mayflower pub. The London Walks and Treasures group has tours planned of Jewish Hampstead and Woodberry Down. The Antiques and Design group will visit the collections of Clive Christian Perfume Town House Mayfair, and also tour Crosby Hall on the Embankment. The After Six in the City group has planned a dinner at the riverside Sea Containers Restaurant at the Mondrian Hotel and a series of evening lectures at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
into the art world; and in March, Anton Du Beke of‘Strictly Come Dancing’delighted us with tales from the ballroom. In January, in exclusive partnership with the English National Ballet, our special events team welcomed members for a private reception before a performance of Mary Skeaping’s Giselle at the London Coliseum. Meanwhile, our activity groups stayed busy through the winter months with numerous diverse offerings. The Antiques and Design group added a diamond sparkle to the festive season with a visit to Chalfen of London. Both the Evening Speaker Series and Travel Groups toured the new Design Museum in Kensington. The After Six in the City ladies hosted a Christmas party at QP LDN Restaurant and Lounge in Mayfair, and the Asian Culture group celebrated the Chinese New Year at the Phoenix Palace restaurant. The Foodies group conducted a healthy snacks demonstration workshop, a finger foods class followed by brunch, and an Italian sweets and Sicilian delicacies workshop. The Art History group continued its successful Western Art Survey lecture series, now in its 21st year. Spanning 18 lectures and ten museum visits over a period of six months, the survey covers art from Ancient Greece and Rome to modern art movements. Art History also hosted the lecture series A History of English Portraiture, a Picasso Portraits lecture, and a day outing exploring Post Impressionism in Paris. These lectures and excursions were led by expert curators and teachers from renowned art institutes and museums. The Classical Music and Opera group toured Leighton House, the former home and studio of leading Victorian artist Frederic Leighton, followed by a recital by the Phoenix Piano Trio, www.theamericanhour.com
one of today’s leading chamber ensembles. KCWC’s Theatre group attended performances of Dreamgirls, Death Takes a Holiday, An American in Paris, and 42nd Street, to name just a few. The London Walks and Treasures group laced up their walking shoes for tours of Clerkenwell and the Jewish East End. In the early Spring months, the Travel group headed to Portugal to tour picturesque Lisbon and Sintra, to Petworth House in the South Downs, and to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, popularly known as the Neasden Temple. Upcoming Events The spring promises to be an exciting and busy time for KCWC. The club has a full programme of events and activities planned, beginning with the April General Meeting which will be held at the Royal Geographical Society on 6 April. The guest speaker will be Alexandra Shulman, editor-in-chief of British Vogue and author of the recent book Inside Vogue: A Diary of My 100th Year. Later in April, members will be treated to an exclusive evening reception at the Urban Retreat at Harrods which will feature luxury treatments and services, drinks and canapes, and special discounts. Activity leaders have been busy planning a variety of events and excursions for the spring. The Country Walks group will hit the trails from Milford to Godalming in search of bluebells. The Tennis and Golf groups will resume regular play, and the Dog Walking group will explore London’s parks with their four-legged companions. Following their successful spring 2016 World War II lecture series, the British History group will be walking from London Bridge to Rotherhithe for a two-mile stroll through some of the city’s most historic areas, after which they
Learn More About KCWC KCWC General Meetings are open to nonmembers for a guest fee of £10, redeemable if joining on the day. The meetings are usually held on the first Thursday of each month between September and June. Prospective members are welcome to attend a Coffee Morning or a Happy Hour where guests can come along for an informal chat over coffee or a drink and enjoy the company of other international women. There is no need to preregister to attend a Hospitality event and the cost is your own tab. For further information please contact email@example.com or visit the website: www.kcwc.org.uk. To join KCWC, please visit www.kcwc.org.uk and click on Join Us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Women’s Club Of London
Gerard Manley Hopkins once said:“Nothing is so beautiful as spring.”One can hardly disagree. At AWC, we are loving the sunny days, the chirping of the birds and all the fun events we planned for our members in the next few months. However, before I give them all away, let me tell you what the club has been up to in the last few months of this never ending winter. Have you heard about Aerial Yoga? It is the kind of movement that draws from the alignment and techniques of yoga, using a low hanging, wide, Aerial Sling to aid in moving through traditional yoga postures. Sounds interesting? We thought so… And so in January we took the stress of the week away by indulging in a professionally led Aerial Yoga class. The ‘weightless’ aspect of the class assisted in allowing us to access a wider range of movement, moving through poses that would otherwise be restricted. It was interesting to say the least, so stay tuned for more of the similar experiences that will keep surprising you. In February, we had a lovely 3-course lunch with 10th floor views of London at the Four Seasons Hotel with our guest speaker from the October’s monthly meeting, Emma Dupont. While Emma covered everything from how to set a table correctly to making appropriate small talk at a British luncheon, we all had an opportunity to ask “that” embarassing question about English etiquette. The event took place on a Saturday, to accommodate members who work during the week, as well as some partners who wanted to join. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
For all the parents (and parents-to-be) we organised the discussion and Q&A with Veronica Morant, founder of Mavor Associates, which offers guidance to parents on educational opportunities for their children throughout their school career. Some independent nurseries and schools require registration at birth, and other schools have various other requirements. Veronica discussed the key undertakings that were helpful to do early on to give your child the best start on his or her educational path. Are you a fan of poppies? Many of our members were curious about the popularity of the flower during the autumn months, leading up to Britain’s Remembrance Sunday in November. So on Wednesday, March 8th, the Garden Group headed to Richmond upon Thames to visit The Poppy Factory for a 2 hour tour. The Poppy Factory is the country’s leading employment charity for veterans with health conditions or impairments. It also employs around 30 disabled veterans to produce the poppies and wreaths for the Royal Family and The Royal British Legion’s Annual Poppy Appeal – something they have been doing since being founded in 1922. We enjoyed a fascinating presentation and introductory film about the factory and its history and then visited the ‘shop floor’, giving us the opportunity to meet some of their colleagues and see how poppies and wreaths were made. A selection of souvenirs including Poppy Factory china was also available to purchase from the shop at the end of the tour. The temperatures have been rising, so our Curiosity Shoppers group has been busy exploring. On Thursday, March 16th, they discovered Greenwich Market and its plethora of opportunities. Although not every stall was in full swing, there was still plenty to give us a full taste of what the market has to offer. Antiques, collectables, arts, crafts, food were all in abundance in the many stalls and shops. With so many to choose from, we were busy all day. After lunch a few members even went on to explore The Cutty Sark, The National Maritime Museum and The Royal Observatory. The day was a big success! Ok, enough with the past events- here is a 32
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little taste of what we have in store for the next few months. Every year around this time we organise our biggest fundraiser - Founder’s Day Gala. It’s always an incredible event and this time it will take place on Friday, April 21st, 7pm – 11pm at the Hippodrome Casino and will be themed “Casino Royale”! There are still a few tickets left - £75 will buy you four drinks (welcome prosecco and three beers/wine or soft drinks), hors d’oeuvres, gaming tournament and live entertainment. In addition, there will be a silent auction to benefit the AWC with plenty of alluring items. The Hippodrome Casino is located above Leicester Square Station. Founder’s Day will have a private entrance on Cranbourn Street with a separate coat check and the event itself will be on the second floor in the Matcham theatre. The attire for the evening is Bond themed (anything from suits/cocktail dresses to black tie, it’s up to you!). Have you ever wanted to experience a traditional British pub quiz, but didn’t think you would know any of the answers? Well, this is your chance! Our fabulous quizmaster, Adam from AdVenture Quizzes, will be creating a truly special quiz just for us, so no need to study up on premier league soccer or 1000 years of British history. And it’s not just a bunch of trivia - some of the challenges are visual, musical, and even edible! He will also put your puzzle-solving skills to the test and literally keep you guessing. What quirky questions will he come up with this time? Win or lose, you are guaranteed to have fun! On Saturday, May 13th join us in the private room in the back of the charming Queen’s Head pub. We will compete in teams of 4-6 people, with multiple opportunities to win prizes. Partners and guests are welcome, and food and drink will be available for purchase at the pub. This is a popular event, so sign up early! There are many ways to get involved with volunteering projects. Do you enjoy reading to children? Several AWC members are already volunteering at Doorstep Library and we will love it if more members join us. At the Soup Kitchen the AWC volunteers help prepare and serve food, coffee & tea, as well
as pass out clothes to homeless and marginally homed, elderly, and poor individuals. AWC’s volunteers work under the direction of the Kitchen Manager for food prep and serving, and with a church employee in handing out clothing and toiletries from the Clothes Closet. On April 24th or May 8th, team up with other ladies and feel great by the end of the day. Whether you just moved to London or you have been here for years, we all share anxieties of being away from our families, friends, and home comforts. This is why every Wednesday morning at 10am you are invited to join us for a weekly meditation practice to calm the mind, melt away anxieties, cultivate mindfulness and create joy. We are practicing Tantric and Kundalini meditation, which is not all about sitting still. You will be moving, singing, dancing, doing breath work, etc. to clear the mind. It is led by our own Heather Berse, who has received Yoga Alliance advanced certifications in Yogic Lifestyle & Awareness, and Meditation. She has studied yoga for over 500 hours with master teacher Kia Miller and is an insured meditation teacher. On Thursday, May 11th please join our Garden Group for a tour of the Garden Museum. We will be among the first visitors to be offered a private tour of the newly reopened museum. It was established in 1977 to rescue from demolition the abandoned ancient church of St Mary’s. Located on the south bank of the Thames next to Lambeth Palace and opposite Tate Britain, the church is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history. His magnificent and enigmatic tomb is the centrepiece of a knot garden planted with the
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS awclondon.org or call 020 7589 8292. For more information about these events and to RSVP, or for more information about the Club in general, come by the AWC office at 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ or call and talk to Lauren, our Office Manager, on 020 7589 8292, or check out the website at www.awclondon. org or email the office email@example.com . No matter how you look at it the AWC is a great resource and a wonderful way to make some new friendships! Start something new this winter!
AWBS flowers which grew in his London garden four centuries ago. Through its 5,000 acquisitions and donated gifts, the collection has become the country’s single best record of how gardens have changed over the centuries. Royal Ascot Final Race Day on Saturday, June 24th is the pinnacle race event of the year! Join us on the final day of racing at Royal Ascot for horses and a party! This is a weekend event, so feel free to bring your husband/partner/friends/ etc. And don’t forget your hat! And in case you have one that you wore before to a different event- you are welcome to join us for a preAscot hat Swap Party on Wednesday, May 17ththere will be hats, ladies, champagne and all! If some of this sounds like fun to you, then we have some perfect opportunities coming up for you to learn more about the club and make some new friends. Join us for a“New Member Wine and Cheese Party” on April 26th, from 7:30 pm till 8:30 pm. No need to explain this event! It’s a great way to meet new friends, current members and do a little socialising! Come and learn more about the Club and London and mellow out with a glass of wine. It is open to everyone and please RSVP – we hate it when we run out of wine! It’s at the AWC Office on 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ. If evenings don’t work, then come along on May 15th at 10am for a “New Member Coffee”. It is, just what it says, a coffee for women who are thinking about joining and want to know a little bit more about the Club. It’s a great way to meet members or make a new friend. It’s in this safe environment that you can ask all those silly questions we all have about being new and living in a new country. The coffee morning is open to everyone, but please RSVP so we have enough coffee and pastries! It’s very casual and at the AWC Office on 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ. Each month we host a meeting with a special guest speaker to provide members with an opportunity to learn something new! We also use the time to talk about AWC club news and upcoming events, and of course, it is always fun to see and meet other women in a social environment. Our next meeting is on May 23rd, from 10:00 am till 12:00 pm. It is at the Marriott Kensington Hotel, 147c Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TH. For more information and to RSVP please email awc@ www.theamericanhour.com
We kicked off 2017 with General Meetings at the beautiful Wentworth Club and the historic Great Fosters Hotel. We were graced with the presence of author and HRH Princess Michael of Kent. We were charmed by guest speaker Martine McCutcheon, charismatic actress and singer, known globally for the movie, “Love Actually.” Our March meeting was held at the award winning Pinewood Studios, home of the 007 James Bond franchise, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Harry Potter films and many more. Our guest speaker Dr. David Hamilton, PhD spoke about how kindness is the ‘secret ingredient’ to healthy relationships and why kindness creates a domino effect. During the first quarter, our members helped the community by donating food, art supplies, and gardening supplies to local charities which help children and people in need. In April, AWBS
will coordinate with 14 other FAWCO member clubs in our region for the FAWCO Target Project on Education fundraiser. The purpose is to support the empowerment of women and girls through knowledge and skills. We rolled out a members benefit programme, which offers discounts from a preferred list of businesses. Members kept busy with many fun and exciting activities. We kept ourselves energised by going on country walks, playing tennis, practicing yoga and pilates, and meditating. We explored London neighbourhoods with iconic walking tours, toured historic castles and properties, and enjoyed cosy pot luck luncheons. We took cooking classes, found our spark, learned to draw, played mahjong, and discussed books over coffee. We went back in time and learned about the complex history of England. We also studied art history and its famous artists. We closed out winter with adventure by exploring Norway (Norway in a Nutshell) and travelling to Riga, Latvia. Now Spring is here, flowers are blooming, and the excitement continues. Members have a bountiful of activities to participate in. Our annual Hats and Handbags Spring Luncheon is planned in May at the beautiful Beaumont Estate. We close the AWBS year in time for summer by honouring and thanking our wonderful members with a delicious appreciation luncheon at the fabulous Piccolino. Visit www.awbs.org.uk
The Wisley Golf Club In Surrey A Peek Through The Gates Of One Of The Worlds Most Revered Private Member Golf Clubs Nestled in beautiful Surrey countryside, The Wisley offers many surprises: highly exclusive, but incredibly welcoming, the golf club is only an hour from central London adjacent to RHS Wisley, yet it’s an oasis of tranquility that attracts golfers and their families alike. Ask any proud golfer, and they will happily describe the best holes they’ve played, or the fairways they’d like to visit one day. Ask anyone who’s had the rare pleasure to play at The Wisley and they will, naturally, applaud the superb 27-hole course – but there’s a very good chance they will spend as much time praising the unique, welcoming atmosphere of the club. “Whenever I cross the bridge over the River Wey I know I have entered a special place”says Susie Lee, former Club Captain and one of the many 34
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female members of the club. The unique appeal of The Wisley can be attributed to the effortless attention to detail: from the immaculate grounds to the attentive team working at the club, everything is designed to make the whole experience uniquely pleasurable. The bar staff know your favourite brand of refreshment and your clubs will be cleaned while you enjoy the views on the terrace after a game. At The Wisley relaxed luxury is a given and everyone is there to make you feel at home. Perhaps that’s why members and their families enjoy their time off the course just as much as on it. The Lutyensinspired clubhouse is central to the vibrant social life, where members can sample gourmet food or the popular Sunday roast in the crescent-shaped dining room, pop in for breakfast or congregate
in the bar for post-game analysis. The 224-acre Surrey site is made up of three loops of nine holes - The Church, The Garden and The Mill, combining into three different 18-hole courses. Each highly individual with its own impeccable character, the three championship-standard courses certainly throw up a challenge. The Wisley was designed 25 years ago by legendary American golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. The River Wey runs through the grounds, creating constantly new vistas of perfectly manicured fairways and greens. Thirteen-time European Tour winner Paul Casey said:“My favourite hole is the ninth on The Church. It reminds me of Augusta with the beautiful backdrop of trees and rhododendrons in full bloom.”
The Wisley Golf Club
Casey is one of currently 16 Tour professionals among the 700-strong membership, a testament to the highest golfing standards. The outstanding facilities are designed to attract both professional players and golfers of all abilities. Honorary Vice President and Sky Sports golf pundit Denis Pugh has assisted many members to improve their game, and even helped turn a humble beginner into a club captain and golfer of the year. The club prides itself in its progressive, forward-looking ethos. Competitions are always mixed, and all members are treated equally. The Wisley is a true private membersâ€™golf club with 700 shareholder Members, and shares are only available on the secondary market. I was told that from time to time shares also become available for rental, usually in circumstances where the shareholder/member is moving abroad for a period of time. 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. The Wisley, Ripley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QU Tel: 01483 211022 www.thewisley.com www.theamericanhour.com
READER’S LIVES In this issue, Danny Wittenberg interviews the recently signed US National Squad player Crystal Dunn, who plays for Chelsea Ladies Football Club CRYSTAL DUNN
D.O.B: 03.07.1992 BIRTHPLACE: New York, USA POSITION: Defender/midfielder/forward Crystal Dunn aims to bring glistening qualities on and off the pitch after joining Chelsea Ladies from Washington Spirit in January. Speaking to the official club magazine shortly after finalising her move to Stamford Bridge, the US international showed all the hallmarks of a superstar signing
Explain why you chose to sign for the Blues? I really admire Chelsea right now because they’re freaking dominating! The club has a great group of girls and on the men’s side
Antonio Conte has it down. What is unique about the club is how close-knit the women’s and men’s teams are and I think that bodes well for us in the WSL. I feel like Chelsea has a large fanbase, so I’m excited about the games and to see all the supporters. I don’t know much about London or England going into this, but when I came on my visit there was something that grabbed me. The whole family aspect of Chelsea – the unity, the family morale – is making it feel just like home. If this was going to be my new home for a while, I wanted to feel as comfortable as I possibly could.
Do you expect a culture shock when you swap the US league for the WSL after winning the Golden
Boot and Most Valuable Player in three great seasons with Washington? Although I think the awareness of women’s soccer in the US has become incredible, the English game has come so far. When our women’s national team plays England, they’re 1-0 games now, which wasn’t the case five or six years ago. I’m happy to be here while the teams are improving and awareness is growing because I get to feel that energy.
How hard was it to leave your home country behind? The decision was really difficult because I’m going to miss my family. There were obviously mixed emotions, leaving home and signing a contract
Crystal Dunn (left) plays a recent game 36
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READER’S LIVES when you’re going to be away from your loved ones for a long time. There’ll probably be some days where I cry and call home but I’m going to give it my all and I think my excitement is overpowering my nerves. I think this is something I have to do personally and for my career.You can’t put off these experiences. I’m 24 and I feel ready to try and make really large improvements to my performance. It’s a grace period with the national team because there’s no World Cup or Olympics, so for me it’s the right moment to commit to a new club and take my game to another level.
Have you been playing football from a young age? I come from a small town called Rockville Centre on Long Island, New York, where everyone plays soccer. All the parents put their little four-year-olds into pickup soccer [a park game where anyone can join] and I had a lot of energy, so that’s what mine did for me. Since it was such a tiny place, everyone who I played with every single year went to high school with me, so it was just playing with your friends. We grew up with a love of the game.
It was your glittering college career that made you first pick in the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League draft in the States. Was your ambition always to turn professional? I had a really great time at college and I enjoyed every moment of it, but people will be surprised that I wasn’t super committed to playing professional soccer until I was in my second year. I just wanted to be the best player I could be and the rest fell into place. To be honest, though, I don’t know anything but soccer. It’s a life that a lot of people don’t understand – some of my friends have a family and kids, and they don’t get why I’m just playing soccer. I have always enjoyed it and it has been an amazing journey so far.
You looked delighted to pick up the No19 shirt at Chelsea. Why is it so special to you? I’m so excited to have that number! I wore No5 in my first year of college but the No19 jersey came out of retirement when I was in my second year and Mia Hamm [the two-time Olympic gold medallist and World Cup-winning US striker], who had it when she was playing at the University of North Carolina, asked me to wear it. My first reaction was that I didn’t want to play badly and ruin the number! She said it would mean a lot, so I wore it for three years, won a ton of awards in it and eventually retired it again. I’m not one of those people who believes in luck, but Mia’s jersey is still very special to me. I’m very happy it was made available at Chelsea – and Diego Costa is wearing 19 so this is a good number! www.theamericanhour.com
As you approach 50 caps for the US Women’s National Team with 18 goals so far, have you found the secret to being part of the most successful female team of all time? Being an American women’s soccer player is mostly about working hard. We kill each other in training. We are built in with that mentality not to stop running until we’re literally dragging our body on the ground, but we still pick our team-mates up and support each other. I think that attitude embodies me as a player. I am very competitive in training but I’ll be the first person to jump out of crazy tackles. I compete with my team-mates but it’s about trying to make everybody better and not being overly aggressive around them.
What do you hope to bring to the dressing room at Chelsea? I definitely think I’m a dressing-room leader but I’m a good listener as well and that comes with leading. Some people think the leader needs to be the only one speaking, hyping everybody up in the huddle, but sometimes being a good leader and a good team-mate is about listening to the others. Hopefully, my team-mates can learn something from me, but this is going to be a new experience for me and I’m excited to learn from them too.
Will you be staking a claim to the speakers before matches? I love music! I don’t want to go in and claim the speaker but I just want to let the girls know, if they need a DJ, I’m available at all times. I love all types of music, so I’m always the one who gravitates towards the boom box. I’m all about finding the right music to get everybody involved and ready for the game. I love Rihanna – I will bump Rihanna all day – but I’m old school too. I’ll listen to some Backstreet Boys randomly and people ask what I’m doing.
What hopes do you have for this season? I want to set the bar high. Let’s go undefeated! It’s going to take work and it isn’t going to be easy because there are some really great teams in this league. I like us to take it game-by-game, day-by-day. I love short-term goals because then your long-term goals are going to fall into place. It would be a dream to play in the Champions League and that’s something that I’d love to cross off. Most importantly, I’m ready to help out the team in any way, so I’m excited to see how I react and join forces with these girls.
COMPETITION! WIN ONE OF THREE PAIRS OF TICKETS TO CHELSEA LADIES VS. YEOVIL TOWN ON 30 APRIL 2017 Chelsea Ladies Football Club was established in 1992, and has been affiliated with Chelsea Football Club since 2004. They currently play in the FA Women’s Super League. The Ladies WSL season runs from March until October with the team also competing for the FA Women’s Cup and Continental Tyres Cup. Chelsea Ladies play their home games at Wheatsheaf Park in Staines. In 2015, Chelsea Ladies won a famous double, becoming champions of the FA Women’s Super League for the first time and winning the FA Women’s Cup at Wembley Stadium. To enter our competition to win one of three pairs of tickets, please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 April. Please be sure to put CHELSEA LADIES in the email subject. Terms and Conditions: Tickets are available for Chelsea Ladies vs Yeovil Town on 30 April only, not transferable for any other fixtures, no cash value, games are played at Staines Town FC, Wheatsheaf Park, for more info visit www.chelseafc.com/ladies. Travel and accommodation not included. The winner will be notified by email.
If you would like to feature in our Reader’s Lives article in a future issue, please contact email@example.com www.americaninbritain.co.uk
A Letter from Scotland By Yvonne Willcocks The American Women’s Club has a thriving branch in Edinburgh which has meetings and outings throughout the year organised by Club President Nancy Lynner and her committee. My husband and I recently attended a gathering of members for an evening of “Supper and Skittles” at what must be one of the most ancient hostelries in the UK. Edinburgh is guarded on the East by“Arthur’s Seat”, an extinct volcano that is now a public park, and nestling under its southern slopes is the pretty village of Duddingston. “The Sheep Heid Inn” claims to have been founded in around 1360, and is still a thriving establishment today. Leading off the busy entrance bar there are cosy, low-ceilinged rooms for meals, and a winding passage leads to the old Skittle Alley, built around 1780, a rare survival of the
ancient game that was the forerunner of the bowling establishments in the States. The group from the Club had booked the Skittle Alley for the evening along with a cold supper to accompany the skilful bowling and shouts of encouragement and moans of despair! The unusual name of the ‘pub’ derives from the gift of an appreciative monarch, James VI of Scotland (and James I of England) who often visited here during his travels from the royal residence of Craigmillar Castle, a few miles to the south, and the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh. In 1580, James marked his appreciation of the establishment with the gift of a silver-embellished ram’s head snuff box. In 1745, the army of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ was encamped at Duddingston prior to the Battle of Prestonpans and Prince Charles and his
The Skittle Alley of the ‘Sheep Heid Inn’, Doddingston, Edinburgh
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The Ram’s Head Snuff Box
clansmen would undoubtedly have frequented the Sheep Heid Inn, for a ‘dram, or three’! Around 1880, due to the inn’s current owner being in debt, the snuff box was auctioned and bought by the Earl of Rosebury, and it has remained at his residence, Dalmeny House, near South Queensferry, ever since. However, a 19th century replacement ‘Sheep’s Heid’ now adorns the bar with its impressive, curling ram’s horns and receptacle for snuff. We had previously been introduced to snuff-taking in Scotland at the Trades House in Glasgow, the ‘home’ of the twelve remaining guilds of the city. The ‘Cordiners of Glasgow’ (shoemakers) have a reciprocal visiting arrangement with the ‘Cordwainers’ (shoemakers) of London, and when my husband was Master of the London Company we had the honour of meeting the members of the Glasgow Cordiners at the Trades House. Although we politely declined the snuff-taking after dinner, we were impressed with the“Snuff Mull”. It was a large, black horn, elaborately decorated with silver fittings and with Masters’ names on silver bands. The Mull was passed along the top table on its little silver-mounted ivory wheels. The larger end of the horn had a silver-mounted lid with a Scottish gemstone, and contained a quantity of snuff and tiny tools for handling the powder. A less elaborate vessel for celebrating weddings and other important occasions in Scotland is the ‘quaich’, a small, shallow silver dish with flat handles at either side, which invariably contains malt whisky and is shared around. The Cordwainers of London also have an ageold custom at their Company Dinners when they toast their guests with “The Loving Cup”, lifting the lid, bowing and drinking (and wiping!) and passing the silver cup from one to another. Other comparisons between the shoemakers of Glasgow and London include the choice of symbols for their trade at a time when reading
A LETTER FROM SCOTLAND The Loving Cup of the Cordwainers of London
was a luxury for the rich. In London they feature the head of a goat, the source of the finest leather for footwear, while North of the Border they chose the distinctive curved blade of the shoemaker’s cutting knife. This symbol
The Cordiners’ Snuff Mull at the Trades House, Glasgow
they literally took to the grave as it can be found carved on old gravestones in many local Scottish cemeteries - along with examples for many other trades – in addition to angels and the skull and crossbones!
The Heraldic Shields of the Cordwainers of London and the Cordiners of Glasgow.
USEFUL NUMBERS EDUCATION - Schools
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Www.Expatsguidetotheuk.Com Living and working in the UK can provide a fantastic opportunity to any expatriate individual or family. The UK offers a diverse range of cultures, and if you have relocated for business, family or lifestyle reasons, then the useful information covered inside this Guide will prove to be an invaluable resource. The 2017 Guide will contain content covering: Banking & Wealth • Expatriate Clubs • Embassies & High Commissions • Driving & Transport Education - Schools & Universities • Healthcare & Hospitals • Legal Issues Moving & Relocation Residential Lettings • Private Health Insurance • Serviced Apartments • Taxation To order your FREE copy please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, providing the mailing address you would like it sent to. If you would rather receive a soft (pdf) copy, please let Damian know. Please share the website with friends, family, colleagues or employees relocating to the UK.
American In Britain
The 2017 Ex Guide to L patriate's iving in th e UK
Supporting Internationa l HR Profes sionals World wide
EMBASSY CORNER CRBA – The First Step In Obtaining Your Child’s US Citizenship Think your child might have a claim to US citizenship? We at the US Embassy in London are happy to help you make that determination and acquire a crucial document that serves as official evidence of US citizenship for children born outside the United States. This article seeks to demystify the process of obtaining that document, known as the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). The CRBA is not a travel document; it serves as evidence of acquisition of US citizenship at birth for children born outside the United States and is a critical step before applying for a US passport and social security number. Children born overseas to a US citizen parent or parents are not automatically US citizens. Parents need to file for a CRBA and prove that the parent(s) meets the citizenship transmission requirements outlined in the US Immigration and Nationality Act. CRBA applications are ONLY accepted for children below the age of 18. Applicants over the age of 18 should apply directly for a US passport. Transmission of US citizenship to children born overseas depends largely on: 1) At least one parent having US nationality at the time of the child’s birth; 2) The existence of a biological relationship between the child and US citizen parent(s); and 3) Documentary evidence demonstrating the US citizen parent(s)’ presence in the United States prior to the child’s birth. The transmission requirements vary depending upon whether the child was: • Born in wedlock to two US citizens • Born in wedlock to one US citizen parent and one non-US citizen parent • Born out of wedlock to a US citizen mother; or • Born out of wedlock to a US citizen father. Our website (listed at the end of this article) outlines the specific transmission requirements for each of the above circumstances. The process varies if you are filing through a US military base, so please contact your nearest US base’s passport acceptance facility for more details. Once you are confident you meet the transmission requirements for your specific circumstance, follow the simple steps outlined below to acquire a CRBA for your child: STEP 1: Complete the application. The US Embassy in London recommends you submit an application for your child’s CRBA, US passport and social security number all at the same time. All three applications may be submitted together at your scheduled appointment. If your child has a claim to US citizenship – even if your child holds another nationality – he or she must enter and exit the United States on a US passport. Applications can be downloaded at our website. You are required to complete but NOT sign the following forms: Form DS-2029 – Application www.theamericanhour.com
for Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form DS-11 – Application for US Passport, Form SS-5 – Application for Social Security Number. STEP 2: Make an appointment. Follow the instructions at our website to make your appointment at the US Embassy in London. If your child was not born in the United Kingdom, you may still submit your application in London; however, the paperwork will be processed by the US Embassy in the country where your child was born. We are happy to accept your documentation and help you begin this process. STEP 3: Assemble the required documentary evidence. When applying for a CRBA for a child who has never been documented as a US citizen, you will need to present documentary evidence. Unless otherwise provided, all documentation submitted must be originals or certified copies of the originals bearing the seal of the issuing vital records office, court, or other authority. Specifically, you must bring: • Your child’s long form UK birth certificate • Evidence of the parent(s)’ US citizenship and identity. This may consist of a US passport, US passport card, CRBA, Naturalisation Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship or timely filed US birth certificate. A passport or government issued photo ID must be presented as proof of identity. Any non-US citizen parent must also present a valid proof of identity • Parents’ marriage license, if applicable • Evidence of the termination of prior marriages of either parent, if applicable • Evidence of the US citizen parent(s)’ physical presence or residence in the United States prior to the birth of the child. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, academic transcripts; pay slips; employment, tax, bank, and medical records; utility bills; rent receipts; or other official public documents. US passport stamps may be considered as supplemental evidence, as may be CRBAs for your other children. US driver’s licenses do not constitute proof of physical presence. It is your responsibility to demonstrate to the consular officer that you meet the transmission requirements • If a person other than a parent or the child is applying for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, the person must present a certified copy of legal guardianship or notarised affidavit from the parent(s) authorising the person to make the application • Both parents should plan to attend the appointment. If this is not possible, you must bring a signed and notarised consent for the issuance of a US passport form DS-3053from the non-present parent. Bring the application and supporting documents with you to your appointment at the US Embassy. Do not sign the application! If the US citizen parent transmitting
citizenship to the child is not present, he or she may complete State Department Form DS-5507, Affidavit of Parentage Physical Presence and Support, and submit separately. In most circumstances, the consular officer will inform you the day of your appointment if your child’s citizenship claim has been approved. If approved, the CRBA and passport will be printed in the United States and sent to the address you designate in approximately three weeks. If you require a passport for your child in fewer than three weeks, the Embassy may be able to print the child an emergency passport. Your social security application may take several months to process. The US Embassy in London processed over 4150 claims to US citizenship in 2016. Please visit https://uk.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ citizenship/claiming-u-s-citizenship/ for comprehensive information regarding the CRBA application process. We encourage you to apply for a CRBA as soon as possible after child’s birth and look forward to welcoming your child as our newest US citizen.
EMBASSY INFORMATION US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6AH uk.usembassy.gov Switchboard: (020)7499 9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American and UK holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, every day, for a life or death emergency involving a US citizen in the United Kingdom. Passport and Citizenship Services: By Appointment Monday - Friday Notary Services: By appointment Appointments available only online at uk.usembassy.gov Federal Benefits Unit: uk.usembassy.gov General Social Security information: ssa.gov Travel Advice: travel.state.gov
American In Britain
Published on Apr 3, 2017
The features in this issue include How UK’s New Investment Tax Rules Will Impact US Taxes by H&R Block; Wealth Management: Challenges Facing...