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Summer 2011

Price £5 Serving the American Community in the UK

Features include: • News • US & UK Sports • Travel Eating Out • Theatre • Tax • Top Ten Tips • School News American Women’s Clubs News • Arts & Antiques Hotel Review • Days Out With Kids • Property • Insurance

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S P E C I A LT Y & H I G H R I S K I N S U R A N C E


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Summer 2011

News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 eating Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Hotel review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Travel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 School News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Brainwave for ACS Student. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 uK Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 uS Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Taxing matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 master Class in Floristry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The American Hour Website. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Top Ten Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 American Women’s Clubs News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Dentistry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Days Out With the Kids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Arts & Antiques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 American Chruch in London . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 useful Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover

2011 Summer 2 011

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Features • US & UK Sports • Travel Featu eatures include: • News N Travel Trav e Eating Out • Theatre • Tax Tax • Top Top Ten Ten Tips Tips • School News American Women’s Arts Wome W omens ’s Clubs News • A rts & Antiques Hotel Review • Days R Dayyss Out Out With With Kids Kids • Property P ty • Insurance

Front cover: President Barack Obama talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron following their joint press conference at Lancaster House in London, England, May 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott Tel: 020 8661 0186 PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Damian Porter Tel: 01737 551506 Helen Elliott

American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB Advisory Panel

No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers Typesetting by Elaine Sharples


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the world, and will be narrated live by acclaimed British actor Anthony Andrews. From the American War of Independence to the operation in Afghanistan today, the story of our “special relationship” will be told throughout a two hour extravaganza. In addition to the spectacular show the exhibition area at Earls Court will be an integral part of the British Military Tournament. Visitors will be able to enjoy a whole host of fun activities at the Armed Forces Activity Area, whilst a shopping area with a mix of retail and charity stands will have something on offer for all. The exhibition also provides the opportunity to meet members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and to have hands on experience of some of the latest military kit. Tickets are priced from £29.75 with concessions available for children and wheelchair users. For further information please visit

THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE’S WEDDING DRESS TO GO ON DISPLAY AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE THIS SUMMER The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, will go on display at Buckingham Palace during the annual Summer Opening (23 July – 3 October 2011). The Duchess chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Her Royal Highness worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress. The dress is made from ivory and white satin-gazar (stiffened organza). The shape of the skirt, with arches and pleats, echoes an opening flower, and the ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry – a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs. The back of the dress is

THE BRITISH MILITARY TOURNAMENT London, 7 June 2011: ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in association with The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund are delighted to announce the exciting details of The British Military Tournament 2011, supported by Boeing. Taking place at Earls Court, London, from 2 – 4 December, The British Military Tournament will build on the phenomenal success of its return last year, with a spectacular new show themed around the “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and the Ronald Reagan: Inspired Freedom. Changed The World. United States. This year’s Tournament will Mrs. Ronald Reagan, tell the 250-year military history The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Board of Trustees, and between the United Kingdom The President Reagan Memorial Fund Trust and the United States of America invite you to the through performances of military Statue Unveiling of precision, re-enactments, words, RONALD REAGAN 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES music and state-of-the-art with audiovisual in one of the most The Honorable Louis B. Susman AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE COURT OF ST JAMES’S spectacular and largest theatrical and productions of its kind. The The Honorable Condoleezza Rice FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE choice of the theme is prescient and given the recent celebrated visit The Rt Hon William Hague MP FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE AND SECRETARY OF STATE by President Obama who, along President Reagan’s legacy of inspiring freedom FOR FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS changed the world. It is as relevant today as it was with Prime Minister Cameron when the Berlin Wall fell or when the Cold War ended. Together with Margaret Thatcher, he led the world in affirmed: “Ours is not just a Monday 4 July 2011 standing up for freedom and against Communism. Grosvenor Square, London W1 special relationship, it is an The Centennial Anniversary of President Reagan’s 10:00 a.m.* birth provides a unique opportunity to remember essential relationship – for us lessonss of this great man. the life, legacy, and lesson Fourth of July Festivities to follow and for the world.” “No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of The British Military * Please note that all guests are asked to be in place by 9:30 a.m. the world is so formidable as the will and Tournament 2011 has few rivals moral courage of free men and women.” To receive information on how to register for this historic event, – President Ronald Reagan when it comes to spectacle and please email live drama. It is set to be the most breathtaking performance 40 Presidential Drive • Simi Valley, California 93065 • +1-805-522-2977 • of military theatre anywhere in


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finished with 58 gazar- and organza-covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops. The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace. The train measures 2.7 metres. The Duchess’s wedding dress reflects the work of skilled craftsmen and women from across the United Kingdom. The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, founded in 1872. The lace was produced using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and handengineered on to ivory silk-tulle to create a design that incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. Each lace motif, some as small as a 5-pence piece, was applied with minute stitches every two to three millimetres. The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress and the royal wedding cake will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, which also includes the special exhibition Royal Fabergé. Opening dates: 23 July – 3 October 2011. Tickets and visitor information: or (+44) (0)20 7766 7300. RED, WHITE & BLUES IN CAMDEN INDEPENDENCE DAY AT BLUES KITCHEN According to legend, on 4th July, 1916, four immigrants had a hot-dog eating battle at Nathan’s Famous Corporation’s restaurant on Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic. The world’s most famous annual hot-dog eating competition now has over 40,000 spectators and is streamed to a million viewers live on ESPN. Not quite on the same scale but equally as exciting, this year’s Blues Kitchen annual hotdog eating contest comes to Camden Town to celebrate Independence Day. At 8pm on 4th July, those with a seriously competitive appetite will lock horns for an all-you-can-eat showdown, with the winner taking home £100 worth of Blues Kitchen vouchers and the opportunity to return next year to defend their hard fought title. As it stands, Blues Kitchen’s record of 13 is pretty meagre if you compare it to Joey Chestnut who, in 2009, set a new career high of eating a gut-busting 68 hotdogs in only 10 minutes at the Coney Island event. Contestants will have just half an hour, along with water on tap to wash down as many


hot-dogs as they can and a choice of onions, sauces and mustards, should they choose to make it all the more gratifying. If just one hot-dog will do, simply turn up in true Independence Day attire of red, white and blue and you will be treated to your very own hot-dog on the house. For those of American descent, just rock up with your passport and be treated to a complimentary glass of wine, beer or spirit, whilst sampling the very best in live blues and soul food in the heart of Camden. Budding contestants can enter the competition for free by contacting Liam Spratt on or 020 7387 5277. Spaces are limited so don’t delay – successful applicants will be contacted on Monday 27th June. DAVID EICHENBERG Living and working in Toledo, Ohio, American artist, David Eichenberg, is an extraordinary portrait painter, shaking things up in London at the BP Portrait Award 2011, National Portrait Gallery. The competition is the most admired and respected portrait competition in the world. Last year, Eichenberg was Third Prize Winner for ‘Tim’. The American ‘da Vinci’, he deals with composition, lighting, angle, focus, character and insight, “exploring these issues using traditional oil painting techniques. Although I also use symbolism and reference historically significant works, it’s very important to always break new ground within my art. Which is why it deals with …humanity, marketing, politics, social norms, sexuality, religion and science. In short, what it’s like to be an American in the 21st century!” For further information please contact Go Figurative,, telephone 0207 956 2819, to see more of his work. BP Portrait Award 2011, National Portrait Gallery, Charing Cross, WC2. 16 June – 18 September.

HARROW HILL FOOTBALL CLUB SEEKING AMERICAN SOCCER PLAYERS Harrow Hill Football Club (Gloucestershire, England) is looking for American soccer players (either a team or individuals) to play a Gloucestershire County team on Sunday 11th September 2011 at their home ground of Larksfield Park in Drybrook, Gloucestershire. The match is to serve as a memorial to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and will also raise money for the following charities: The American Red Cross Liberty Fund; The Twin Towers Fund; The Firehouse Foundation; The New York Police & Fire Widows & Children's Benefit Fund. There will be a charity auction and entertainment in the clubhouse after the game, with all proceeds going to the above charities. If you are interested in either playing in this game, or would like to attend and require further information, please email the event organiser Adam King at THE 2012 CORPORATE RELOCATION CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION On 6th February 2012, ‘American in Britain’ will be sponsoring its 15th annual Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition, at Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London. This one day event is free to attend and visitors can talk to 42 exhibitors who have products and services that serve the expatriate community, as well as attending free seminars throughout the day. To register for complimentary tickets, please email For further information please call Helen Elliott on 020 8661 0186.

American in Britain would like to wish all our readers a very Happy 4th July and a great summer!

05 Panzas, Catina L and Frank Hirth ads_Layout 1 17/06/2011 16:35 Page 2

Cantina Laredo brings the fresh & vibrant tastes of real Mexican cuisine to London

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made at your table with 100% fresh ingredients (with main course purchase, limited to one per table) *please bring this with you to claim your free guacamole

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Eating Out

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BRASSERIE VACHERIN – A NEIGHBOURHOOD FAVOURITE 12, High Street, Sutton SM1 1HN Telephone: 020 8722 0180 Brasserie Vacherin is Malcolm John’s fourth restaurant, after his original Chiswick venue, Le Vacherin Malcolm John, and his recent Croydon restaurants, Le Cassoulet and Fish and Grill, and I, as a resident of Sutton, can only delight in this newcomer to the scene. Sutton is not renowned for its fine dining, preferring to cater more for pizza lovers or families, so it is nice to be able now to review a restaurant worth travelling to. Situated conveniently near to Sutton Station it is easily reachable from the


surrounding area and is well placed to entice those commuters wending their way home from London. From the front the restaurant looks small, but once you step over the threshold you soon realise how deceptive that is, as the cosy front area, where the bar is situated, expands rapidly into a spacious, but still atmospheric, back restaurant dominated by enormous skylights and the huge ceiling lights. The décor is informal with heavy wooden tables and menus that double as placemats and the frescos on the wall all add to the brasserie atmosphere. Once the sun sets and the lighting is dimmed you could be forgiven for thinking you are no longer in the heart of suburbia but rather enjoying a secret tryst in a backstreet of Paris. Brasserie Vacherin has a 2/3 course Fixed Menu priced at £14 for 2 courses or £16.95 for 3 and although the choice is good, I would recommend going ‘off piste’ and ordering from the à la carte menu, as it is there that the quality of the food shines through. The starters include the usual French suspects in Onion soup gratinée (£5.50) and Escargot de Bourgogne (£6), but also include gems like the Leek and Alsace bacon tart (£5.50) and the two we ordered, the Charcuterie board (£7) and the baked St Marcellin cheese, thyme, gherkins and new potatoes (£7.50). Both were generous in size and, as we discovered after ordering, when combined provide the principle components of one of my favourite dishes, raclette. This I know is Swiss in origin rather than French but it is served all over France as well! The main courses are divided into Les Poissons, Les Viandes, Les Grillades and Les Vegetariens and provide the diner with over a dozen choices. The Duck Confit, Lentil Sauce and Pomme Sauce (£13.50) was cooked to perfection and my Rib Eye Steak (£16.50) was tender and cooked perfectly. Spinach (£3.50)

and Dauphinoise (£3) were ordered as accompaniments and if there was anything that let this experience down it was the small size of these side dishes. This was strange as everything else erred on the generous side. For fish lovers, I suggest the Pan Fried Fillet of Sea Bream, Green Beans, Mussel and Safron Sauce (£13.50) but be warned, this is served with head and tail still attached. Desserts are varied and include a simple but delicious Pot Au Chocolat, French Cheeses (£6.95) and a Kerela Vanilla Crème Brulée (£5) but the stand out dessert is the Tarte Fine Aux Pommes and Caramel Ice Cream (£6.50). This takes about 15 minutes to prepare but the wait is worth every minute. The service is unobtrusive and the staff are professional and well versed with the menu so don’t be afraid to ask them for their opinion. Wines are reasonably priced and there is a wide selection to suit everyone’s tastes with a number available by the glass. We have already recommended Brasserie Vacherin to several of our friends, and look forward to returning very soon. AVISTA 39 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London, W1K 2HP Telephone: 020 7596 3399 We received a very warm welcome when my guest and I arrived at Avista, an Italian restaurant in the heart of Mayfair. We decided to begin with an aperitif at the bar. Large abstract paintings, subdued lighting and comfortable seating contribute to the cool, relaxed, ambience in the bar area. This is perfectly complemented by the light modern décor in the restaurant itself. A beautiful large floral arrangement forms the centrepiece of the restaurant, around which the tables are arranged. Another attractive feature is the granite-topped work station where chefs prepare the final touches to their dishes. The menu is extensive and offers a variety of both rustic and contemporary Italian dishes created by chef Michel Granziera, born and bred in the North East of Italy. We visited the restaurant in the evening and ordered from the À La Carte menu, but they do offer an ‘Executive lunch’ option in the day, with the choice of 2, 3 or 4 courses from a set menu. The starters range in price from £8.50£15.50. My partner chose to start with Shaved Foie Gras with French Beans and Marinated Shallots, and felt that the strong flavour and dense texture of the foie gras was perfectly

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Avista contrasted by the crunchy green beans. I opted for the Pan-fried Orkney Scallops with Artichoke Purée and Pomegranate. I am a lover of Scallops, and these did not disappoint. As is traditional in Italy, we moved on to our second course; a Pasta dish. I chose Linguine with Lobster, Tomato, Sweet Chilli and Fresh Herbs. This was divine! There were generous chunks of tender Lobster Meat throughout. My partner chose Beef and Rosemary Potato Ravioli with Spring Vegetables and a Red Wine jus. Second course prices are between £7.50 and £25.00. We asked for a break before our main course, to enjoy the wine and ambience of the surroundings. We are both accustomed to eating three courses, but with four to contend with we wanted to pace ourselves! My partner’s main course was a Lobster & Scallop Fricassee with Barigoule Artichokes, whilst I opted for the Trio Duck, on the waiter’s recommendation. This comprised Duck Leg Confit, Roast Breast of Duck and Duck Ragout on a Crouton. Side dishes are ordered separately, and I chose French Beans as an accompaniment. I don’t usually choose Duck as I am put off by the fattiness of the meat; this, however was delicious. Main course prices start at £15.00 and go up to £36.00 for the Veal cutlets. To end our Avista experience we chose a Pear and Chocolate Sponge with Pistachio IceCream and a Cheese Selection, which we shared. There was an excellent selection of cheeses from different regions of Italy, which was explained to us by our waiter. Desserts range in price from £5.70 to £9.80. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Avista and would not hesitate to recommend it. I hope to visit again, not least to try some of the other dishes I nearly chose – I assure you the biggest problem you will have at Avista is making a decision from the impressive range of dishes!

ORIENT EXPRESS – THE BRITISH PULLMAN Departs Platform 1, Victoria Station, Victoria, London, SW1 Telephone: 0845 077 2222 The Orient Express is an iconic institution that is synonymous with timeless quality and true opulence that I am sure is on everyone’s must do list. So it was with almost childlike expectation that I dressed up in my finery and got the train to London Victoria station to connect with the Orient Express for a gourmet night. Hercule Poirot wasn’t there, but it was clear, even only using my ‘little grey cells,’ that this was going to be something special when you leave the hustle and bustle of the rest of Victoria Station and walk up Platform 1 to the Orient Express’ ‘waiting room’. When I say ‘waiting room’ it doesn’t conjure up the right impression as I felt transported back in time when service was important and trains ran on time! You are greeted at the door and whisked into the waiting room where you are handed a cold glass of Champagne – if only Southern trains were so hospitable! A few minutes before departure you are escorted to your carriage where you can sink

into your luxurious armchair and contemplate what it would have been like in the 20’s when train carriages like this were actually in normal service. The train was then ‘serenaded off ’ by two Scottish pipers as it not only slid effortlessly out of the platform and transported its passengers back in time. Each carriage is unique, has a history of its own and has been faithfully restored to its former glory. We were on Cygnus which was a first class parlour carriage from the 30’s. Our first course was some delicious Canapés washed down with more Champagne and then a delightful Amuse Bouche that tickled the palate and set up the remaining 5 courses beautifully. A medley of Kentish Farm Asparagus, Courgette, Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella Melange followed accompanied perfectly by a 2010 Sancerre expertly chosen by the Sommeliere. Scallops and Tiger Prawn Brochette and then a duo of Rhug Estate Organic Lamb followed, again accompanied by expert wine choices whilst the Express continued its serene procession through the Surrey commuter belt and on into the night. Cheese and a Trio of Desserts were also served and I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that this once in a lifetime experience was drawing to a close. The Orient Express runs a number of journeys which include day trips around England, trips to Paris and gourmet dinners which was the trip we were on. Each has its own charm and will appeal to different customers but each oozes class and an ‘old world’ charm that is rare in this day and age. A trip on the Orient Express is something that every person should do at least once in their lifetime. It was a dream of mine to go on it, and it didn’t disappoint! For further information please visit

The British Pullman


Hotel Review

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The Rubens at the Palace or those wishing to explore Central London, The Rubens at the Palace is a great hotel, situated at a fabulous location – 39 Buckingham Palace Road. Situated less than a 5 minute walk from Victoria Station and underground, the hotel faces the walled garden of Buckingham Palace and is another 5 minute walk from the front of Buckingham Palace and Pall Mall, where you can watch the daily pageant of the Changing of the Guard. Westminster Abbey, (host to the recent Royal Wedding), the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Downing Street, The London Eye and boat trips along the Thames, are all close by.



Also within walking distance are the Royal Parks, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, Theatres and the luxury shopping areas of Bond Street and Knightsbridge and the worldrenowned bustling Oxford Street. The Rubens Hotel is part of the Red Carnation Group, that have several hotels in Central London, and the service at this hotel is efficient and unobtrusive and the staff are welcoming, helpful, discreet and attentive. When The Rubens was built in 1911, it was popular with debutantes, a class of aristocratic, party-loving young ladies. After almost a century of fine living, the building has lost none of its aristocratic grandeur. The decor at The Rubens at the Palace recalls the magnificence and splendour of a bygone age whilst giving you the latest in modern comforts and technology. When it comes to accommodation, The Ruben offers 143 deluxe guest rooms, eight royal rooms, and ten luxurious suites. Our room was light in colour, the bed was thick and luxurious, the sheets and pillows soft, and there was no traffic noise. All rooms are independently air-conditioned with bureau desks that double up as dressing tables, and each room has complimentary high-speed internet access and a state-of-the-art entertainment system including interactive TV and a large selection of on-demand movies and a music library, plus the poshest disposable razors I have ever seen! There are two restaurants, the Old Master’s which serves a three course pre-theatre buffet menu, with a salad and cold fish bar, roasts and a vegetarian choice, and a large selection of desserts, and the more formal Library Restaurant. The Old Master’s also serves one of the best buffet breakfasts I have had, with a large choice of fruits, cereals, breads and croissants, cooked breakfast and freshly cooked eggs. For guests wishing to relax and watch the world go by, The Palace Lounge offers drinks, snacks, and an afternoon tea of freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches, and homemade cakes. Its relaxed ambience is perfect watching the activity at the Royal Mews opposite. Adjoining the lounge is the popular Cavalry Bar, a warm and richly decorated retreat from winter weather. Here you can linger for as long as you like over an inventive cocktail, cold beer, a glass of champagne, or their own ten-year-old Inverarity single malt. In the evenings, the resident pianist creates a mood for carefree laughter and easygoing conversation.

There is also a newly opened Leopard Champagne Bar providing the finest selection of Champagnes, fine wines, Whiskies, Cognacs and Armagnacs, with light dishes including Sevruga Caviar. Decorated in safari-chic, your conversations will be carried away with its intimate, exclusive and private atmosphere! You may also be tempted to try Bbar, offering a South African-themed menu and a wide range of both wines and cocktails. Voted one of the Top Three Bars in the World by British Airways High Life Magazine and recommended by TopTable, it is surely worth the detour! You even can charge your drinks at Bbar to your account in the Rubens. The Rubens has everything a boutique London hotel should offer, and for the more energetic visitors, there is complimentary membership to the local gym! For further information please visit

09 Donkey Autoclate and Library ads_Layout 1 17/06/2011 10:00 Page 2



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Hiking up Stromboli Lynne McAlister and 15 expat friends explore the Aeolian Islands is the point of no return!” Carmello shouts in broken English. He explains the last 450 meters are too difficult to find without a guide and the boulders are challenging to negotiate in the dark. If anyone is doubting their abilities now is the time to turn around. No takers. Deep breath. I plant my walking stick and gaze up at the destination, Stromboli, the third most active volcano on Earth. Stromboli, in the Aeolian Islands, has been continuously erupting for 2000 years. The Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago made of eight atolls north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Named after the Greek god of the winds,



Aeolus, these Mediterranean islands have been inhabited for 6000 years. I am with 16 women who have come together for a week to hike, eat, drink, and celebrate Spring on these rocks in the sea. Beautiful and dramatic, the volcanic origins left a legacy of black-sand beaches, smoldering craters, pumice hills, rocky coastlines, and great hiking. Lipari, the largest island is rich with obsidian and receives the preponderance of tourists. Salina is lush with over 400 types of plants. Picturesque Panarea is the play ground for Italian jet-setters. Vulcano is moonlike and was believed by ancient Romans to be the chimney for the workshop of their god of fire, Vulcan. Geologists and volcanologists have studied these islands since the eighteenth century. The entire archipelago was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for their value to the study of the volcanic process. Tourism began for this small island (population 500) in 1950 with the release of the movie Stromboli, starring Ingrid Bergman. The movie portrays a closed society unhappy to receive a foreigner. Today Stromboli welcomes 7000 visitors a year. Most of these visitors don hiking boots, helmets and headlamps to trek up the volcano to the crater’s edge at dusk. The trail began on the outskirts of the village that bears the same name as the island. We rambled beside vegetable gardens, and thick shrubbery. The dirt became pebbles and the pebbles gave way to chunky black lava rocks that require a bit of hoisting and hopping. As we continued to climb, the surface beneath our boots turned into a thin layer of

sand on rock and the switch backs led us skyward. I can see why the Greeks called this island “Strongyle”, meaning the “round.” At only 4 kilometers wide, the island’s cone peaks at 924 meters. We are half-way up. The trekkers behind are like ants, but they are fast ants and gaining on us. We are not a particularly athletic lot, but we are determined. Timing is important because no more than 100 people can be on the edge of the volcano at any given time. We want to be there immediately after sunset. KABOOM!!! What was that? Prior to the trip, I had read, “Eruptions from the summit craters typically result in mild energetic bursts that last for only a few seconds and emit ash, incandescent lava fragments, and lithic blocks up to a few hundred metres in height.” That calm sentence lacking exclamation points was apparently not written by someone, who, unlike myself, felt the earth move with the first KABOOM! “Lithic blocks” is mild parlance for what Stromboli residents call “lava bombs.” Though still out of range, I shoved on my pale blue helmet.

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We push forward. The higher we go, the later it gets, the windier it becomes, and the colder I feel! At last we reach a small shelter. Some add more clothing, some eat the paninis that are a bit worse for wear, some gather their wits. The wind is whipping at 85 kilometers/hour causing our clothes to beat us. The ash and sand cut any exposed skin. It was about that time that I remember the original email my friend sent exclaiming this is a “once in a lifetime opportunity!” Thank Heavens for that I groused to myself. Finally we tramp the last 50 meters. There it is, beneath a darkened sky, I look down into the exploding crater. KABOOM!!! This time I’m braced for the sound, I feel it in my stomach, and I see the fireworks! Flames shoot into the sky, the caldron beneath bubbles, the lava flows briefly then settles. I can’t take a picture, hands are shaking from the cold, from the fatigue, from the excitement. KABOOM! Again, now exciting, not scary. I briefly wonder if I had been an ancient Roman, would I have worshipped Vulcan. I think so.

The wind and the tiny ash knives encourage us to begin our descent. The trail down is on the opposite side of the mountain and proves to be a very different terrain. We almost ski back on black, powdery sand down to the village. Descending in about two hours, roughly half the time of our climb. Away from the summit, the wind stills, the temperature warms, the only light pollution are our headlamps, and the vivid stars meet the horizon. Getting there: Fly from London airports to Catania on BA or Alitalia. You can reach Milazzo or Messina by train or bus in order to catch the hydrofoil (Ustica Lines or SIREMAR) to the island of your choice. After summiting Stromboli, boat back to Lipari or Panara, or stay in one of the small hotels on Stromboli. Helmets and headlamps may be rented from your guide. Try Magmatrek

Lynne McAlister is a freelance journalist living in London and may be reached at



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LEGALLY BLONDE THE SAVOY THEATRE, STRAND, LONDON, W1 In the same genre as Hairspray and Wicked, Legally Blonde is a feel good show that plots the trials and tribulations of Elle Woods, who turns her back on the world of Vogue and Elle (yes, it was named after her allegedly!), to win her back her ex-boyfriend who split with her as he didn’t consider her ‘serious enough’. She ditches her life of fashion and glamour and follows him to Harvard Law School. This musical is based on the hit film of the same name and although it follows the plot closely, I feel it has more charm than the film as the theatre brings things closer to its audience and the energy of the cast is truely infectious. The role of Elle is pivotal to the success of the show and Suzanne McFadden, sister to

Westlife’s Brian McFadden, is a joy to watch in the part. She portrays Elle perfectly, initially showing just how superficial her character is until she is not considered 'serious enough' to be considered as a wife for Warner. She gets just the right amount of dizziness without it being false and over the top, and as the show progresses shows her steely side as she stands up to the ivy league snobs. There are excellent supporting performances by all of the cast but for me two deserve extra mention – Natalie Casey, who is a delight in the role of the down trodden Paulette, who has a strange fixation for Irish men, and Alex Gaumond as Emmett, the boy next door who risks all that he has worked so hard for to win the girl he loves. For those who saw the film and liked it you will not be disappointed, and for those who haven’t, I will not spoil your enjoyment by telling you more about the plot, but I can guarantee that you will enjoy it even if you are male! This show is unashamedly directed at the female population but guys don’t be put off, as although I was unconvinced before I went in, by the end of the first song my feet were twitching and by the interval I was working out which friends to recommend this to (yes it is that good). This to me is another must see musical which is so much more than just a copy of the film, and there are many fine comedy moments and 18 songs to keep everyone happy. The cast is exceptional and their joy at performing shines through, and the audience can’t help being swept away with Elle on her journey. For further information please visit BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL VICTORIA PALACE THEATRE Whilst I had heard and seen very good things about this show, I now understand what all the fuss has been about! Based on the smash hit film (released unbelievably over 10 years ago), Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds. Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners' strike when Thatcher was closing the coal mines, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid the disapproval of his struggling family. The creative team behind the film, writer Lee Hall, director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling were joined by


Sir Elton John to create this musical which was originally opened in London in 2005. The 12 year old (Josh Baker) who played Billy Elliot was astonishing, and brought the crowd to their feet a couple of times throughout the show – something I see rarely in the West End these days. The show has an excellent pace, and won me over after the very first musical number. The lyrics and choreography were combined so well with a theme which, due to the feeling in Britain at the time should have been hard to make a light-hearted story, was sympathetic and honest in its delivery. There were some extremely moving scenes and songs, other numbers were uplifting and fun. The 1980’s were perfectly captured in the set designs and costumes. The show was cast extremely well, and the cast gave even more than I felt in the movie – this is principally down to the excellent music and choreography, and likeable, and some vulnerable characters. The child performers were particularly outstanding. Overall, the show was truly passionate and touching. Most of the audience around me were crying into their tissues at a number of moments during the show, and on their feet at other points! Despite the theme and the personal problems, Billy himself faced along the way, it still managed to amuse – especially the scenes between Billy and the other children. Whilst one felt sympathy for Billy and his struggles, the audience were swept into his wave of determination and ultimate success. Billy Elliot the Musical is a highly enjoyable show which has rightfully earned its awards, success and long-standing. I will certainly be taking my children back to see it when they are a little older (some of the language may not be suitable for children) – they will also love it! For further information please visit

School News

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American & International Schools highlight some of their student’s achievements ACS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS, ENGLAND With the birthday of William Shakespeare being celebrated recently by literature-lovers the world over, a Boston student, currently studying at ACS Egham International School in Surrey, UK, has produced four poignant portraits of the playwright’s characters based on the way they come across in the texts.

Abby with her project display, showing the painting process and her portraits of Paulina (top) and Desdemona. Abby Dunlavy,16, produced the paintings as part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) personal project, for which students are tasked to create something personal that challenges them and requires their initiative.

Abby, who has been painting with oil paints for ten years, moved to the UK with her family last year and will be completing high school at ACS Egham. Having worked with The Rebel Shakespeare Company in Massachusetts for two years, Abby has performed in several plays including Two Gentlemen of Verona. Through her work on the stage, Abby has been able to get to know some of Shakespeare’s characters very well, giving her an insight into how they could be portrayed. The four oil paintings are of the characters Falstaff (from Henry IV), Paulina (from A Winter’s Tale) Othello and Desdemona (both from Othello). Abby said: “When it comes to painting, I’m mostly interested in portraiture. The way that you portray a character as an actor is very similar to how you go about portraying them on canvas as a painter. I got to know Othello as a character really well after watching lots of rehearsals and I think that is my favourite painting of the four I have done for this project. It has had the best response from other people too.” Elani McDonald, MYP Personal Project Coordinator at ACS Egham, added: "There has been a great variety of projects amongst the students. The IBMYP personal project is a great opportunity for the students to work on something that they are really interested in and show off their passion and talents." Young Americans Sing for Royal Wedding Children at ACS Cobham International School wrote and recorded their own song for the royal wedding in April. Many of the students at ACS International schools are from the US and attend the school for only a few years before moving on, so music teacher Bill Noce, himself a US expat, wanted his pupils to create something that would help them remember being in England when the wedding happened. To ensure the song is emphatically British, the composition begins with a slight homage to The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude.’ It then goes on to follow the chord pattern of Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, which was played during Lady Diana’s bridal procession. A copy of a performance of the song has been sent to Clarence House as a gift and has been uploaded to YouTube. The primary school choir of around forty pupils worked together on the lyrics, while the composition was left to Mr Noce who said, “The ACS Cobham Lower School choir

is enthusiastic and creative; they loved the idea of writing a special song as a wedding wish to William and Kate. After some brainstorming, the students started coming up with lyrics and we were off.” Andrew Konstanty, 9, is an American student in the choir and said, "I really liked that Mr Noce and the choir made up the song together, and it wishes the Prince and Princess happiness. Living in this country, I think it is polite to do that, and I like that we get to do it in a special way - by singing!” Arielle Ollagnon, a 10-year-old member of the choir, said, "one of the coolest things we have done is learning the ‘Will and Kate Song’, it was so much fun to do. I even have a flag with the pictures of Will and Kate on it so I can wave it while we sing.” Royal Wedding Song Hey Kate, we think it's great And so on your wedding day we're gonna celebrate! Hey Will. I mean YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS Oh heck, we're gonna call you Will! Hey Will it's such a thrill a modern day fairy tale it's all so brill! Your Highness dressed up in all your finest and Kate as well will be so dressed to Kill He so handsome, she so pretty Rocking out in London city Giving us a grand occasion And a day off for the Nation Hey Will we know until You ascend that throne you're gonna work your fill We know your Highnesses both will be pluses not minuses on that very modest civil list And when we think of it our eyes all mist So we wish you lots of wedded bliss we wish you all the best! Alex Corbisero called to play in England’s Rugby 1st team Former ACS Cobham International School student, Alex Corbisiero has proven his abilities on the rugby pitch following some world-class performances for England in the Six Nations Championship. Alex was born in


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New York and moved with his American father and English mother to the UK at the age of four. Alex, who plays for London Irish in the Aviva Rugby Premiership, was called up to the England first team in the Six Nations Championship this year. The 22 year old was an instant hit, putting in solid performances for the team, which went on to lift the trophy. Steve Baker is High School Principal at ACS Cobham and looks back on Corbisiero’s time at the school: “I remember Alex as a very enthusiastic young man, passionate about his rugby but also a hard worker who greatly impressed all his teachers with his work ethic, something that was the same with his rugby; he always gave one hundred per cent to everything. He was a real credit to the school.” NORTH LONDON INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Graduates at NLIS Celebrate IB and International Learning Experience On Thursday 26th May, The North London International School (NLIS) held a graduation ceremony in honour of Year 13 students. This annual event, for students completing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme, celebrated the achievements of these students and gave them a chance to reflect on being part of an international school. This year, the school’s graduates were awarded with certificates marking the completion of the IB Diploma. Additionally, select students were commended for their outstanding achievement and granted awards in particular subject areas. The IB Diploma Programme offered at NLIS is a challenging qualification, and learning focuses on a vision of a global classroom, personalised learning, and community service. The qualifications given to the 25 students at NLIS are testimony to the school’s commitment to providing students with high-quality education that will equip them for the future. Student speaker, Hannah Testa, spoke candidly and fondly while reflecting on her experience as an IB student. She spoke of the opportunities that both the IB Diploma programme and school gave her, since both emphasise global learning opportunities and trips to places like Cambodia, Rome, Tokyo and New York City. When reflecting on a service trip to Cambodia she said, ‘Seeing people on the brink of poverty made us realise how lucky we are, and the IB programme has


opened our eyes to the ways we can challenge ourselves to help create a better future.’ Prajesh Shah, another IB graduate, said the saddest part about graduating from NLIS is that some of his peers will have to return to their home countries. He hopes that the tightly knit group will keep in touch via the internet. Many of the graduating students will move on to pursue degrees at universities around the globe where they will study subjects such as psychology, investment banking, acting, business, marketing, languages, law, history, science and many more. University placements include Exeter, SOAS, UCL, and other well recognised institutions. Drama performances at the end of Spring Term Our Upper School students took part in two performances at the end of March. For one performance, the Theatre Arts group acted out the Lope de Vega version of Romeo and Juliet, which was written four hundred years ago in Spain. Elizabethan dancing, interpretations of the fight scene between the Montagues and the Capulets and then a dramatisation of the love story of Roselo made it a memorable evening. This was an examination piece for the IB Theatre Arts group, which also included students from Year 7 and Year 9, and proved to be yet another example of inspiring guidance from Mrs Fiona Kennedy, Theatre Arts Teacher. In the Lower School, there was a wonderful production of the Rocky Horror Monster Show, written and produced by Mr Victor Mastoridis, Music Teacher, and co-directed by Mrs Sarah Macmull. All of the children from Year 3 to Year 6 were involved in this Frankenstein/Back to the Future spectacular.

Fundraising At both drama productions, the school community got together to raise money for the school charities and in particular for those families affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. In the Upper School, our Japanese students, supported by IB Diploma CAS students sold sushi, Japanese snacks, origami creations and also Spanish style food and sangria. Combined with ticket sales they raised over £500 which has been split between our Cambodia appeal and the Japanese ‘Save the Children Appeal’. In Lower School, the Japanese families organised the catering for the production and a collection after the performance – raising over £700! A group of our Year 11, 12 and 13 students recently set off to NYC to visit our sister school, The Dwight School, located on Central Park. Apart from connecting with students there, they had a packed programme of activities that included: visiting Ellis Island and Liberty Island, enjoying Broadway and off Broadway theatre evenings, a backstage visit at the Metropolitan Opera House and a drama workshop at Pearl Studios on 8th Avenue. In between, they also visited to the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum, the Empire State Building, and the Rock at the Rockefeller Center. They even made a trip to Yankees stadium to watch the opening game of the season

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TASIS, THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Shelby Coffey, former President of CNN Business News speaks at TASIS Shelby Coffey III, current senior fellow of the Freedom Forum and trustee at the Newseum will speak at the commencement ceremony for TASIS The American School in England in June. Mr. Coffey was formerly president of CNN Business News and CNNfn, the financial network. He was also executive vice president of ABC News and worked as editor and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Times. The National Press Foundation named him Editor of the Year in 1995. He also held positions at The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and the Dallas Times Herald.

TASIS Students Meet the President Three TASIS students received the honour of greeting President Obama, in person, at the American Embassy during his May visit to the United Kingdom. Fiona Gettinger, Quincey Szymeczek, and Nat Clifford experienced the thrill of shaking hands with President Obama during the reception held for him by the American Embassy staff. "You could feel his charisma, immediately," said Quincey. Nat and Fiona added, "He is someone you can look up to, and you feel he his respected by the rest of the world." Impressed with the way the President connected with the younger children and by his energy, all three were still beaming days after taking part in this historic event.

Located near London, Marymount International School has 240 pupils from 46 different nationalities. Taking part in the School’s regular productions offers the students the perfect opportunity to fulfil the school motto “Unity through Diversity”; a hallmark of Marymount. Under the expert guidance of Theatre Studies teacher, Ms Helen Szymczak, the students are encouraged to develop stage presence, confidence and valuable public speaking skills as well as close friendships. They certainly infused the production with much energy, fun and joy.

MARYMOUNT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Earlier this year Marymount International School, London staged “Daisy Pulls it Off” by Denise Deegan. The play, set in the 50s, is an affectionate, keenly observed parody of life in a girls’ boarding school.... the perfect choice for the annual school play of a girls’ boarding and day school!

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Residential Lettings, Serviced Apartments, Tax and Travel.

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Brain Wave For ACS Student

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American expatriate, Wilson Brace explains his brain wave project. Wilson is 16 and is in grade ten at ACS Egham International School very student doing the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) works on a personal project in their final year, which counts towards their final grade. You are allowed to choose anything for your project, as long as it uses initiative and creativity. For mine, I wanted to explore a pioneering treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I chose this topic because I am affected by

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ADHD, so looking for a possible treatment for me made sense – I did not just want to do a good project, I genuinely wanted the treatment to work too. I also want to study medicine at university so this topic has been really interesting and insightful for me. The treatment that I studied uses a brain scanning technique called neurofeedback. Neurofeedback works by sensing electronic signals from the brain with electrodes that you attach to the scalp. The signals are translated into graphical images on a monitor and it is possible to measure and then begin to control brain activity. To look into this treatment, I contacted a doctor who then referred me to a specialist neurologist who is conducting a clinical trial study for the treatment. I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer as a test patient on the study and began taking part in three brain scanning sessions per week. During the eight week project, I was able to take video recordings of the clinical sessions and document my experience. Each session lasted an hour and involved wearing a special headset and responding to different questions or images. My brain activity was then viewed on screen and the neurologist explained how the patterns are read to discern brain activity. Outside of the clinical sessions, I was also able to borrow some brain scanning equipment that I could use at home on my own computer. Linked up to special software, it was possible to learn to control a computer programme using my thoughts alone. By concentrating carefully, I learnt to select different images that appear on screen just by thinking. The aim is to teach the brain to concentrate for longer

periods of time, which is the main problem experienced by people with ADHD. I cannot say that the treatment made a noticeable difference for me, although it was great to explore it as a possibility. One of my conclusions was that this particular treatment may need to be used for a longer period of time before it has an impact. There are other applications for neurofeedback such as treating other mental health problems including depression so it will be really interesting to see where it goes in the future. The project has been a huge success and I was pleased to be able to present my work at the ACS Egham personal project exhibition earlier in the year.

ACS Egham provides the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), which is the younger sibling of the better-known sixth-form qualification the IB Diploma. The MYP is designed for children between the ages of eleven and sixteen. In common with all IB programmes, it aims to nurture critical reasoning skills, an enquiring mind and to develop the whole person and set up attitudes which will lead to lifelong learning, international respect and responsibility. In curriculum terms, the IB MYP consists of a thorough study of eight subject groups: humanities; technology; mathematics; arts; sciences; physical education; language A (language of instruction/mother tongue); language B (additional modern foreign language). In the final year of the programme, each student completes a personal project, a significant piece of work that is the product of the student's own initiative and creativity.

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UK Sports

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espair and delirium characterised the end of our soccer season but for whom will such emotions be experienced during our major tennis and cricket events this summer?


SOCCER For the last few issues we have reported on the closeness of the Premiership title race in the 2010/11 season but at the end it resulted in a comfortable record nineteenth title for Manchester United. The chasing pack of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal all fell away in the final weeks although all four clubs qualify for next season’s European Champions League tournament. Arsenal, however, will have to play one qualifying round to enter the main draw. It was an exceptional performance by a Manchester United team that most observers believed was not a great side but that club has one considerable talent – they know how to win games even when playing poorly. How Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s long serving manager, will reinforce the team during the summer transfer months is yet to be seen. Paul Scholes, United’s long serving and dependable midfielder, has retired and recurring injuries continue to affect the career of Rio Ferdinand. Many rumours abound, not only about potential transfer targets for Manchester United but also for Chelsea and Manchester City who both have very wealthy owners/ benefactors. But Arsenal, who do need some more experienced players, seem more


preoccupied with retaining some of the best players they already have. Time will tell. Congratulations also go to the three teams promoted from the Championship division to the Premiership – champions Queens Park Rangers, runners-up Norwich City and Swansea City who qualified through the end of season play-offs. How will they fare? Probably with difficulty. It is a different world in the Premiership; ask Blackpool in particular. Last season Blackpool led the Premiership after some six games with their own attacking style of football. But Premiership teams soon learnt that Blackpool did not know how to defend over ninety minutes and returned them quickly to the Championship. One final note on the soccer scene. In our winter 2009/10 issue we praised Ryan Giggs who had just won the BBC’s 2009 Sports Personality of the Year award. We praised him as a role model to young people for his loyalty (a one club man), football skill and overall personality. What do we know!! TENNIS Watch out Wimbledon – the girls are back in town! Venus and Serena (nine Wimbledon singles titles between them in the last eleven years!) are back and who would back against one of the Williams sisters walking off with the Wimbledon title again? Serena has not played since she lifted the Wimbledon title last year! A foot injury in a Munich restaurant was followed by a serious blood clot that travelled to her heart. One might have thought that Serena, who turns thirty in September, would call an end to her tennis career after such a difficult time. Happily she has not and the ladies locker room could soon be trembling with fear! Venus has only played two tournaments since last Wimbledon – the US Open last August and the Australian Open this January. A hip problem caused Venus to withdraw from her quarter final in Australia against Tsvetana Pironkova from Bulgaria but she has reportedly said she feels eight and a half out of ten for fitness and has never given herself ten out of ten! That sounds a confident young lady. With the women’s game wide open and no one dominant player on the tour, we should be in for an interesting tournament. Caroline Wozniacki, the world number one, has never won a major title, Kim Clijsters has had some injury problems, Zvonereva (despite beating Serena at Eastbourne) is still prone to emotional breakdown on court, Azarenak, Kvitova, Stosur

and Jankovic have yet to dominate at Wimbledon, Maria Sharapova failed to dominate in the French Open whilst China’s Li Na won that championship and might be a dark horse at SW19. Also, keep an eye on Germany’s Petkovic and Goerges. So what of our home grown talent? There was much media excitement at the French Open because two British girls actually got through to round two! Britain’s number one, Elena Baltacha, and our number two, Heather Watson, carry our best hopes but their records in major tournaments are really not very good. Baltacha has made it to the second round at Wimbledon three times and once reached the third round but at twenty seven years of age she is not likely to improve on that. Watson, at age nineteen, has a longer term future and could become a reasonable prospect. Our third ranked player, Anne Keothavong, is aged twenty seven and, like Baltacha, is not now likely to make a big impression in the four majors. Our top three are then followed by Katie O’Brien aged twenty five, Naomi Broady aged twenty one, Laura Robson aged seventeen and Emily Webley-Smith aged twenty six. It is ridiculous to think that those players, now in their mid to late twenties, are ever going to make a big impression in the top tournaments. These days you have to be able to compete at the very top in your late teens or early twenties in order to be considered a potential champion. Only Watson, Robson and possibly Broady might achieve something special but their tennis ability requires a stronger physique to create the basis for the power game that tennis now is. And we really must stop getting over excited every time one of our girls wins one match in a big tournament – that is just not good enough! On the men’s side, we Brits are again dependent on Andy Murray as our only hope at Wimbledon, but he does stand a better chance than any of this year’s entrants from across the pond. James Ward had a great tournament at Queen’s and a semi-final place may well have increased his confidence but Wimbledon is a different kettle of fish. Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will present America’s greatest challenge but neither seem likely to upset the top four players in the draw. Murray is playing well; will Djokovic overcome the disappointment of losing his 2011 unbeaten run at the French Open?; will Federer, who inflicted that defeat on Djokovic, regain his phenomenal record at Wimbledon; or will Nadal retain his 2010 crown? The competition between these four outstanding players will again be

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intense but it is hard to find anyone else at the present time to challenge them over five sets. Del Potro, Tsonga, Soderling, Cilic and America’s John Isner and Andy Roddick have the big serve game that suit’s the Wimbledon grass but are unlikely to prevail against the ‘big four’. However, let’s hope we get good weather and a good exciting tournament. CRICKET England have started their three match Test series against Sri Lanka and recorded an astonishing victory in the first Test at Cardiff. After a rain affected match and each team scoring over four hundred runs in each of their first innings, England, with only a few hours of play left in the match, miraculously bowled Sri Lanka out in their second innings in under two and a half hours for a meagre eighty two runs and won the match by an innings and fourteen runs. Unbelievable! Unfortunately, the second Test at Lord’s petered out in a tame draw and, at the time of writing, the third Test at the Rose Bowl has yet to commence. England’s target and ambition is to be the number one ranked international cricket team by the end of the year. To achieve this, England must defeat the current number one team, India, in the four Test series beginning at Lord’s on 21 July. These should be excellent Test matches between two excellent sides. Much mirth was recently created by the wonderful radio commentary team that presents Test Match Special. Jonathan Agnew reduced ex-England captain Michael Vaughan to uncontrolled giggling when he noted, during the second Sri Lanka Test match, that England batsman Kevin Pietersen was repairing his cricket bat and was “putting a rubber” on it; he followed that up by saying to Vaughan “It’s not easy putting a rubber on, is it Michael?” to which Vaughan replied “No it’s not. I was never good at that”; but then Vaughan was reduced to uncontrolled giggles over the airways. This is not the first time that such hilarity has been caused by unintentional cricket commentary. Richie Benaud, an ex-Australian captain, once said of one batsman’s technique: “He’s usually a good puller but he couldn’t get it up that time”. Then there was the great Brian Johnston’s bloomer when he said during a West Indies/England Test match: “The bowler’s Holding. The batsman’s Willey”. Finally, there was the famous occasion when Brian Johnston was trying to read out the end of day score card and, when referring to Ian Botham losing his wicket by

stepping on to it, was reduced to uncontrollable laughter that lasted for several minutes over the radio when Johnathan Agnew (again!) observed that Botham “couldn’t quite get his leg over” (the wicket, of course). That last incident was eventually voted the greatest sporting commentary of all time! BOXING It was with much sadness that we learnt in early May of the death of Britain’s most famous and well loved boxer, heavyweight Sir Henry Cooper. ‘Our ‘Enry’ was not only a great fighter – he was a true role model. He became the nation’s working class hero; a man who stood for decency and modesty. Whilst Henry never won a world title he held the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles over many years. But Henry will always be most

remembered for his fight with the then Cassius Clay, their non-title fight at Wembley in 1963 when the famed “Enry’s ‘ammer” (Cooper’s famous left hook) flattened the unbeaten Clay towards the end of the fourth round. Clay would undoubtedly have been counted out but he was saved by the bell. During the interround break, Clay’s manager, Angello Dundee, gave him smelling salts (not legal!) and tore a small hole in Clay’s boxing glove which then needed a replacement. All this gave Clay time to recover from Henry’s hammer blow and he duly defeated Henry after a massive attack in the next round, Henry retiring with a cut eye, a weakness he suffered from for most of his boxing career. Sir Henry Cooper will be much missed by the British people but forever remembered as a great sportsman and a great man.


08 ESPN ad



Page 24



US Sports

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MONEY LINE STANDINGS AL WEST Texas +267 Seattle +188 LA Angels -551 Oakland -1216 AL WEST SINCE MAY 28… Texas +441 Seattle +18 LA Angels -526 Oakland -538 AL CENTRAL Cleveland +1338 Detroit +452 Chicago White Sox -304 Kansas City -554 Minnesota -1136 AL CENTRAL SINCE MAY 28… Detroit +696 Cleveland -244 Minnesota -332 Chicago White Sox -358 Kansas City -770 AL EAST Toronto +269 NY Yankees +20 Baltimore -93 Tampa Bay -106 Boston -434

The Real MLB Standings to Watch by Bruce Marshall, Editor

t's easy enough to locate the MLB standings every day. Just open up any sports page, or click into any sports website worth its salt, and the standings are easy to find. Wagerers value won-loss records, too, but there's a different measuring device most "players" want to be abreast of as well. Money line and run line standings provide an extra barometer for handicappers to consult as they make their daily selections. Shorter-term calculations are going to provide more illuminating as the season progresses, however, so we are providing both full season and numbers over the past ten days vs. the money line and run line.


Following records are through games of June 7.

AL EAST SINCE MAY 28… NY Yankees +322 Toronto +165 Boston -118 Tampa Bay -162 Baltimore -211 NL WEST Arizona +818 San Francisco +528 San Diego -348 LA Dodgers -605 Colorado -1374 NL WEST SINCE MAY 28… San Diego +604 LA Dodgers +260 San Francisco +134 Arizona +96 Colorado -370


NL CENTRAL St. Louis +728 Pittsburgh +691 Milwaukee +490 Cincinnati -322 Houston -1051 Chicago Cubs -1429

AL EAST Toronto +748 NY Yankees +234 Boston -290 Tampa Bay -784 Baltimore -1182

NL CENTRAL SINCE MAY 28… Milwaukee +364 Pittsburgh +296 St. Louis +139 Cincinnati -35 Houston -106 Chicago Cubs -954 NL EAST Florida +273 Philadelphia +246 NY Mets +34 Washington +24 Atlanta -155 NL EAST SINCE MAY 28… NY Mets +242 Washington +17 Atlanta -13 Philadelphia -443 Florida -626 RUN LINE STANDINGS AL WEST Texas +841 Seattle -166 LA Angels -295 Oakland -614

AL EAST SINCE MAY 28… NY Yankees +494 Toronto +169 Baltimore +115 Boston -206 Tampa Bay -489 NL WEST Arizona +244 San Diego -461 Colorado -504 LA Dodgers -711 San Francisco -1158 NL WEST SINCE MAY 28… San Diego +805 LA Dodgers +590 Arizona +171 San Francisco -396 Colorado -440 NL CENTRAL Cincinnati +876 St. Louis +682 Pittsburgh +241 Milwaukee -786 Houston -1086 Chicago Cubs -1451

AL WEST SINCE MAY 28… Texas +379 Seattle -99 Oakland -446 LA Angels -632

NL CENTRAL SINCE MAY 28… Pittsburgh +587 Cincinnati +339 Milwaukee +12 St. Louis -424 Houston -500 Chicago Cubs -770

AL CENTRAL Detroit +809 Cleveland +591 Chicago White Sox -260 Minnesota -265 Kansas City -526

NL EAST NY Mets +337 Florida +141 Washington +10 Philadelphia -158 Atlanta -336

AL CENTRAL SINCE MAY 28… Minnesota +835 Detroit +409 Chicago White Sox +360 Kansas City -431 Cleveland -763

NL EAST SINCE MAY 28… Washington +207 NY Mets +77 Florida -209 Philadelphia -589 Atlanta -642

LIVE ON ESPN AND ESPN AMERICA... 66 Regular Season Games, All-Star Game, Playoffs and The Finals Monday Night Football plus Monday Night Countdown and Sunday NFL Countdown Regular Season, NHL Premiere, Winter Classic, All-Star Game, Playoffs and The Stanley Cup Final Spring Training, Regular Season, All-Star Game, Playoffs and World Series Regular Season and all of March Madness© Regular Season, Bowl Games and Bowl Championship Series© 30 minute show weekdays at 6am, repeated till 8am and updated at 10:30pm




Taxing Matters

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by Carol Hipwell of Frank Hirth June 2011

his time of year can be action packed for US tax advisors and to add a special slant this year, the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) is in full swing. The OVDI was initiated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in February 2011 and closes 31 August 2011. Unlike the previous programme where additional time was provided after participating in the initiative in order to complete tax returns and information disclosures, the initiative this year requires filing or correcting all outstanding forms and settling tax liabilities by 31 August 2011. In addition, it is vital that returns and forms falling due in 2011 before 31 August are timely filed or correctly extended. The initiative is part of a concentrated effort by the US Justice Department to fight suspected tax evasion, particularly regarding offshore accounts. The Justice Department is targeting overseas banks with US customers, as highlighted by the government’s criminal investigation of UBS back in 2009 regarding Swiss accounts. They agreed a $780 million fine on the bank and the disclosure of the names of thousands of US taxpayers with offshore accounts. More recently, the scope of the government’s investigation includes a broader inquiry regarding accounts held in Asia.



The focus of the OVDI is on the voluntary filing of tax returns and information reports by US taxpayers. The IRS is offering people with undisclosed income from offshore accounts an opportunity to participate in the OVDI in order to get current on their tax returns. The 2011 initiative has a higher penalty rate than the IRS’s previous voluntary disclosure programme, which ended 15 October 2009, but offers clear benefits to encourage taxpayers to disclose foreign accounts now rather than risk IRS detection and possible criminal prosecution. In addition, the 2011 initiative includes new guidelines to provide fairness to people with smaller amounts of undisclosed assets or unusual situations. The penalty regime under the initiative is substantially more favourable than the regime for wilful failure to file penalties. For example, the IRS guidance using interest income of $50,000 per year over a period of years, along with non-US account balances in excess of $1,000,000, shows that the tax and civil penalties under the programme would be approximately $518,000 plus interest, compared to tax and penalties of up to $4,543,000 if the IRS discovered their offshore activities. The new initiative is intended to encourage individuals to disclose foreign bank accounts and unreported income by providing a clear penalty structure and time frame for making voluntary disclosures. It also provides greater publicity of the need to make disclosures and report worldwide income. US citizens, greencard holders and US residents all need to report their worldwide income if they meet the annual filing thresholds based on gross income. They also are likely to need to make information reports regarding non-US accounts, companies, partnerships, trusts and gifts. The penalties for failing to file information reports are not based on the level of income related to the disclosure. An example of this is the penalty regime regarding Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). This form should be received by 30 June following the close of the calendar year, if it is required. If an individual has four accounts to declare but does not file the form, there is a civil penalty for non-wilful violation of up to $10,000 for each account for each year. Wilful penalties would be up to the greater of $100,000, or 50% of the highest amount in the account during the period. As you can

imagine, these penalties far outstrip the income from such accounts and can be imposed even when the income has been declared. Under the OVDI, the taxpayer needs to pay failure to file and failure to pay penalties as well as an accuracy penalty on understated tax liabilities. With regard to information reports, there is an offshore penalty which is 25% (reduced in limited situations to 12.5% or 5%) of the highest aggregate balance in foreign bank account or entities, or the value of foreign assets during the period covered by the voluntary disclosure. The offshore assets that attract the 25% penalty include any of the taxpayer’s offshore holdings that are related in any way to tax non-compliance. The penalty applies to any assets owned directly by the taxpayer including cash, securities, real estate and intangible assets such as stock or other interests in a US or foreign business. Tax non-compliance includes failure to report income from the assets, as well as the failure to pay US tax due with respect to the funds used to acquire the assets. For example, if a taxpayer did not declare a US tax liability on the sale of their principal residence in the UK, or on their UK salary, and then used these untaxed funds to buy another home in the UK, the 25% offshore penalty will apply to this asset because is related to tax non-compliance. The offshore penalty will apply regardless of the fact that the property itself is not income producing. The IRS highlights that certain US taxpayers who reported and paid tax on all taxable income for prior years but did not file one or more FBAR or other information return(s) do not need to enter the OVDI. The IRS will not impose a penalty for the failure to file the information returns if there are no under-reported tax liabilities and the information returns are filed by 31 August 2011. However, there is no clarity regarding the position of a taxpayer who has under-reported their income, or reported it late, but believes they have a reasonable cause for such a position and wishes to file outside of the OVDI; should they bypass the certainty of the OVDI penalty regime for the possible chance of no penalty at all? If they can show that they have no tax liability, should they risk a quiet disclosure of tax returns and information reports, or should they apply for the OVDI? What if they do have a small tax liability? Taxpayers have always had the ability to submit overdue tax returns and information

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reports through normal processing centres, and penalties are likely to be assessed when the returns and forms are processed. If the taxpayer can show reasonable cause for the original oversight or error, penalties can be abated. Regularising your tax affairs in this manner is referred to as a ’quiet’ disclosure and can include filing original or amended returns. There is normally no mechanism to additionally notify the IRS of any noncriminal disclosure. However, taxpayers who have already made such ‘quiet’ disclosures still have the ability to apply for the OVDI. Therefore they may wish to review their exposure to penalties with and without the OVDI. Those taxpayers making ‘quiet’ disclosures while the OVDI is in place should understand the risks of such as position, both civil and criminal. Clearly, anyone with any concerns regarding these matters should ensure that they review and address all US tax compliance issues for 2003 onwards, both in terms of income tax and information reports. Any tax returns or forms due for 2010 should remain current

while this review is taking place, noting that although the tax return can be extended beyond 15 April 2011, the FBAR report cannot be extended beyond its 30 June 2011 deadline. The report for certain non-US grantor trusts may already be overdue if an extension was not obtained. If any amendments or new reports need to be made, professional advice should be obtained. Meeting the 31 August 2011 deadline is essential to use the OVDI or to gain protection from certain penalties as highlighted by the IRS. Should you wish to discuss any points in this article, or you have any concerns surrounding your UK and US tax reporting, please contact our team at:

written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

By Carol Hipwell of Frank Hirth plc. Telephone: 020 7833 3500 Email:

Free Tax Seminar On Monday 6th February 2012 there will be a free tax seminar at

The 2012 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition,

Good luck

Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London.

US Treasury Department Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any US federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or

For further information and to register your free place, please email

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+ 23

Master Class In Floristry

24 Floristry_Layout 1 17/06/2011 17:05 Page 24

Laura Lee of Kenneth Turner gives Helen Elliott a Master Class in floristry absolutely adore flowers, and have great visions of creations in my head, but when it comes to it my arrangements end up getting smaller and smaller as my frustration at not creating what is in my head, leads me to reduce my so called ‘creation’ stem by stem, until I have all the same types of flowers in one vase and a bin full of stems that I have cut shorter and shorter as I have gone along! So imagine my delight, when I received an invitation to a Master Class with Laura Lee of Kenneth Turner, florist to the rich and famous (as well as mere mortals like me). I was invited to Skinners Hall where Laura spent an hour and a half demonstrating her skills and teaching me to copy them, and by the time I had finished, the vision that was in my head, was actually created there in front of me!



Laura presented me with an empty basket, in which a round bowl was placed, and then came what is now going to be my secret weapon – the chicken wire! Once I had cut it and rolled it, it was placed in the bowl, and then tied with reel wire both through the wicker and around the base of the basket. Laura then presented me with foliage, that included herbs and mint, which smelt divine, that had to be cut to the required length, then cut at an angle, and then cut directly up the stem. Once the arrangement was looking fairly full with foliage, I then inserted the beautiful large white roses and the little tiny roses, in groups, rather than dotted around the display which is where I had been going wrong in my previous attempts to be a master florist. It was amazing, the flowers definitely stood out more when in their little groups, and once the lavender had been added, again in groups, my arrangement was ready to be entered into Chelsea Flower Show. Well at least I thought so!

Laura herself is a delightful lady. Patient, kind and very calm, and I was lucky enough to be told some of her amazing stories of jobs she has had in the past creating beautiful bouquets and arrangements for people all over the world. Now you too can benefit from Laura’s expertise as she has launched the new ‘At Home with Kenneth Turner’ bespoke packages, designed for anyone in and around London looking to learn in their homes how to prepare the perfect floral arrangement for all manner of events. Lead by Laura herself and her colleague Jon Poulsom, both from Stormy, customers will receive a one-on-one session ranging from a dining table centre piece to a garden party event or to a more extravagant celebration where flowers are required. Full design lessons are offered and the service educates the consumer on flowers, how to select them, look after them and display them for maximum impact. Whilst your eyes will be entertained

with a vision of colour and creativity designed by you under Laura or Jon’s creative eyes, your sense of smell won’t be forgotten. The ‘At Home with Kenneth Turner’ package includes home fragrances matched to your flowers along with a scented candle from the extensive range. Your home will be picture perfect and smell divine. The starting price is £130.00 for the consultation. Flowers are extra and subject to requirements along with the tuition fee which will vary according to time. Laura can also arrange for group demonstrations and lessons for clubs, friends or colleagues, and these can be tailor made to suit your requirements. Laura Lee says: “Having started with Kenneth Turner 25 years ago, I soon saw the growth within the UK floristry market, most of it driven and inspired by what Kenneth Turner had established. He opened many creative doors and over the last few years I have kept those doors open through my own flower business, Stormy, where Jon and I have created unique designs for events in the UK and across the world to capture all manner of briefs. We are delighted to be heading up the return of Kenneth Turner Flowers by Stormy; the enthusiasm and passion for the brand and indeed for his floral vision never went away. We are already established in venues and ‘At Home with Kenneth Turner’ will take the brand into peoples’ living and dining rooms and beyond.” Whether it is a vase, bowl, basket, entire room or venue that requires creativity and energy for a party, event or special occasion, Kenneth Turner Flowers by Stormy has an arrangement to suit all.

For further information please visit or telephone 020 7627 5640.


25 Insurance_Layout 1 17/06/2011 17:06 Page 25

A Quick Guide to International Property Insurance by Kathy Dorf

eople invest significant time and money to acquire things of value to them. The possibility that these items could be lost or damaged during a move or while in residence is a common concern, but there are unique risks to consider when relocating abroad. These circumstances make personal property coverage a necessity in protecting your material investments. International Personal Property Insurance provides coverage for items damaged during the relocation process or while in your foreign residence. There are a few things to consider when purchasing this type of policy, so refer to this quick guide for everything you need to know to acquire adequate protection for your valued possessions. Choose Wisely – International insurance should be purchased from a reliable and regulated insurance company. When policies are purchased from local providers, they vary greatly in coverage and accountability. Keep a Safe Distance – There is a distinct advantage to having an insurance provider that is located outside of your host country. In the event of a natural disaster, political violence or other catastrophic event, your policy and the people administering it are at a safe distance. Know Your Limits – Many policies offered abroad provide very limited coverage. It is important to understand the exact protection you receive under your policy and where the policy provides coverage. Stay on Schedule – Most personal property policies give you the option of listing scheduled and unscheduled items. Most items you own will be considered unscheduled, such as clothing or household items. High-value items, such as jewellery and artwork, are considered scheduled items. Scheduling your coverage helps ensure that you receive the full, appraised amount for the item in the event of a loss. Know Your Worth – Your personal property coverage allows you to assign value to your belongings in the event that they are lost or damaged. Carefully consider the value of your items when listing them in your policy. It’s also critical to periodically update your scheduled and unscheduled coverage as you make significant purchases to ensure you’re fully protected and receive the full value of your items should the unexpected occur. Mind the Gap – Gaps in coverage can occur when separate transit and destination policies are purchased and can be eliminated by packaged policies. Making the Journey – Transit insurance is an important part of any international move. Your


property has a greater risk of becoming lost or broken while it’s transported from one location to another. It is advisable to find a personal property policy that includes transit insurance, to avoid any gaps in coverage. If a claim occurs during the moving process, it is difficult to prove when the loss took place – during shipping, while in storage, in customs, or while the boxes were in transit to your residence. Save the Date – It’s important to be mindful of the coverage effective date. If you’re cancelling your current homeowner or property coverage, the effective date of the new international policy should be the same as the cancellation date to help prevent a gap in coverage.

Kathy Dorf is the Marketing Communications Specialist at Clements Worldwide. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications with an emphasis in public relations from the University of South Florida. One of her main responsibilities at Clements is building and maintaining relationships with expatriate organisations and publications around the world. Clements Europe +44 (0) 20 3009 3380

Clements Worldwide’s Expat Youth Scholarship deadline passed on May 13, but judging will begin this summer and Facebook fans of the EYS page will get to vote for the winners during the month of August. The finalists will be announced in mid-September. • Once the scholarship contest closes, Clements Worldwide will narrow the entries down to the top 12 with the help of our Judges Panel. • The top 12 videos will be posted on the Expat Youth Scholarship Facebook page under the “Links” tab. • During the month of August, members of the Expat Youth Scholarship fan page will be able to vote for their favourites using the “Like” feature. Voting (aka “Liking”) will end on August 31. (Make sure you tell your friends and family to join our page and vote!) • The total number of fan “Likes” will determine the top 3 winners in each age category. For further information please visit www.expat


The American Hour Website

26 The American Hour_Layout 1 17/06/2011 17:06 Page 26

ur website was launched in 1999, so we have, of course, made many updates and improvements since then. However, over the last couple of months we have been working hard to review and design a site which continues to be useful to our many thousands of visitors. In this issue of ‘American in Britain’ we wish to highlight some of these developments and changes, following feedback and requests from our visitors and sponsors. The on-going aim and purpose of the site is to offer information and advice for Americans moving to, or living in, the UK. America and Britain may share a common language but, as you all know, there are many aspects of living in the UK where, at some point, you will need to seek help, advice or information. Therefore the most valuable resources are contained in the ‘Useful Advice Pages’ section of the site. There are currently 38 sections in this area in which we aim to provide relevant advice or information. We have highlighted some of the areas we have focussed on recently:



RESTAURANTS Within this section you can find information on London restaurants popular with Americans. This section continues to grow with many of our restaurant partners offering special promotions, competitions and event up-dates. Partners include classic favourites such as Bodean’s BBQ, The Chicago Ribshack, Hard Rock Café, The Rainforest Café and The Sports Café, and there are also newer fine dining restaurants including the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie at the Wyndham Grand Chelsea Harbour and JW Steakhouse at Grosvenor House. PROPERTY: LIVING IN … Knight Frank are the sponsors of our ‘Living In’ section. This section of the site highlights key areas of London and the Home Counties popular with American expatriates (there are 19 areas highlighted including St John’s Wood, Ascot, Chelsea, Hampstead & Notting Hill). For those in the process of relocating to the UK we provide a summary on each area including reasons to live there, the history, places of interest, types of rental properties available and transport connections. This section is also useful for those American expatriates who may be in the process of researching a move to a new property or area. Our sponsors can also help by offering a complimentary Homesearch service – further details can be found on this section of the site. The Residential Lettings page also has some useful tips and advice with regard to renting property in the UK. EVENTS This section is up-dated constantly with new events, meetings, religious and charity activities, including what’s going on in the UK for Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. We are currently working on up-dating and enhancing many other pages, including Dentistry, Hotels, Moving, Taxation and Theatre; so please keep checking the site for up-dates. Other key areas of the site include: COMPETITIONS & OFFERS This section of the site was launched earlier this year, and has been extremely popular with hundreds of entries filling our mail boxes! So far, we have offered the following prizes and will continue to offer some fantastic prizes over the duration of the year:

A family ticket to see ‘Dick Whittington and his Cat’ at Lyric Hammersmith; Dinner for two at Hard Rock Cafe London and access to their Super Bowl event; Three pairs of tickets to The Country Living Magazine Spring Fair; A pair of tickets to the Emirates Airline London Sevens extravaganza at Twickenham Stadium; Two top tickets to see Matthew Fox & Olivia Williams in 'In a Forest, Dark & Deep'; A copy of Folk Art from The American Museum in Britain; A Whole Foods Hamper worth £150; £75 worth of vouchers for The Rainforest Café London. THE 2011 EXPATRIATE’S GUIDE TO LIVING IN THE UK This year’s Guide was released in April, and has been selling fast. This A5 Guide is an extremely useful resource for anyone relocating to the UK, covering many key areas of consideration when relocating to the UK. The Guide is available to purchase for only £5.00. THE AMERICAN HOUR MONTHLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER Our website is also supported by The American Hour Monthly Email Newsletter. The Email is sent on the first Monday of the month to thousands of Americans living in the UK, and contains the following information: Events & Notices (including Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year etc.); Competitions & Offers; American Women’s Clubs Activities & Meetings; Religion; Arts & Antiques exhibitions and events; Further updates on education, sports, property and taxation & immigration updates. To register for this complimentary newsletter, please email The Newsletter is up-loaded to the site every month under the ‘Newsletter’ section. AMERICAN IN BRITAIN ONLINE You will shortly be able to download ‘American in Britain’ via the website. We have also recently set up a Facebook page for ‘American in Britain’ and’ so please feel free to ‘like’ us! We will also keep you up-dated on any developments with regard to other social media. Please remember to tell your friends, family and colleagues about the site if they are moving to, or living in the UK. Also be sure to mention us to any of our sponsors or advertisers so that we can continue to provide you with an informative and useful site. Finally, we welcome you to share any feedback or suggestions with us via the ‘contact us’ page on our website.

Top Ten Great Ways to Enjoy Culture in the Open Air by Judith Schrut ip, Hip, Hooray for the Great British Summer – but will this year bring us ‘Here comes the Sun’ or ‘Stormy


Weather’? With the British climate so famously fickle, it may surprise you to learn that an average summer’s day in southern England is 20°C (68°F) and that this year the UK Met (Weather) Office predicts a warm, dry season. Whatever the weather, the coming months promise a bumper crop of open air art, music, festivals and other cultural events. In this issue’s ‘Top Ten’ we’re taking it all outdoors, inviting you to sample some of Britain’s best. 1. THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WOMAD WOMAD stands for World of Arts Music and Dance and is the biggest international music festival of them all. This year’s WOMAD, which takes place at the end of July, promises

Flags fly at WOMAD, photo by Trevor Eales

Top Ten Tips

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to bring together hundreds of performing artists from dozens of countries and around 30,000 world music fans to a beautiful open air site in the rolling hills of rural Wiltshire. Hotly anticipated at this WOMAD year are a Japanese blues band and a fascinating range of ‘fusion’ musicians, combinations like Celtic/Maori/Pacific, Cuba/Mali and Italy/ Costa Rica/Brazil/Portugal. From the USA come mad gypsy punkers Gogol Bordello, bluegrass wunderkind Abigail Washburn and soul legend Booker T. Jones. Traipsing from tent to tent in the fresh outdoors sharpens the appetite and WOMAD is well prepared for this. Not far from its multiple performing stages and beneath the hallmark giant art flags waving majestically in the breeze is the Global Market, where you will be tempted to ‘eat your way around the world’ from a mouthwatering range of international food. Although WOMAD’s stage shows are its main draw, there are loads of other imaginative events to enjoy including music-inspired cooking in Taste the World, the Human Library Experience and RAW workshops, where you can build a stage from recycled materials. The festival sells out well in advance, so if you haven’t managed to get tickets this year, you can still sample a WOMAD one-day special event at Bristol Zoo. This will be a unique evening of world music, workshops and a global bazaar surrounded by wildlife from the four corners of the earth. Further information:

2. FOLK IN THE FRAME This summer will be bursting with open air folk and traditional music events, from world class extravaganzas like the Cambridge Folk Festival to Morris dancing, pipe playing or folk fiddling on village greens around the country. This year we particularly recommend a visit to Devon’s wonderful Sidmouth Folk Week in July. It’s set in a charming and historic seaside town, surrounded by red cliffs and green hills and famed for clean sandy beaches, fresh crab butties and ice cream. Sidmouth hosts a staggering 600 events across many sites (not all outdoors) with a line up of the most brilliant stars of the folk firmament, including Kate Rusby, Show of Hands, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, Moishe’s Bagel, Genticorum from Quebec and celebrated American expat Peggy Seeger. But Sidmouth offers much more than a chance to enjoy a wall-to-wall feast of folk and acoustic music – it’s also a place to try your feet at clogging, Morris dancing or Irish set dance, join a DIY band or choir or dance every night away at a Ceilidh. There’s also storytelling, street theatre, late night cabaret and the famous ‘silent discos’, plus a separate family festival. And don’t forget to leave some time for that stroll on the beach. If you can’t make it to Sidmouth this year, why not try the magical Towersey Village Festival in stunning Oxfordshire countryside, where we urged you not to miss the brilliant 17 Hippies from Germany and the Spooky Men’s Chorale from Australia. Further information:


27-31 Top Ten_Layout 1 17/06/2011 17:07 Page 28 3. BEST IN SHOW Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre near London’s Camden Town has been putting on first rate outdoor shows and concerts for almost 80 years. One jewel in its theatrical crown was undoubtedly last year’s Olivier-award winning musical, Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’, cleverly and literally set into the woods on a multilevel treehouse stage. Although the theatre has been in the same location since 1932, it’s no less thrilling to arrive quite unexpectedly at its semi-hidden gate and enter a secret garden of delights, complete with rambling picnic lawn, BBQs and extensive bar area twinkling with fairy lights. A wide range of events staged here from May to late September at affordable prices attracts an equally wide range of audiences. Amongst the current season’s highlights are an innovative production of John Gay’s ‘The Beggar’s Opera’, a bawdy musical comedywith-morals featuring highwaymen, hangmen and harlots, Gershwin’s classic musical Crazy for You, the Imagined Village Band and Jimmy Carr’s Laughter Therapy. Audiences are warned to prepare for any weather, since the theatre is completely uncovered. This writer recalls a memorable first visit here many years ago, when a sudden thunderstorm blackened the sky and blew over stage sets. The actors persevered to the end, in wind and pouring rain, and somehow we had the feeling the show was being directed from the heavens. It was ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ after all. Further information:


4. MOVIE MAGIC The joys of open air cinema go right back to 1932 New Jersey, when business magnate and heavy duty movie fan Richard Hollingshead nailed a screen to a tree in his backyard and a Kodak projector to the hood of his car. He opened the world’s first commercial movie drive-in the following year, proudly advertising that “the whole family is welcome regardless of how noisy the children are.” Drive-ins, famed for novelties like rollerskating waitresses bringing cheeseburgers, shakes and fries right to your car and boasting a reputation as teenage ‘passion pits’, enjoyed many boom years. They peaked in the 1960s and faded almost to extinction soon after, no doubt due to the coming of the home video age and more profitable options like turning drive-in lots into high rise property blocks. But to the delight of those of us who recall

Somerset House, photo copyright Gideon Mendel

Into the Woods, Regents Park, photo by David Jensen

the romance of the drive-in era, outdoor movies are now enjoying a worldwide comeback, with hi-tech gizmos giving a fresh boost to the genre. This summer in the UK is no exception, with a fantastic choice of movies showing in an open air cinema near you. Pick of the flicks are the spectacular outdoor screenings of both cult classics and new films at London’s Somerset House and the fabulous and free BP Summer Big Screens in Trafalgar Square, Canary Wharf and several other UK locations, to which you are urged to bring your own cushions, blankets, picnics and champagne and enjoy the best of opera and ballet live from Covent Garden. And be sure not to miss the giant-screen Sing-a-long event of the year, a UK-wide Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly led by the BBC’s charismatic ‘The Choir’ star, Gareth Malone. New and equally exciting this year is the independent Nomad Pop-Up Cinema, promising to bring ‘roaming cinema to your part of the world’, with surprise film screenings in parks, cemeteries and castles, profits going to support sustainable living projects overseas. Finally, for fans of such trivia, the oldest working drive-in is Shankweiler’s in Pennsylvania, (opened 1934), the biggest open air cinema is in Auckland, New Zealand, (101x 43ft screen) and the smallest open air (floating) cinema is on the Cromarty Rose ferry in northern Scotland, with room for two cars and a large sofa. Further information:

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you around unusual parts of London, with Globe players popping out along the way and bursting into Shakespearean sonnet and prose. Globe seats sell out fast, but there are always 700 ‘groundling’ tickets available on the day at £5 for every performance. This gives you a standing spot in front of the stage and the best and most authentic way to see a show.

the current Thameside location and where many of Shakespeare’s works were performed for the first time. The earliest Globe thrived from 1599 until an unfortunate accident some years later, when a stage cannon misfired into the theatre’s thatched roof mid-performance and the theatre burned to the ground. Today’s rebuilt theatre, the glorious result of Sam Wanamaker’s 20+ years of tireless fundraising, research and planning battles, is a story and drama in itself. Historically accurate materials have been used in the Globe’s painstaking reconstruction, right down to the Elizabethan-style oak beams, white lime washed walls and water reed thatched roof. In fact, the Globe has London’s only permitted thatched roof since the Great Fire of London in 1666 (don’t worry folks, it’s packed with modern fireproofing and cannons are no longer used on stage). A theme sets the tone each year – in 2011 it’s “the Word is God”, highlighting the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible as well as the fascinating interplay between pulpit and playhouse – with the Globe staging four Shakespeare plays plus a handful of thematically-linked productions each season. Expect surprises and special events each Globe season including a number of ‘midnight matinees’. Or try a ‘Sonnet Walk’ – guiding

Audiences are forewarned that the theatre is virtually open to the elements and that, whatever happens, the show will go on. But come rain or shine – and many a season has included hail, thunderstorms and heavy downpours – we guarantee an evening at the Globe will be a magical experience. Further information:

Shakespeare's Globe by night, courtesy Globe Press Office, photo by Pawel Libera

5. GET THEE TO THE GLOBE Shakespeare’s Globe, founded by late expat American actor Sam Wanamaker, is an internationally renowned theatre and education centre dedicated to all things William Shakespeare. It is a faithful recreation of the original 16th century open air playhouse which stood a hop, skip and bow away from

6. PROMS IN THE PARK For classical music lovers, nothing compares with the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, better known as ‘the Proms’. Considered to be the world’s greatest festival of classical music and a proud British institution since 1895, the Proms fill London’s Royal Albert Hall for eight event-packed weeks each summer and culminate with the legendary Last Night of the Proms. The Last Night, with its traditional lashings of fancy dress, party poppers, balloons and flag waving sing-along to ‘Rule Britannia’, are always sold out many times over. That’s where Proms in the Park come in, created in 1996 so that the overwhelming numbers of last night Prom-lovers would not have to be disappointed. Now, in addition to the indoor Royal Albert Hall finale, audiences can choose from any number of open air spectacles around the UK. Expect this year’s events, set for 10 September, to be better than ever, and will feature huge open air concerts in Hyde Park and three other locations. Each venue hosts its own concert complete with celebrity artists, choirs, orchestras and firework displays. Caerphilly in Wales, for example, is preparing for its outdoor Prom, which will take place on green fields against the backdrop of its magnificent medieval castle. With themes of magic and wizardry, the Welsh event promises that wonderful blend of top tier music and song for which Wales is justly famous. Proms in the Park will culminate in a live

Last Night of the Proms, Caerphilly Castle, courtesy BBC, photo by Betina Skovbro


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big screen link up to the Royal Albert Hall where Primers across the nation will sing along to hits from the Sound of Music, Carousel and, of course, Rule Britannia. If you can’t make it to one of the outdoor last night events, you can still watch, wave your flag, pop your poppers and sing along via giant movie screens set up at locations around the country or enjoy the night live in the comfort of your own home, courtesy of the BBC. Further information: 7. EAT, DRINK, GARDEN AND MAKE MERRY Cooking, food and garden festivals have become big booming business in the UK. The Brits’ love affair with their gardens is legendary but more recently Britain has, according to a number of top chefs and food critics, become a food lover’s paradise and host to some of the world’s best cuisine. If cooking or gardening are your favourite art forms, you will be delighted to learn that this year has a bumper crop of open air events from which you can choose. There’s the prestigious Taste of London Festival in June or Taste of Edinburgh in July, or the Flower Show at Hampton Court or its more relaxed northern cousin, the RHS Flower Show in Tatton Park. Or go home grown and local and savour one or many of the open air food and garden events around the UK in 2011. If you are visiting Cornwall, look out for Boscastle’s Food, Arts and Crafts Festival or the Porthleven Food and Music Festival, both set in picture postcard seaside villages. Alternatively, save your appetite for the first ever Real Food Harvest Festival taking place on London’s South Bank at the end of September, the traditional time for harvest festivals. That’s when the legendary harvest moon makes its annual appearance along with plenty of feasting, merriment and careless love. This new and free festival promises to be another gem in the UK open-air calendar, and will include tasting workshops, celebrity chef demos, livestock and farmers markets, handson events involving butter making, bread kneading and butchery, plus a wealth of music and street theatre on tap Thameside. Further information:

30 8. THE MOTHER OF ALL ROCK FESTIVALS Of course, we couldn’t write about UK summer events without mentioning the Big One. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, better known as Glastonbury or ‘Glasto’, is considered by both hardcore and virgin festival-goers to be “the biggest and best festival on the planet”. But it’s always sold out months in advance (this year’s 137,500 tickets sold out within 4 hours of going on sale last October), so if you haven’t got your ticket by now, you’ll need to nourish your rock and pop soul via television – fortunately the BBC always provides superb and full festival coverage. Set on a working farm in the heart of Somerset and run by festival founder and dairy farmer Michael Eavis, Glasto this year hosts a whopping 2,000 performances of music, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other art forms at more than 50 venues over three packed days. This year U2, Coldplay, Beyonce, BB King and Morrissey head the super-starry line up, with Tinie Tempah, Mumford and Sons and Elbow rocking close behind. You may already know that Glastonbury is almost as famous for its torrential rain, thunderstorms and mudbaths as its rock music cornucopia, including the historic 2005 festival where areas of the site drowned under several Eddie Izzard

feet of mud and water, many campsite tents were washed away and the main stage was hit by lightning. Nevertheless, the Glastonbury spirit survived intact, as can be seen in many glorious photos of Glasto-goers dancing in the mud or engaged in impromptu mud wrestling, and it was a great year for festival Wellie salesman. Scientific research has apparently proved that Glastonbury mud has healing properties, that it’s “packed with highly unusual levels of vitamins, nutrients and vibes”, and that even brief exposure to the mud can increase health and happiness. We understand a range of health and beauty products such as Glastonbury mud bubble bath and mud soapon-a-rope will soon be available. If you can’t make it to Glasto this year, you can still grab a ticket for one of the evergrowing breed of UK summer rock/pop events. The best of the rest might include Camp Bestival, the Secret Garden Festival, Hackney Underage Festival (Yup – strictly kids only) or Lounge on the Farm. Further information: 9. LAUGHTER IN THE PARK For something completely different, why not let your funny bone be tickled in triplicate at ‘Laughs in the Park’, three July nights of stand-up comedy on the world’s first purpose built open air comedy stage and starring three

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of our best-beloved comic supertalents, Eddie Izzard, Ross Noble and Tommy Tiernan. Set under the stars and surrounded by a romantic lake and the gorgeous rural surroundings of St Albans’ Verulamiam Park, this second annual comedy feast invites you to bring your own picnic or sample from an array of award-winning food and drink stalls on site. Or you might prefer to eat at St Albans’ famed Waffle House, located on the riverside grounds of a 16th century water mill, or sample offerings from one of many excellent historic pubs in old St Albans. Hard core comedy fans can also enjoy the afternoon sideshow packed with new comic talent on the ‘BBC Presents’ Stage. Each sidesplitting evening finishes with an impressive firework display. Further information: 10. SOUTHBANK CENTRE CELEBRATES FESTIVAL OF BRITAIN Last but not least, there’s a unique chance to go Retro in London this summer. The ever-

inventive Southbank Centre is having a fantastic summer-long party honouring the original Festival of Britain 1951 and celebrating British culture and creativity. The original post war Festival of Britain was a huge, uplifting moment in UK cultural, social and political history. The 2011 celebrations look to the present and future as much as to a vibrant creative past. Making the most of the popular and scenic Thameside location, many events take place alfresco and include an outdoor photography gallery, art shows, weekly food markets, retro funfair and the ‘Appearing Rooms’ fountain. Enjoy the best of earth, land and sea with a visit to magnificent rooftop gardens atop the Queen Elizabeth Hall and be mesmerised by Soundscapes, wonderful recordings of British wildlife which can be heard drifting across walkways. You can also sample the Urban Beach, with its parade of artists’ beach huts, seaside gardens, giant seagull and an Indian-style beach café. Or experience ‘Hutstock’, a weekend of beach music and culture.

Indoors and out, choose from a huge range of music and art events including Pop up Pianos, London Guitar Festival, ‘Light Fantastic’ and a vintage fashion weekend. If that’s still not enough or you’re looking for something ‘udderly’ different, try the E4 Udderbelly Festival, taking place nearby in and around a big upside-down purple cow. Here you’ll find a wide ranging season of comedy, cabaret and theatre, including the unmissable headline show, ‘Free Run’, a world record-breaking display of extreme acrobatics known as free running. Basic Udderbelly tickets are very affordable, so why not treat yourself and upgrade to Sirloin Seats? Further information:

This is the latest in our featured series of Top Tens for Americans in Britain. If you’ve got a hot Top Ten tip to share with our readers, contact Judith at


American Women’s Club News

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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUB OF LONDON Summers in London are gorgeous! The long days and mild weather give so much time for long hikes in the country side or walks in the park, or perhaps you prefer an hour or two at an outside table with a glass of wine. However you choose to spend the Summer, AWC would like to be a part of your plans. If you are looking for something to do or a way to meet friends in London, you have come


to the right place. While many expats do leave during this quiet time and some organisations take a break, AWC of London stays quite busy enjoying the beautiful green months here. In addition to all the regular monthly activities like Let’s Do Lunch, Bridge, Gardening Group, London Walks, A Common Thread, Book Discussion Groups, Weekday Bikes, Dining in, Dining Out, the Travel Group, Shopaholics, Afternoon Tea, Walk and Talk, Writing Group and more, you will also find special Summer events. June will bring Ascot, where everyone will don their favourite hat and place a bet on their favourite steed. You will also have a chance to buy that one-of-a-kind sterling silver spoon or a lovely antique leather-bound book at the Newark Antiques Market. You may like to bring your family to the 4th of July picnic. Perhaps you would rather join the Travel Group in the Italian Lake District! At our membership’s request we’ve increased the opportunity to volunteer. Now we are providing two meals a month to the families at Ronald McDonald House. This Summer there are several opportunities to run for charity.

We are also helping to build wells in Cambodia with our member’s assistance. However you choose to enjoy your Summer, AWC gives you lots of ways to make new friends, give back to the community and enjoy the fabulous city we call home! Please give us a call at 020 7589 8292 and join today!

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Anna McGuire & Zena Martin at Southwark Habitat for Humanity in London.

Junior League of London Volunteers with AJLI Executive Director, Susan E. Danish, at the Spring 2011 Leadership Conference in Tampa, FL. CHARITY OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF LONDON Moving abroad has its challenges. Big ones like finding your first flat or sorting your work visa, and small ones like learning to ask for a ‘plaster’ rather than a ‘Band-Aid’ or realising all sandwiches have buttered bread, regardless of fillings. When many women from the US move to London, they want to continue their volunteer and charity involvement abroad, but run into the challenge of uncertainty about where to look for opportunities to get involved in the community. The Junior League of London (JLL) is a non-profit organisation open to all women interested in volunteering to fight poverty in the local London community. The JLL was founded by a volunteer service oriented and driven group of women in 1978 as the London Service League. Over its 30-plus year history in London, the JLL has delivered hundreds of thousands of hours of community service and contributed over a million pounds toward volunteer training initiatives and direct support for the local community. Some of the issues the JLL has tackled previously include homelessness, environmental concerns, the social exclusion of the elderly, the special needs of the physically challenged and domestic violence, as well as increasing access to and appreciation of the arts for children. All of this has meant reaching out to tens of thousands of London residents and making an impact in their lives. We bring

innovative and distinctive approaches to our work, which has been recognised locally, nationally and internationally. Today, our programmes focus on poverty and with the vision of a London where each person has the opportunity and the means to prosper. Currently our work ranges from mentoring at-risk young people to increasing literacy among children from ages 0-11 and providing gifts and essentials to families in need during the festive season. We are always looking for more service-oriented, passionate women to help us spread our reach and make greater impact with our work. JOIN THE JLL The next information session for new volunteers takes place on September 13 from 6:30 to 930pm at the Royal Over-Seas League (Over-Seas House, Park Place, St. James’ Street, SW1A 1LR). The JLL is looking for women with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences from all over the world so please join us by sending your RSVP to: SUPPORT THE JLL If you are not interested in becoming a member, but would like to support the JLL and meet new friends, we invite you to attend any of our upcoming charity fundraisers starting with the Golden Sunrise Boat Cruise down the River Thames on Saturday, July 23rd from 2-5pm. The ticket price is £40 per adult which includes an ‘all-you-can-eat’ BBQ buffet and one drink ticket. To purchase tickets or to find out more information, please call +44 (0)20 7499 8159 or visit and click on ‘Golden Sunrise JLL Boat Cruise’. You can also donate online directly to the JLL eStore: And keep an eye on the JLL website ( to stay up-to-date about other great events such as: Halloween Party in October; and our annual fundraiser, Boutique de Noel, a Christmas Market being held again this year at Kensington Town Hall on 9th and 10th November. To learn more about Junior League of London membership or to attend one of our upcoming events and meet new friends, please visit or contact the JLL Office on +44 (0)20 749 8159 or

London’s largest international women’s organisation with a current membership of 1200 women of 56 nationalities. It recently held another successful monthly General Membership Meeting in April with two guest speakers (see photos): Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club and current “host” of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, who is under house arrest in Smith’s ancestral home, Ellingham Hall in Norfolk; and Professor Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics and Political Science. They discussed “WikiLeaks, Dictators and Dominoes: the Changing Face of the Muslim World” with about 230 members and guests in attendance at the Royal Geographical Society’s lecture hall. This is one of several meetings scheduled in the year that deals with highly topical geopolitical subjects. This was followed in early May by the Club’s much-awaited annual Fashion Fayre, held at the Chelsea Old Town Hall on King’s Road. The highlight of the day-long fashion market was the catwalk show featuring club members modelling the latest designs of 40 designers who showed their clothes, accessories, millinery and jewellery. The whole day event also included make-over and hatmaking workshops and a much-applauded performance by “The Knicker Lady”. Proceeds from this event benefit the Club’s two local charities. Our latest General Meeting was on Thursday, 9 June and featured Author Justine Picardie who spoke about her new biography, “Coco Chanel: The Life and the Legend” at the prestigious Royal Automobile Club at Pall Mall, St. James’s.

KENSINGTON CHELSEA WOMEN’S CLUB The KCWC was founded in 1983 and is now


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the ladies and the Club’s elegant dress code is a mandate to be observed. For interested parties, the contacts are John Maguire at (telephone 07976751908) or KCWC Special Events Chair Kathleen Herman at .

On Friday, 10 June, 80 KCWC members visited the late Princess of Wales’s ancestral home to attend the opening day of the 8th Althorp Literary Festival hosted by Earl Spencer. This event was fully-subscribed but a second coach trip attended the second day of the Lit Fest on Saturday, 11 June, that featured author talks by Helen Rappaport on the Romanovs and Rachel Johnson, editor of The Lady, Britain’s century-old women’s magazine. The three-course sit-down luncheon at a state room of the great house was a feature of the coach trip package. The KCWC is well-known for its wellorganised Henley Royal Regatta event package. This year, the Club has organised a full-day coach trip to this most traditional highlight of The Season on Wednesday, 29 June. The package includes a Champagne and Pimm’s reception upon arrival at the exclusive private membership Phyllis Court Club which is set on the idyllic Thames riverside location, with its elevated balcony overlooking the finish line. The best rowing teams in the world will converge at Henley and the races will be witnessed by the cream of London Society. A luncheon (wine included) will be served in the Ballroom, followed by Afternoon Tea at 4 pm. Hats and feather fascinators are a must for


MEMBERS ONLY EVENTS The KCWC has 40 activity groups to suit a diverse number of interests, such as the Antiques group who have organised “A Summer Luxury: Masterpiece London – Champagne, Lecture and Lunch” at Le Caprice on 5 July at Masterpiece London in the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. This will be a glamorous day with friends at British Antique Dealers Association (BADA) to experience the most dazzling of the London Antiques and Fine Art Fair’s treasuretrove of art, design, elegance and luxury. (If you would like more information visit: This event begins with a glass of champagne at Harry’s Bar, followed by a lecture by Wallace Collection Curator Stephen Duffy on Paris in the 19th century. This is followed by a two-course lunch at Le Caprice restaurant on location. Save the Date: Other events organised in September by the Antiques group are: “Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces” and its Contemporary Art Series on Tuesdays: 27 September, 4 October, 1 and 8 November. Ladies interested in these events are encouraged to sign up for membership at KCWC to be able to take part in the exclusive club events. The Art History group have planned a visit to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery on Tuesday, 13 September, beginning with a coffee morning lecture at the exclusive Carlton Club on St James’s Street. This is followed by a viewing of the exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery. The British History group are already looking forward this autumn to a trip to Hatfield House, co-hosted with the KCWC’s peripatetic Travel Group on Wednesday 28 September. One of the best things about KCWC is its LIFESTYLING group which organises things like “Eat, Live and Love: The Art of Great Eating!” This took place on Wednesday 15 June at 9:45 – 11:45 am at the Room With a View of Whole Foods Market on Kensington High Street, London. Nutritionist and “diet voyeur” Fiona Kirk talked about the power of red foods and their effect on weight loss. The

Lifestyling group continues its meetings in the Summer with “Be Creative: Relax and Be the Solution” to be held on Wednesday, 20 July, again at the Room With A View at Whole Foods Market. For more information on these dates, contact Activity Leader Susan Jahanshahi at KCWC’s THEATRE group enjoy shows together (husbands are welcome) to the best shows in London. The group will see “Beggar’s Opera” on 30 June at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. This is a comic satire full of lewd songs and ballads, set beneath the Tyburn gallows (near present day Marble Arch). Macheath's love of wine, women and good times descends into a mess of lies and deceit as his multitude of lovers start to get their revenge. THE TODDLERS group will do a joint event with the New Mums group on Wednesday 22 June: “Summer Toddler Teatime!! at the Communal Gardens at Cornwall Gardens, London, to take advantage of the lovely London sun. The KCWC also have a Parenting group, two Book Groups, Cooking, Knitting and Stitching, Bible Study, Photography, Tennis, Golf, a Wine Society, an After Hours group (which invites spouses and partners), the Opera Appreciation, London Walks, an a capella singing group called the Treblemakers, and six different language Conversation Groups which include Arabic, Russian, Spanish, French, English and Italian. KCWC Kids organises fun-filled Easter and Halloween Parties every year. The next KCWC activity year begins on Thursday, 15 September, with its General Meeting taking place in the newly-restored British Academy near Waterloo Place at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, St. James’s, London. Designed by John Nash in the place where the Prince Regent – later King George IV’s Carlton Palace once stood, these houses were once the homes of titled families and historical figures like Prime Minister William Gladstone in the 19th century. Old members as well as new will be welcome to sign up for activities. The KCWC is a not-for-profit amenities club which welcomes women from all over Greater London and surrounding counties. It is run by approximately 90 volunteer members. For more information about this “Organization of World Women” visit the club website: or telephone (020) 7863 7562 or e-mail

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You are cordially invited to

The 2012 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on

Monday 6th February 2012 at

Hotel Russell, 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE This event is FREE TO ATTEND

Come along and meet our 42 exhibitors who have products and services that support Expatriates, International HR professionals and those advising the expatriate community. There are also free seminars running throughout the day and the seminar programme will be announced very soon. You will need to pre-register for the seminars as places are limited so please email If you would like complimentary invitations for your friends, club members or colleagues, please email with the quantity and where you would like them sent to. For further information on this event please call Helen Elliott on 020 8661 0186. We look forward to seeing you there.


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by Dr. Laura J. Cloke

ritish dentistry. This often conjures up images of Austin Powers flashing a lovely yellow smile, or of the Simpson’s episode featuring Lisa’s visit to the orthodontist when she is forced to look through ‘the Book of British Smiles’ to see what she will look like should she not follow through with recommended treatment. It has certainly been the subject of many jokes throughout the

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years. Luckily, these images are becoming things of the past. Finding dental and medical practitioners we are comfortable with in a new country can be a bit daunting. Being an expat myself, having moved to Denmark in 2005 and now to the UK, I can attest to the difficulty one can experience navigating through a new health care system. It can be very frustrating and confusing initially. Most people tend to be rather xenophobic when it comes to health care, preferring to see practitioners from the same background and often going ‘home’ for treatment. Does it need to be so difficult? After all, a tooth is a tooth, no matter where we are living. Of course. But is dentistry, dentistry? Well, not exactly. There are a number of factors at work here. The education of the practitioners, the local regulations and recommendations, as well as the mentality toward health and dentistry greatly influence the general level of care. When comparing these factors between the US and Europe, we will see a difference. Having practiced in the US for over 10 years prior to my move, I have a rather unique viewpoint. American dentistry seems to be more focused on preventive care and American patients tend to be highly compliant. That means frequent cleanings and exams, the placement of sealants and preventive resin restorations in the pits and fissures of teeth to prevent decay, early orthodontic treatment to improve function as well as ability to clean the teeth better, timely removal of wisdom teeth to minimise complications and of course early diagnosis of any problems. Americans often come across as being rather obsessive about the health and appearance of their dentition and have high expectations for their dental treatments. As mentioned, things here have been changing. The negative stereotype of dentistry in the UK is really not accurate these days. Dental education is very good, and the continuing education requirements for dentists are rather stringent. Regulations and guidelines regarding infection control, as well as quality and safety in the dental clinics, are also rigorous. High-level dental treatment exists and the demand for this is increasing. As a member of the American Dental Society London, I work among a number of European dentists who have received dental education in the US. Some have received their dental degree, as I did, in the US. Others have received their dental degree in Europe and have then completed specialty training in the

US. See the websites: and One can also find a list of American trained dentists on the US Embassy website. No matter the location, dentistry today is an exciting field which is always evolving and improving. Tried and true materials and methods are still standard of care, but there are some very exciting new items and technologies in dentistry that are very promising. Diagnostic equipment has changed greatly in the last few years. Digital x-ray systems send the x-ray images to a computer screen for viewing. Images are larger and are available faster than the traditional x-ray systems, while also reducing radiation exposure. CT scan technology can now be used in small areas, allowing for 3-D images of teeth, jaws and other structures of the head/neck area which can be used for diagnosis and also in treatment planning, especially for dental surgeries and implant placement. Digital scans of the teeth may become the new way to make impressions. These scans can be sent electronically to lab technicians who can then fabricate crowns, often using CAD-CAM technology to do so. The Cerec machine uses CAD-CAM technology to fabricate crowns, veneers and inlays from a digital scan right in the dental office, while the patient waits. Laser use in dentistry is also very exciting. There are several types of lasers with a long list of applications. They can be used for surgery, as an adjunct for treating gum disease, to heal cold-sores and ulcerations more quickly, for whitening and even as a replacement for the dental drill. Dental implants, titanium cylinders placed into the jaw-bone, have been a great success for replacing lost teeth. They can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth – even for replacing an entire dental arch or to help support false teeth. Just two implants used to support a full denture can significantly improve a person’s function and comfort. After watching shows such as ‘Extreme Makeover’, many people are aware of the cosmetic procedures that are available to improve a smile. Bonded white fillings can be used to restore teeth. In addition to looking great, these fillings can reduce the number of cracks and fractures of the teeth. Porcelain veneers and crowns, as well as metal free crowns made with porcelain and zirconium, allow for very esthetic restoration of teeth and smiles. Tooth whitening has become very

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to administer IV sedation during surgery and routine dental treatments. Dentists and orthodontists are also involved in treating snoring and sleep apnea. ‘Snore guards’ can be easily fabricated which work well to reduce snoring. Patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea following a sleep study can also benefit from an oral appliance. These work by opening the airway and reducing the number of apnic events. Improvements in dentistry have allowed for high level treatment to be provided successfully and comfortably. Even the dreaded root canal is done very efficiently and pain free these days. What does the future hold? Perhaps with more stem cell research we will soon be able to replace a missing tooth with an actual new tooth. No doubt, the field of dentistry will continue to progress and improve. Despite all of the developments in dental treatment, the best course is to prevent problems from developing. Habits start early, so it is important for children to see a dentist starting around the ages of 2 ½ to 3 years of age, and to

popular. It is very safe and successful and can be done in one session in the dental office, or over a week or so at home with a special take home kit. Orthodontists are now able to make more esthetic braces to move teeth into ideal arrangements. ‘Lingual orthodontics’ use brackets on the inside surfaces of the teeth, where they cannot be seen. ‘Clear braces’, such as Invisalign, use a series of clear splints to gradually move teeth into a more ideal position. These systems can be nice options for adults who otherwise would not proceed with orthodontics due to concerns about appearance. Dental anesthesia is always a cause for anxiety. ‘The Wand’ offers some relief. It is a computer controlled anesthesia delivery system for injections and promises a more comfortable experience. It also allows for single tooth anesthesia for some instances, which is certainly an improvement over having half of the jaw numbed. For patients with severe anxiety, a dental anesthesiologist can be present

continue with routine exams and cleanings throughout adolescence. Good dental health is essential for proper nutrition and overall health, in fact several studies link bacteria from gum disease to cardiovascular disease and a number of other heath issues. My advice to you: brush, floss, do no smoke, and see dental professionals every six months for an exam, oral cancer screening and cleaning.

Dr. Laura J. Cloke is an American dentist with over 15 years experience in Family and Cosmetic Dentistry both in the US and Europe. She is a Member of the American Dental Association, New York State Dental Association, British Dental Association and American Dental Society, London. American Dental Clinic Located at Pall Mall dental clinic office 15 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5LU London 020 7766 7150

Serving the Schooling Needs of the Expatriate Community in London & Surrey • Offering International Programmes for Children Age 2 to 18 • Small Classes with Individual Attention • Inclusive Schools • Mother Tongue and Foreign Language Programmes • EAL and Learning Support Provision

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Focus on Wandsworth he London Borough of Wandsworth is often regarded as the diminutive neighbour, sandwiched as it is between Richmond to the West and The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham to the North. Indeed its Domesday assets were listed solely as 12 hides, 5½ ploughs and 22 acres of meadow! However that is a far cry from the affluent Wandsworth of today and a look back at its ancient and more recent past reveals a host of famous residents and interesting events that took place in the area. Wandsworth takes its name from the River Wandle, whose source can be found in the North Downs and meanders through South London before it joins with the Thames just upstream of Wandsworth Bridge. The river was once a thriving tributary of the Thames which has been used since the Roman times and later heavily industrialised in the 17th and 18th Centuries, but now exists mainly in a network of underground tunnels. As far back as the last ice age signs of life have been found in the area. The remains of a woolly mammoth have been unearthed on the site of Battersea Power station. The landscape of Wandsworth at that time would have more closely resembled modern Siberia. Many other prehistoric items from early human settlers have been found along the river banks where



they would have constructed homes close to a water supply. The Romans came to Britain in 43 AD and by the end of the first century the flourishing city of Londinium had been established. Many Roman remains have been found in the Wandsworth area and evidence suggests there was a settlement in Putney throughout the Roman period. A crossing point on the Thames probably existed here in Roman times as it did in later centuries. The names of some of today’s local areas have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon people who would have lived here after the fall of the Roman Empire (Putney is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for landing place) but there is little else to tell the story of their lives at the time. Indeed it is not until the time of the English Civil war that the area came to the fore once more. Putney was chosen as the headquarters of the Parliamentary army in the autumn of 1647 as it had good communication

links between London and Hampton Court, where Charles I was imprisoned. As London became crowded and unhealthy many wealthy merchants and court officials moved away to the surrounding countryside; some settled here in Wandsworth, building substantial houses. However by the 18th Century Wandsworth still consisted of a group of rural villages surrounded by farmland. The construction of two bridges crossing the Thames (today’s Putney and Battersea bridges) sparked a period of growth. As connections to London and the South coast improved an increased number of inns and shops opened to serve travellers, and local people worked as servants, carters, waggoners and porters. Highwaymen lay in wait to rob the wealthy as they journeyed across the commons. The world’s first public railway was constructed here in 1803. It ran from Croydon to Wandsworth and was built to transport the products of the Wandle mills to Wandsworth.

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They were then shipped along the Thames to London. By the Victorian era thousands of houses were being built, transforming the whole area into part of Greater London. The suburbs grew as transport links improved and it became easier to travel to the city to work. Many types of homes were constructed, from large detached houses surrounded by gardens, to one-storey terraced cottages for railway workers. Building firms employed large numbers of men, many of whom had come to London from the countryside, or from Ireland, in search of work. New industries were also developing along the Thames during the 19th Century. Price’s Candle factory (now a development of bespoke apartments) is a good example of this. The river supplied plenty of water to run steam engines and other manufacturing processes. It also provided cheap and easy transport for bulky and fragile goods. During this time the population of Wandsworth grew from 6,887 in 1841 to 150,000 in 1891. In 1866 The 5th Earl Spencer, an ancestor of the current 9th Earl Spencer who is the brother of the late Princess Diana, redeemed the lease of a mansion in what is now known as Spencer Park. The land was sold off for development and today there stands several handsome and substantial Victorian villas, one such villa is owned by the famous chef Gordon Ramsay. There are many other famous (and some notorious) names who have called Wandsworth home over the years. We have had a large compliment of former UK Prime Ministers: David Lloyd George (Prime Minister at the head of a wartime coalition government between the years 1916–22); Clement Attlee who was the first Labour Prime Minister to serve a full term and succeeded Winston Churchill into government in 1945 and a young Tony Blair lived with his friend Lord Charlie Falconer in an area known locally as the Tonsleys. One of our more infamous residents, who resided at her majesty’s pleasure, was Ronnie Biggs, a participant in the Great Train Robbery and famously escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965. Other more glamorous past and present residents include Thomas Hardy the novelist, Keira Knightley, Pierce Brosnan who went to Secondary school in Putney and Phil Spencer a presenter of the well known property programme Location, Location, Location. The 20th Century was another period of

great upheaval. The two world wars took their toll on the area and community alike. Wandsworth and Battersea each raised a battalion of soldiers for the First World War; however the initial optimism soon faded as the number of casualties soared. During the Second World War the Blitz left its scars on the Wandsworth landscape. German bombers who had not unleashed all their cargo of bombs on the London Docks circled back and emptied the ordnance on the residential areas of Wandsworth. One notable and iconic addition to the London skyline was Battersea Power Station, constructed between 1929 – 1935 and still stands today although the building is in a rather derelict condition. There have been several failed attempts to redevelop the site under numerous owners since the power station was decommissioned. Its current owners REO (Real Estate Opportunities) purchased the site in 2006 for £400 million and have drawn up plans to turn Battersea Power Station into a huge office and residential scheme. The 21st Century sees a new and important chapter in the history of Wandsworth, with the announcement in 2008 by the U.S. State Department that their Embassy in London will be moving from its current location on Grosvenor Square to a new purpose built site in the Nine Elms area of Wandsworth. The new Embassy plans have been created by Philadelphia based architect firm Kieran Timberlake who “met the goal of creating a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century.” The Embassy is due for completion in 2017 and many of the embassy staff will no doubt look to make a home for themselves and their

family in Wandsworth, where there is a wide variety of property available to suit all purposes. The core housing stock is Victorian houses varying in size from quaint two bedroom cottages to large five and six bedroom Victorian Villas surrounding some of the parks and commons that can be found in the area. Rental stock of the latter are in high demand from family tenants, prices varying from £900 per week for a terraced 4-5 bedroom house up to over £2,000 for a large house on one of Wandsworth’s premier roads. Smaller 2-3 bedroom apartments and houses can vary in price from around £325 per week for a more basic apartment up to £700 per week for a larger property with a garden. Other styles of property include a large number of riverside apartments located in one of the many new developments along the river from Putney to Chelsea Bridge. They usually benefit from the availability of porterage, secure underground parking, in many cases an onsite gym or leisure complex and of course fabulous views of the Thames. Prices range from £450 per week for a standard two bedroom apartment up to over £1,500 per week for a 3 or 4 bedroom penthouse. If you are a keen gardener you might be attracted to an area known as the Magdelan Estate which runs parallel to Trinity Road and within easy reach of Wandsworth Common mainline train station. The houses in this area were constructed in the 1950’s and are influenced in style by the Art Deco period. They feature particularly large gardens often in excess of 100ft in length. A five bedroom house in this area will rent in the region of £1,200 to £1,500 per week. Alternatively you might consider the Toastrack, a small grid of 6


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streets laid out in the shape of a toastrack. This grid is surrounded on three sides by Wandsworth Common and the housing stock is made up of both terraced and detached Victorian houses and villas with prices ranging from £1,500 to over £2,500 per week. Wandsworth is considered by many as a “blue chip” area. It attracts a wide variety of residents due to its large number of parks and commons, excellent public transport links in and out of London, excellent state and private schools and local shopping highlights. The green spaces which are scattered across the area include: Wandsworth Common, Clapham Common, Spencer Park and Battersea Park. They provide the space for everyone from dog walkers to joggers to yoga classes all vying for their little bit of peace and tranquility. The area is served well by both the mainline train station and the underground in the form of the Northern Line. The train provides access to both Victoria and Waterloo stations via Clapham Junction which is one of the busiest stations, in terms of number of trains passing through, in Europe. The Northern line passes


through Balham and Clapham on its way to Bank station in the City and Leicester Square in London’s West End. Schools are another big attraction to the Wandsworth area for families looking for the best possible education for their children. Here they have the choice of a wide variety of both state and private schools. Highlights in the area include Beatrix Potter School for 3-11 age range rated a Good in the most recent OFSTED report and Allfarthing School which was awarded a rating of Excellent by OFSTED, the highest that can be achieved. Local private schools include Finton House on Trinity Road for children aged 4-11 and Emanuel School which accommodates around 650 pupils from ages 11-18 and in its most recent ISI (Independent School Inspectorate) inspection it was found that “The overall quality of the pupils’ learning and achievement is good and it is often excellent… The pupils’ personal development is excellent, and is strongly influenced by their experience of outstanding pastoral care and the high standards expected of them in all aspects of their school life.”

There are several good shopping streets in the locality. Many are drawn by the boutique butchers, cheese shop, independent wine merchant and fishmongers on Northcote Road. There are also a wide variety of restaurants, including the Michelin star rated Chez Bruce on Bellevue Road, nominated by the 2009 edition Zagat Survey as ‘Europe’s Top Restaurant’ with a hefty score of 29/30 – a score higher than any restaurant in Paris. There is also a large shopping centre called Southside in Wandsworth Town Centre where one can find a large Waitrose supermarket and a cinema. Wandsworth and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer its residents. Here you will find a welcoming community from a wide variety of backgrounds and countries of origin and a pleasant mixture of green spaces and trendy high streets to suit all tastes.

For further information on living in Wandsworth, please contact Peter Hermon-Taylor on or 020 8871 3033.

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The magazine that serves the American Community in the UK

The magazine for American Expatriates living in the UK Summer 2 2011 011

Regular features include: • •News NewsBriefs Briefs •• Theatre Theatre •• Education Education

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Days Out With The Kids

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CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES Years ago, when I was a child, Chessington World of Adventures was called Chessington Zoo, and was exactly that, a zoo. However, over the years, ride by ride, Chessington Zoo has been transformed into a theme park that all ages will enjoy. There is still a zoo within the grounds, housing lions, tigers, gorillas, sealions, penguins, otters and insects, there is also a Sea Life Centre where you can walk through a tunnel full of fish and sharks, and this year a new Safari area where you can see animals you may spot if you were in Africa, plus you can test how fast you run and play African drums, but most people head to Chessington World of Adventures for the thrills and spills of the rides. For the younger generation (up to about the age of 5) there is Toytown, where children can sit in a flying elephant on the Flying Jumbo ride, be bobbed up and down on the Berry Bouncers, have a ride on Toadie's Crazy Cars, drive around on the Tiny Truckers and sit on the carousel. They can also visit the nearby Children's Zoo with goats, guinea pigs and rabbits, and ride the Safari Skyway above the zoo and a few of the rides.


For the slightly older and braver children there are a number of rides. For those who enjoy rollercoasters there is Rattlesnake that should be called Rattleshake in my opinion, the Runaway Train which is a fairly tame roller coaster that some very small children can ride, Dragons's Fury which I refuse to ride as it is a very high, twisty turny rollercoaster where you sit in something very close to a waltzer and get thrown around – although everyone I know who has ridden it says it is fantastic – and my favourite, the Vampire ride, where you sit two by two with a harness over you and fly over the theme park. For those with a cast iron stomach, Griffin's Galleon, the Black Bucacaneer, Monkey Swinger and Seastorm, will swing you from top to bottom, or twist you forward and backwards. For the most adventurous of theme park riders, Rameses Revenge and Kobra, will provide you with rides that actually make my knees shake watching them. Rameses Revenge throws you over and over and then squirts water in your face whilst you are hanging upside down, whilst Kobra twists you round and round whilst going higher and higher. For those who enjoy water rides, Dragon Falls is the ride famously depicted by the late Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry.

You sit in a log boat which then goes up a ramp, and whatever goes up, must come down therefore soaking most of the riders, and for the younger visitors there is Bubbleworks, where you sit in a little boat and go through the Bubbleworks factory, although you can get a little bit wet on this ride too! There are many other rides at Chessington, including another of my favourites, Tomb Blaster which is a laser gun ride, and each ride is situated in its's own world. These include the Mystic East, Pirates Cove, Toytown, Forbidden Kingdom, Mexicana, Land of the Dragons, Transylvania and Wild Asia. There are several fast food restaurants on site, including Pizza & Pasta, The Fried Chicken Co, Adventurer’s Chicken Shack and Burger King, as well as several shops selling souvenirs, cuddly toys, sweets and more. For those who don't live in the London or Home Counties area, there is a hotel, with a terrace that overlooks the ‘Surrey Savanna!’. All in all, families of all ages will enjoy a day at Chessington World of Adventures, but be sure not to have anything planned on the evening you go, as you will be exhausted by the end of the day! For further information on Chessington World of Adventures, and special offers, please visit their website

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named ‘Water Maze’. Children have to try to reach the grotto in the middle via stepping stones which set off large water splashes. A change of clothes is advisable – as they can get soaked! There is also an adventure playground, featuring an impressive wooden castle maze, along with the usual swings, slides and climbing frames, all enclosed in a wooded area near the main entrance. We had a memorable and enjoyable day, and will be sure to return before the summer is at its end. To my mind, Hever Castle represents the quintessential English day out!

HEVER CASTLE Hever Castle is the perfect place for a family day-cation. Set in the most beautiful award winning gardens, there really is something for everyone. I visited with my family on a Saturday at the end of May when the castle was holding a ‘Merrie England’ weekend. In addition to the normal attractions, there were tents demonstrating various crafts and traditions from Tudor times, along with an archery school and costumed special guests including King Henry VIII himself and his Queen, Anne Boleyn. There are similar themed weekends running throughout the year, so it is a good idea to check the website before you visit to see what else is on offer. The pricing structure gives you the choice of visiting the castle and gardens or simply the gardens, and there are reductions for senior citizens. A family ticket admits 2 adults and 2 children (or 1 adult with 3 children) and represents very good value in my opinion at £36 for admittance to both. The castle itself has a fascinating history. The oldest part of the castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and a walled bailey. In the early 1500s the Bullen family bought the castle and added a Tudor dwelling within the walls and so it became the childhood home of its most famous inhabitant, Anne Boleyn. It later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. From 1557 onwards, the Castle was owned by a number of families until in 1903,

William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle, building the ‘Tudor Village’ and creating the gardens and lake. Much of the castle has been restored to its previous Tudor splendour, but some of the rooms give an insight into the Astor family’s time there, with many photographs, letters and artefacts belonging to them. In my opinion, however, the ‘piece de resistance’ is the long gallery at the top of the castle, which houses Tudor portraits and costumed waxworks of Henry VIII and his six wives, along with interesting details about their lives. To visit the castle alone though, would be a travesty, as the gardens are simply stunning. The traditional Tudor gardens including a yew maze, surround the castle itself, but as you walk towards the lake you pass through a beautiful walled rose garden and then through the impressive Italian gardens which are filled with objects from the Astor family’s sculpture collection, many of which date back over 2000 years. When you reach the lake there are several options open to you. You can embark on an hour-long walk around the lake with waterfall, splashes and wartime pillboxes, or you could hire a rowing boat as we did, and explore the plant and animal life in and around the lake. Alternatively find a quiet spot on the Lake Loggia to take in the view and enjoy refreshments from the nearby kiosk or café. If you are visiting with children then there are two highlights not to be missed. Just a short walk from the lake is the appropriately

LONDON DUCK TOURS The London Duck Tours operates with vehicles originally used for the D-Day landings in 1944. The first vehicle was built in 1941 and 22,000 of these amphibious crafts (originally known as ‘DUKWS’) were built to take the troops ashore. Apparently, the concept of using the original DUKW as a sightseeing vehicle originated from Boston Duck Tours and was transferred to London for the new millennium. It is certainly an innovative way to see the sights of any City. The London Duck Tour is more than a sightseeing tour; it is a unique way to experience the sights of central London by land and river without leaving your seat. Today's vehicles bear little resemblance to their military predecessors in their eye catching yellow livery. They have been modified to meet the stringent safety regulations set by the road and river authorities. Each vehicle, setting off every 15 minutes from just underneath the


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London Eye, seats 30 passengers. Each Duck also has a public address system and safety equipment, and the standard tour lasts about 75 minutes. I arrived with my partner and the kids and there were quite a few people waiting to board the tour already (do arrive at least 20 minutes before your departure time). I had seen these tours travelling around London before, but we were not sure what to expect. We were lucky enough to travel on the very first vehicle prototype, Mistress Quickly, which has certainly stood the test of time! Our tour left Chicheley Street (near Waterloo station) promptly at our scheduled time. Our guide was entertaining and knowledgeable, and also told some interesting stories. He was also quite humorous, which was, in the main, missed on the kids, but often put a smile on my face and kept me engaged. I particularly enjoyed his story of Michael Fagan, the intruder into the Queen’s bedroom in 1982, but I will let you enjoy the tour to hear some of these stories and facts! We drove past famous landmarks including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square. I have never appeared in so many photos as people on the streets were intrigued by our transportation and gaily snapped away at us! After approximately 35 minutes, we then arrived at Vauxhall (just round the back of the MI6 building). We were then dramatically launched from the road straight into the Thames – almost every passenger screamed with delight! We were then enjoying the waterborne part of the tour, and continued to enjoy the sights of London from the river. How wonderful it was see to see The Houses of Parliament from the river on a beautifully sunny day. The kids especially enjoyed being on the water, and the vehicle sits very close to the surface, which seemed to enhance the excitement. After another 25 minutes or so on the river, we then headed back to Chicheley Street and the tour concluded to a round of applause. It is an excellent experience for any age, and from a reasonable £62 for a family ticket, there are certainly not many other educational and fun experiences which take in the sights of London by land and river. I have already recommended the experience to other friends (with and without children) – including Londoners who quite often forget to enjoy what’s on their own doorstep! I would advise that you book this tour in advance. Bookings call: 020 7928 3132


DAY TRIP TO PARIS ON EUROSTAR Many Americans really enjoy the fact that whilst they are living in the UK they can explore not only what the UK has to offer, but also what the rest of Europe can offer, and nothing could be easier than hopping on the Eurostar train at London St Pancras and two and a half hours later arriving at Gare du Nord in the centre of Paris. This entire service is quick, efficient, and comfortable. Our train departed at 8.55am. We arrived at St Pancras at 8.20am and were through customs and security and in our seats, with a cup of coffee that we bought in the ‘departure lounge’, by 8.35am! This really is the simplest way to travel to Paris if you are just going for the day, as we did, as well as if you are staying for a weekend or longer. The advantage Eurostar has over flying is that you get extra baggage allowance, the distance to your hotel will be shorter if you are staying in the centre of Paris, and it is a faster and greener service than flying. Eurostar also offer Eurostar Plus Culture, Plus Gourmet and Plus Shopping. We arrived in Paris just after midday, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch before hiking up the steps to the Sacre Coeur in the Montmartre region. Sacre Coeur is a beautiful church set upon a hill, with a great view of Paris, although we couldn’t see many of the sites. We took a 15 minute break to get our breath back after climbing the steps to enjoy this view and enjoy a few minutes ‘people watching’! We then strolled through the streets of Montmartre which is famous for its painters and character

artists. You can have your portrait painted or simply wander through the cobbled streets lined with cafes and shops. From here we headed towards the Seine, and after walking for about an hour, climbed aboard Le Bateau Mouche for an hour and ten minute journey which took in sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. The boats are large with a top outdoor seating area and a covered area should the weather not be so good. We then strolled back toward Gare du Nord, had a lovely dinner and some lovely champagne and vino, before catching the Eurostar back to London. There are several different options on Eurostar with regard to seating and services, and these are as follows: Standard Premier – with the option of flexible fares, Standard Premier offers the freedom to work, think, or simply unwind. You will be presented with calm, spacious surroundings with on-board staff offering a light meal and a selection of magazines. Standard Premier fares start from £189 return. Eurostar Plus: Eurostar Plus Culture is a unique partnership between Eurostar and some of Europe’s most popular museums and galleries in Paris, London, Lille and Brussels. Travellers simply present their Eurostar ticket to take advantage of 2-for-1 entry into paying exhibitions. Paris galleries include: Musée d’Orsay les Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Le musée du quai Branly, la Cité de la musique, le Jeu de Paume, le Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.

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Eurostar Plus Gourmet partnership with toptable offers travellers unique discounts at 20 top restaurants in Paris, Brussels and Lille. To take advantage of the up to 50% discounts available, passengers simply need to visit to select their preferred restaurant; they are then transferred online through to to book a table. To receive their exclusive discount passengers present their Eurostar ticket at the restaurant, it’s as easy as that. Eurostar Plus Shopping gives passengers a 10% discount at the Galeries Lafayette Paris and Lille stores. At the Galeries Lafayette flagship store on Paris’ chic boulevard Haussman, passengers can also receive an invitation to a private fashion show. Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris with return fares from £69. Fastest LondonParis journey time is 2hr 15 minutes. Tickets are available from or call 08432 186 186. LEGOLAND Legoland is my personal favourite of the theme parks here in the UK. This is because it is the most attractive, with trees, lakes and the most amazing Lego creations you will ever see. In fact, wherever you are in Legoland, you can see something created out of Lego, some of which are slightly hidden away so that it surprises you as you catch a glimpse of them in the shrubbery. Miniland highlights just how amazing the Lego creations are, as the makers have taken well known landmarks from Europe and the USA and recreated them in exact detail in lego. The attention to detail is second to none and you can spend many hours looking at all the scenes. They are so lifelike, you can almost forget they are made out of Lego! England is especially spectacular, as they have recreated Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Canary Wharf as well as other well known landmarks, whilst for the USA they have created a large NASA centre. Holland, Belgium, France and Italy, to name a few, also feature and keep your eyes out for the tricks the builders have played where Daleks and dinosaur figures appear in the strangest places (look at the Canary wharf buildings for one such example!), and throughout the park statues of giraffes, bears, people, dinosaurs, you name it, can be marvelled at. Legoland’s rides are geared more for the younger children and it caters well for those

aged up to 10, and any unadventurous adults. Older children will appreciate the park, but if they are looking for big thrill rides, they will be disappointed, although the rollercoaster ride The Dragon, and the water rides Wave Surfer, Extreme Team Challenge and Pirate Falls will entertain them, the latter three guaranteeing they will get wet! Younger children can enjoy Driving School where they drive around a track with traffic lights and usual road markings at about 5 miles per hour, and Boating School where they can take the wheel in a boat, although if they are under 1.3m they will need an adult with them. Dino Safari is a car ride through Lego Safari that youngsters over the age of 5 can do on their own as the cars go around a track and no steering is involved, although it is fun to tell the children that they do have control of the wheel so they really feel they are driving. For those who like to be spun around, Spinning Spider is based on the Teacups theme, the Dragon’s Apprentice is a rollercoaster aimed at getting the younger children used to thrill rides as it just goes round with not too a dramatic drop, Space Tower is a ride where you sit in a double seat and pull yourself up a tower and then let go of the string so that you can fall back down to the ground at your own pace, and the Jolly Rocker is a large swinging boat where the brave sit in the back rows and the not so brave sit in the middle! The new submarine ride this year was an absolute hit with our group. You climb into a submarine and then are taken on a ride where you see what goes on under the sea. The children were delighted to see fish, sharks and stingrays, and all wanted to do the ride

again! Legoland is split into 8 areas that include Knights Kingdom, Pirates Landing, Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharohs, Adventure Land, Duplo Land, Traffic and Miniland. Each area has a number of rides and activities and it is these additional things to see that make Legoland so enjoyable as you don’t have to spend all of your time queuing or on the big rides. Legoland also has the Imagination Centre which houses Sky Rider, a train ride above the ground that gives you an aerial view of Legoland and in the distance Windsor Castle as well as the Imagination Theatre which shows 4D adventures, and workshops where you can play and create with Lego. Each land is well serviced by food outlets, and in Lego City Harbour there is a great acrobatic show called Pirates of Skeleton Bay which is highly entertaining for all the family and involves the cast and some of the audience getting very wet. For those with a cast iron stomach, Griffin’s Galleon, the Black Bucacaneer, Monkey Swinger and Seastorm, will swing you from top to bottom, or twist you forward and backwards. We had an absolutely fantastic day at Legoland, with Emily aged 9, and Eloisa aged 3, and their description of it was that ‘it was fun, fun, fun, fun, fun’, and those of us in our early 40’s thought exactly the same, and I can’t wait to go back again! Legoland is situated in Windsor and is easily accessible from M3 and M4 and is only about a 40 minute drive from Central London. For further information on opening times, prices and Legoland itself, please visit their website www.


Arts And Antiques

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Collecting Victorian Jewellery

Jet was one of the most plentiful and decorative materials used by Victorian jewellers. The most important source of Victorian jet was from Whitby on the coast of North Yorkshire. Made from fossilised wood formed under intense heat and pressure, it is surprisingly light in weight. Whitby jet can be highly polished and carved into numerous ornaments and objects of jewellery. After the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert in 1861, jet was closely associated with mourning and black was the most popular colour in jewellery for some forty years. There was a flourishing market for jet jewellery throughout these years and you can find a vast array of designs in today’s antiques markets. They range from modest affordable bar pins (see one here) to oval lockets, earrings, elaborate bracelets and spectacular sets. An exceptionally beautiful set seen here is the ‘French’ jet parure*, circa 1870, in its original display case. It belongs to

mourning. There was, however, a distinct crossover between mourning and fashion jewellery. Fine jet ornaments also include long strings of beads in a variety of designs, combs and costume jewellery often made of French jet. French jet or black glass is heavier, cold to the touch and easily distinguished from other forms of jet. Other materials used include black onyx and black enamel. After the death of Victoria (1901), taste changed rapidly and the passion for mourning jewellery evaporated and was replaced with fashionable and frivolous ornaments reflecting changes in lifestyle. Victorians also loved cameos. “Cameos occupied a special place in Victorian culture, crossing the boundaries of art and personal ornament,” according to Gere (p467). Sometimes referred to as portable sculptures, cameos are defined as “a carving in which the design stands out in relief from its background”. Dating cameos can prove tricky but they are usually identified by their settings and subject matter. Technically, cameos are made from shell, hardstones, precious and semi-precious gems or even other organic materials such as coral, ivory and jet. Today you will find some made in plastic or composition materials but these are mainly cheap copies. Cameo jewellery was abundant in the Victorian era and most of the mediumpriced pieces in antique markets are largely from the 19th century. Highly collectable antiquarian cameos from Roman and

the British Museum and is pictured in the British Museum’s comprehensive publication, Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria: A Mirror to the World, British Museum Press 2010, by Charlotte Gere and Judy Rudoe (p.123). Jet was also made from other materials such as bog-oak – a dark brown, dull wood from Irish peat bogs. Popular in the 1850s, bog-oak jewellery was cut into numerous forms: flowers, brooches often carved with the deceased’s name, and unpolished jet whose ‘dead’ black tone represented the depth of

Renaissance times rarely appear because they are hard to find but do turn up in specialist auctions. Themes in early Victorian cameos are largely based on Greek mythology and neoclassical subject matter. They depict powerful figures such as Greek and Roman deities, nobles, statesmen, church figures and philosophers. Some early 19th century cameos were made in sets of complete groups of mythological figures, animals and cherubs. Mid-century cameos were often framed in gold

by Abby Cronin or thousands of years jewellers have crafted gemstones and natural materials to create remarkably decorative and symbolic forms of adornment. And throughout the ages women and men have worn jewellery to display status, fashion, celebrate events, express mourning or even to convey intimate messages. Victorian jewellery exhibits all of these meanings in an exceptionally wide array of materials and designs. So – if you love jewellery and find you are unable to resist the collecting habit, your appetite is bound to be stimulated by learning about where to find good quality pieces in London’s antique arcades and shops. Let’s take a quick tour and look at a few examples of Victorian jewellery. We begin with the everpopular jet.



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filigree surrounds. But at the beginning of the Victorian era classicism gave way to romanticism. Cameo designs became softer and the subjects carved into brooches feature naturalistic scenes, ladies in Tudor costumes and figures standing in rustic landscapes. By the 1860s to the 1880s, however, subject matter was once again strongly classical. Seen here are a few examples which illustrate these themes. The classical cameo brooch displays a Roman soldier in full regalia holding a spear. Mounted in a stunning gold frame circa 1880s, he has a striking heroic presence. By contrast, toward the end of the Victorian era, feminine subjects became more fashionable. The image here shows two cameos

of female heads. This jewellery was sought after by an increasingly affluent middle class of consumers for whom cameos had become an essential item of female adornment. It was not unusual for a Victorian woman of means to commission a cameo in her likeness – a form of portrait. Images of an idealised woman with a fashionable hairstyle and Romanesque features were also typical. The vogue for cameos reflected changing fashions in clothing and jewellery and toward the end of the Victorian era a woman often wore a cameo on the neck of her blouse or hung one from a velvet ribbon. Two cameos seen here are typical of this late period. Victorians also enjoyed an abundance of decorative silver jewellery by the middle of the 19th century. There was a rich source of inexpensive silver after the discovery in 1860 of the Comstock Lode in Nevada, USA. Once silver was readily available, jewellers designed a diversity of brooches which went into massproduction by the 1880s. Some had figurative engraving or took the form of an outstretched hand. Surfaces were overlaid with coloured floral motifs, woodland images and many other styles. Lockets were especially popular and worn on linked chains or necklaces. Pictured here are four lockets. Each one hangs from a different chain. Chains were made of articulated mesh or a series of uniform linked panels.

When American Commodore Perry negotiated a trade agreement with the Japanese in 1854, enthusiasm for Oriental goods emerged in Europe and America. A flood of Japanese art objects were imported. Japonesque or Japonaiserie style, a core theme in the Aesthetic Movement (1869-1900), quickly became an important influence in jewellery designs both in America (notably Tiffany & Co) and Britain. An example of one of the most attractive forms of silver jewellery produced in the Japonesque mode was the silver bangle. A variety of bangles are pictured here. Easy to wear and affordable, their

polished surfaces were engraved with landscapes, delicate flowers, waterlilies, bamboo, and birds in flight. Bangles were often overlaid with gold strips and coloured highlights; some were designed to look like belts. They caught on quickly and are as wearable today as they were 150 years ago. Other themes in Victorian silver jewellery

highlighted special events and sporting designs such as golf clubs, cricket bats, boxing gloves and sentimental ‘sweetheart’ brooches. The enduring beauty and diversity of Victorian jewellery continues to attract collectors today. You can learn a great deal about this period by taking yourself to the permanent exhibitions in the Victoria and Albert’s Bollinger Jewellery Gallery and the British Museum. Both museums display a remarkable collection of Victorian jewellery. Next stop might be some of London’s antique arcades, specialist dealers’ shops and markets. Make a date to visit Alfie’s Antique Market on Church Street where Naneen Brooks specialises in Georgian, Victorian and collectable jewellery. Linda Gumb sets out her wares every Saturday in The Red Teapot on Portobello Road. She has a superb collection of Victorian bangles among her eclectic mix of decorative antiques. Whether you are just browsing, wanting to add to or even start a collection, there is a wealth of original jet, cameos, and silver Victorian jewellery at every price level. Best bet: buy from a reputable dealer! Collectors of Victorian jewellery do so knowing that they are not just shopping for a special ‘look’. Collecting is far more significant than merely acquiring tasteful accessories. *Parure: a matching set of jewellery that includes earrings, a brooch, ring, necklace, and bracelet, and sometimes other items such as buckles

Contact: Abby Cronin Website: Photos by Abby Cronin (except the jet parure – courtesy of the British Museum)


The American Church In London

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Revd. John A. D’Elia Senior Minister of the American Church in London Summer 2011 ummer in Britain is a mixed blessing! The idea of summer conjures up images of playing and cooking outdoors, of warm weather and long days, of sunshine and, well you know. I grew up in Southern California, where summer means all of those things and more (like baseball, but that’s another story). And then there’s summer where we live, in London. As I write this there is thunder and lightning outside my office window, accompanied by pouring rain. Did I say it was June? Summer here brings with it all kinds of challenges that are unfamiliar to many of us. Rain, wind, the occasional flooding, both temporary and serious. It’s just different. Summer just doesn’t



mean the same things here as it did where I grew up. OK, that’s enough complaining about the rain! Maybe the weather is why so many people take advantage of the season to travel to warmer places. We just returned from a trip to the Middle East, where we visited Jerusalem, the cities around the Sea of Galilee, and some of our ministry partners in the West Bank. It was a life-changing learning experience for all of us, as we saw places that figure so prominently in the stories of the Bible and enjoyed the warm hospitality of our hosts. The places we visited are so important to so many people, and yet they make up one of the more volatile regions in recent history. Everyone there has a story—a narrative that helps them understand and explain the significance of the land for them. I enjoyed listening and drawing from their histories and concerns…and their hopes. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to solve the problems of the Middle East right now! The people there are in my prayers—I have to believe that God has a plan for peace that will surpass and outlast anything our leaders can produce. May it come quickly. In the meantime, our travels through the Holy Land led me to an old prayer, one that dates back almost 1500 years. The prayer known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” calls those of us in the Christian tradition to remember who God has revealed himself to be, and what that means for each of us at the start of a new day. “I arise today,” it begins, “through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through the belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness of the Creator of Creation.” Isn’t that beautiful? Sung as a hymn, this prayer reminds us that we are not alone, that we are people who live because of the grace and love of our creator. But it doesn’t end there. The prayer also gets at how we’re called to live with each other and with the world. That life, for St. Patrick, was meant to be a life of faith. And so with that in mind he closes the prayer this way: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. I arise today. Now I know that this prayer won’t resonate with everyone, but can you see how it describes a life that is connected and loving and respectful and capable of incredible kindness and grace? Whatever your own faith might be, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could see it in everything you said or did or thought? When I pray for parts of the world that are experiencing conflict and strife, I try to include this prayer somewhere in the mix. For places, like the Middle East, where faith is at the centre of the conflict, my prayer is that all sides would take care to make their beliefs visible in everything they do. That’s my prayer for myself—and for you, too. As you spend this summer recovering from the last school year and preparing for the next, I hope that you take a little time to see how faith can season and transform your life. Have a wonderful summer! With Blessings, Pastor John D’Elia

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American in Britain Summer 2011  

The summer issue of American in Britain magazine. The quarterly, glossy magazine for American's living in the UK.

American in Britain Summer 2011  

The summer issue of American in Britain magazine. The quarterly, glossy magazine for American's living in the UK.