Serving the American Community in the UK
THIS ISSUE’S FEATURES INCLUDE: UK Sports • Travel • Tax Issues • Eating Out • Wealth Management A Letter From Scotland • Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News Arts & Antiques • Take Five • Hotel Review • Embassy Corner
American In Britain
3 Eating Out 9 Take Five 14 Days Out With The Family
24 Tax Issues 26 Wealth Management 28 Moving Your Pet To The United Kingdom 30 Theatre
34 UK Sports 36 Reader’s Lives 39 American Women’s Clubs News 42 Culture Shock 45 Hotel Review
48 A Letter From Scotland 50 Free Annual Subscription 51 The American International Church
53 Arts & Antiques 55 Useful Numbers 56 Embassy Corner
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Cover Image: First Lady, Michelle Obama, addresses students in Mulberry School for Girls, London. Copyright: US Embassy, London
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American In Britain
12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BS Telephone: 020 7629 8886 Mayfair is, as everybody knows, one of the more exclusive areas of London, and within Mayfair, one of the more exclusive areas is Berkeley Square. This exclusivity dates back to the 18th Century, when the influential Kent family had their London house in the square, and other famous residents included Winston Churchill and Charles Rolls, the co-founder of Rolls Royce, and for those fans of Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie Wooster. In addition, it has one of the most exclusive private members clubs, Morton’s Club, reportedly the most haunted building in London. I am not so sure of the existence of ghosts, but one place that spirits are abound however, is at No. 12a, where you will find Benares, the well deserved Michelin starred restaurant. The front entrance is not flashy, in fact it is rather understated, but you feel a sense of elegancy which is enhanced once you scale the stairs to a low lit bar which wouldn’t be out of place in many of the slick and exclusive nightclubs in the area. The bar flanks the far wall, and there was a pleasant buzz of patrons happily partaking of a variety of cocktails before moving into the full restaurant for the main course. As I said there is a wide choice of cocktails, but Helen plumped for a Mumbai Martini, which incorporated vodka, ginger and curry leaves which gave an Indian twist to a global favourite, and I decided to try and revisit my travels around India when I was a student, and plumped for a Coconut and Pineapple Lassie (the ‘Indian Pina Colada’) which was as refreshing as it was flavoursome. Having started the Indian theme, we mulled over the fact that Benares, under Atul Kotchar’s skilful guidance, had not just sailed in the London restaurant waters for over 10 years, it has thrived, and in this tough environment that is a notable achievement. It also points to a set up that moves with the times and continually updates its premises and also its menus. Here, www.theamericanhour.com
Atul has looked to change the way people feel about Indian cuisine, from the garish patterned carpets and Chicken Tikka Masala and Pilao rice after a night out in the pub, to a fine dining experience where your taste buds are continually being challenged by the subtle spicing of varied and fresh ingredients. At Benares, there is a fusion of regional Indian flavours and spices and British ingredients that create a unique modern cuisine which, from hence forth, I will refer to as Brindian! The menu, as in all good restaurants, concentrates on quality rather than quantity, so there are 9 appetisers and the same number of main dishes, but what caught my eye was the tasting menu of 7 dishes for £82 per person, which was showcasing dishes from the last 10 years. Perfect. Before we set off on this tribute to 10 years, we happily made our way through some delightfully light and crispy popadums, ably complimented by Pineapple, Gooseberry and Tomato chutneys providing that sweet and sour contrast. The amuse bouche of Spinach and Apricot Tikki, was almost meaty, and was served with a slightly sweet pomegranate sauce which continued the explosions of tastes ably started by the variety of Chutneys. The next course is one of Atul’s signature dishes, the Karara Kekda Aur Seb, which is the Crispy Soft Shell Crab, Apple Relish, Scottish White Crab Meat and Coronation Slaw. The Crab fried in crispy batter was light and tasty, with just enough spice to enhance the crab taste rather than overpower it. The third dish was Murg Tiranga, consisting of three types of chicken, a chutney grilled fillet, a Tandoori Spring Onion and Saffron Supreme, and a Crispy Wing. This is where the true talents of a chef and their ingenuity comes in, as this dish is just perfectly set up. Firstly, there are the different textures of the chicken, one clean and light with a hint of spice, another harder and crispy. Then you have the ingenuity with a pipette sticking out of the chicken full of chutney to be squeezed into the centre so when you bite through the shell the flavours burst out, and finally, if that wasn’t enough, the dish is made up of the colours of the flag of India, with the Saffron, the white of the
chicken, and the green chutney. Wow, and for the record it tasted amazing too! It is truly hard to imagine how to follow this, but the treats just kept coming, especially in the form of the Tandoori Macchi. The Baked Salmon was soft and light resting on a bed of Spiced Vermicelli with a Hand picked Crab Croquette, (this is a new one on me too), and the most delightfully creamy smooth coconut sauce which worked so well with the spice of the vermicelli and the sweetness of the beetroot chutney accompanying it. It was about this time that I realised just why this restaurant has gone from strength to strength - it is the attention to detail and the marvellous combinations which you may not have thought of, but they just go together so well. To cleanse the palate before the ‘main course’ we received Nimbu Pani Sorbet, which was like having a frozen mohito with the mint, cumin and black salt combining perfectly to cleanse, not overpower. The main dish was Gosht Aur Keema Samosa, which consisted of generous slices of delightfully pink lamb in baby Spinach and Chickpea Masala with a Minced Shoulder Samosa. This was accompanied by Dahl Makhani, a lovely rich textured Dahl of black lentils, kidney beans and roti. Dessert was Bhapa Doi, which was a Rose and Raspberry Steamed Natural Yoghurt and Pistachio Burfi which was a perfect end to a true culinary journey through India. We also chose the Captivating Wine Flight to accompany our meal ( £55 per person), which consisted of 5 glasses of wine that perfectly complimented the dishes served, and there is also a Prestigious Selection (£81) for those celebrating a special occasion. I had heard Kochar’s reputation was based on his style being from North Western India, which is renown for its fierce flavours, and so I was concerned that I may be overwhelmed, but here he has created dishes of high quality and ingenuity with just enough heat to accompany and enhance the main ingredient rather than dominate it, and that is a true talent which I for one would return again and again for, and if you like Indian food then this is a must visit. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
The Darwin Brasserie 20 Fenchurch Street, 36th Floor, London, EC3M 3BY Telephone: 0333 772 0020
When I was young, one of my prized possessions was a pair of battered walkie talkies which I got hours of fun from playing with my next door neighbour, as during the day we pretended to be soldiers behind enemy lines and by night spoke to each other from our bedrooms after we were supposed to be in bed, and now, all these years later, I am back getting as much pleasure, although the walkie talkie is now considerably bigger, in the guise of a 37 floor building. The walkie talkie, or 20 Fenchurch Street as it is more commonly known, follows an illustrious line of buildings that now go by a nickname rather than an address, including 32 London Bridge Street (The Shard), and 30 St Mary Axe (The Gerkin), and hit the headlines fairly recently when its unique design was responsible for reflecting the sun causing cars and roads in the vicinity to melt. What I don’t think is well known is that it is rapidly becoming one of the best places to go in London as on 4
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floors 36, 37 and 38 there is a unique garden in the sky (aptly named the Sky Garden!) with views to die for. Accompanying the 360 degree view of the London Skyline, on floor 37, is the Darwin Brasserie, an all day brasserie inspired by all things British. On arrival at the entrance, please note that you have to go through quite a rigorous security check, bordering on ones you get when going through an airport, so do check your bags before setting off and ensure there is nothing sharp and you have no liquids. Once scanned and bags approved, you reach the Sky Garden via an express lift to the 35th floor, and on leaving you walk out into a vast glass and metal hanger with an amazing view of the Shard opposite. It is here on the 35th floor you can relax and have a drink in the Sky Pod bar with the other diners and those lucky enough to have tickets to take in the view, (yes this is a tourist attraction now as well as an office and restaurant complex), and there is much to enjoy both visually and orally. The Sky Pod serves two types of sharing boards, one British Charcuterie with salt beef and ham hock and, bizarrely, salami; no I didn’t know it was British
either! (£12.50 for 1 and £22 for 2 people), and a seafood one with salmon, smoked mackerel pâté, smoked eel and prawns (£16 for 1 and £28 for 2 people). These can be enjoyed with a variety of cocktails, including original concoctions as well as classics, all for £11.50. Rather than stay at the Sky Pod bar, Helen and I decided to make our way up the staircase and past the palms and rockery’s up to the Darwin Brasserie which also boasts a bar, but here it is restricted to just diners. Again there are many cocktails to choose from, but here the spirit of choice is rum. The décor here is a mixture of laid backed luxury with modern and sharp grey chairs, wooden tables, the polished wooden floor, which although a little stark, seems to compliment the vast expanse of glass which allows the diner the joys of the London skyline, which I suspect would be truly magical at sunset. I looked at the menu and was pleased to see that, like all good brasseries, it contained a combination of simple homely food with the odd speciality, and was split into 5 sections, Starters, Salads, Pasta/Risotto, Fish and Meat and accompanying sides. The starters include a warming Celeriac and Apple Soup with
EATING OUT walnut and sage (£7.50), and the more exotic ½ dozen Rock Oysters (£17.50), but Helen opted for the Carpaccio of Scottish Beef with truffled mascarpone, rocket and parmesan (£12.50), and I asked for a starter portion of the Asparagus Risotto (main course price £16). The smoky beef melted in the mouth but had just enough smoke to leave a satisfying lingering taste, and the Asparagus Risotto was just delightful. The crunch of the asparagus and the smoothness of the rice contrasting nicely with the warm luxurious sauce was flavoured with just enough truffle oil to add richness and aroma without overpowering the other flavours. The choice of mains was a real challenge as there were just so many classic favourites from the line caught haddock in the Fish and Chips (£16.50) and the Char-grilled Scottish Rib Eye Steak (£24.50), along with the delicate Lemon Sole (£21), or the Roast Sea Bream Fillet with its crispy skin accompanied by fennel and coriander (£17.50), but Helen opted for the“Rhubarb’s”Handmade Beef Burger (Rhubarb being the company that provide the catering) at £16.50, and I chose the Goodwood Estate Pork Belly with ‘bubble & squeak’ roasted spring vegetables (£17.50). Both dishes were good, but ironically I would have preferred the burger to have had a little more salt, and my bubble and squeak to have a little less, but it may be just me, as my taste buds are highly attuned to the amount of salt in food. The triple cooked chips and the house slaw with the burger were a treat, with one being thick and perfect to scoop up a dollop of tomato ketchup and the other satisfyingly crunchy. Desserts, if you can relax your belt a little after the first 2 courses, are also worth saving a little room for. Helen chose the Rhubarb Crumble (the fruit and not the company this time!) and I the Chocolate Pave with banana and toffee ice cream. The crumble was crunchy, and when pierced exposed perfectly sweetened rhubarb all served with a light and fresh vanilla custard, whereas the Pave will not disappoint those chocolate lovers out there. The wine selection is not extensive but is reasonably priced, and everyone will find something they like. We opted for a South African Sauvignon Blanc from the Western Cape, which you can only get by the bottle, but there are a good choice of wines by the glass for those who like to shop around. Overall, this is a bustling brasserie whose wooden floor and minimalistic décor contributes to the buzziness of happy diners enjoying good food with views which you truly can’t get anywhere else in London, and it is good to see that the restaurant doesn’t rely just on the views, and prefers to also serve British favourites well cooked, and is well worth a visit. In the 1980’s, I started work at one of the last UK owned merchant banks which was based in Fenchurch Street and at that time its main claim to fame was it had the best view in London, as it wasn’t possible to see it as you were inside it!, but having been knocked down it has now been rebuilt to house Sky Garden with views everyone can enjoy. www.theamericanhour.com
Leicester Square, 10 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QF 020 7758 1088 If you had to create a list of bustling places to see and be seen in, I suspect many people would include Leicester Square, with its swanky bars and film premieres, and in the heart of this, boldly standing out on a corner plot, is the W Hotel. Within this imposing glass building you can find Spice Market, the brainchild of JeanGeorges Vongerichten, whose main restaurant, the highly acclaimed Jean Georges, can be found just near to Central Park in New York. Spice Market will not make as large a dent in your pocket than Jean Georges, but it does share the same attention to detail and provides a unique interpretation of Southeast Asian cuisine, in a stylish central London location. The inspiration is provided by Head Chef, Peter Lloyd, and his extensive travels though
“Walls of spices, spanning the two floors of the restaurant showcase all the spices and ingredients used in the dishes served.”
Asia. I myself have been lucky enough to have experienced this street food in many Asian countries, and was therefore intrigued as to how it would translate into a London restaurant from the bare tables in an open air market. The location is certainly different, but what makes the street food so special and exciting is the freshness and immediacy of the food, and here I believe Spice Market matches this well. As I mentioned, this is no outside street market with their rickety stalls which produce food of a quality punching way above their look. Here the décor matches the quality of food. Walls of spices, spanning the two floors of the restaurant showcase all the spices and ingredients used in the dishes served. This almost oldy worldy store room feel (albeit a very smart storeroom), corresponds to the Spice Market found in New York, but here in London, this is mixed with a contemporary twist in the form of towering golden tubes majestically flanking the spiral stairway leading from the more casual bar area, up to the more formal restaurant on the second floor, and pillars engulfed by the golden lattices of bird cages, which I think I last saw in the bar featured in the
opening sequences of an Indiana Jones film. The concept here is that dishes are served when ready, so dishes continually arrive throughout the meal, therefore ensuring that the food is fresh, and also encouraging sharing amongst the table. The menu is extensive, covering dishes from many regions, but the link is always the attention to detail, and the rich and exotic flavours, that moves through Sushi & Sashimi and starters, via salads and soup, to Seafood and Meats (with the accompanying vegetables, noodles and rice), to mouth- watering desserts, which are all made on the premises. With such a selection choosing is almost impossible, so I was grateful for the sanctuary of a tasting menu which seemed to cover all the bases, and so Helen and I opted for this at £48 a person. In the spirit of not making choices, we also opted to add wine pairings, which for £26 was great value. This difficult decision was accompanied by plenty of poppadums with a delightfully spicy tomato sauce which I am pleased to say was refilled regularly, as I just love the crunch which always sets me up perfectly for the rest of my meal! Our first set of dishes included Salmon Sashimi, warm Crunchy Rice, Chipotle Emulsion and spring onion along with Spicy Tuna Roll. The smooth salmon was surrounded by the warm crisp rice bound with just the right amount of vinegar, accompanied by an emulsion sensitively adding heat from the chipotle emulsion (literally
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meaning“smoked chilli”), and the spicy Tuna Roll which again had enough spice to add flavour and zing without being overpowering. These starters were ably accompanied by a glass of Vaporetto NV Prosecco from Venezia, Italy, which takes its name from the ‘Little Steamer’ boats that used to run up and down the canals. Its soft pear and floral flavours with a refreshing sparkle always start a meal well. The Asian tour of food continued with the next course as we moved from the Japanese/ Mexican combination, to India and Thailand, as we were served Spiced Chicken Samosas and Charred Chilli Rubbed Beef Skewer with a Thai basil dipping sauce, accompanied by a French Sauvignon Blanc. I am not usually a fan of samosas as they can be too greasy for my taste, but these were crispy and light. From the moment I looked at the menu I was looking forward to the main course, as the combinations on offer, if done well, really excited me. The first dish was Cod with Malaysian Chilli sauce, Thai basil and celery. Malaysian curries are rich in turmeric and use coconut milk and chilli peppers, and this richness complemented the slightly salty and flaky cod perfectly. The second dish was a Chargrilled Chicken with Kumquat Lemongrass dressing which moved us over to Vietnam, where Kumquat juice is used. The common error with chargrilling is that to get that crispy outer layer, the chef over cooks it and the inner part is dry and chewy. Here, the
inside of the chicken was moist and succulent, and the chargrill contrasted the sweet Kumquat dressing, living up to my initial expectations. These two dishes were accompanied by Ginger fried rice and Helen and I opted to add a Pad Thai (as it’s our favourite) which was rich with prawns. A real treat, and all washed down with a 2013 Australian Shiraz. Having travelled around most of the Asian subcontinent, for dessert we ventured back to two countries we had visited before, Thailand and India, where we were treated to desserts I just loved. The first offering was from India in the guise of an Ovaltine Kulfi with Caramelised Banana and spiced milk chocolate sauce. Kulfi’s have similarities to ice cream in appearance and taste, but they are denser and creamier, and here it was like eating a rich and velvety milk chocolate fudge bar, and I can’t think of many better things. This strong and rich taste was juxtaposed with the other dessert, namely Thai Jewels and Fruits with crushed coconut ice, as this, although creamy, was lighter and icily refreshing. Again the wine selection of a Sauternes matched the dishes well. In the heart of London there is now a place to just grab a few dishes in a relaxed atmosphere or alternatively travel the culinary trail through Asia with a larger meal. Either way, you won’t be disappointed, and may well start yearning to visit those market stalls for yourself.
PJ’s Bar And Grill 52 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HH Telephone: 020 7581 0025
Perfectly located on the Fulham Road, I can see why PJ’s has been popular with the residents of Chelsea since 1990. On entering the restaurant, the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed, and the wooden décor is elegant, traditional and stylish. The polo-themed interior is a tribute to owner Brian Stein’s favourite sport. Designed with a classic ‘polo joe’ interior, the restaurant pays homage to the sport with its many displays of polo memorabilia and photos. The unique centrepiece of the double height space is a beautiful, suspended wooden propeller from one of the first original Vickers-Vimy aeroplanes c. 1911. Commencing with a cocktail at the bar, our evening starts well. The bar staff are keen to showcase new and exciting cocktails, and I would advise you trust them, although the range of classic cocktails are available. Our rosemary infused summer cocktail really hit the spot, and I plan to return one evening to sit at the bar and sample more of this cocktail list. The menu is a classic grill style and offers an innovative mix of Modern European dishes, providing a good variety. The starters, ranging in price from £9.95 to £14.95, include Oysters, Grilled Asparagus and Pan Roasted Tiger Prawns. I opted for the Seared Scallops, Grilled Chorizo, Cauliflower Puree and Pea Shoots. The Scallops were among the best I have eaten, and the Chorizo provides the perfect taste pairing. My wife savoured her Fritto Misto (mixed deep fried seafood and vegetables) with Lemon Aioli; www.theamericanhour.com
the generous portion allowed one or two bites for me to sample. The varied main course selection includes fish, chicken, beef, duck, and vegetarian options – all appetising in their descriptions, range in price from £12.95 to £26.95. PJ’s is known for their steaks, so I opted for the 10oz Dry Aged Ribeye Steak (recommended by our waitress), with Fries and Bearnaise Sauce, and a side order of Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts. The steak was full flavoured and tender. My wife had the Roast Line Caught Cod, Celeriac & Leek Hash, Poached Egg and Mustard Sauce, which was in her words was “delicious-like home cooked comfort food”. The wine list comprises mostly of European and New World wines (from £17.95 a bottle), which your waiter can of course advise to match your meal. We opted for a Pinot Noir, light in body, making it a good option to breach between our steak and fish main courses. The dessert menu ranges in price from £6.25 to £9.95 for the Neal’s Yard Cheese and Biscuits. The cheese and biscuits, was calling to me, but I simply couldn’t manage it and opted instead for the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream. As anticipated, this was quite delicious; the warm chocolate sauce providing a perfect contrast with the ice cream, and soft sponge exterior. Of course, I also had a sample a little of my wife’s Glazed Lemon Tart with Raspberries and Vanilla Cream. The service is friendly, attentive and laid back. I hear that the Brunch menu at PJ’s is infamous. So, it is no surprise that PJ’s continues to be at the forefront of the Chelsea social scene – and it looks like we’ll be returning for cocktails and brunch – although probably not at the same time! www.americaninbritain.co.uk
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Summertime Muse by Judith Schrut
The fairytale setting of the Port Eliot Festival, photo by Michael Bowles
Hip, Hip, Hooray for the Great British Summer— but who can say if this year’s theme tune will be “Here Comes the Sun” or “Stormy Weather”? Britain’s famously fickle climate can’t be guaranteed, but whatever the weather, Summer 2015 promises a bumper crop of open air music, festivals and other alfresco treats. In this issue’s Take Five we’re bravely taking it all outdoors, so join us as we find our inner stiff upper lip, pack wellies, sun hats and duffle coats and savour the season’s best.
1. Family Friendly Festivals
Summertime is festival time in Britain, with over 400 fab fests happening across the UK each summer. From established big beasts like Glastonbury, Glyndebourne and the Edinburgh Festival and uber-cool newbies like Love Supreme Jazz and Greenwich Music Time, to weirder wonders like Bloodstock, New Forest Fairy Festival and Supernormal, there’s a festival for every age, taste and fetish. Top of our family friendly favourites and the perfect excuse for a weekend away in the lovely Cotswolds is the Cornbury Festival. Variously described as a country fair with a rock ‘n’ roll twist, a very English open air party and a farmers’ market with a dancefloor, Cornbury offers a chilled mix of pop, rock, blues and plenty of music that cannot be pigeonholed. You’ll also enjoy the fabulous Comedy Emporium, dedicated children’s areas, tempting choice of edibles and drinkables, posh loos and the joy known as ‘Glamping’— luxurious camping in yurts, squrts, tipis and podpads. Cornbury 2015 welcomes lilting legends Sir Tom Jones and Lulu, indie rockers the Fratellis and Razorlight, vintage Motown from Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and homegrown altcountry heartthrobs, The Shires. www.theamericanhour.com
For another great family option head to Cornwall and the fairytale setting of Port Eliot Festival, a uniquely creative and laid back festival of words, music, fashion, flowers and extremely good food. Flower and Fodder is the festival’s phenomenal food and garden area, where top culinary and garden geniuses give talks and demos. The Bowling Green, Park and Caught by the River host authors, musicians and comedians, and the Wardrobe Department takes imaginative fashion full on.You can sample workshops in wild brewing, kotlich cooking, botanical illustrating and knicker making, and the festival has tons of events for families such as wild swimming, spooky nighttime walks, a woodland summer ball and a Pirate School. Port Eliot itself is a beautiful, historic stately home and former medieval monastery, packed with atmosphere and treasures. Camp Bestival also prides itself on a particularly family festival focus. It takes place on the grounds of ancient Lulworth Castle, Dorset, with its backdrop of stunning coastal scenery. This year, Camp Bestival’s Go Wild theme summons“wild boys and wild girls to the wildest place on earth”. Expect first rate music over multiple stages including Kaiser Chiefs, Alison Moyet, Ella Eyre, Buzzcocks and the Spooky Men’s Chorale plus a massive mix of comedy, dance and theatre. The Den is a festival within a festival, exclusively for teenagers. But above all are kids activities galore and plenty of chances for the whole family to release its inner beast, with bushcraft, foraging walks, stargazing, cooking in mud kitchens, campfires, tub bathing under the sky, mass sleep-outs and other natural pleasures. Don’t miss festival favourites like Insect Circus, Igor Rasputin’s Caravan of Lost Souls and Gorilla Gardening, and there’s even rumours of the Gruffalo making an appearance. Port Eliot Festival, 30 July-2 August 2015, www.porteliotfestival.com
Fabulous for families, the Cornbury Festival
Cornbury Festival, 10-12 July 2015, www.cornburyfestival.com Camp Bestival, 30 July-2 August 2015, www.campbestival.net
2. Proms In The Park
For classical music lovers it doesn’t get much better than the BBC Promenade Concerts, better known as The Proms. A British national treasure for the past 120 years, the world’s greatest festival of classical music roars into London’s Royal Albert Hall mid-July, setting off 92 concerts and two months of non-stop musical feasting and culminating in that beloved tradition known as the Last Night of the Proms. The original Proms’ promise, to create a joyous celebration of music and reach the widest possible audience, means there are plenty of affordable seats, with half price for under 18s and 1300 ‘promming’ (standing) tickets for every Prom at a bargain £5. Every Prom season gets bigger, better and more imaginative. This year sees a gobsmacking choice of 46 orchestras, 53 conductors, 16 visiting ensembles, soloists, choirs and other performers from around the world and 32 premieres. There are adventurous Late Nights, Sunday Matinees to introduce audiences young and old to classical music, and 75 free ‘Extras’ like talks, family workshops and special events. Amongst many Prom treats are a Sherlock Holmes Prom, Asian and Bollywood Night, Life Story Prom with naturalist Sir David Attenborough, a Story of Swing evening and a full staging of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, with Welsh wonder Bryn Terfel re-invented as the impoverished but cheerful shtetl milkman. The Proms love anniversaries and this year will celebrate Stephen Sondheim at 85, Frank Sinatra at 100, and composer Jean Sibelius at 150. Percussionist extraordinaire Dame www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Celebrating the Last Night of the BBC Proms with Proms in the Park, photo copyright BBC - Mark Allan
Dame Evelyn Glennie, Danielle de Niese, Katie Derham, Nicholas Collon & pupils from Luton Music, BBC Proms, photo copyright BBC - Andrew Hayes-Watkins
Evelyn Glennie, best known for her moving performance at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, marks her own 50th birthday with a musical party. The Last Night of the Proms will be led by charismatic American conductor Marin Alsop, who so captivated British audiences two years ago when she became the first woman to conduct the Last Night. Last Night celebrations, complete with traditional fancy dress, party poppers, balloons and flag-waving singalongs to ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, 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 final night fans won’t miss out on the fun. Now, in addition to the indoor Royal Albert Hall finale, audiences can choose from four open air spectacles around the UK. Impressive concerts in Belfast, Glasgow, Swansea and London’s Hyde Park bring the four UK nations together in song and spirit with the help of endlessly enthusiastic compere Sir Terry Wogan and live big screen linkups. Hyde Park’s stellar headliners this year will 10
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be The Jacksons— founding members Jackie, Tito, Germain and Marlon— in tribute to little brother Michael. They will be joined by The Mavericks, trumpeteress Alison Balsom, celebrities, choirs and fireworks for the grand cross-country finale, as Prommers across the land sing, wave Union Jacks, pop poppers and let go all that British reserve. But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Last Night in person: join the party via giant video screens around the country or sing along by telly, tablet, smartphone, laptop or radio, thanks to the BBC. BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, 17 July-12 September 2015 Proms in the Park, 12 September 2015 www.bbc.co.uk/proms
3. Movie Magic
Outdoor movies have come a long way from their humble start in 1932, when New Jersey sales manager and movie fan Richard Hollingshead nailed a sheet to two trees in his backyard and a Kodak projector to the hood of his car, and the Drive-In was born. By the 1950s there were over 4000 Drive-Ins across the USA, along with dozens of rollerskating waitresses bringing burgers, malts and fries right up to drivers’ windows. Drive-Ins peaked in the 1960s, then faded to near extinction with the coming of home videos and a construction boom. Now, outdoor movies are making a remarkable comeback and nowhere more than in the UK, where alfresco screenings seem to be popping up everywhere and are increasingly inventive. High Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, copyright James Bryant Photography
TAKE FIVE tech gizmos, like the JumboTron, mean movies can be shown almost anywhere, anytime. Each summer, BP Big Screens hosts free outdoor screenings of live opera, ballet and other events at 23 venues up and down the country. August sees the annual great Film4 Summer Screen Season in the neoclassical courtyard of London’s Somerset House, a splendid mix of premieres and well-loved film favourites including the new Man from Uncle, Withnail and I and The Graduate, while September offers four weeks of free film evenings at the Scoop near Tower Bridge. This summer, the Nomad brings its popular ‘roaming cinemas’ to Brompton Cemetery, Hyde Park Lido, Grosvenor Square and many other sites, with all profits going to support sustainable living projects. Popular new venture Hot Tub Cinema takes to the road with its Tub Tropicana Tour, screening a mix of classics and recent releases in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester. Hot Tub encourages movie lovers to dress up, sing, dance, play, be served food and drink by tubside waiters and share an inflatable tub with a bunch of half-naked strangers. Rooftop Film Club shows classics, cult films and new releases on London’s finest rooftops while Cult Screens provides deckchairs and giant beanbags at screenings in various UK prison yards, castles, public pools and riverside gardens, along with cocktails, real ales, fresh popcorn and gourmet German hot dogs. Who needs walls or ceilings when you can enjoy the magic of the movies under a starry summer sky near you? Film4 Summer Screen, 6-19 August 2015, www.somersethouse.org.uk/film Hot Tub Cinema/Tub Tropicana, May-September, www.hottubcinema.com Rooftop Film Club, May-September, www.rooftopfilmclub.com Nomad Cinema, May-September, www.whereisthenomad.com
Tubs by Night, photo copyright Hot Tub Cinema
Early morning yoga at WOMAD, photo by David Hedges
4. The World At Womad
WOMAD stands for World of Arts, Music and Dance, and is simply the biggest international music festival on earth. This year’s WOMAD, which takes place at the end of July, promises to bring together hundreds of performing artists from dozens of countries and around 40,000 world music fans to its beautiful open air site in the rolling hills of rural Wiltshire.
A stunning global lineup includes Sahara Desert-inspired rock’n roll from Tinariwen, tantalising tango from Argentina’s Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro, blazing folk rhythms from Bellowhead and mad gypsy punk sounds from Molotov Jukebox. Look out too for some particularly strong and strident female voices like UK’s Laura Mvula and Eska, Ethiopian-Israeli Ester Rada and Turkish-Kurdish Olcay Bayir. But WOMAD is much more than a chance to experience a wall-to-wall feast of music from the four corners of the globe, it’s also a place for dancing or drumming the night away, singing in a Bedouin tent, xylophone making, kora playing, meeting a human book at the Human Library and music-inspired cooking at Taste the World. The dedicated Kids Zone, annual Children’s Parade and relaxed vibe makes WOMAD an especially good choice for families. And if you’re in need of a break from the hullabaloo, nip into the World of Wellbeing, a cool, calming space among the trees of the Arboretum, and sample delights such as laughter yoga, song baths, didgeridoo healing, sound meditation and some excellent tea and cakes. For a little extra indulgence, invest in a weekend pass to the Womad Spa, an oasis of pampering treatments, wood-fired yurt sauna, jacuzzi spa, cocktail bar and that luxury of festival luxuries, hot showers. Traipsing from stage to stage in the fresh air sharpens the appetite and WOMAD is well prepared for this. WOMAD’s a big place but you’re never far from the Global Market, where you can eat your way around the world from a mouthwatering choice of international food as well as browse the tempting range of crafts, clothing, music paraphernalia and worthy causes on display. WOMAD, 24-26 July 2015, www.womad.org
Wonderful WOMAD, photo by David Hedges
5. Brush Up Your Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s Globe is one of the world’s greatest open air theatres, a painstakingly faithful recreation of the original 16th century playhouse which stood a hop, skip and a bow away from the current Thameside location and where many of the Bard’s works were performed for the first time. The original Elizabethan Globe thrived until an unfortunate accident: a stage cannon misfired into the theatre’s thatched roof mid-performance. In less than one hour the entire theatre had burned to the ground. The reconstructed Globe was founded by late expatriate American actor, activist and tireless fundraiser Sam Wanamaker. Since its debut in 1997, the Globe has been a success story beyond all expectations. Whether you’re a literary scholar or virgin ‘groundling’, a visit to the Globe Theatre during its annual April to October season is simply a must. ‘Justice and Mercy’ is this season’s theme, and includes top-drawer productions of Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, King John and Richard II, with a number of shows touring the UK and abroad. Globe seats sell out fast, but 700 groundling tickets are available daily for an astonishing £5. This gets you a standing spot in front of the stage, we think the best and most authentic way to see a show. For another unique summer theatrical delight, it’s a short trip north to Regents Park Open Air Theatre, splendidly set amidst the lush overgrowth of London’s most beautiful Royal Park. A showcase for awardwinning theatre from May to late September for the past 83 years, it’s renowned as a place to see outstanding new talent likely to become
Phoebe Price (Jessica) & Jonathan Pryce (Shylock) in Shakespeare’s Globe’s Merchant of Venice, photograph by Manuel Harlan
tomorrow’s stars. Historically this has included Judi Dench, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Fiennes, Richard E. Grant, Sheridan Smith and many more. This summer’s programme boasts classic American musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Peter Pan, The Seagull and a critically acclaimed production of Lord of the Flies, prior to its major UK autumn tour. The theatre can be notoriously hard to find - only adding to its charms - so if you’re a first time visitor be sure to leave a little extra time for the search. You’ll know it’s worth it when you pass through the semi-hidden gates and enter a secret garden of delights complete with rambling picnic lawn, BBQs and the longest bar in London, twinkling with fairy lights. Be forewarned that the Globe and the Open Air Theatre are verily open to the elements and
whatever the weather the show will (almost always) go on. But come rain or shine - and yes, we’ve witnessed hail, lightning storms, sweltering heat and set-shaking winds - we promise your visit will be a magical experience. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre season, April-October, with productions also touring UK & worldwide. www.shakespearesglobe.com Regents Park Open Air Theatre, May-September, openairtheatre.com Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. Have you been to any of our recommended events? We’d love your feedback and thoughts: email Judith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunset over Regents Park Open Air Theatre, photo by David Jensen
American In Britain
WIN a pair of tickets To see Beautiful - The Carole King Musical in the West End
The Olivier, Tony and Grammy Award winning Beautiful is now playing at London’s Aldwych Theatre. Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an
ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and sold her first hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, when she was just seventeen. By the time she reached her twenties she had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll from Aretha Franklin to the Monkees, the Drifters, to the Shirelles. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. BEAUTIFUL tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation, with countless classics such as You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Take Good Care of my Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof, and Locomotion.
For your chance to win a pair of tickets visit www.HotTicketOffers. com/competition/beautiful and enter competition code ‘American’ followed by your details by 30 September.
For more information and to book tickets visit www.BeautifulinLondon.co.uk or call 0845 200 7981. Terms & Conditions: Tickets valid Mon-Thurs performances until Monday 30 November. Subject to availability. Non transferable. No cash alternative. Additional expenses are the responsibility of the prize winner. Not for resale.
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY
Roald Dahl Museum Exterior
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 0AL Nestled in the high street of the charming village of Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, can be found a museum unlike many others. This museum has children at its heart, and seeks to inspire visitors to tell their own stories and become real-life authors themselves, through discovering the world of Roald Dahl. The award-winning museum, aimed at 6 to 12 year olds and their families, is currently celebrating its 10th birthday. It is by no means large, but manages to pack a lot into its three galleries. The first of these is named‘Boy Gallery’, in reference to Dahl’s autobiographical book of the same name. Stepping through the large chocolate doors, you will discover how Roald’s experiences at school inspired many of his stories. Among the photos, funny anecdotes, and letters from the archive, are interactive displays that will keep both adults and children amused through touch screen and hands-on activities. Moving on to the second gallery; ‘Solo’, again a reference to Dahl’s book ‘Going Solo’ that describes his adventures as a pilot, there is lots to explore. Our party included 4 boys between the ages of 5 and 12, and all of them were clamouring to explore the cockpit of a World War Two Gladiator plane, a copy of the one Roald flew, before measuring themselves 14
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up against Dahl’s characters to find out if they were as tall as an Oompa Loompa or The Grand High Witch! But, the most fascinating exhibit for me was the ‘Writing Hut’. The museum carefully and painstakingly removed the actual interior of Roald Dahl’s favourite place to write, namely the shed in his garden, and transported it piece by piece to the museum. It is full of curios and pictures and then there is Roald’s writing chair and lamp. It doesn’t take much to imagine the man himself sitting there at work. The gallery is also packed with interactive screens, displays and activities that invite you to discover facts about the stories, watch animations, and even test your spark factor on a ‘Sparkometer’! The third gallery named ‘The Story Centre’ is a place for imaginations to run free. You could easily spend an hour or more in this gallery alone; there is so much to do. Technology is cleverly used to inspire creativity; through the ‘stop frame animation‘ activity that kept our group captivated for what seemed like hours, to the cinema area where a film plays of various well known children’s authors talking about how they get their ideas. There is also the chance to dress up as characters from Dahl’s stories, invent your own made up words, cut and stick your own character and sit in a replica of Roald Dahl’s writing chair. The museum extends into an attractive courtyard area, where there is a café, shop, and
Inside Roald Dahl’s original Writing Hut in Solo Gallery
areas for workshop and craft activities; namely Miss Honey’s Classroom and George’s Crafty Kitchen. The museum offers a comprehensive programme of special events for visitors at a small additional cost; anything from songs and storytelling, to cookery, circus skills and crafts there is something to entertain almost everyone! For details of these special events check out the website at www.roalddahl.com/museum. On the day we visited, we had not booked a special event, but there was storytelling going on in Miss Honey’s Classroom (these sessions are free and run at weekends) which we joined in with. The children thoroughly enjoyed getting involved with tales from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, led by a very enthusiastic and energetic‘storyteller’. In spite of my 41 years, I thoroughly enjoyed
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY my time at the museum. I was, and still am a great fan of Dahl’s stories, having read them as a child myself and revisited them more recently with my own children. Many would argue that Dahl is the best children’s author of our time, and with so many of his stories being made into films and musicals, his popularity lives on. If you have enjoyed any of his stories, or if you have school-aged children, then a visit to the village he called home for 36 years, and the museum within it, will be time well spent! Admission charges: £6.60 adults, £4.40 children aged 5-18. For further information visit: www.roalddahl.com/museum
Thorpe Park Resort Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN For readers with children who are thrill seekers (my own, aged 8 and 12 certainly fit this description), Thorpe Park provides a brilliant day out. With over 30 thrilling rides, attractions and live events to enjoy, and conveniently located just 10 miles from Greater London, this theme park has something for everyone, especially catering for those with a touch of the adrenalin junkie about them! On the day of our visit we arrived early, just as the park opened. Parking is thankfully easy, with a car park large enough to accommodate even the busiest bank holiday. On receiving the park map, we discussed our plan of action and planned to fill our day with rides, rollercoasters and stomach churning fun! The sun was shining, and the kids were very excited. There are many big rides at this resort to experience, most of which we managed to cover, but I will mention a few of the highlights. Our first rollercoaster of the day was Colossus; one of Europe’s fastest and tallest rollercoasters, with enough twists and turns to get the adrenalin pumping. This set the pace for the day ahead! It is worth mentioning that, as you would expect on any high velocity
ride, there are height restrictions, but these are clearly marked at the ride entrance as well as at other points around the park. Our 8 year old didn’t quite make the grade on this one- but there were other rides for younger children nearby to keep him and my wife happy whilst we waited in the queue. I am a huge fan of water rides, and there are five here, including the super-soaking, Tidal Wave. We got drenched on this ride, and then again on the walkway exit (the kids then wanted to keep turning back into the tsunami as other riders hit the water!). If you visit on a cold day, you may want to pack a waterproof mac. The Rumba Rapids is an old favourite of mine, and is always exciting as you spin in a raft around a man-made river, hitting the rapids at points and getting sprayed in the process. Logger’s Leap – another favourite, is a traditional log flume, and in my opinion, one of the best in the UK. Storm Surge was a big hit with the kids. A spinning life raft takes you on a 64ft spiraling descent, as you try to keep out (or in if you are 12 years old) the line of water cannon fire! My wife (and eldest son) braved her only big ride, Stealth, without me! This ride is an imposing sight - visible from all around the park with it’s iconic 200ft arch of steel. It propels you from 0 to 80 mph in 2 seconds. I think I heard her screams on the way round, and the picture was definitely one for the family scrapbook! My favourite ride was The Swarm. The UK’s first winged rollercoaster spins 180 degrees and plunges 127ft into a series of near misses. The Swarm bursts through a billboard, narrowly missing the wing of a real jumbo and skims past a flaming fire truck. Riders fly at speeds of almost 100km/h and G forces of up to 4.5. We loved it; I cannot wait to go back on it - backwards next time! We really enjoyed SAW – The Ride, but as this is possibly the scariest ride, it is not for the feint hearted. It is the world’s first horror movie themed rollercoaster, and as keen as I was to find out what lay in store, I didn’t want to brave it alone!
Neptune’s Beach is a sandy beach with a huge paddling pool, fountains and slides –perfect for the summer and a great option if you need to take a break while the kids cool down. The park feels large, but is easy to navigate. Huge electronic billboards helpfully tell you the latest queuing times for the most popular rides to help you get the most from your day. There are also various options to avoid the inevitable queues, including fast track passes, which you can purchase on the day. There are many options for food and drink, and of course, plenty of gift shops for treats, sweets and memorabilia. I still don’t know what to make of the new I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here ‘ride’. It’s a little bonkers, rushed and apparently needs a little tweaking to improve the experience. We were laughing so much on exiting, with mild bemusement, that we actually got lost! We met some visitors who had also enjoyed the prior evening in the relatively new onsite hotel, Thorpe Shark Hotel; perfect for those travelling from further afield. We didn’t go in, but it looked like fun. This is a guaranteed fun family day out, and a real treat for the kids. Our kids were absolutely raving about it, and spent the whole day asking when we could come back. My wife and I were impressed too, having not been to the park for over 15 years. The park is well-kept and maintained, and set in attractive landscaped grounds, making it a really great environment
to enjoy the aforementioned thrills. Needless to say, you will return from your day completely exhausted, but full of memories. Nearest train station is Staines – 32 minutes from London Waterloo, and a shuttle link between the station and the Resort runs every 12-15 minutes. Standard Day passes are from £24.99 online (on the day passes are £49.99); Annual passes, two-day tickets and Fasttrack tickets can be purchased. For further information visit: www.thorpepark.com.
Benjamin Franklin House
Benjamin Franklin House While participating in a walking tour of Trafalgar Square, my guide led us through a winding alley to Benjamin Franklin House. It was so exciting to see such an historic place, near Trafalgar Square. I made sure to reserve a booking for the next day! Benjamin Franklin House is in the heart of London, on Craven Street, near Charring Cross and Embankment stations. For nearly sixteen years between 1757 and 1775, Dr Benjamin Franklin – scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor, and Founding Father of the United States – lived behind its doors. It’s as though Benjamin Franklin, a master of creative thinking, designed the museum and educational facility himself, given its focus on breaking new ground. True to Franklin, who said he’d been born too soon, it celebrates innovation and enlightenment. Visitors have two different ways to experience the building. Architectural tours on Mondays; and the Historical Experience show, which runs from Wednesday through to Sunday. On Tuesdays school groups participate in science activities in the Student Science Centre free of charge. The Historical Experience uses the historic spaces where so much took place as a stage – blending live performance, sound, lighting, and visual projection to tell the important story of Franklin’s London years in his own words. The dramatic show illuminates a unique moment in Anglo American history: the last days when Britain and America were still united. Franklin played a key role in efforts to keep the two nations together, though during his years at Craven Street, his influence and investigations extended beyond diplomacy to science, invention, philosophy, music, and more. The Historical Experience features the voices of Emmy-award winning actor Peter Coyote as Franklin, and Academy Award-nominated actress Imelda Staunton as Margaret Stevenson, Franklin’s landlady. The Student Science Centre focuses on Franklin’s scientific enquiries – from electricity and lightning rods to the invention of his armonica – and gives young people hands-on opportunities to enhance their historical knowledge and satisfy their scientific curiosity. Like Franklin, Benjamin Franklin House believes that scientific discovery should be accessible to all, and thus their educational services are free of charge. To date, they have served over 11,000 schoolchildren. This Georgian townhouse is the world’s 16
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Big Bus Company
only remaining Franklin home and opened to the public for the first time on Franklin’s 300th birthday in 2006. Built circa 1730, today it is a dynamic museum and educational facility. It was a fascinating morning spent learning about Benjamin Franklin’s time here in London, and the interesting house he lodged in. As I glanced at the guestbook, I saw comments such as“It was the most exciting museum I have ever seen”and “Very well done. Put a human touch to a very interesting part of history”. It is apparent visitors from all over the world have enjoyed their visit to Benjamin Franklin House as much as me! Box Office Open Daily: 10.30am – 5pm. Last admission 4.15pm. (Closed 24 – 26 December). Historical Experience Admission (Wednesday – Sunday): £7.00 Adults; £5.00 Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); Children (under 16) Free. Architectural Tours Admission (Monday only): £3.50; Free for Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); Children (under 16) Free. For further information visit: www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org
Big Bus Company When I initially suggested to my two children (16 year old son and 13 year old daughter) that I would like to take them to London to visit all the sites, I expected the usual teenager response of ‘do I have to?’, but to my surprise, and frankly amazement, they both seemed really keen. Our proposed carrier through the London sites was the Big Bus Tours who were formed in 2011 from the merger of two companies each with over 20 years of successful tour experience and who offer open top sightseeing tours across 3 continents and 17 cities. This experience was evident as it tackled the near impossible task of catering for everyone from the first time visitor to the seasoned veteran, both children and adults with aplomb, as the information was both current and historical and even the most seasoned of you will learn new facts. What is also nice is the routes are well thought out and not only cover all the well known sites, but visit some of the lesser known areas where it is great to spot those quirks which I believe make London the best city in the world to live. These include hidden churches dwarfed by modern buildings, the hidden gardens only visible from the upper deck, and the quirky alleyways or mews. What is clear is that the buses are regular and give fantastic views, and if the weather is fine, which it was when we went, you also
get a tan whilst being educated, and we all loved it. There are two routes to choose from, the classic Red Tour which has live English commentary which wends its circular route from Green Park tube via Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square to Victoria station, and the Big Blue tour which has an audio commentary in a choice of 12 languages and does a similar route but also takes in Westminster Abbey. The thing I loved the most is the fact that when you reach somewhere you want to investigate further you just hop off the bus and when you are done there is always another bus on its way for you to continue your journey. The highlight for my daughter was the free boat cruise which you get with your ticket which takes you from The Tower of London to Westminster pier or vice versa. The waterway is underused, but this isn’t just a shuttle, it is a tour, and what made it for my daughter was the commentary which struck the perfect balance between providing information and being slightly more irreverent. There was so much to do we couldn’t fit everything into one day (which is why you get a second day free with your ticket), so although we missed the first walking tour taking you to see the changing of the guard, we did manage the ‘Scene in London’ tour which lasts approximately 2 hours, where we visited film locations for many films including Harry Potter. Did you know that the setting for Gringotts Bank is, in fact, the Australian High Commission for example? I do now! After almost 6 hours of sightseeing we had to admit defeat before the Haunting Mysteries Tour, but we had had a marvellous time and learnt something in the bargain. As we returned home on the train I asked my chidren what their favourite thing was, and my son delightfully came up with the fact that he wished he had been around in the 18th Century so he could have seen the hangings at Tyburn which is now the site of Marble Arch, and although a little gruesome, at least he had come away with more knowledge of London than when he arrived. The Big Bus Adult ticket costs from £27.99 for the day tour (2nd day free), £12.99 for Children, or from £72.99 for a family ticket that includes the cruise, all walks and also a reward voucher book for a number of the sites, and when you consider the cost of a travelcard in London these days, is excellent value and has something for all the family, even a Londoner for over 20 years. For further information visit: www.bigbustours.com
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Cornwall & The Headland Hotel
Located in the far west of Great Britain on a peninsula tumbling into the vast Atlantic ocean, almost completely surrounded by the sea, a magnificent coastline wraps around Cornwall for almost 300 miles. Cornwall is also the location of mainland Great Britain’s most southerly promontory, The Lizard, and one of the UK’s most westerly points, Land’s End, while a few miles offshore and even further west, is an archipelago of tiny islands that make up the Isles of Scilly. There are lots of things Cornwall is loved for; the dramatic coastline with its captivating fishing harbours; the spectacular beaches and the pounding surf that provide a natural playground for a variety of watersports; and of course the Cornish pasty and cream teas. But there are also lots of things about Cornwall that may surprise you. For instance, the wilderness of captivating Bodmin Moor with its panorama of big skies, fascinating prehistoric remains, great walking trails, and more than its fair share of local legends. There’s also the dynamic art scene found mainly in West Cornwall, inspired by the naturally stunning landscape. More recently, Cornwall has become known for a food scene to rival London and beyond; Cornwall now has a multitude of awardwinning local food producers and stellar chefs putting the region well and truly on the gourmet map. Cornwall also has a tremendous history based on its Celtic roots; its Celtic Cornish culture; the warmth and friendliness of the people; and the Cornish language that can be seen in the village names. In the far west where the sea turns turquoise in the sun, the sand is white and the natural light is sometimes blindingly bright, the land is adorned with a legacy of Bronze age standing stones, huge granite burial chambers, Celtic crosses and holy wells. In the old industrial heartland, the landscape, www.theamericanhour.com
recently awarded World Heritage Site status, is dotted with the fascinating remnants of a triumphant mining past, illustrating Cornwall’s enormous contribution to the Industrial Revolution with engine houses, museums and miles of recreational trails. Around the coastline Cornwall’s maritime legacy is never far away, where local fishermen land their daily catch of fresh seafood and tall ships, luggers and ketches unfurl their sails in the Cornish breeze. The natural environment, recognised nationally across the twelve sections of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is accessed by the spectacular South West Coast Path providing walkers with miles of gentle strolls and challenging hikes. Cornwall’s beaches are rated among the best in the UK and even the world. Thanks to its unique position on the UK’s South West peninsula, 80% of Cornwall is surrounded by the sea with the longest stretch of coastline in the UK at 476km.
Sennen (Whitsand Bay) A short walk over the cliffs from Land’s End, Sennen is a charming fishing cove with a long, sandy beach that offers excellent swimming and consistent surf. At low tide the beach joins up with its neighbour to provide over a mile of golden sand, so that even on hot summer days it is usually possible to find plenty of space to spread out. There are a couple of cafés, the Old Success pub and two surf shops within easy walking distance of the car park. Surf lessons and board hire are available and the beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/westcornwall/sennen.htm
Godrevy Beach The northenmost and most dramatic section of the three-mile long sandy beach that stretches
from Hayle to Godrevy Head. Godrevy takes the brunt of the Atlantic swell and is one of the more exposed beaches on the north coast, holding big swells and yielding a rugged splendour on a stormy winter’s day. The beach terminates with a low rocky headland that offers great views of Godrevy lighthouse, which was the real-life inspiration for Virginia Woolfe’s novel ‘To The Lighthouse’. There is an excellent café in the National Trust car park located just behind the dunes. www.cornwall-beaches. co.uk/north-coast/godrevy.htm
Praa Sands Beach Praa Sands is a medium-sized sandy beach located on the more sheltered south coast between Perranuthnoe and Porthleven. Popular with surfers, especially beginners, Praa Sands works best with a southerly swell and a northerly wind. In summer the sea is usually flat, making Praa Sands an excellent choice for swimmers and children. There are plenty of facilities, including shops, cafés and toilets, and several camp sites within easy walking distance of the beach. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/ west-cornwall/praa-sands.htm
Perranporth (Penhale Sands) Perranporth has the feel of a typical seaside holiday village, buzzing with shops, cafés and pubs. The beach, which stretches two miles at low tide, features decent surf and a natural open air swimming pool that fills with seawater at high tide, which is then warmed by the sun during the day. The more accessible, southern end of the beach can get very crowded in summer, but the crowds can be easily avoided by a short walk away from the village in the direction of Penhale Sands. Perranporth is patrolled by lifeguards in summer, who usually designate two safe swimming areas. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/ north-coast/perranporth.htm www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Marazion Beach Marazion lies at the far end of a long expanse of pebbly sand that stretches all the way back to Penzance. At the Marazion end the beach is backed by dunes and faces the iconic St Michael’s Mount, accessible via a causeway that is exposed at low tide. A place of moods, the south-facing beach switches from being calm and sheltered and perfect for families to receiving the brunt of strong southerly gales, making it popular with windsurfers. The sand gives way to rocky coves at the town end of the beach, where facilities abound in what is considered to be one of the oldest towns in England. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/westcornwall/marazion.htm
Porthmeor Beach Porthmeor, the most westerly of the beaches in St Ives, is one of the few in Penwith that has full protection from the prevailing south westerly winds. A curving, sandy bay that picks up plenty 20
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of swell, Porthmeor is popular with surfers and usually offers a number of peaks that cater to all abilities. Overlooked by the imposing Tate gallery and with former artist’s studios (now holiday flats) backing right onto the beach, Porthmeor has plenty of character and is well served by a café, beach huts and a small car park. It is only a short walk from the centre of St Ives. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/westcornwall/porthmeor.htm
Kynance Cove It is easy to see why Kynance Cove, located two miles from Lizard point, is one of the most photographed beaches in Cornwall. White sand, brilliant turquoise water, islands, caves and stunning serpentine rock formations all serve to make this one of the prettiest places around. Popular since Victorian times, Kynance Cove has recently been made more accessible, thanks to a National Trust toll road and car park. It is still at least half an hour from anywhere, however,
which makes checking the very inconsistent but occasionally good surf something of a mission. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/helston-lizardfalmouth/kynance-cove.htm
Porthcurno Beach Porthcurno beach is truly stunning. Nestled among tall granite cliffs, the beach is part of a wider bay that opens up at low tide to reveal a curve of golden sand that stretches from the Minack Theatre to the Logan Rock, site of an Iron Age cliff castle. Located just around the corner from Land’s End, Porthcurno has long been the place where telecommunications cables arrive from America, and they can still sometimes be seen poking up through the sand. Porthcurno picks up more swell than other beaches further up the south coast, which can translate into good surf on a big low tide, although the waves tend to be fast and hollow and unsuitable for beginners. Porthcurno beach is easily accessible and popular with families,
although at high tide a steep shelf means that swimming can be dangerous. The beach faces south and is backed by steep cliffs, which offer good protection from northerly winds. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/west-cornwall/ porthcurno.htm
Harlyn Bay Harlyn, on the north coast near Padstow, is a spacious, sandy beach, popular with families and surfers. The coast path crosses the beach on its way to the famous Bedruthan Steps, although care should be taken at high tide as the sand can be almost completely covered. Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer, making it a safe swimming option, while winter storm swells can bring good quality waves, nicely protected from south westerly gales. A large car park above the beach and some basic toilets are the only facilities. Dogs are welcome on the beach all year round. www.cornwall-beaches. co.uk/north-coast/harlyn-bay.htm www.theamericanhour.com
Mawgan Porth Beach Mawgan Porth, just four miles north of Newquay and the closest place to Newquay airport, is a small village with a big sandy beach that offers a welcome respite to anyone who can’t quite handle Newquay’s crowds. The beach is in a large sheltered bay at the bottom of steep cliffs, with numerous rock pools and caves to explore. It also picks up plenty of Atlantic swell, making it popular with families and surfers alike. The village, although not overly commercial, offers a good selection of places to eat, drink and sleep. www.cornwall-beaches.co.uk/north-coast/ mawgan-porth.htm
The Eden Project With a worldwide reputation, and recognised by the British Travel Awards as the Best UK Leisure Attraction 4 years running (2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011), The Eden Project barely needs an introduction, but this epic destination definitely deserves a day of your undivided attention.
More than just a huge, tropical garden, Eden is a gateway into the relationships between plants and people, and a fascinating insight into the story of mankind’s dependence on plant life. Not only a mind-blowing visitor attraction, Eden is also fastbecoming a unique resource for education and knowledge towards a sustainable future. Experience the sights, smells and scale of the rainforests in the Rainforest Biome - the world’s largest greenhouse - and discover the tropical plants that are used to produce everyday products. Travel to South Africa and California, as you amble amongst the orange and lemon trees, olive groves and gnarled vines of the Mediterranean Biome, and in the 30-acre Outdoor Garden see hemp, sunflowers and other plants that could change your future, flourishing under the Cornish sun. A fascinating location, but, more importantly, Eden is a fun and family-friendly day out. Curious kids can find out where tea, rubber and sugar come from, and travel the world to the simulated environments of tropical destinations that www.americaninbritain.co.uk
they dream of travelling to in the future. There are themed events according to the seasons, workshops for adults and children, activity days, music concerts and much more besides. There’s no stress about packing up a family survival kit - facilities include on-site restaurants and cafés, gift shops and well equipped childand baby-friendly toilet facilities. In fact, for a day out you needn’t worry about taking much more than yourselves. Eden also offers easy access to wheelchairs and buggies, and dogs on leads are welcome in all the outdoor areas of the site.
“Cornwall’s beaches are rated among the best in the UK and even the world. Thanks to its unique position on the UK’s South West peninsula” Falmouth During our visit to Cornwall, we stopped in Falmouth, one of the larger towns that has a long high street full of restaurants, bars and shops where you can buy clothes and souvenirs. We chose to eat in The Lookout, a charming restaurant that offers Tapas from around the world, with a great view of the sea and an outdoor terrace. The food was delicious, nicely presented, and great value for money, and the restaurant also offer teas, coffees and delicious looking cakes.
Newquay & The Headland Hotel We spent the last two nights of our Cornish tour in The Headland Hotel’s self-catering cottages in Newquay, which are perfectly appointed with en-suite bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and comfortable lounge areas and bedrooms. The Headland also welcomes four legged friends, with two beautiful dog sculptures in the lobby, where a dog water bowl can be found for our thirsty canine friends. On arrival at The Headland, we were taken to a modern area within the hotel grounds, which sites various fairly new self-catering cottages. One of The Headland’s many charming employees greeted us at our car, and placed all our luggage in a massive basket on four wheels, and led us to our private courtyard and front door. Within our private courtyard was a table 22
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and chairs, for those brave enough to sit outside, as the winds are usually fairly strong in this part of Newquay, and inside the properties are deck chairs that can be taken to your private terrace, or, as we did, wheeled in the basket to the ‘pods’ as we called them, which are areas in the hill on the side of the hotel that have been created out of stone to act as wind shields, and have a fabulous view of Fistral Beach and the sea. The hotel’s facilities are great for couples and families alike, with an indoor pool and jacuzzi, gym, a spa that offers many treatments, including the Hot Stone Massage that I enjoyed during our stay, whilst my friend enjoyed a facial and back massage, and the relaxation room we were led to after our treatments was so comfortable I nearly fell asleep! Outdoor activities include tennis (the hotel has 3 well maintained hard courts), a fun 9 hole pitch and put course which we played twice, an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by deck chairs and glass to prevent the wind from reducing the temperature by quite a few degrees (!), and walks around the cliff top. The Headland is situated on the top of a hill, with Fistral Beach just to its left. This beach is a lovely, sandy beach, full of surfers enjoying the waves, and quite often hosts surfing, kite surfing and jet ski tournaments, as well as being an area for many who are learning the sport from scratch. There is also a Rick Stein fish restaurant, pizza restaurant, bars and shops just to the side of Fistral Beach, which takes less than a minute to reach from the hotel, offering eating options if you are staying at The Headland for a while and would like a change from the main dining room or Terrace Restaurant. The Headland Hotel is a Victorian hotel, with amazing Victorian architecture, and an oldy, worldy feel in reception, the lounge and dining room, but also has a modern element to it with the spa which was renovated a couple of years ago, and the Terrace restaurant and bar. Even though we were staying in one of the cottages, we ate breakfast in the hotel as well as having dinner there one night. Breakfast comprises cereals, breads, and a hot buffet, as well as à la carte options, including pancakes, haddock and scrambled eggs, and a full traditional breakfast, although this can also be found in the buffet area. Dinner was taken in front of the large glass windows, overlooking the beautiful blue sea, and was very reasonably priced. We chose Scallops and Mussels for starters, and the mussels were the largest I have ever seen, along with Fillet Steak as mains and delicious ice cream and sorbet for dessert. The staff at The Headland are superb with nothing being too much trouble, we thoroughly enjoyed our two night stay so much that we are already planning our return visit next year! The Headland Hotel, Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1EW Email: email@example.com or visit www.headlandhotel.co.uk Telephone: 01637 872211
TAX ISSUES Uncle Sam Wants You...To File Tax Returns!! I am sure you have all heard and read about Mr. Boris Johnson’s battle with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Mr. Johnson, as you know, had refused to pay the IRS bill on the gain from the sale of his home until earlier this year when he finally acquiesced and paid up the back taxes. Mr. Johnson’s case is a perfect illustration of the dilemmas faced by many of the 7.6 million US citizens living abroad as a result of a multi-year IRS crusade against secret offshore accounts. The United States is one of only two countries in the world to levy tax based on an individual’s citizenship (in addition to residency). A US person (US citizen or a lawful permanent resident or more popularly known as a green card holder) who lives outside the US continues to have annual US income tax filing and financial disclosure obligations regardless of the fact that they could also be a citizen of another country and are compliant with that country’s tax filing requirements. Although a US person may not owe any tax to the IRS largely due to foreign tax credits or the foreign earned income exclusion, noncompliance with other financial reporting obligations can amount to a sizeable penalty. For instance, US persons and other individuals who meet a certain criteria must annually report their direct or indirect interest in, or signatory or other authority over, financial accounts in foreign countries if aggregate balance in the accounts exceeds $10,000 by filing Form 114 – Report of Foreign Financial Accounts (FBAR). Willful failure to file an FBAR can subject a taxpayer to a civil penalty equal to the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the total balance of the account for each year that the taxpayer willfully failed to file the form. Criminal penalties may also apply. Other potential penalties may also be applied in addition to the above for failing to file a tax return, accuracy-related penalties, and fraud penalties, as well as penalties for failure to file some of the other required disclosures such as disclosures respecting to foreign trust or foreign corporations. Since 2009, the IRS has offered several formal voluntary disclosure programmes or initiatives. These programmes have allowed qualifying US taxpayers (domestic and those living overseas) who were previously non-compliant with their tax filing and/or foreign bank account and asset reporting obligations, an opportunity to come forward and voluntarily comply with all their filing requirements in exchange for reduced penalty exposure and, in some instances, a promise that the IRS will not refer the taxpayers for criminal investigation. In June 2014, the IRS announced several major changes to the Offshore Voluntary 24
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Disclosure Programme (OVDP) as well as to the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (SFCP) (discussed later). Surprisingly (or not), the timing of the announcement came just weeks before the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) came into effect on July 1.
Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programme OVDP is available to taxpayers who wish to comply with their delinquent tax filing obligations and truthfully, timely and fully disclose to the IRS the existence of their previously undisclosed funds held in foreign jurisdictions, and who otherwise co-operate with the IRS. The OVDP is specifically designed for taxpayers with exposure to potential criminal liability and/or substantial civil penalties due to wilful failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all tax due in respect of those assets. Primary benefits of the OVDP are (1) amnesty from criminal tax and FBAR prosecution, and (2) quantification of monetary penalties, thus eliminating possible exposure to multiple 75% civil tax fraud penalties, 50% of the account balance penalties applicable to willful failure to file FBARs and other high penalties. The 2014 OVDP changes include: • Enabling taxpayers to submit voluminous records electronically (rather than on paper); • Increasing the offshore penalty percentage (from 27.5% to 50%) if, before the taxpayer’s OVDP pre-clearance request is submitted, it becomes public that the financial institution where the taxpayer holds an account or another party facilitating the taxpayer’s offshore arrangements is under investigation by the IRS or Department of Justice (DOJ); and • Eliminating the reduced penalty percentage for certain non-wilful taxpayers in light of the expansion of the SFCP. Applying for and obtaining a pre-clearance from the IRS is the first step in this process. Taxpayers wishing to participate in the 2014 OVDP must file: • 8 years of original or amended tax returns and pay back taxes and accuracy related or delinquency penalties; and • Original or amended reports of Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARs) and pay a penalty based on the highest asset balance during the period of non-disclosure. The overall penalty structure for the OVDP: • Accuracy or delinquency related penalty for each year – generally 20 to 25% of the total tax due • Interest on back taxes and penalty amounts • 27.5% of the total asset value in all
unreported foreign bank account – calculated by reference to the year in which the value in the undisclosed foreign accounts was the highest. This penalty is in lieu of all other penalties that would otherwise apply.
Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure From September 2012, certain non-resident US taxpayers who were deemed to present a “low compliance risk”, including dual citizens and US green card holders living abroad, have been provided the opportunity to become compliant under the ‘Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures (SFCP)’. Taxpayers participating in the SFCP must file 3 years of delinquent US tax returns including any required information returns (Form 3520, Form 8621, Form5471) along with 6 years of Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARs), and pay any tax and interest due. No late filing or late payment penalties apply to taxpayers in the SFCP. The 2014 SFCP changes include: • Expanded to include taxpayers who are resident in the United States and may have filed a US tax return previously • Risk assessment (low compliance risk) criteria has been eliminated • Taxpayers submitting their information under the SFCP must certify that their failure to comply fully with their US tax obligations was not due to fraud or wilful conduct • Introduction of Form 14653 – Certification by US Person Residing Outside of the United States for Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures and Form 14654 -Certification by US Person Residing in the United States for Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures • US resident taxpayers entering the SFCP will be subject to a penalty of 5% of the highest aggregate balance/value of the taxpayer’s foreign financial assets during the disclosure period.
The Penalty Structure For The Streamlined Programme: • Streamlined submissions for non-resident US persons will not be subject to any late payment or offshore account penalties • Domestic streamlined submissions will be subject to a 5% offshore penalty based on the value of the taxpayer’s unreported offshore assets. Streamlined submissions will be processed on the same basis as other tax returns unless they are chosen for audit. Audited filings will not be subject to additional penalties unless the
TAX ISSUES IRS determines that the taxpayer was wilfully noncompliant or there is evidence of fraud. IRS also does not issue closing letters to taxpayers participating in the SFCP unless the return is chosen for an audit. It is important to note that there is no protection against possible criminal prosecution by complying under the SFCP.
Other Less Talked About Compliance Procedures:
• Quiet filing of delinquent returns – It has been IRS’ historic practice not to pursue criminal prosecution and not to seek tax or civil penalties for earlier years if six years of delinquent or amended returns and FBARs are filed to correct prior errant filings. Such ‘voluntary disclosures” outside of the OVDP may (not certain to) eliminate exposure to criminal tax prosecution but does not quantify penalty risk (possible assertion of multiple 50% FBAR willful failure penalties) if the returns are audited, nor does it necessarily eliminate exposure to civil penalties for years prior to six years of return for which the statute of limitations is open. It is important to note that the civil statute remains open indefinitely for years for which no return has been filed or fraud was involved. IRS has warned that it is on the lookout for quiet disclosure returns so that they can subject such returns to the audit process
• Going Forward Compliance – Some taxpayers may choose to come into US tax compliance on a going forward only basis (and not correct past year delinquent or errant filing). This method involves full exposure to
“Mr. Johnson’s case is a perfect illustration of the dilemmas faced by many of the 7.6 million US citizens living abroad as a result of a multi-year IRS crusade against secret offshore accounts.”
criminal penalties and tax and civil penalties for all prior years until applicable statutes of limitations burn off. The IRS has also warned that it is giving close scrutiny to first-time filers in this context • Do Nothing – Turn ostrich – By far the riskiest proposition and definitely not recommended in view of the new FATCA requirement for foreign financial institutions to identify US accountholders (and US owners of entity accountholders) to the IRS, doing nothing involves greater risk than ever with respect to the past years of non-compliance. Considering the magnitude of the risk involved in terms of the penalty exposure and the complexities of the US Internal Revenue Code (IRC), it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced US tax accountant to find the best alternative for your US compliance needs. By Wayne Bewick CPA CA & Richard WattsJoyce CTA, ATT, Global Tax Network. Global Tax Network is a specialist provider of UK and US tax services with offices in London and Guildford, staffed by UK Chartered Tax Advisers and US Certified Public Accountants specialising in cross border tax planning and compliance issue. For further information please contact Richard WattsJoyce or Wayne Bewick on 0207 100 2126 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEALTH MANAGEMENT Charitable Giving - Ways To Give Effectively Through A Donor Advised Fund Putting a coherent strategy around Charitable Giving can be an important part of an individual’s comprehensive Wealth Plan. When you have a good handle on your financial goals, objectives and net worth, and if giving strategies are among actionable priorities, it is important to identify the most tax-efficient ways to achieve your charitable objectives. Typically there are two central reasons why people give to charities: • To support a cause or organisation that they care about • To leave a legacy through their support. Whilst giving often forms part of an individual’s estate planning objectives, some also give during their lifetime by transferring a sum of money, thus removing it from their estate. In practice there are many different methods by which an individual can give. One way is by maximising the potential tax benefit and thereby ultimately gifting more.
Ways To Give Before exploring optimal strategies for US persons living in the UK, it would be good to review the different ways to give. Give directly - This approach is the most straightforward and simple. It involves donating money directly to a charitable organisation of your choice. The donation is made in the current year and any tax benefit is received at the same time. Use insurance as a vehicle for giftgiving - If you do not have large sums of money to give during your lifetime and you hold a life insurance policy that is not needed for other important purposes, you could consider naming a charitable organisation as your policy beneficiary. This could result in a larger gift than you otherwise would have been able to make and potentially creates a longer-term legacy. However, serious thought must be given to this method and you should seek guidance from a financial adviser before any steps are taken. Even though the policy may be redundant in terms of the purpose it was originally taken out for, there may be valuable benefits attached of which you are not immediately aware (i.e. terminal illness before death). Volunteer time – Giving is not always about money. It can also be about getting involved by giving your time. Many organisations need volunteers to help deliver on their charitable 26
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goals and this can be a way to establish a personal connection and give in ways that require little or no money changing hands. Establish a trust to give money This is a more long-term approach towards charitable giving. It will allow you to receive tax benefits today and allocate funds specifically for charitable giving intentions, but actual donations may be made at a future point in time. This may be a strategy for people who are asset rich but time poor and have not been able to decide to which causes they want to donate. A Donor Advised Fund is one type of vehicle that facilitates the giving strategy. Donor Advised Funds have increased in popularity over the last few years due to their offering of administrative convenience, cost savings and tax benefits.
What Is A Donor Advised Fund? A Donor Advised Fund, or DAF, is an investment fund administered by a public charity that is formed for the purpose of managing charitable donations on behalf of an individual, a family or an organisation. It allows donors to make an irrevocable charitable contribution, receive a tax benefit immediately and then allocate charitable gifts from the fund at some point in the future. Gifts are made to a specified charity whenever they decide it is the appropriate time. While the gifts remain inside the fund, they are invested with an eye to grow the balance.
What Are The Benefits Of A Donor Advised Fund? DAFs have a number of benefits. First, a DAF is a cost-effective way for donors to maximise the tax benefits of making charitable donations to causes that they care about. A DAF can be set up with a relatively small amount of money (as little as £1,000 or £5,000) so an individual can choose to donate a lump sum or make small contributions in regular intervals over time. DAFs have relatively few administrative responsibilities. There is generally little paperwork that needs to be completed, and quite often grants can be made directly online. Additionally, DAFs are not subject to the minimum payout requirement each year. Private foundations, for example, must distribute at least 5% of assets annually. The fact that DAFs are not subject to this requirement leads to
more flexibility on timing of distributions. Another benefit of DAFs is that when donors decide to make a donation from the funds held within their DAF, it is possible to choose whether their donation is made anonymously or if their personal details are disclosed to the donee. Perhaps one of the largest benefits that a DAF offers is not only the ability to receive a tax benefit upon funding the DAF, but the ability to invest the pool of money and choose an organisation to donate to at a point in the future. So, if an individual can benefit from funding a DAF today, but has not had time to decide which cause they would like to receive their gift, a DAF provides a mechanism to make that feasible. Currently when donating to a US qualified charity ((a 501(c)(3) organisation), an individual can receive a US income tax deduction if they itemise their deductions as opposed to claiming the standard deduction. US qualified DAF holders can take a Federal income tax deduction of up to 50% of adjusted gross income for cash contributions and up to 30% of adjusted gross income for appreciated securities. So, for example, if a 39.6% taxpayer contributes the equivalent of £100,000 into a US qualified DAF, the donation will receive a tax deduction of up to £39,600. Similarly, when donating to a UK charity, currently the donation will qualify for UK income tax relief. In addition, the donation should qualify for UK Gift Aid which will increase the value of your donation by 25%. So, for example, if a 45% rate individual taxpayer contributes £100,000 to a UK qualified DAF, the donation with Gift Aid will be £125,000 and your additional claim back from HMRC would be £31,250.
How Can A Dual-Qualified Donor Advised Fund Be Beneficial For Americans Living In The UK? Many charitable organisations are considered to be qualified non-profit organisations in one jurisdiction or the other. As a result, giving directly to charities in either the US or the UK will often be a one-sided benefit. As Americans living in the UK are generally subject to income tax in both the UK and the US, there are advantages to ensuring that you can receive a tax benefit in both jurisdictions for the dollars that you donate.
WEALTH MANAGEMENT A dual qualified DAF allows individuals who are taxpayers in both the US and UK to receive tax benefits available in both countries. As such, a dual qualified structure will ultimately allow the individual to allocate more money to their favoured charitable causes. Once the money has been donated to the dual qualified structure, the money can then be allocated to other charitable organisations and causes around the world without the need to be dual qualified.
Identifying The Appropriate Donor Advised Fund Provider Awareness of DAFs and their subsequent popularity seems likely to continue as more people reach retirement and are looking to give away some of their wealth in the most tax effective manner. There are a number of charitable organisations that will facilitate dualqualified DAFs. A few of the organisations are listed below: • Prism the Gift Fund • SharedImpact • Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) • National Philanthropic Trust (NPT-UK) When deciding which organisation to establish a DAF with, it can be important to identify one that ultimately aligns with your own interests and values. Each charity has their own cost structure, investment options, minimum contribution requirements and account balances, and varying ability to transfer the account to another institution. As the organisation will be trustee over the donated assets, the donor should make sure that the organisation will help facilitate their giving in the manner that they agree with. While charitable giving is not all about receiving a tax benefit for doing so, we know that we are often limited in the amount we can give and would often like to be able to give more if we had the ability to. Giving in a way that maximises the benefit to both the charity and the donor will help ensure that more assets ultimately reach the causes we personally care about. Utilising a dual qualified DAF is one way to help facilitate this strategy and should be considered when assessing your charitable giving objectives.
Risk Warnings And Important Information The above article does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individual users. You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. MASECO LLP trading as MASECO Private Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. MASECO Private Wealth is not a tax specialist. www.theamericanhour.com
Giving in a way that maximises the benefit to both the charity and the donor will help ensure that more assets ultimately reach the causes we personally care about.
Andrea Solana is Head of Advanced Planning at MASECO Private Wealth where she helps to provide financial planning and wealth structuring advisory services to US expatriates in the UK and British nationals in the US. Andrea spent the first 9 years of her career with a well-known Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she gained considerable experience advising high net worth individuals with multi-jurisdictional financial interests to design and implement strategies for tax-efficient and risk-managed asset growth. She has written numerous white papers regarding fundamental financial planning and investment strategies for US connected individuals and has previously been a speaker on financial planning topics at numerous places including both The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Andrea graduated from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management and completed her MBA at Imperial College London. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
MOVING YOUR PET TO THE UNITED KINGDOM “No quarantine for pets entering the United Kingdom.”Sounds fantastic! Yet there are lots of details to attend to before Fido, the kitty, or the ferret may relocate to the United Kingdom. Forget about the online myths warning of danger when flying your pet to your new hometown, said newly moved American in Britain, Nora Thompson. “I didn’t realise how safe it is when you use an expert pet shipper. I used Air Animal, and they are a well-oiled 28
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machine. Jessica made everything very easy for me, Piper and my friend who was caring for Piper at the time.” Nora relocated to an area north of London from Tampa, Florida, early this year, then sent for her 7-year-old beagle-shepherd mixed breed a month later so her home would be unpacked and she’d be more accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road. “I researched pet moving online, and read
the whole website because I was nervous about shipping my dog. I read a lot of testimonials. Anytime I had worries I re-read the testimonials. Hundreds of pet parents have done this with the company I chose, so I felt better,” she said. These recommendations are critical when making such an important decision. “The most important step is selecting a pet mover with lots of experience. The rules for pets entering the UK changed in 2012, and, the
Moving Your Pet to the uk offer VIP door-to-door service and other service levels that meet family relocation budgets. Professional pet shippers which meet strict eligibility requirements are listed on the International Pet & Animal Transportation Association website, IPATA.org. Pet relocation costs for US citizens moving for work may be eligible for an income tax deduction. For details, see IRS Publication #521–Moving Expenses. “My pet moving specialist, Jessica, was very helpful and responsive to email. I would ask weird questions like could she take off Piper’s collar in the crate? She coordinated everything with me and my friend, who was watching Piper until I got settled. Jessica even gave my friend her cell number. My experienced pet mover made my trip over here worthwhile because Piper is here with me,”she said. Piper was abandoned and rescued by Nora through Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue where she volunteered before the move. “I was going to foster her temporarily, then I fell in love. “Piper’s flight got into Gatwick two hours early. I didn’t have any extra worries. The people at Gatwick were wonderful, and all paperwork was done because I used a professional service. “She slept the first weekend. Now she’s out and about and romping all over. She loves the English countryside and the cooler temperatures. I’m so glad I brought her. Having her with me makes such a big difference in my quality of life. She’s the light of my life,”Nora said.
Walter Woolf, VMD, with Jessica Nickler, Pet Move Coordinator, and Bruce. Photo credit: Thompson Brand Images
rules change all the time. That’s why expertise is critical. Today, pets must fly as manifested air cargo into the UK under the DEFRA regulations. They cannot fly in the cabin. We use five basic steps with our UK-bound families,” said Walter Woolf, VMD, founder and chairman of Air Animal Inc. 1. Microchip the pet for identification purposes 2. Rabies vaccinate the pet with an approved vaccine after microchipping, recording the microchip number on the Rabies vaccination certificate 3. Wait at least 21 days before entry 4. Visit an accredited veterinarian within 10 days of flight departure who will issue the international health certificate 5. Dogs must be treated for internal parasites within 24-120 hours before flight departure. External parasite treatment is not required for dogs, cats or ferrets. Professional pet shippers know which airline www.theamericanhour.com
to use for pet air cargo flights worldwide and across the US. They are familiar with each airline’s conditions for accepting pets, seasonal weather restrictions, and they stay current on the ever-changing pet import rules around the globe. While moving a pet internationally is not low cost, it is high benefit. Using an expert pet shipper reduces expensive delays and unplanned quarantines. Many countries have very detailed regulations which can take six months. “You don’t want to find yourself in a situation like actor Johnny Depp. His illegally imported Yorkies were threatened with extermination unless they left Australia. In addition to the normal UK protocol, we’re recommending dogs receive a flu vaccine before travelling because the canine flu is rampant right now,”said Dr. Woolf. When contacting a pet mover, ask if they have a streamlined health certificate programme which makes it simple for local veterinarians to certify their relocating patients. Ask if they
Dr. Walter Woolf is the founder and chairman of Air Animal Inc. dba Air Animal Pet Movers, of Tampa, Florida. Air Animal moves thousands of pets each year for relocating families around the globe. Recent relocations included a quarter horse, a turtle and several guinea pigs in addition to dogs and cats. Air Animal Inc. is one of six founding members of IPATA. Dr. Woolf was honoured with IPATA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. See airanimal. com for more information about moving an animal into the UK or other countries. Visit www.airanimal.com. Thank you to Nora & Piper Thompson for their assistance with this article.
Native Floridian, Piper Thompson adores the cooler British weather.
Mark Stevenson (Rabbit), Grace Carter (Hare), Hayden Wood (Hatter). Photo credit Jane Hobson.
Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker and Damian Porter
Alice’s Adventures Underground at The Vaults
After last year’s highly successful The Drowned Man by Punchdrunk, immersive theatre has become extremely popular, an altogether different theatrical experience which takes you out of your comfortable seat into worlds unknown. Part of the reason The Drowned Man was so exciting and had many returning guests however, was that each audience member could construct their own story by wandering around the building and coming across various scenes being enacted in different rooms. Alice’s Adventures Underground is something else entirely, a much more child friendly, guided 30
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promenade performance with puppets, a bit of acrobatics and some lovely costumes. As we enter into the first room, filled to the brim with books, we are surprised by Alice, seemingly trapped behind the mirror, chatting to us. In the next room, a whirling ceiling with a simple animation of Alice falling, gives the sensation we are falling down the hole where we are then greeted by a huge white rabbit. We next choose whether to eat a jelly sweet and go through the small door, or drink something and go through the big door- my friend and I chose the eat me. We were further divided into smaller groups of suits of cards and split up in a room full of doors through which some audience members were called off by a disembodied voice. A giant toad chatted to us
while we waited for something, we didn’t know what. So far so good, but I’m afraid after that it became all about crowd control as the guides tried to stop us from bumping into other groups and we were often left waiting in a room with nothing to do. There were some nice moments: a strange moon talking to us was very reminiscent of Noel Fielding’s moon in the Mighty Boosh. Twin actresses playing Tweedledum and Tweedledee, swinging around on trapezes were amusing but nothing really happened. The Mad Hatter Tea Party should have been a highlight but I could hardly hear what anyone was saying as they were running back and forth so much. The finale of the courtroom with the Red Queen was the climax, but I just felt that I’d missed probably the best parts
THEATRE of the story in which other groups participated. Again, it felt like the action went nowhere, even when Alice made an appearance and it was suddenly over. A lot of the dialogue seemed to be improvised, which may be necessary with so many characters running around - I did enjoy the mad chatter of the White Rabbit, though, as he ushered me down a corridor. However, the creators just didn’t do enough to evoke Lewis Carroll’s beautiful and magical words, using only snippets of lines from the books. The whole event was mostly visually stunning with lovely attention to detail in some of the rooms. I felt the absence of Alice, however, and that it wasn’t really Wonderland without her. It needed the warmth of a child to make it more than an exotic experience. Perhaps the version for children, Adventures in Wonderland, is just that. Our audience was mostly groups of adults who came to see it as a party, enjoying themselves together, and I am sure it will fare well for that purpose. As a piece of theatre, however, it was disappointing. It has so much promise in the set, costume and puppet design, but fell short in the actual performance, structure and dialogue. It all felt oddly disjointed, probably because we were kept waiting so long between rooms, and the very familiar story of Alice in Wonderland was lost. Despite all this, I would recommend it for children or adults who would like to be children again. It was great fun but not great theatre. Box Office: 0871 230 1557 Ollie Jochim (Billy Elliot) in Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Photo credit Alastiar Muir
Billy Elliot The Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre
Billy Elliot is 10 – already! Happy Birthday Billy! We first saw this show a number of years ago, and were blown away then. In my opinion, it remains one of the best shows in the West End, so it was a pleasure to come back and celebrate this significant birthday; approximately ten million people have seen this show worldwide, so I imagine many must agree with me. Based on the smash hit film (released unbelievably over 15 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 Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister at the time, was closing the coalmines, 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. The 13 year old (Bradley Perret on the night we attended) who played Billy Elliot was astonishing, and brought the crowd to their feet by the end of the show – something you don’t often see from audiences in the West End these days! The show has an excellent pace, and won me over after the very first musical number.
Sir Elton has composed a memorable score, complemented by spectacular choreography. The clever arrangement combines well with the theme, which, due to the strength of feeling in Britain at the time, must have been hard to tackle in a musical. Yet, Billy Elliot the Musical manages to be both sympathetic and honest in its delivery. There are some extremely moving scenes and songs, whilst other numbers are uplifting, colourful and fun. The early 1980’s are perfectly captured in the set designs and costumes. The adult cast is led by the formidable Ruthie Henshall as Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson. Deka Walmsley as Billy’s Dad, Chris Grahamson as Tony, and Gillian Elisa as Grandma, are all excellent, and utterly convincing in their roles. With such a strong cast, there is, in my opinion more depth to the characters than I felt in the movie. The child performers were particularly outstanding. Billy’s best friend Michael (played by Tomi Fry) is a superb character, and again another very talented young actor. Emotions run high, as we follow Billy on his journey and watch how his relationships evolve and develop with his family and friends, ultimately leading to the opportunity which changes his life forever – at a time, and in a place when there was a sense of despair and a lack of prospects pervading the mining communities. Overall, the show is both passionate and touching. Most of the audience around me were crying into their tissues at certain moments during the show, and on their feet at others. Despite the theme and the personal problems Billy himself faces along the way, it still manages to amuse – especially the scenes between Billy and the other children. Whilst you feel sympathy for Billy and his struggles, the audience gets swept into his wave of determination and ultimate success. Billy Elliot the Musical thoroughly deserves all the awards and accolades it has achieved over the past 10 years, and with such a brilliant combination of talent, storyline and choreography, its longevity seems assured for many more years to come. I will certainly be back, and continue to recommend it a must-see West End show! Box Office: 0844 248 5000
High Society at The Old Vic
This glittering revival of the stage musical High Society owes more to the original play from which it was inspired, The Philadelphia Story, than to the 1950’s Hollywood film with Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby. With a witty book by Arthur Kopit and a plethora of Cole Porter songs, this version moves the action from 1930’s Philadelphia to 1950’s Long Island, but maintains the same world of the spoiled and privileged American classes who have more money than good sense. Tracy, eldest daughter of the Lord family, is about to be married to the staid aspiring politician George Kitteridge, despite vehement protestations from her younger sister Dinah who www.theamericanhour.com
The cast of High Society. Photo Johan Persson.
much prefers her first husband, the dashing CK Dexter Haven. When Dexter returns to the house unannounced the day before the wedding and tells them two reporters will be arriving incognito to cover the wedding, everything starts to fall apart. Not only does Tracy begin to wonder if she made a mistake divorcing Dexter, but she also is attracted to self- proclaimed Bolshevik reporter Mike Connor, who would much rather be writing short stories. Liz Imbrie, the other reporter, is not too pleased at this flirtation as she is in love with Connor. Dinah, meanwhile, plots to reunite Dexter and Tracey, even when it is way past her bedtime. Thrown into this mix is drunken Uncle Willy, Mother Lord and her wandering husband Seth, who begs forgiveness after an affair with a dancer called Tina Mara. Despite the slightly flimsy plot, real depth is brought to the story not only by Kopit’s wonderful script but also by the fine acting talent on hand. Kate Fleetwood makes Tracy such an engaging, complicated, clever and sexy presence that you can see why three men are in love with her. She is larger than life, yet also vulnerable and afraid of being alone. Although I’ve never seen the film of High Society, I imagine Miss Fleetwood calls more upon the spirit of the vivacious and independent Katherine Hepburn 32
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rather than the cool, elegant Grace Kelly. Jamie Parker as Mike Connor was also a real standout not only with his gorgeous singing voice, when it was finally able to soar in You’re Sensational, but also in his portrayal of a man who wants more out of life in every respect and is side swiped by his attraction to a woman who represents everything he scorns. Annabel Scholey as his partner in crime, Liz, was sympathetic, an intelligent woman reduced to spying on rich people for a magazine, who takes everything in her stride, even when the man she loves is pursuing another woman. Rupert Young was a dashing Dexter who does seem the only match for Tracy as no one else can keep up with her. Ellie Bamber was delightful as Dinah who is as bold, fearless and funny as her older sister, without the hard edges and sarcasm. Barbara Flynn was lovely as Mother Lord and brought a lot to a character who is so underwritten she isn’t even given a name. The ensemble also deserve a special mention as they all built proper characters as the servants and maintained them through the many musical set changes. And what a fantastic set it was. Performing a musical in the round on a small stage is no easy feat, especially with the audience’s feet nearly getting in the way many
times. Furniture pops up and down from the depths of the stage and at one point not one, but two pianos rise up. The virtuoso jazz musician and singer Joe Stilgoe is an added character, Joey Powell, who entertains the audience at the start with a medley of people’s disparate requests. His piano duet with musical director Theo Jamieson, while the cast dance on top and around the pianos, is a moment of pure joy. The director, Maria Friedman, herself a musical actress, is to be highly commended for pulling together such a smooth production with so much care. It feels like every performer was given attention and encouragement- one doesn’t often see that in a musical. I was also amazed at how I heard some Cole Porter lyrics as if for the first time; the words to It’s Alright With Me, were given special resonance when sung by Tracy after her misjudged near fling with Connor: It’s the wrong time, and the wrong place/Though your face is charming, it’s the wrong face/It’s not his face, but such a charming face/That it’s all right with me. High Society is lovely production with sumptuous music and real heart. It is sure to be the hit of the summer. Box Office: 0844 871 7628
UK SPORTS The Australians are back and determined to grind the England cricket team into the ground and retain the coveted ‘Ashes’. We also have two World Cups to look forward to, but first, we will review the 2014/15 soccer season.
Soccer First, our congratulations go to Chelsea for winning the Premier League ahead of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United. London and Manchester rule the Premiership! All four qualify for next season’s European Champions League although United will have to play a qualifying round to enter the main draw. Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Southampton who finished fourth, fifth and sixth, have qualified for the Europa Cup along with West Ham United who won the Fair Play Award. West Ham will, however, have to play four qualifying rounds (eight matches!!) to enter the main draw, so their summer holiday will be very short.Our commiserations go to Hull City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers who were all relegated to the Championship Division. They will be replaced by Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City who will all hope they can avoid an immediate return to the Championship Division as experienced by Burnley and QPR this season. Congratulations also to Arsenal who retained the FA Cup with a stunning 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Final. The last time Arsenal won the Cup two seasons running they went on to be unbeaten in the Premiership the following season - watch this space. The Football Association’s chairman, Greg Dyke, is seeking to impose regulations that would force Premiership clubs to include more English players in their twenty five man squads. Currently the Premiership includes thirty five per cent English players and Dyke wants to increase this to forty per cent. This is unlikely to go down well with the clubs, and it can be seen that the most successful clubs have fewer home grown players than the less successful clubs. Last season Chelsea, for example, had three home grown players, Manchester City had six, Arsenal had eight and Manchester United nine. On the other hand, Burnley had nineteen (with two unfilled squad places), QPR had eighteen and Hull City had thirteen. The Premiership clubs seek the best players they can afford and it is a regrettable truth that such players more often than not come from abroad where technical skills seem to be of greater importance in the development of young players. If the FA want more English players playing regularly in Premiership clubs, to the obvious benefit of the National team, then our coaching methods for youngsters, from the grass roots upwards, have to be more in line with the style of modern day international football. Finally, good luck to the England ladies football team 34
American In Britain
who, at the time of writing, have just begun the Women’s World Cup which is being held in Canada, unfortunately with a 0-1 defeat to France. Six Groups of four teams will battle it out to the knock out stages with England drawn alongside France, Colombia and Mexico. All the matches will be live on BBC. FIFA, which is up to its neck in well publicised corruption allegations, has infuriated the women’s teams by insisting that all the matches be played on artificial pitches. As usual FIFA ignored complaints from teams and potential problems with such surfaces, but it will only take one serious injury to one of the players that can be attributed, at least in part, to the artificial surface for FIFA to have even more egg on its face.
Cricket The Aussies are coming. Having won the ‘Ashes’ with a 5-0 whitewash of England in the last Test series in Australia they seek to repeat that result again on our home turf. Well, England’s preparations have not gone well. After the disastrous One Day International World Cup, reported in our last issue, a failure to defeat the West Indies in a drawn three Test series in the Caribbean and a drawn two Test series at home to New Zealand, England do not look ready to face a rampant Australia.At the time of the last ‘Ashes’ series in England it was Australia that was in disarray. Problems between coaches and players left the Australians in a shambolic state and England took full advantage. Since the appointment of Darren Lehman as the Australian coach however, the Aussies have gone from strength to strength, winning the World Cup ODI, and once again becoming the dominant Test team in the world. England are now the side in disarray. Management changes and the continuing furore about the future of Kevin Pietersen in the England set up have caused great damage. The England coach, Peter Moores, was sacked for the second time along with the Managing Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (“ECB“), Paul Downton, after the ODI disaster and England’s failure to win the Test series against a perceived weak West Indies side. Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman also left in May.
These decisions were taken by Tom Harrison who became chief executive of the ECB six months ago. Harrison then appointed Andrew Strauss, the successful ex-England captain, in the new role of Director of Cricket, whilst Colin Graves took over as ECB chairman. Since then, England have turned to an Australian, Trevor Bayliss, as the national coach. Bayliss will work with Paul Farbrace who has been acting coach after the dismissal of Moores and with whom Bayliss has worked before. Let us hope that the new management incumbents, Graves, Harrison, Strauss, Bayliss and captain Cook, can quickly get the England team in shape for the ‘Ashes’ series. After establishing the new management structure and personnel, the issue of Kevin Pietersen again raised its head. It appears that Colin Graves told Pietersen he might be recalled to the England set up if he committed to County cricket and scored runs. As we reported in our last issue, Pietersen duly gave up a lucrative contract in the Indian Premier Twenty20 League, re-joined Surrey, and promptly scored around 350 runs in one innings. Pietersen was hopeful for his longed for recall, but the decision on Pietersen’s fate was left to Andrew Strauss and there was no love left between the two men. Much was made of the time Pietersen sent text messages in 2012 to his mates in the South African side (he, himself, being of South African origin) as to how to get Strauss, England’s captain and opening batsman, dismissed. Not a bright move. Pietersen, in his autobiography, then accused Strauss of allowing a bullying culture in the England dressing room and also attacked England’s current captain, Alastair Cook. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Strauss, supported by Cook, delivered the coup de grace and told Pietersen he was out of the England set up for good. Whether or not this decision is welcomed by all the England team is questionable. Since Strauss’s decision, England’s bowler, Stuart Broad, publicly stated he would not have any problem playing with Pietersen for England. Ian Bell, an established England batsman, expressed a similar opinion. Will the controversy of the Pietersen saga go away any time soon? We hope it does. Decisions have been made and they must
UK SPORTS be accepted by all concerned. What is important now is that a young, developing England team is given the time and the opportunity to emulate the Australian renaissance and regain a pre-eminent position in all forms of world cricket. The five ‘Ashes’ Tests will be played in Cardiff between 8-12 July, at Lord’s (London) on 16-20 July, Edgbaston (Birmingham) on 29 July - 2 August, Trent Bridge (Nottingham) between 6-10 August and Kia Oval (London) on 20-24 August.
Rugby World Cup The big tournament is almost upon us. Twenty countries will contest the World Cup. Four Groups of five countries will play a round robin with the winners and runners up from each Group progressing to the quarter final knock out stage.England are drawn with Wales, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay, and open the tournament against Fiji on 18 September at Twickenham. Harder matches then follow against Wales on 26 September, also at Twickenham, and Australia on 3 October, once again at Twickenham, before a last easier match against Uruguay on 10 October in Manchester. This is a tough Group with England, Wales and Australia vying for the two top places. Scotland and Ireland have easier Group matches, the former playing South Africa, Samoa, Japan and USA. South Africa will definitely progress and Scotland need fear only Samoa for the second place, but Scotland struggled in the Six Nations tournament earlier this year. Ireland have France, Italy, Canada and Romania in their Group and should easily qualify with France. The quarter finals will
be played on 17 and 18 October, the semifinals on 24 and 25 October and the final, at Twickenham, on 31 October. England started a three week training camp at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot on 22 June before a two week altitude training camp in Denver, Colorado. They then play a friendly against France at Twickenham on 15 August before a return friendly in Paris on 22 August. Let’s hope too many players on both sides, well the England side anyway, don’t pick up injuries that will keep them out of the tournament! The final thirty one man squad, from the current squad of fifty, will be submitted on the deadline date of 31 August and there is bound to be great disappointment for some players who don’t make the squad. Will fly half Danny Cipriani (who is English not Italian!!) make the squad? A flair player but perhaps unpredictable, is just one of those players currently on the cusp of selection. It should be a great tournament.
Tennis ‘THE CHAMPIONSHIPS’, as Wimbledon likes to call itself, will back from 29 June to 11 July. Last year Novak Djokovic and Petra Kivitova both won their second Wimbledon singles titles. Djokovic won an exciting and marathon final against seven times champion Roger Federer 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4. Federer won five games in a row and saved a championship point in the fourth set but Djokovic narrowly prevailed in the fifth; what a match that was ranking alongside those other recent five set finals when Nadal beat Federer and Federer beat Andy Roddick the year after. Let’s hope
for the same again this year.The Ladies final, by comparison, was a very one sided affair with Kivitova beating the young Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-0 in less than an hour! Djokovic, having won the Australian Open in January, lost the French Open recently to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, and so lost the chance to win all four majors in the same calendar year. Serena Williams, however, still has a chance to achieve that incredible feat if she can win Wimbledon (sorry, ‘The Championships’) and then go on to win the US Open in August. Another Wimbledon victory would put Serena just one major behind Steffi Graf’s total of twenty two and three behind Australia’s Margaret Court. This will be a chase to watch over the next couple of years.Britain’s Andy Murray had a very successful clay court season, only just losing to Djokovic in the semi final of the French Open 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-5 1-6. He will now be back on his more favoured grass courts and should be a big crowd favourite for a second Wimbledon title, but Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka will also be strong contenders, although Rafael Nadal may still need more time to return to his competitive best. Regrettably, there is no hope for any other British tennis player, male or female, to set our hearts racing. If any of them reach round two there will be the usual pats on the back but, really, the Lawn Tennis Association has nothing to pat its own back for. Take out Murray, who went to Spain as a young player to learn his game, and who do we have left to fly our flag? Nobody; it remains a disgrace! Even the England and Wales Cricket Board has had more success!! So, good luck Andy Murray.
Carla Cancio-Bello, J.D., Cuban Cuisine
Where are you from? I was born and raised in South Miami, Florida, where my family settled after going into exile following Castro’s revolution. My mum is English, but she was adopted during World War II by a Cuban family and was raised in Havana. So my first language is Spanish, and I was raised with a love for America, Great Britain and Cuba. I first visited the UK while at Florida International University when they sponsored a summer in Cambridge Programme. I fell in love with the beauty and culture of Great Britain that summer. Upon returning to Miami, I worked as a social worker at Fellowship House before going on to law school at Duke University School of Law. After graduating, I worked in Miami as a lawyer for many years. I love Cuban food, boating and the beach. Most of my family still lives in Miami, and I try to go visit as often as I can.
How long have you been in the UK and what brought you here? I met my English husband during the summer I studied at Cambridge, and many years later he came to work in Miami. We married and started a family. He was a true anglophile and he missed the rugby, pubs and English humour, so when he received an offer from Sainsbury’s corporate offices at Holborn, we decided to move to the UK. We moved here in June, 2001, settling in Bedfordshire. He passed away after a long illness in 2008 and I debated about returning to live in the States. In the end, I realised I was raising British children, and this country, and its traditions, suited my children best. We now live in Riseley, Bedfordshire with our two dogs.
What have you found challenging as an American living in the UK? Probably my greatest challenge was adjusting to the food culture. I missed the food from Miami and it was impossible to source ingredients for family recipes. But I turned this problem into the inspiration for my business, Cuban Cuisine, an online grocery in the UK, where you can now purchase Goya spices, Caribbean hot sauces, guava paste, mango pulp and much more. The other challenges are mostly superficial adjustments as the British people are very fair and thoughtful people for the most part. For example, The Brits really do appreciate understatement. As a Cuban American, my cultural traits initially clashed with this new/ old culture. Brits praise emotional restraint, understatement and composure, and identify 36
American In Britain
these traits as a source of their strength as a nation. As a Cuban litigator, I had benefited from a lively and emotive verbal style, but those same traits do not come across the same way here. Over time, I realised that what works best here is to undersell your qualities and let your actions speak for you. It has sometimes been challenging to adjust to the queuing culture here. In the States, because we are extremely time conscious, people do not like to wait in line for too long. In the UK, there is a much more patient approach to a queue (a line of people). This is where I have to restrain myself if I do not want to stand out. Complaining about customer service falls on deaf ears in many places. I have found it is better to just adjust to the different styles of service and stay patiently in the queue. I miss big glasses of water with ice in restaurants - this is a treat I rarely get, unless requested. I miss garage/estate sales too. Here, there are boot sales, where people gather in a field and sell as much stuff as they can fit in their boot (trunk of the car). You get to find many hidden treasures this way but not quite as exciting as the many estate sales we see in Florida. There are many auctions though and that is a really good British thing.
What has your career experience been like? When I first arrived in the UK, I was raising three small children while my husband worked in the city. But then my husband’s illness took precedent and our lives changed. It was difficult at first to find the right job for me. I started by flipping a couple of properties in this buoyant properties market. I also did volunteer work
with Forest Schools, disabled children and the Anglian Wolf Society. For a time, I returned to social work where I worked at a luxury retirement home as Activities Director, where Glenn Miller lived during the war! In the end, my new business grew out of a hobby. I started a blog to share my grandmother’s Cuban recipes, Margarita’s Cuban Cuisine, where there are now more than 240 recipes. Realising that some of her recipes were impossible to replicate with the limited food product lines at Tesco or Asda, I decided to pursue a business opportunity by setting up my own online grocery. There are many business training resources for new businesses here and so I was able to build this business on my own on a shoestring budget. Now in our third year, Cuban Cuisine has been rocked by the American Embargo against Cuban products, but still continues to thrive. This little business has also drawn me into the politics of Cuba, an interest since childhood. With the many changes in Cuba, Cuban Cuisine is well positioned to add Cuban exports to our gourmet food product line once the embargo is lifted. Sharing my love of great Cuban recipes in presentations, talks and events with the Brits and the rest of the world takes me back home, figuratively and literally. Last year, I was invited to do a presentation at an international Blogger’s conference in Miami on the ‘Flavours of Miami.’ For me, it felt like coming full circle, having gained a new career, bridging my Miami and my new home in the UK.
Advice For new residents of the UK, I would recommend a good review of the property laws, taxes and the educational system, as these are the areas that are most different from the States. But there are lots of resources for help like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, a wonderful organisation that can help with everything from property disputes to dentists, to schooling issues. I would also suggest that you travel to the rest of Europe as much as possible. It is inexpensive (20 pounds for some flights) to explore Europe with the budget airlines that fly from the UK. I also recommend that you throw yourself into a uniquely British holiday, Bonfire Night. On this night, the great British traditions rule and you will have a good flavour of the British culture amidst the games, lager, fireworks and bonfires. The British music scene is very vibrant too. There are live music events in every sort of venue, from working men’s clubs, to pubs, festivals, clubs and stadiums. If you love live music, this is a great place to live.
Carne con Papas www.theamericanhour.com
This is a Cuban dish you will find offered in every classic Cuban restaurant. Literally translated, it means ‘meat and potatoes.’ It is a beef stew, flavoured by the favourite Cuban spices and condiments, including green olives and bay leaves. Even the toughest cuts of beef will fall apart after the low and slow simmering action of this stew. The juices from the vegetables cook down into a thick sauce that is flavourful. This recipe calls for small sweet chilli peppers. If none are available to you can leave them out or substitute pimientos or try a tablespoon of El Sabor de Casa Aji Panca. Prep Time: 30 minutes Goya Adobo without Pepper is a Cuban spice mix that is used for meat rubs and general seasoning in cooked dishes. This spice mix is the most popular for Cuban cooks. Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes Total Time: 3 hours Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 pounds beef stew meat (fresh, cut into 1 inch chunks) 1 large Cubanelle or green bell pepper (seeded and chopped) 4 small sweet peppers, seeded and chopped) 1 large onion (peeled and chopped) 4 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped) 1 tablespoon El Sabor de Casa Cilantro Paste or a handful of cilantro, chopped finely
2 tablespoons vinegar (white, distilled) 1 teaspoon oregano (dried) 1/2 cup tomato sauce 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon of Goya Adobo without Pepper 3 large carrots (peeled and chopped) 1 15-oz can peas 1/2 pound potatoes (peeled and diced) 12 Spanish olives (pimento stuffed) 1 tablespoon capers Salt to taste Pepper to taste Preparation: Coat the stew beef pieces in Goya Adobo without Pepper. In a large soup pot brown the stew meat in the olive oil over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add the next 10 ingredients - Cubanelle pepper, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, oregano, tomato sauce, bay leaves and salt Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour. The juices from the vegetables and tomato sauce should cook down into a thick sauce. You may add a little water at a time if the sauce is too thick. After 1 hour, turn the heat to medium and add the last seven ingredients – carrots, peas, potatoes, olives, capers, salt and pepper to taste. When the stew begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 more hour. Recipe by Cuban Cuisine
www.expatsguidetotheuk.com Everything you need to know about relocating to, and living in the United Kingdom. Visit www.expatsguidetotheuk.com and read the Guide online now! Living and working in the UK can provide a fantastic opportunity to any individual expatriate and their family. The UK offers a diverse range of cultures and if you are planning to relocate for business, family or lifestyle reasons, The Expatriateâ€™s Guide To Living In the UK website will prove to be an invaluable resource. Topics Include: Banking & Wealth Management Expatriate Clubs Embassies & High Commissions Driving & Transport Education: Schools & Universities Healthcare & Hospitals Immigration & Residency Legal Issues Leisure & Lifestyle Moving & Relocation Pet Transportation Residential Lettings Serviced Apartments Taxation Launched in 2003, and updated annually, this handy Guide serves as a useful reference to help expatriates of all nationalities settle into life and work in the UK. If you have friends, colleagues or family moving to live in the UK, please share this website with them.
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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
NAC visit to Fisher House UK
North American Connection
The women at the North American Connection (NAC) in the West Midlands have had a very busy (and fun!) year organising events in support of this year’s charity, the American Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center (AODVC). The AODVC works globally with American victims of domestic violence and child abuse overseas, providing an international tollfree crisis hotline, assistance and resources to enable victims to find a safe haven. Last September, we set a goal of raising £5000. For a small club like ours with less than 60 members, this was fairly ambitious, but we did it! We raised over £5800! Our charity chairperson, Michele Stephens, and her committee spearheaded a great fundraising campaign which included Bunco Nights, an evening ‘Pair & Share’(wine and cooking demonstration), a walking tour of Oxford University, a ‘Race Night’, group yoga sessions and charity raffles. We met the founder of the AODVC, Paula Lucas, during a Skype session in November when we heard her speak about her new memoirs, Harvesting Stones, at our monthly Book Club. In May, we welcomed her to a luncheon in Birmingham where she discussed her current achievements and upcoming goals for helping abused women and children. Such a worthy cause and a truly inspirational woman. This year, we also continued to support The Fisher House UK, which is a ‘home away from home’ for military personnel and their families receiving treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Through our ‘Cake Club’ initiative, our members regularly provided wonderful home-baked cakes and treats for these www.theamericanhour.com
NAC President, Catherine Byrne; Michele Stephens; AODVC founder, Paula Lucas; Marci Hartland
families in difficult circumstances, living far from home. We’ve been told by Patrick, the Fisher House Manager, that our deliveries were eagerly anticipated by staff at the hospital as well! As with many expatriate groups, we have had to say farewell to several well-loved members this year who relocated while at the same time welcoming new faces - always a bittersweet time. Based in the West Midlands, we are a diverse group with members mainly from the US and Canada, many on assignment in the UK, while others are here permanently. Our activities reflect that variety with an active book club, monthly coffee mornings and pub lunches, as well as craft days, restaurant club, day excursions and guided walks. What we all have in common is a desire for friendship and to make the most of our experience living in the UK. For more information, please see our website: www.naconnect.com or email membership@ naconnect.com and get connected!
American Women Lawyers In London
American Women Lawyers in London (“AWLL”) is an organisation of Londonbased women with ties to the American legal community whose aim is to provide professional development support to its members through educational events, networking and mentoring opportunities. On May 5, 2015, the law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer kindly hosted an AWLL event on “Practising US Law in the UK”. Our panel of US lawyers discussed how they addressed some of the typical challenges faced by American lawyers in the UK and the practice areas most conducive to working as a US lawyer in London. Speakers included
Sara A. Biro, an international business lawyer who is currently an interim Senior Legal Advisor at the Royal Mail Group; Sarah Murphy, Head of Freshfields’ US Corporate Group in Europe and Asia; Hilary Stauffer, an international lawyer who has served as a diplomat in Geneva and a legal officer with the United Nations ILO; and Nita Nicole Upadhye, the principal lawyer at NNU Immigration. On May 18, 2015, AWLL participated in the 10k London Legal Walk and helped to raise over £600,000 for free legal advice charities in the London area. The London Legal Walk is the largest annual gathering of lawyers and the judiciary with over 9,000 participants this year, including the President of the Supreme Court, the Master of the Rolls and more than 550 law firms, helping to raise money for this very worthy cause. On May 21, 2015, the law firm of Lewis Silkin kindly hosted an AWLL event on “UK Immigration: What Lies Ahead?” Speakers included Andrew Osborne, a partner and head of Lewis Silkin’s immigration team and Natasha Hotson, Olga Nechita and Ben Maitland, associates in Lewis Silkin’s immigration department. The discussion was moderated by AWLL Secretary Diana Okoeva, a senior associate in Lewis Silkin’s immigration team. Other events included a mentoring event on June 11, 2015, kindly hosted by the law firm of Covington & Burling, LLP and an Independence Day event and reception kindly hosted by the law firm of Laura Devine Solicitors. For further information, please contact AWLL Marketing Director Joanne Skolnick at email@example.com. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Summer in London is wonderful! This month we had a special guest speaker at our Monthly meeting, Lord Charles Spencer with his recent book “Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I”. The book is a very powerful story of revenge from the dark heart of England’s past and tells the incredible story of the men who dared to assassinate a monarch. Lord Charles Spencer was educated at Eton College and obtained his degree in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has written four books and currently resides in Northampton, England at the Althorp House where he and his lovely sister, Diana, Princess of Wales, were raised. The British Summer is a perfect time to adore the beautiful English gardens. In July the newly formed Garden Group will visit the gardens at Buckingham Palace. Enjoy a leisurely day out at Buckingham Palace with a guided tour of the most remarkable features of the famous garden. The Garden Highlights Tour includes the beautiful Herbaceous Border, the wisteria-clad summer house and Rose Garden, the enormous Waterloo Vase and the Palace tennis court, where King George VI and Fred Perry played in the 1930s. The 39-acre garden is today the setting for The Queen’s Garden Parties. Described as ‘a walled oasis in the middle of London’, it boasts more than 350 types of wild flower, over 200 trees and a three-acre lake. And there is more! The garden group is gaining such popularity that they started a garden book club! Join the group in one of London’s quaint garden squares, Montagu Square where members will discuss the book, The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf. A light lunch will be provided, after which they will stroll through the private gardens. For more information about these events contact the AWC Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring on 020 7589 8292. If you are looking for more regular activities to socialise and meet new friends on a weekly basis, then join the Mah Jongg, Bridge or Poker groups. Almost every day of the week, in the AWC Offices on 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ, you’ll find something fun to do! Mah Jongg players meet every Tuesdays and Fridays to take part in the classic Chinese game. Bridge players meet every Monday afternoon and Poker players meet every Thursday afternoon. So if you love games these are the groups to join! For more information about these activities visit our website at www.awclondon. org or email the office. Maybe you would like to volunteer your time and energy and work for good causes. The AWC supports many charity groups and volunteers are always in need and welcome. We support the Ronald McDonald House by cooking evening meals to help feed the many families with sick children in the Evelina Children’s Hospital. Additionally, we support 40
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the Soup Kitchen at ‘The American Church’, on Tottenham Court Road. Twice a month we help prepare and serve food for those in need. A third organisation we support is Cancer Research UK. We support this organisation by volunteering and coordinating on special events to help make sure the events run smoothly, safely and successfully. We also work with “Free the Girls Foundation”, the Benjamin Franklin House, WINCH and other charitable organisations locally and around the world. There is always a need for people to help others and so many of the AWC members lend a helping hand. If you are interested in learning more about the charities we support or want to volunteer your time, visit our website www.awclondon.org or email the office email@example.com. Every month there is an American Women’s Club of London meeting with great guest speakers for all members and potential new members. Come along to learn more about the club, upcoming special activities, meet new people and network with others. Join us on July 28th at 10am at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Knightsbridge Road, London, SW1X 7LF. For more information visit the website at www.awclondon.org or email the office awc@ awclondon.org. Additionally, the AWC hosts New Member Welcome Coffees that are open to all members, but especially helpful if you are new to London or thinking about joining the club. Come by the AWC offices at 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ at 10am on the third Tuesdays of each month - July 21st. No need to RSVP, just show up! You can meet other women and ask all those questions about settling in and living the life of an expat in London. You know it’s time to check out our website at www.awclondon.org or email the office to learn more about the club, take part in the activities, travel, meetings, and begin to make some new friendships! Hope to meet you soon! American Women’s Club of London 68 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3LQ www.awclondon.org firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7589 8292.
On 14 May, we held our annual May Tea Party. This is a fun event that includes our members only end-of-year raffle and a table decorating competition. Congratulations to the winning table: “Christmas Bazaar”, which is a miniature sneak peek of our Annual Christmas Charity Bazaar. This wil be held on November 8, 2015, benefitting the Epilepsy Society and The Pepper Foundation. General Meetings are held at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club and begin at 9:30 with a chance to shop a selection of local vendors. In addition to General Meetings, CAWC also has several activity groups for our members to enjoy, including Moms and Tots, Day Hikes, Stitch & Chat, Golf, Tennis, Christian Corner, Let’s Go, and so much more.
Guest Speaker - Lord Charles Spencer
Buckingham Palace Gardens
Upcoming date: Thursday, 10th September First General Meeting of new club year. CAWC is an active group of over 100 North American and International women who call this area home, either temporarily or permanently. Our club offers the opportunity to network through meetings, social activities, outings, and charitable events. We are a great resource to newcomers and returning members alike. For more information visit us at www.cawc.co.uk.
Light the barbecue, dig into those delicious British strawberries and enjoy the long days as summer is here! And the Junior League of London (JLL) is wrapping up another great year. This year our members have a lot to be proud of. Our membership council welcomed 80 new members, we held two conferences where over 200 women registered to attend to develop the potential of women and 29 members have become new leaders for the 2015-16 League year. Our community council worked with our community partners across London on a number of projects and initiatives. The Done in a Day committee and our members reached over 200 children through education and literacy programmes, prepared over 600 items of professional clothing for those in need and served over 1,200 meals for the homeless. At Christmas our members put together 670 holiday hampers that helped to brighten 1,300
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
JLL volunteers at the venture centre
A member at a JLL meeting
people’s holiday season, and our members supported children’s literacy programmes through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Learning Club. Our fund development council hosted a number of events and initiatives that raised money to support the work of the JLL, develop the potential of our members, and raise awareness about poverty and its effects in London. Some of the highlights include: our annual Christmas market, Boutique de Noel, where over 700 people attended; the Little Black Dress Initiative, a poverty awareness campaign where over 45 members participated and fundraised; and the £30k for 30 years campaign where members raised £30k this year to celebrate our 30-year legacy and help ensure our community and membership programmes are around for another 30 years! Our members are already busy planning and preparing for the coming months. Save the date! The JLL’s 2015 Boutique de Noel will be taking place on 2 December at Chelsea Town Hall. If you’re interested in volunteering, enriching your community and keen to lead and learn, then the JLL is for you! Register your interest to receive details about the new member programme or email the New Member Development Committee (NMDC) Chair, Bejay Ugale at NMDCJLL@gmail.com. To learn more about the JLL, please visit our website, or contact the office at 020 7250 8104 or email email@example.com.
FAWCO and the FAWCO Foundation Achieve Fundraising Milestone In May, FAWCO and The FAWCO Foundation announced that fundraising efforts for the Target Project, Free the Girls – Providing Economic Opportunity for Survivors of Human Trafficking, had surpassed US$100,000. “This achievement reflects powerfully on our dedication to empowering women, not only in our own clubs or in our own countries, but extending support to the most www.theamericanhour.com
vulnerable of our sisters throughout the world,” stated Patricia Meek, President, The FAWCO Foundation. Free The Girls, a 501(c)(3) headquartered in Denver, CO, is currently working in JLL at Chelsea Methodist soup kitchen Mozambique, Uganda and El Salvador assisting This gives members and non-members trafficking survivors to set up micro-enterprises opportunities to read about FAWCO in an in the second-hand clothing markets prevalent in online magazine. The latest issue highlights developing countries. Melissa Watson, National events and accomplishments FAWCO has Director of Free The Girls, was delighted to done this year. Be sure to check out this hear the news. “Because of FAWCO’s support informative magazine by visiting: over the last year, Free The Girls has expanded www.fawco.org/home/publications/theand deepened the ways in which we fulfill our forum. mission to provide economic empowerment to survivors of sex trafficking through job opportunities,”she said. The FAWCO Target Programme was initiated to unite the power of about 12,000 individual members of the 65 FAWCO Member Clubs in 34 Your Local US/UK TAX SPECIALIST countries to make Need Tax Assistance? We can help with: a significant and sustainable impact on • U.S 1040 Personal Tax Filing critical global issues. • Individual Tax Identiﬁcation Number “One club can work (ITIN) Application Assistance hard and make a dent, • IRS Certiﬁed Acceptance Agents (CAA) so just imagine what • I.D veriﬁcation service for Form W-7 65 clubs working • U.S FATCA Compliance Service together can do! • Foreign Bank Account Form Filing for U.S This is the power of FAWCO, it multiplies Citizens and Green Card Holders individual club effort to • Delinquent /Streamlined Foreign Offshore make a bigger impact. ﬁling for U.S Citizens Congratulations to • U.K Self-Assessment Tax Filing all for surpassing • U.S/U.K Tax Planning. UK Ltd Company $100,000,” said Monica Formation, Payroll Services Jubayli, President, FAWCO. We are team of qualiﬁed U.S/U.K tax The Summer Edition consultants with prior big 4 experience. of the FORUM is Now Contact us: M: 44(0)7914 393 183 Available. T: 44(0)203 286 6445 FAWCO releases a E: Info@taxandaccountinghub.com bi-annual publication, www.taxandaccountinghub.com The FORUM, in the summer and winter.
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Culture Shock A Practical Guide (Excerpt) by H.E. Rybol A Matter Of Perception Culture shock is often talked about in terms of symptoms or phases. It’s about a series of ups and downs. It’s important to acknowledge those feelings because they are a gateway to what lies beneath, but we shouldn’t forget to dig deeper. So to begin with, here are feelings travellers might experience when going through culture shock: • Alienated • Alienated from our own culture • Angry • Anxious • At peace • Confronted with our own limits • Confronted with yourself • Curious • Disconnected • Easily annoyed • Excited • Feel like your personal space is being intruded upon • Feeling of familiarity • Feeling out of place • Free • Full of anticipation • Fully alive • Guilty • Happily overwhelmed • Happy • In touch with yourself • Inexplicably connected • Insecure • Interested • Irritated • Isolated • Judgmental • Lonely • Nervous • Numb • On edge • Raw • Sad • Scared • Shocked • Stressed • Tired • Torn • Uncomfortable • Vulnerable.
A Moment Of Growth As I see it, this is only the surface. What lies beneath this emotional roller coaster? 1. We need to process a lot of new information 2. We need to process our reaction to that information 42
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Adaptation consists of digesting all of that. On the way, we are led to put our whole lives into perspective, question what we know and assume, and learn new ways of functioning to attempt to understand another culture and ourselves within it. Culture shock strips us from our comforts straight down to our core, puts us eye to eye with our basic needs, and propels us into a moment of accelerated growth. We slowly begin to make sense of all the new sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. We learn about this place we didn’t know before, about people’s lives and we attempt to understand our relation to both. So, in its essence, the experience of culture shock is a profound shift in consciousness. How does that shift take place? Often our ideas and the reality we find don’t match. There is a dissonance on multiple levels that can feel threatening because some of our basic assumptions and abilities might be challenged. What do I eat? Where do I sleep? Who do I connect with? Where do I belong? Will it be safe? We question our abilities to meet some of our basic needs. Then of course we also wonder about our new surroundings: What is there to see? What are the stories behind it? How do they reflect local beliefs? What do people think? What do I think? The list is endless. To get through culture shock, we need to reconcile the information we’re getting with our own reactions, thoughts (in the shape of ideas, preconceived notions, expectations, hopes, cultural background) and personal needs, and adapt our thoughts and reactions to that information as well. We need to let go of preconceived notions to make room for reality. So essentially, by learning to live in another culture we... • Confront our own boundaries (cultural, selfimposed or other) • Question ourselves • Confront our own notion of personal space • Confront our own way of relating to other people • Redefine our need for comfort • Learn about our need for control • Develop a stronger sense of self • Confront our own prejudices and biases, and those of others • See our own roots and culture with different eyes ...and so on. It is a raw but exhilarating experience. One of the wonderful things about culture shock is that it brings us back to basics. It is a reminder of what’s essential. Of course, the essential is sometimes clouded
by our perception of everything surrounding it. So when it feels like we suddenly don’t control anything, everything around us simply happens and we’re not quite sure how to manage, it’s important to realise what we can control - our own behaviour and attitude. Through both we can learn to meet material and emotional needs at a time when meeting those needs is not a given and we don’t necessarily have many resources to do so. In this sense, simple actions also have a deeper effect beyond the immediate relief they may bring. They help us tune into our core, handle change, connect across cultures and become aware of others and ourselves. In the end, culture shock is about growth. It teaches us compassion, kindness and gratitude. So what matters is what we learn and how we act and change as a result of that experience. But we can only grow and learn if we take responsibility for our experiences, reactions, perceptions, behaviour, thinking, beliefs and interactions. Experiencing culture shock then becomes a gift that helps us find our story within a world of stories and understand how all are connected. This was an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Culture Shock: A Practical Guide. It is followed by six chapters full of tips: 1. How to deal with craving comfort 2. How to process new information 3. How to cope without autopilot 4. How to deal with difficult situations 5. How to deal with alienation 6. How to unite both worlds within yourself In the meantime, here are five quick tips to get you started:
Culture Shock 1. Consider The Benefits
4. Slow Down
The term ‘culture shock’ often evokes negative connotations. Using the excerpt above, ask yourself the following question: How have challenging cultural transitions positively impacted my life?
This is an opportunity to slow down and take it easy. Take your time to adapt. Let go of any preconceptions you might have. Leave stress and pressure behind. Don’t force yourself to visit as many sights as you can - even if you think you should. The point is to enjoy yourself, isn’t it? Make a choice and then relax. This is a great time to get to know yourself a little better by observing your reactions and understanding your needs in a challenging situation. Allow yourself time to fully experience this transition.
2. Use Food As An Icebreaker Food can give you a tasty insight into another country’s culinary traditions. Food is also a source of comfort. It’s a great way to learn about a new country and connect with people over something that we share: the need for food. A great icebreaker for sure!
3. Communicate Please, thank you and a smile go a long way. Learn some basic phrases to get you started. Bring a small phrase book, pocket dictionary or app, depending on where you go and what kind of trip it is. While this may not lead to an in depth conversation about political or social issues, it gives you a place to start. Communicate not only to express your needs but also to ask questions and learn something. Remember that most communication is non verbal, so don’t be afraid to use your hands and feet - that’s always fun no matter how clumsy it might feel! Don’t just stick to words. Find out about body language. What’s the polite way to hail a cab? Beckon someone to come over? Is it rude or polite to look someone directly in the eyes? Observe.
5. Practice Gratefulness Seeing life from a different perspective is a wonderful way to learn to appreciate what we are given in life, both at home and on the road. Here are some of the things I’ve become grateful for while travelling: • Hot water • Clean water • A bed • Access to fresh food • Restrooms! Mostly, though, I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers, conversations I had with people I met along the way, friends I made, lessons I learned and the privilege of having had the opportunity to experience all this in the first place.
H.E. Rybol is an Adult Third Culture Kid, which means that her parents have two different nationalities (German/ French) and she grew up in a third country (Luxembourg). She has a BA in English (USA) and an MA in Interpreting, Translation and Diplomacy (England). She has spent her life living, working, studying and travelling around the world.
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HOTEL REVIEW The Grove
London is a lovely place to be most of the time, but when you fancy a weekend break, but don’t want to travel too far, then The Grove is a perfect venue. In fact, Queen Victoria is reliably credited with inventing the weekend break here by visiting the Earl of Clarendon in the mid to late nineteenth century, and if it was good enough for Royalty then I felt it would be good enough for me, and I wasn’t wrong! Unlike Queen Victoria, it is impossible to not ‘be amused’ at The Grove as there is just so much to do, with 2 pools, 3 restaurants and a championship golf course, as well as a leading spa, and a weekend is almost too little time to enjoy everything, but I recommend trying! The Grove is set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside and is just 18 miles to London, so is perfect for a weekend away as it is far enough www.theamericanhour.com
away from London to be in rolling countryside and the fresh air, whilst being close enough to not have a long journey time. It is also close (but not too close) to the M25 and the M1, so is also well connected to all parts of the country, and as you enter the gates you immediately feel more at one with nature. The sweeping driveway crosses the Grand Union Canal and wends its way through a few of the golf holes up to the imposing manor house which has had a colourful past. It was built in the 1720’s and remained a private residence for almost two hundred years before being sold, after which it was used as a gardening school, a health centre (National Institute Of Nutrition and College Of Dietetics), a riding school, and a girls’ boarding school. It was the wartime headquarters of one of the Big
Four consolidated railway companies. It then became a management training centre for the British Transport Commission and later British Rail before becoming a hotel in 1996, when the golf course and spa, along with more rooms were added. This addition sums up The Grove, as it combines the old and new, effortlessly providing history with a 5 star twist. When we arrived on the Sunday we needed to head immediately to the golf course as we had an early tee time, and we were looking forward to following in the footsteps of the professionals who played there in the American Express World Golf Championship in 2006. We were greeted by an excellent American style valet service who took our clubs and put them on our buggy (which by the way had the most comfortable seat I have ever experienced), and www.americaninbritain.co.uk
they then whisked the car away to a parking space, thus allowing us to relax after our journey and take a quick stroll through the well stocked pro-shop. The course was a joy to play, and is designed in such a way that it caters for every level of golfer as it has fairly wide fairways. The greens and fairways are immaculate, and the course is picturesque, as it wends its way through the estate, abutting a few times on the banks of the Grand Union canal with its colourful narrow boats. Having shot the round that most pros would dread on a Sunday, as they strive to win a tournament, we retreated tired but happy to the hotel for a well earned soak and relax before our dinner. The choice of rooms is varied with 26 suites and rooms in the Mansion, all with period features which give it a more boutique hotel feel, or the more sleek and spacious rooms in the West Wing which are more geared to families and golfers and have spectacular views of the gardens and golf course. After a hard days golf there is nothing better than relaxing in the free standing bath soakig away the pains, and that was exactly what I did. The Grove has 3 restaurants providing a variety of dining experiences from a gourmet 10 course tasting menu to a light snack, and much of the fruit and vegetables used are grown on the property in the walled garden. Coletteâ€™s, the fine dining restaurant, has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes and is included in the 2014 Good Food Guide under the watchful eye of Chef Russell Bateman. It is set in the heart of the 18th Century mansion giving a more formal atmosphere, but be warned this restaurant is closed on a Sunday and Monday so I am not really able to say much more as it was closed when we were there. The Stables provides simple foods cooked to perfection and includes steaks, stone baked pizzas and warming winter pies, all in an informal setting and is perfect for families and those just wanting a light bite. Indeed the setting was once made famous by George Stubbs, the 18th Century artist, who used to spend hours in the stables sketching the horses. The final option for dinner is the Glasshouse, which is a buffet style restaurant overlooking the Formal Gardens, providing a wide range of dishes from a variety of different genres. The
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food is plentiful and well cooked, my beef was perfectly cooked being just the right side of pink for me, and the Lamb Rogan Josh I also tasted was well spiced and the Lamb succulent. Having slept like a log in the wonderfully comfortable bed, and negotiated the extensive breakfast buffet, it was time to visit the Sequoia Spa for my treatment. Despite the painful experience I had had the day before on the golf course, I revisited the pain inflicted by golf balls, albeit a pleasurable one, again by choosing a massage which uses golf balls. The balls are used to enable more pressure to be applied to your body enabling a deeper muscle massage and relieving more stress, and it certainly worked as I felt a new man after an hour! The facilities at the Spa continue the 5 star trend with a large pool which is almost menacing with its striking black mosaic-tiled floor, a spacious Jacuzzi and Steam room, and a well-equipped gym complete with fitness instructors to help where needed to get the best out of your workout. My favourite place however, is the walled garden, which is reserved solely for guests of the hotel or members of the fitness club, and consists of a heated outdoor swimming pool with thick padded sun loungers, an urban beach where you can sit in deck chairs, and if you are feeling more energetic, play volleyball. This beach is perfect for children, and this is where The Grove excels. Children are really well catered for so whilst the parents are enjoying the golf or the spa, the children are royally entertained with a highly rated kids club. Activities here are both inside and outside and include kids bike rides within the 300 acres, tennis, golf and football, or if the weather is less clement a games room full of classic and modern games machines, a snooker table, table tennis and also an extensive list of movies. The Grove is an interesting mix of old and new and corporate and family, and manages to juggle the demands of each well to cater for everyoneâ€™s requirements, and all at a 5 star level which is no mean feat, and is well worth a visit. The Grove, Chandlers Cross, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD3 4TG For further information please visit: www.thegrove.co.uk
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A Letter from Scotland by Yvonne Willcocks
You can’t travel far in Scotland without seeing a golf course. There are 550 so far – and counting. New courses are being constructed, often close to existing ones. Many of the famous bigname courses offer a wide variety of facilities. In addition to top-rate accommodation and dining there are swimming pools, spas and athletic training rooms. The variety of Scotland’s landscape, especially its extensive sea coast, creates exciting playing conditions and stunning panoramic views. But if you have a love for exploration many of the smaller courses come up with delightful surprises. One of our prettiest local courses is set between the Fife Coastal Path and the broad waters of the Firth of Forth at Aberdour, one of the string of picturesque old fishing villages along the south coast of Fife. The panoramic view across the Firth of Forth takes in the Forth 48
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Bridges to the west, the island of Inchcolm with its tiny ruined abbey, to the City of Edinburgh and Holyrood Palace on the far shore, protected by the heights and crags of Arthur’s Seat to the east. If you can take your eyes off the views, which change with every shot, you will find the course a testing one. Our local club in Dunfermline has a winding approach road that leads through the course to the imposing cream-rendered castle-mansion of Pitfirrane House, previously the home of the Halketts (pronounced Hakkett) from the 16th century. Up a wide stone spiral staircase is the dining room with magnificent wood panelling and a painted ceiling decorated with the family’s coat of arms, and crest, a hawk – the Halkett family were Royal Hawkers to King James I/VI. The Dunfermline Golf Club also has the distinction of introducing the game ‘across
the pond’ in 1888 when two of its members, John Reid and Robert Lockhart, set out a short course of three holes in an apple orchard in Yonkers, New York. Initially known as the “Apple Tree Gang”, it was formally organised in the same year and named, ”St. Andrew’s” (with an apostrophe) as a tribute to the cradle of the game in Scotland. The historic university town of St. Andrews, at the eastern end of the “Kingdom of Fife”, is a delightful setting for the world-famous St Andrews Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which is acknowledged as the birthplace of the game as it is played today, and boasts the first Ladies’ golf club in the world in 1867. Regarding the ‘Ancient’ in the title, there is documentary evidence from1552 confirming that golf, as well as other games, was played on the links at that time, but it was not until 1754
A LETTER FROM SCOTLAND
The Old Course at St. Andrews, with the Club House, and stands erected for the Open Championship
The First Tee at Aberdour Golf Course
“variety of Scotland’s landscape, especially its extensive sea coast, creates exciting playing conditions and stunning panoramic views.” that a club was formed. The ‘Royal’ title was added in 1836 when King William IV became Patron, and six members of the royal family have since captained the Club. In 1863, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, was the first Royal Captain, followed in 1876 by his brother Prince Leopold. King Edward VIII was an ardent golfer and in 1922 became Captain of the Club, being followed by his brother, later King George VI. In 1937, the Duke of Kent became Captain and was followed in 2004 by Prince Andrew, the present Duke of Kent. www.theamericanhour.com
Gleneagles Pro in action
The almost legendry ‘Old Tom Morris’ laid out the original course, and many others too. St Andrews boasts eight courses including the famous ‘Old Course’, right in front of the imposing Club House. Right now they are gearing up for the Open Championship taking place from 16-19th July this year. The British Golf Museum, just across the road, has been totally refurbished in time for this important event. Moving north, across the River Tay and to the east of Dundee, is the famous Carnoustie Golf Club, constituted in 1842. Members of Carnoustie are proud of having helped to develop golf in fourteen countries around the world. Like so many Scottish courses, it is sited right on the coast. In fine weather the views are inspiring, although there are times when the weather off the North Sea is ‘challenging’, but that brings out a real golfers’ skill! Further to the north, past Aberdeen, is the much publicised Trump Golf Links, also right on the North Sea Coast, and offering a testing course through the sand dunes. Another Trump enterprise is the famous Turnberry Club on Scotland’s south-west coast in Ayrshire. This resort complex is situated next to an old lighthouse on the Forth of Clyde, with a stunning vista across the sea to Ailsa Craig, the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre – as well as
Pitfirrane’s 15th century Club House
the coast of Northern Ireland, on a good day. In Central Scotland, between Stirling and Perth, there is a scenic way through the Ochil Hills called “Glen Eagles”. Way back in 1910, the General Manager of the Caledonian Railway Company was so impressed by the site that he decided to build a Grand Hotel where his “rail guests will travel on our trains, stay in our hotel, to play golf on our courses.”While the Hotel was being built, the great James Braid designed and built the King’s and Queen’s Courses utilising the natural complexities of the ground to make a fascinating challenge for the players. The First World War delayed completion but both courses were opened in 1919 and Gleneagles flourished until 1939 when the hotel became a military hospital. Since the end of World War II major changes have taken place, and Gleneagles, was the venue for the Ryder Cup in 2014. The PGA Golf Academy is now established at Gleneagles, and the addition of a top-ranking restaurant, conference facilities and a luxurious spa have expanded the hotel’s appeal, but it is the range of sporting and other leisure activities that is mind-boggling: equestrian school, falconry, fishing, shooting and gun-dog school, archery, wildlife photography, cycling, off-road driving, and even indoor tennis! Beat that for entertainment! www.americaninbritain.co.uk
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American In Britain
The American International Church
THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL CHURCH Revd. John A. D’Elia, Senior Minister Of The American International Church I moved to the UK in 2006 to become the senior pastor of a church in central London. It’s been an amazing journey for us - so much has changed in the time since we arrived. Tony Blair was still the Prime Minister here, and the iPhone hadn’t been released yet. That’s right, there weren’t any smartphones when we moved to London…how did we ever survive? Even the name of our church is different. The American Church in London served the American expatriate community in the years after WWII; as waves of corporate employees and diplomats came to the UK to work, many of them joined our church, and it thrived. Military personnel gave way to oil executives, and they in turn moved on to be replaced by the financial services sector. But along the way something else happened: people from countries all over the world started attending the church. Some had come to faith in their home countries through the work of American missionaries, while others were drawn to our informal style and easy friendships. For whatever reason, a few years ago we realised that more than 30 countries could be represented in our worship services on any Sunday. After a period of reflection and prayer, we changed the name to The American International Church, a name which is a much better reflection of our identity and mission. See what I mean? A lot has changed over these last nine years. I say all this (and there’s a lot more I could say) because there is more change coming. Our family is moving back to California this summer, and I’ll be taking up a new post with Opportunity International, an NGO that provides micro-loans in developing countries. We will miss London and our life here so much! We have loved the culture and met so many amazing people. It has been my privilege to lead the American Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral each year, and I’ve preached in that service five times. Along the way I’ve gotten to know three US Ambassadors, met the Queen and the Prince of Wales, and spoken at two Parliamentary gatherings. But every now and then something has happened to keep me grounded. Last year www.theamericanhour.com
it was my honour to speak about my career path for a group of middle school students at the American School here. I talked about my two careers, one in ministry and the other as a fund raiser for various charities. I thought it had gone pretty well. A week or so later I received a packet of thank you notes from the students. Most of them mentioned the impact that charitable organisations have on the world, and I was feeling pretty successful, that is until I read the last note.
“The American Church in London served the American expatriate community in the years after WWII; as waves of corporate employees and diplomats came to the UK” “I want to thank you,” the 13-year-old student began,“for coming today and showing me that you don’t need to be talented to have an impact on the world.” Wait, what? I read it over and over, and in the end I made a copy and taped it near my desk. Whenever I get a little full of myself, I glance over to that note from a middle school kid and I remember that this amazing role I’ve had here isn’t really about me at all. For almost nine years I have talked and written about the power of God and what that power can do in the lives of people who are willing to let it in. God isn’t nearly as interested in my degrees or abilities or special
skills - he’s not nearly as concerned about those things as he is about my willingness to serve his people in his name. The same is true for everyone. The Apostle Paul wrote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And while I generally doubt that I can do all things very often (or well), it’s a reminder that the good things that come out of our lives and actions happen more often when we let God work through us. Every person of faith is called to allow the attributes of God love, grace, compassion and sacrifice to get out of the way so that the personality of God can add seasoning to whatever makes us unique persons. It’s less about losing ourselves and more about finding the way we were meant to live and to serve from the beginning. As I prepare to leave London and return to my hometown in California, I’m struck by how much has changed - how much I’ve changed during my time here. Especially for those of us who make up the expat community, but in the midst of all that change, my prayer is that each of us might make room in our lives for God to live through us. May that be so in your life and in mine. This is goodbye for now, but I hope that we’ll see each other again some time. May God bless you and keep you until then. Rev. John D’Elia www.americaninbritain.co.uk
American In Britain
Hallway at Strawberry Hill, Photographer: Kilian Oâ€™Sullivan
Arts & Antiques
ARTS & ANTIQUES
Strawberry Hill: Horace Walpole’s ‘Plaything House’ By Lisa Daniels
Strawberry Hill is a little Gothic castle nestled serenely in a green meadow just a short stroll from the banks of the River Thames in Twickenham. This unique home has witnessed almost 300 years of history and its halls and rooms still echo the eccentric taste of its most important inhabitant, Horace Walpole (1717-1797). Horace was the son of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, and a gentleman of many talents: a renowned antiquarian, politician, writer, historian, social commentator and collector. Born in London, Walpole spent much of his adult life living at Strawberry Hill, his summer villa. From 1748 to 1790, Walpole rebuilt, altered and added to the house, increasing its original 5 acres to 46 and significantly expanding the number of rooms. The result was one of the finest and earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Walpole based the designs for his home on aspects of various Gothic buildings, but took liberties with the original Gothic style in order to suit his needs and desires. He wrote of his home, ‘It was built to please my own taste, and in sole degree to realise my own vision. ’The purely decorative Gothic style created by Walpole became known as ‘Strawberry Hill Gothic’. Walpole’s passion for collecting art and objects of historical significance started at an early age. In his early twenties he spent two years in Italy and France on the Grand Tour. To document his travels he acquired souvenirs and brought home a collection of carved ivory heads representing classical and biblical figures. Upon his return, Walpole had a hanging cabinet made to display the ivories.i This cabinet would be the start of his life-long passion for preserving and displaying objects of art. Walpole created Strawberry Hill to not only serve as his home, but also as a museum to house his everexpanding collection. He opened the house to the public, and visitors were allowed to see the rooms by ticketed entry. The collection on display included items dating from ancient to modern times, with pieces ranging from curiosities and antiques, to works of fine and decorative art. Visitors could find Old Masters paintings, drawings, sculptures, coins, silver, ceramics, furniture, written journals and portrait miniatures. Given Walpole’s particular interest in British history, many of his items focused on English kings and royal marriages. Two of Walpole’s favourite items to collect were ceramics and portrait miniatures. He devoted much of his collecting efforts to acquiring substantial examples of both. This pursuit resulted in the largest and most versatile collections of these two mediums in England at the time. These exceptional collections were www.theamericanhour.com
only two of his many accomplishments. A set of engraver’s notebooks in his collection inspired him to write Anecdotes of Painting in England, a four-volume set published by his own publishing house, Strawberry Hill Press, between 1762 and 1780. This set became the first published history of English art and Walpole’s inclusion of in-depth information on portrait miniatures established these tiny likenesses as a legitimate art form for the first time. Walpole’s love of art was not limited to the historical. He also valued modern art, particularly that of women artists. At a time when women were largely ignored by institutions such as the Royal Academy, Walpole promoted them by collecting, displaying and writing about their work. Two of his favourites were his cousin, the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer, and the painter and illustrator, Lady Diana Beauclerc. ‘Lady Di’, as Walpole sometimes referred to her in his writings, produced a set of drawings to illustrate Walpole’s play The Mysterious Mother (1768). Walpole displayed these drawings, along with other examples of Beauclerc’s work, in a purposebuilt closet and cabinet at Strawberry Hill. ii In order to organise and document the multitude of items in his collection (which numbered more than 4,000), Walpole wrote his own catalogue entitled A Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole, which was published in 1774 by Strawberry Hill Press. The catalogue was then updated and republished in a second edition in 1784.iii Walpole also created a list of Principal Curiosities, which highlighted what he thought were the best pieces in his collection. He included in this his personal opinions and historical information about the objects. It is evident from his writings that his information was not always accurate, but the documentation of objects such as the recording of provenance or where an item was displayed within Strawberry Hill was paramount to Walpole. Upon Walpole’s death in 1797, his magnificent home and the objects within it passed to extended family members, each leaving their mark on the villa by updating its décor, but without making significant alterations to its structure. In 1842, the contents of Strawberry Hill were sold in a highly publicised auction known as the ‘Great Sale’. Advertisements for the auction claimed that the sale would include ‘…the most beautiful specimens of every known manufacture throughout the whole civilised word.’ iv The sale lasted 32 days and was so popular that a temporary auction room had to be constructed on the grounds of Strawberry Hill in order to accommodate the number of attendees. At the end of the sale,
Horace Walpole by John Giles Eccardt, 1754
Strawberry Hill exterior, Photographer: Kilian O’Sullivan
Gallery at Strawberry Hill by Edward Edwards, 1781
Detail of fireplace and wallpaper in Walpole’s bedchamber, Photographer: Kilian O’Sullivan www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Walpole’s vast collection had been scattered amongst collectors, museums, libraries and dealers across the globe. Strawberry Hill underwent an extensive twoyear restoration in 2008, reopening to the public in October 2010. A second wave of restoration brought five more rooms to life in March 2015. Work on these rooms began in 2013, with the goal to authentically reproduce the decoration and architectural elements found at Strawberry Hill during the first half of the 18th century. Traditional methods were used to recreate natural pigment paints and wood-block printed wallpapers, sensitively recreating the colours and patterns of Walpole’s day. The newly restored rooms were once Walpole’s private spaces: his private apartment which includes his Bedchamber, the Plaid Bedchamber and Dressing Room, and his Breakfast Room, Green Closet and the Red Bedchamber, which served as a bedroom for his guests. A project is currently underway by the Strawberry Hill Trustees to locate and return as much of Walpole’s original collection to the house as possible. While the permanent return of items is an ongoing mission, the Trustees are planning a major loan exhibition for the
summer of 2017 (the tercentenary of Walpole’s birth), when several of Walpole’s treasures will be reunited in their original home. Strawberry Hill Restored will bring together masterpieces from both public and private collections, including works held by the Lewis Walpole Library, a department of Yale University Library, located in Farmington, Connecticut, USA. The library holds several of Walpole’s original items and has developed an extensive online database of his collection (www.library.yale. edu/walpole). Long before the institution of the ‘museum’ became commonplace, Walpole recognised the value of collecting and preserving art and architecture and the importance of safeguarding their history for future generations. He found enjoyment in acquiring items he felt were beautiful and historically significant. His willingness to share these treasures with others resulted in a home that was part dwelling, part study in architecture and part museum. Although the rooms on view today at Strawberry Hill are predominantly empty of furnishings and art, visitors are able to walk in Walpole’s footsteps, admiring the architectural elements and interiors of his extraordinary Gothic villa.
Strawberry Hill, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4ST www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk House open 1 March – 1 November and 5 – 13 December 2015 Gardens open 5 January – 13 December 2015 All images courtesy of Strawberry Hill i Known as the ‘The Walpole Cabinet’, this piece is now part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection. “The Walpole Cabinet”, www.vam. ac.uk/content/articles/w/walpole-cabinet/ ii Roman, Cynthia, “The Art of Lady Diane Beauclerk” in Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, Michael Snodin, ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University, 2009), 155-159 iii For further information on A Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, see Clarke, Stephen, “A Description of… Strawberry Hill” in Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, Michael Snodin, ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University, 2009), 18-31 iv Clarke, Stephen,“The Strawberry Hill Sale of 1842” in Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, Michael Snodin, ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University, 2009), 263 Get in touch. Contact: Lisa Daniels Email: firstname.lastname@example.org View into Red Bedchamber, Photographer: Kilian O’Sullivan
American In Britain
USEFUL NUMBERS EDUCATION - Schools
ACS International Schools Heywood, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL Telephone: 01932 869721 Email: email@example.com Website: www.acs-england.co.uk Contact: Fergus Rose Three superb locations close to London, ACS provides a stable environment, high educational standards and a happy social life for relocated youngsters. American SAT/ACT Tuition 207 Regent Street, 3rd Floor London W1B 3HH Contact: Elizabeth von Nardroff Email: Elizabeth@AmericanSATtuition.com Telephone +44 (0)20 7692 0766 Website: www.AmericanSATtuition.com Twitter: @elivonna American SAT/ACT Tuition is a small, independent company based in the London, UK area. Our focus is on the needs of American, British and International students applying to US Colleges/Universities or Prep Schools. We offer SAT/ACT/PSAT/SSAT advice, tutoring and bespoke online courses, as well as help with applications, admissions advice, and interview technique coaching. Our specialists are knowledgeable, experienced, and we love what we do! Plus we’ve shown results - past students now attend Yale, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, and other top US Universities. DWIGHT SCHOOL LONDON 6 Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Contact: Alison Miley Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: + 44(0)20 8920 0600 Website: www.dwightlondon.org Twitter: @DwightSchoolUK Dwight School London, formerly known as The North London International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and is one of the first schools in the UK to offer the full IB Programme. EIFA 36 Portland Place, London W1B 1LS Contact: Sabine Dehon, Head of School Email: email@example.com Telephone: 020 7637 5351 Website: www.ecole-ifa.com Located in London’s prestigious Marylebone, EIFA is an independent, co-educational school offering international and bilingual education for children aged 3 to 18. EIFA will be the first school in the UK to offer the subjects of the IB Diploma Programme half in French and in English. ISL Group of Schools ISL Surrey Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY Contact: Claudine Hakim Telephone: +44 (0)1483 750 409 www.theamericanhour.com
ISL London 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Contact: Yoel Gordon Telephone: +44 (0)20 8992 5823 ISL Qatar PO Box 18511, North Duhail, Qatar Contact: Nivin El Aawar Telephone: +974 4433 8600 Website: www.islschools.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The International School of London (ISL) Group has schools in London, Surrey, and Qatar. The internationally recognised primary and secondary curricula have embedded language programmes (mother tongue, English as an Additional Language, and second language) which continue throughout the student’s stay in the school. A team of experienced and qualified teachers and administrators provides every student with the opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that respects diversity and promotes identity, understanding, and a passion for learning. TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: email@example.com Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic program, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualised attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.
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DT MOVING 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393
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EMBASSY CORNER The IRS office at the US Embassy London will permanently close by September 2015. Until that date, we will offer limited walk-in services. However, we are no longer able to accept or process IRS forms and tax correspondence received by mail. Our office has been proud to serve the international community and we wish the best for everyone in the future. Please check our website for up to date information. www.london.usembassy.gov/irs/index.html. In our absence, taxpayers will still have a wealth of resources available to address IRS-related queries. The IRS website contains a wide variety of topics, including information for international and military taxpayers at www.irs.gov.
Forms All forms and publications can be downloaded from the IRS website. If you would like to receive forms by US mail, you can order them at www.irs.gov/uac/Forms-and-Publicationsby-U.S.-Mail or www.irs.gov/uac/FreeFiles:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free.
Due Dates US citizens, resident aliens and green card holders are required to report worldwide income, regardless of where they live.Tax returns are due on April 15th. If you reside overseas there is a two month grace period to June 15th to file your return. However, any tax due must be paid by April 15th to avoid penalties and interest. If you are filing from abroad, write “Taxpayer Resident Abroad” across the top of your return. To request an extension to October 15th, file form 4868 by June 15th.
Where To File If requesting a refund or zero balance: Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Austin, TX 73301-0215
If enclosing a payment with your return: Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 1303 Charlotte, NC 28201-1303 These addresses are for individual tax returns. For all other forms, check the instructions. Cheques must be in US dollars and made out to “United States Treasury,”
Foreign Bank Accounts The electronic filing of FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), is mandatory for all American citizens and resident aliens who have a financial interest or authority over a non-US bank account and/ or other financial account(s), with an aggregate value in excess of $10,000 at any time during the year. http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov.
Itin (International Taxpayer Identification Number) An ITIN is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security Number, but are involved in a potentially taxable event in the United States. ITIN applications should include: Form W-7, a passport or other identity documents (must be certified by the London Embassy notary: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/ acs/scs/notary.html, and either a tax return OR other documentation supporting your need for an ITIN.
Taxpayer Service Line Philadelphia International Customer Service, Monday-Friday, 6:00am-11:00pm, EST Phone: 001-267-941-1000 Fax: 001-267-941-1055 Taxpayer Advocate: Fill in form 911 or call 1-877-777-4778 (international branch).
American Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE www.london.usembasy.gov Switchboard: (020) 7499-9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American Holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, everyday for a life-or-death emergency involving a US citizen. Passports: 8:30-11:00am Monday-Friday and 2:00-4:00pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. IRS: 9:00am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Notary Services: By appointment only http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/notary.html Federal Benefits Unit: 8:30am-1:00pm Monday-Friday Travel Advisories: www.travel.state.gov 56
American In Britain
American In Britain
Published on Jun 30, 2015
Published on Jun 30, 2015
The Summer 2015 issue features theatre reviews of Alice’s Adventures Underground, Billy Elliot The Musical and High Society at The Old Vic;...