Serving the American Community in the UK
THIS ISSUE’S FEATURES INCLUDE: Travel • Tax Issues • Eating Out • Wealth Management A Letter From Scotland • Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News Open Top Tours • Arts & Antiques • Legal Issues • Take Five Hotel Review • Embassy Corner • UK Sports • Reader’s Lives
American In Britain
3 Eating Out 7 Theatre 10 Travel
12 Hotel Review 14 Settling Into The UK 16 Wealth Management 18 Tax Issues 20 Legal Issues 22 American Eye 24 UK Sports
26 Education 28 A Letter From Scotland 30 Reader’s Lives 32 Take Five 36 Open Top Tours 38 Women’s Clubs
44 Arts & Antiques IBC Embassy Corner
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President Obama meets with UK Prime Minister Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street during President Obama’s visit to the United Kingdom, April 2016. Image by US Embassy London.
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Schpoons & Forx Terrace Road, Bournemouth BH2 5EL Telephone: 01202 200188
When I was a few years younger I spent quite a lot of time in Bournemouth for work, and so it was quite nostalgic for me when we entered the Triangle in the centre of Bournemouth having left London only a couple of hours beforehand. Bournemouth is so underated, as it is a vibrant and cosmopolitan town, boasting 7 miles of golden sand sandwiched between the dramatic Jurassic Dorset coast and the tranquillity of the New Forest, but when I was there years ago what it lacked to entertain its cosmopolitan residents was a quality restaurant or two, but that might have changed with the advent of the new Hilton Hotel and its partnership with Matt Tebbutt in creating Schpoons and Forx. I am usually not a fan of a restaurant whose name advises me of what utensils to use whilst eating!, but in this case I will make an exception, as this is better than its name, but before picking up your “schpoon and forx” you really need to visit another of the new Hilton’s offerings, their stunning sky bar Level8ight, located on the top floor. Level8ight is a sky bar with wall to wall stunning views of Bournemouth on one side, and on the other side the bay, and sandwiched between them is a centrepiece bar, chandelier style lighting and an eclectic mix of velvet and leather chairs. This, I suspect from the queues for the lift to take you up there, is the place to go in Bournemouth at the moment, and I can see why. The feel is of a smart London hotel (until you look out of the window) and as we were there on a Saturday night the place was packed and had the marvellous buzz that a place full of happy people has. Despite this, the service was swift and the waitress/waiter were helpful in www.theamericanhour.com
suggesting drinks from the extensive cocktail menu, like a Samphire and Sea Lavender Martini (£8.95), blending the slightly salty samphire infused gin with the smooth egg whites or a Pine a Colada (£8.95) taking Koko Kanu, Havana Club 3 años, Coco Lopez, lime juice & pineapple juice and topping them off with a pine liqueur and sea air foam. What could be better than watching the sun set over Bournemouth bay whilst sipping your chosen tipple? If you love Tapas then you can stay with the view, but I fancied something more substantial, so it was a trip back down in the lift to Schpoons & Forx (S&F). A mixture of tables, high benches
and booths encircle a large open plan kitchen which allows the diner to not only taste the food but see how it is prepared, which is refreshing and shows you the care the chefs take in making your experience special. To start our meal we selected Bagna Cauda and Smoked Aubergine Puree and crackers (both £4) from the pre-starter section. The stand out dish for me was the Bagna Cauda, a speciality of Piedmont in Italy, which allowed us to scoop up the rich and warm dip perfectly flavoured with garlic and anchovies with a wide variety of fresh crunchy vegetables - a real treat to the taste buds, and unfortunately not a common offering at restaurants. When menus are extensive I always find difficulty making a decision, as I choose something, and then as I read on I change my mind again and again as I see different dishes, and the same happened here with the starters. After a period of discussion with my wife we selected the Slow Cooked Pigs Cheeks in parsley, garlic, melted onions and green chilli (£9.50), and the Beer Battered Monkfish “Scampi”, smoked paprika and aioli (£8.90). My pigs cheeks were served in a small roasting dish nestling on a bed of soft polenta and were ‘melt in the mouth’ delicious, whereas the Monkfish Scampi combined the slightly sweet taste and dense texture of the Monkfish with a light batter perfectly. The difficulties in choosing continued into the mains where there was a dazzling choice of fish and meat dishes, many using the kitchen’s tandoor oven. My wife chose the Smoked Haddock Risotto, mascarpone and soft herbs (£16.90 for a main portion and £9.50 for a starter size), and I chose the 400g Tandoor Roasted Rib Steak with watercress and duck fat scraps (£33), as I wanted to see whether a steak cooked this way lost its flavour, and if it could be served medium rare as I love having it. The www.americaninbritain.co.uk
chunks of flaky haddock nestled contentedly in the rich and creamy rice and the beef answered all of my questions/concerns around cooking it in a Tandoor, as the intense heat had left the outside crispy whilst leaving the inside moist and slightly pink as it should be. Additional choices on the menu include duck with a puy lentils salad (£19.60) chicken breast with sated wild mushrooms (£15.50) and Cornish Hake with asparagus and wild garlic (£18), so as a person who can’t make a choice it was very difficult to choose! After a break to allow us to savour our lovely Casa Albali Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc at a very reasonable £19 a bottle, we were able to turn our attention back to the desserts, and the third difficult decision of the meal. Desserts are all £7.50, and after flirting with a locally made “Chococo” Chocolate and “Liberty Fields” Apple Aperitif or a Banana Tart, we plumped for the Dorset Apple Cake, clotted cream ice cream, and the Fresh Pineapple, Passionfruit and Lime Pavlova with vanilla mascarpone. The Dorset Apple Cake was rich and packed with apple, well-seasoned with cinnamon, offset by the light ice cream. The pavlova was equally light, and the slivers of pineapple and passion fruit refreshing, and a perfect ending to the meal. Bournemouth is so underrated as a place to visit, and not only has a fabulous beach and attractions, it also now has a great hotel, skybar and restaurant to visit. My advice is to look past the name and instead focus on the fact that this restaurant serves good food in a relaxed and welcoming environment, and is well worth a visit.
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Kings Place, 90 York Way, Kings Cross, London N1 9AG Telephone: 020 7014 2840 The Kings Cross area over the last few years has undergone a significant overhaul with considerable development around the two stations, and with the arrival of the Eurostar has turned the run down areas into up-to-date trendy developments. These new developments sit side by side by some of London’s more closely guarded secrets, one of these being the Regents Canal, which snakes its way across London providing a peaceful haven often hidden by the surrounding buildings. Today it is well-loved by boaters, walkers and cyclists all looking to escape the capital’s busy streets, and it provides a number of marvellous locations for restaurants and bars, and Rotunda has picked one of the best. Nestling below an ultramodern art gallery and office block, Rotunda overlooks the tranquil canal and one of a number of canal basins full of colourful narrow boats, and has a bustling bar, private rooms and a circular dining room, as well as a lovely outside area for when the sun shines. The décor in the restaurant is smart and functional and the tables are arranged so the maximum number of people get the view out onto the canal, but when the weather permits it is best to relax on the waterside terrace. This terrace spans the entire length of Rotunda on the edge of the Regent’s Canal, and this summer you can visit ‘The Waterside Garden’. Here Rotunda
has partnered with Champagne house PerrierJouët, local charity Global Generation, and sculpture gallery Pangolin London, to create a beautiful garden on their canal side terrace. Here you can grab a deck chair and with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne in hand, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the summer and watch the comings and goings on the canal. Rotunda has a wide range of starters and you can even enjoy a tapas combination of 5 dishes from the bites and nibbles selection (£21.95) if you feel hungry, but my eye was caught by a Chilled Pea Soup with Mint Crème Fraiche (£6.50) and my wife’s by the Pan Fried Scallops, wilted spinach, Champagne veloute and aruga caviar (£12.50). My soup was fresh and crisp with just enough mint to add to the flavour rather than overpower the fresh pea. The meaty scallops were cooked perfectly and were smothered with a rich and creamy champagne veloutè and a generous portion of caviar. What sets Rotunda apart from many is that it has its own farm in Northumberland where all
EATING OUT of the beef and lamb that they sell comes from. The animals are hand reared and hung for 32 days onsite, and butchered by their own butcher. Because the meat is hand reared and hung for so long, the meat is tender and less bloody, and they hold special events to taste the produce. Tempted by this my wife chose a medium rare Pan Seared Flat Iron Steak (£17.50) which was cut into lovely pinky strips and accompanied with a marinated Isle of Wight heritage tomato and watercress salad. I however, was tempted by the Pan Fried Scottish Salmon in Champagne cream sauce and seashore vegetables (£17.95) and was rewarded by moist salmon encased in a crisp skin all bathed in a rich creamy sauce, perfect in every way. To accompany our mains we opted for the truffle macaroni cheese for two (£6.95), and frankly I wished it was just for one, as the creamy cheddar and parmesan cheese sauce infused with just enough truffle oil, was truly special. Desserts are extensive and challenged us as we just couldn’t decide, but eventually we agreed to share the Chocolate and Banana Cake, Caramel, Pecans and Popcorn (£6.50) and the Tart of the Day, which was Banoffee, with Cornish clotted cream (£5.95). The tastes and mix of textures were varied and rounded off a good meal. The wine list here will cater for all tastes, and satisfies those looking for an accompaniment to their meal or those having a drink after work, and start from £19.50, which is almost as refreshing as the wine itself! Rotunda is the perfect place to relax after a busy day, and whether you just want a refined drink or a meal, Rotunda caters for you perfectly, and I can’t wait for the better weather to use the terrace and enjoy again this little oasis right in the heart of London.
9 Belvedere Road, Southbank, London SE1 8YP Telephone: 020 7202 8470 When you ask people to name a famous chef or a famous restaurant, one on the tip of everyone’s tongue would be Raymond Blanc and his 2 Michelin Starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Raymond is unique in that he is an entirely self taught chef, but he has taught or employed some of the best, including Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White, and he has created many fabulous tastes and food combinations. The first of the Brasserie Blancs was opened in Oxford in 1996 and was initially named Le Petit Blanc, but in 2003 this, and the other three in the growing chain, became part of the Loch Fyne Restaurant group, but Raymond still maintains a share in the business and continues to be involved in creating new menus and developing the chef and kitchen teams. This enables the French philosophy of “good food being central to good living” to be maintained, and to keep providing food that can be enjoyed by everyone – “from the timeconscious business person to those looking for a welcoming family restaurant”. The chain has gone from strength to strength and is now in a number of locations, but that attention to detail and pride in the food that Raymond initiated remains in every location. My wife and I visited one of the newer restaurant’s situated a mere stone’s throw from Waterloo Station, the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall and all of the cultural attractions of the Southbank. The restaurant boasts a lovely little terrace at the front which caters equally well for patrons who want to enjoy a few drinks prior to dining, or for those workers who fancy a few drinks to unwind after a hard day at the office before making their way home from Waterloo. Once you have enjoyed your drink you descend into the restaurant which has a lovely buzz of people enjoying themselves in a relaxed but professional atmosphere. Although
underground, the décor and lighting gives the feeling that there is more space than there actually is, and a warmth that helps you to feel as if you were in a Parisian brasserie. The menu is simple but caters for every taste, and follows the simple mantra that customers will return again and again if the food is flavoursome, caters for everyone in your party, and is keenly priced. The entreès are split between the classiques which remain on the menu regardless of the time of year, and the seasonal offerings. My wife chose one of her favourite dishes, the cheese Souflèe (£7.50) with a mature cheddar sauce, and was rewarded with a warm smooth gooey cheesy centre once she broke through the crispy outer layer, and I was torn between the Mediterranean Fish Soup (£7.90), and the Potted Cromer Crab (£9.50), but was pleased I chose the Crab, as the clean crab was perfectly supported by the fresh avocado, shallot and coriander guacamole and some toasted pain de campagne. The selection for the main course, or Plats as we are at a brasserie, is extensive, and for me that is a problem, because as you know, I have difficulty in deciding (!), but for parties it is perfect as there is something for everyone. As with most Brasseries there is the mandatory Steak Frites (£19.90) with a 9oz Cornish Rump Steak, French fries and ‘Café de Paris’ herb and mustard butter, but as it was a typical English spring day (i.e. cold!) I plumped for a Boeuf Bourguignon (£18.50) and my wife a Boeuf Stroganoff (£14.50). The Bourguignon was hale and hearty and almost rustic, with meaty and tender beef sitting proudly on light and creamy mash, all topped with a rich red wine sauce and large lardons and baby onions, an absolute delight on a cold day. The stroganoff also boasted tender beef but here it was bathing in a slightly tangy creamy sauce, all on top of fluffy rice and again a real treat. After a short break just to allow our first two courses to go down, and to enjoy a few sips of our lovely South African Chenin Blanc (£19.95), we turned our attention to the desserts. The Baked Alaska flambèed with Cointreau (£13 for www.americaninbritain.co.uk
2 people) tempted us, but my wife remembered the lovely souflèe starter and opted for the Pistachio Souflèe (£7.50) which was equally as good as the first, and I went for the Chocolate & Almond Torte (with Vanilla ice cream and crème Anglaise (£6.50). This had everything I love in a chocolate dessert, as the melting rich molton chocolate taste burst onto my tongue, and was offset by the creamy vanilla ice cream and the light Crème Anglaise. Because of its location, Brasserie Blanc has many pre-theatre offerings, but this is more than just a stop off before the theatre. It is a welcoming family restaurant which will appeal to all ages and tastes.
Level 23, 225 Edgware Road, London W2 1JU Telephone: 020 8088 0111 London is full of great restaurants, so to stand out and survive in this cut throat world you need something different, and Kojawan does that in spades. It is a lovely breath of fresh air just near to Edgware Road tube station, and not only is its differentiator the fusion of Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese food (yes its letters from each that gives the restaurant its name), but the other is its use of manga sci-fi décor and amazing views looking out over London. Kojawan is a marvelous mix of exceptions that probably shouldn’t work if you looked at them on paper, but chefs Omar Romero (formerly of Rhodes Twenty Four) and Bjorn van der Horst (The Greenhouse) have managed to take a number of eclectic ideas and styles and have married them together into a memorable experience which you really need to experience at least once. Your first anomaly hits you when you leave the tube and after 100 yards enter the ultracorporate lobby of the Hilton Metropole. This is just about the furthest environment away from where you would expect a quirky Asian Fusion restaurant, but just as you think you are in the wrong place you spot a set of footprints leading across the foyer to a set of lifts that will take you to the 23rd floor where Kojawan awaits. As you leave the lifts a spiral staircase stretches away from you leading up to Kojawan, a seductively cool 21st century izakaya, (a Japanese gastropub) which as it’s on the 23rd floor has an amazing view of London stretching out as far as you can see. With each step you take up the stairs you are one step closer to a unique experience where hi-tech futuristic décor reigns. Modish furnishings, manga graphics, wall tv’s showing bespoke manga videos and multiple artwork gives a seductive futuristic look which is unique, as far as I know, in London. Once seated the next anomaly hits you in the form of the menu. I am fairly accustomed to reading menus, but this one was not an ordinary one (I was beginning to see a trend here about being different!) as the order of things and dishes are mixed up. Having had some translation of the menu from the extremely helpful staff we started with the Booze Food section, picking the Sesame Crackers with a pork mince dip (£4) and 6
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Spicy Crab Dumplings, chilli and ginger dip (£9). The crackers were crisp and were accompanied by a lovely rich meaty sauce, and the light tangy crab was encased in a light batter, a perfect start to the meal. Looking again through the maze that is the menu, we came across the To Start or To Share section, and selected a Prawn Cocktail, Avocado, Seaweed and Toasted Brioche (£13), and the Stone Bass Poke, Shiso, Jalapeno and Sake (£13) which came with sticky rice. I love restaurants that stimulate all of your senses, and Kojawan does just that, with the meaty prawns sitting on a bed of cool and fresh avocado and textured seaweed in a V shaped bowl standing proudly on ice. After this we turned our attention to the Charcoal Oven section and plumped for a generous offering of Charred Octopus bathing in a smoky red pepper oil (£14), which was taken to a new level with a dash of lemon. Our other selection was the Sticky Pork Belly with Jalapeno Ponzu (£15) which matched the sweet soft melting pork with a zing from the Jalapenos. Portions are generous so it was with increasing trepidation that we were presented with our main courses which for me was Fat Noodles (£15), which was an Asian twist on Spaghetti Vongole, with an abundance of clams
and parmesan and Bonito dry fish flakes that appear to dance under the influence of the heat from the dish (worth choosing just to see what I am describing as it was incredible and had my wife fascinated!). My wife chose the Pork-Green Onion “Egg Cake” with Parmesan Cream and Iberico Ham Flakes (£15) which was a lovely example of a Japanese savory pancake. Dessert or the Sweet Spot in Kojawan speak, were truly marvellous, and finished off a memorable evening, and I am sure that other choices are good, but the PanTako (£9) and Slushy Bubble Tea (£7), are a must. The Pantako is a fluffy light pancake crammed with White Chocolate and Berries and the sharpness of the fruit competed bravely with the smooth creaminess of the chocolate, whilst the Slushy Bubble Tea was a slushy with a difference. The difference was rather than artificial colourings providing the taste here, strawberries swam in the freshest crispest mango flavoured ice you could wish for. London is a wonderful mix of races, religions and identities, and for the first time I have visited a restaurant which mirrors this diverse and vibrant city, by marrying styles and tastes effortlessly, and all with a truly breathtaking view. What more could you ask for?
Guys and Dolls. Photo by Johan Persson
Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker
Guys and Dolls at the Phoenix Theatre Guys and Dolls is a treasure in the world of musical theatre: the gorgeous and memorable songs by Frank Loesser and the brilliant book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, from a short story by Damon Runyon, all add up to a recipe for the perfect musical. Add to that choreography by the great ballet dancer Carlos Acosta for this production, winning performances from Richard Kind, Samantha Spiro, Oliver Tompsett and Siubhan Harrison, and you get a guaranteed hit. For anyone who has never seen Guys and Dolls, it’s a simple story of loveable rogues and ruffians set in the seedy Times Square of 1950’s New York. Gambler Nathan Detroit can’t find anywhere to hold his “Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York” and in order to find the money to rent from a crooked garage owner, he bets his friend, Sky Masterson, that he can’t take Sarah Brown, a Salvation Army sergeant, to Havana. Meanwhile, Miss Adelaide, Nathan’s fiancée of fourteen years and star performer in the Hot Box Club, despairs that she will never be married and is actually ill from his lack of commitment: “In other words/ Just from waiting around for that plain little band of gold/ A person can develop a cold.” When police Lieutenant Brannigan becomes suspicious at a gathering of known gamblers, including the scary Big Jule from Chicago, they declare it is a surprise bachelor’s party for Nathan much to Miss Adelaide’s delight. www.theamericanhour.com
Sarah, finding herself seduced by the charms of the handsome Sky, agrees to go to Havana with him only if he will deliver “one dozen genuine sinners” to her failing Save-ASoul mission, to prevent it being shut down by the commanding General Cartwright. When Sarah has a few too many “Cuban milkshakes”, her true feelings for Sky emerge and they both declare themselves in love. All seems well until they return to New York and catch Nathan and his gambling buddies quickly escaping the mission. Sarah believes that Sky got her out of the way, just for the crap game, despite his protestations. Will true love win out? Will Miss Adelaide ever get her wedding? Will the Save-a-Soul Mission be saved? Of course, that’s why this is one of the best-loved musicals in the world. Although I have previously seen two other productions of Guys and Dolls, one on Broadway with Nathan Lane, Faith Prince and Peter Gallagher, as well as the 2005 West End production with Ewan McGregor, Douglas Hodge and Jane Krakowski, this version, skillfully directed by Gordon Greenberg, is easily the funniest. The laughs come, of course, from the lyrics, such as Adelaide’s Lament beautifully performed by Samantha Spiro:“You can feed her all day with the vitamin A and the bromofizz/But the medicine never gets anywhere near where the trouble is./If she’s getting a kind of name for herself, and the name ain’t his/A person can develop a cough.”I heard lines of dialogue that I’d never noticed before, a tribute to the director and actors, with their expert comic timing, especially
from Miss Spiro and Richard Kind, who make a charming and believable couple: “I like it when you forget to give me presents. It makes me feel like we’re married!” states Miss Adelaide. Kind has so much expression on his face and in every movement, that he never misses a moment to squeeze even more comedy out the play. There is humour too in the choreography, as when Sarah stumbles about after too many cocktails and shows that she actually can’t dance- it’s truthful and very sweet. The dance numbers are all a complete joy to watch, they are classy and athletic, just like Mr Acosta, but never feel too balletic. With co-choreographer Andrew Wright, he has a real feel for the period and impresses especially in the nightclub scene in Havana and The Crapshooters Dance, set in the sewers. The fantastic set and costumes, designed by Peter McKintosh, lend an aura of colourful glamour and fun to every scene. Aside from wonderful performances by Samantha Spiro and American actor, Richard Kind, probably best known to Americans for his work in sitcoms Mad About You and Spin City, and a versatile, fine actor, praise must also go to Oliver Tompsett, who believably plays the attractive Sky as a gangster with a heart. His scenes with Miss Harrison as Adelaide hit just the right note as he shows confusion at actually falling in love with someone so different from himself, especially in the lovely number “I’ve Never Been in Love Before”. Siubhan Harrison makes a feisty yet vulnerable Sarah, a complicated character who wants to do what is www.americaninbritain.co.uk
morally right, but also is drawn to the alluring Sky and his shifty friends. Mention must be made of the outstanding performance by Gavin Spokes as Nicely-Nicely. He has the finest voice of the cast, which he shows off to his advantage in Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat. He is beautifully balanced by Jason Pennycooke as Benny Southstreet, his partner in crime and half his size. This is a sparkling, fast-paced, happy production with an excellent cast. I guarantee you will still be singing one or other of its memorable tunes all the way home and probably into the next week. Box office: 0843 316 1070
The cast of Show Boat. Photo by Johan Persson.
Show Boat at the New London Theatre Show Boat, written in 1927, was unusual for its time, with its combination of operetta and show tunes by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, comedy and tragedy, and a cast of both black and white actors. Based on a popular novel by Edna Ferber, it was not an obvious choice for a musical, with a story of racial prejudice and segregation, alcoholism and gambling. However, it was a huge success on Broadway, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld (of Ziegfeld Follies fame) and went on to be adapted into two Hollywood films. This slightly shorter version with a smaller ensemble was originally produced at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut in 2011. It is still a big musical spanning decades in the lives of the characters, with a lavish set, gorgeous songs and production numbers, and a moving story to boot. The Showboat of the title, The Cotton Blossom, sails the Mississippi River in the late 1800’s, navigating a racist South which has not long come out of the Civil War. The black labourers on the boat may be paid but they are still often treated like slaves, as Joe sings in the opening number Cotton Blossom, “Coloured folks work while the white folks play”. Director Daniel Evans highlights throughout this production the hardships of the black workers who are however, treated like family by not only Julie, star performer on the showboat, but also Magnolia, the daughter of the ship’s captain, Andy. When Julie defends her love for her husband Steve, a terrible actor, she sings to Magnolia “Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man”, which Queenie, the ship’s cook, recognises as a song only black people know. She soon hijacks it and it turns into an earthy song and dance number where the black workers all join in. Julie is suddenly exposed as being mixed race by Pete, a white labourer who is obsessed with her, in revenge for her spurning his advances. She and her white husband, Steve, are accused of miscegenation but he assures her that he can save them, as he lightly cuts their wrists and lets her blood drop into his wound. When the sheriff comes to arrest them, Steve declares he has black blood in him, a fact witnessed by all on the showboat. They still decide to leave, despite Andy and Magnolia’s protestations. Meanwhile, a handsome gambler, Gaylord, has 8
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appeared who has been romancing the innocent Magnolia. After the departure of Julie and Steve, Captain Andy pulls in Gaylord to play the lead male roles in the show, much to the chagrin of Frank, who is always stuck playing the villain. As he casts his daughter opposite Gaylord, despite disapprobation from her strict mother Parthy, love blossoms and they eventually marry. Gaylord is an adventurer who believes he can gamble his way to a fortune but when he brings Magnolia and their new baby Kim to Chicago, in Act 2, their life spirals into poverty and debt. An unexpected meeting with Frank and his wife Ellie May, who in Act 1 lamented that she was always typecast as the funny one in “Life upon the Wicked Stage”, saves Magnolia and turns her life around again. This production is a treat from start to finish. Filled with exquisite tunes sung by some of the finest voices in the West End, it also manages to be a social commentary and a history lesson. Although mixed race marriages are no longer a crime in the Deep South, the way the black workers are treated in the play as lesser beings still rings true today with recent campaigns for justice, equality and an end to racism in the States. Captain Andy is a jovial man who treats everyone on the showboat as part of one big happy family and, despite his wife’s clear prejudice against Julie, he loves her like a daughter. We also see two menacing backwoodsmen who want to come see the show carrying their guns, a notion that exists today in many NRA friendly states. Emmanuel Kojo ably fills the shoes of the great Paul Robeson right from the start with
the opening number “Cotton Blossom” and throughout with the iconic “Ole Man River”. Although a bit young for the role, his voice reaches those rich, deep bass notes with ease, and he lends a certain sadness to the role- no matter how bad the“white folks”lives get in the course of the play, we know they will never be as difficult as those of the black characters. Sandra Marvin also shines as Queenie, Joe’s sassy and big hearted wife who has very much a mind of her own. American actor Chris Peluso, as weak-willed yet dashing dreamer Gaylord, is a star in the making with an exquisite voice and Hollywood handsomeness. Rebecca Trehearn also shone as the melancholy Julie, especially as she drunkenly serenades an empty club with the soulful “Bill”. Alex Young lent refreshing comic moments and genuine warmth as Ellie Mae, constantly pursued by the lovesick Frank, charmingly portrayed by Danny Collins, a graceful dancer. Gina Beck is an extraordinary singer, handling the more operatic numbers like “Only Make Believe” and “You are Love” with skill. Her shining soprano perfectly matched Peluso’s gorgeous tenor, and they had real onstage chemistry together. There was also nice work from Malcolm Sinclair as the fun loving Captain Andy who still loves his dour wife, Parthy, the wonderful Lucy Briers, despite her constant attempts to keep him on the straight and narrow. This musical needs to be seen. Show Boat is not revived as often as Guys and Dolls, but deserves a wide audience. Although it may be perceived as a museum piece, this production brings it to life in full living colour. Don’t miss it. Box office: 0844 412 4654
TRAVEL I knew that nestling off the coast of Normandy was the principality of Jersey, but what I didn’t realise until recently, was that this 45 square miles of island is so full of historical interest, as well as boasting some of the most beautiful beaches, not to mention the UK’s warmest all round weather. Although closer to France than England, Jersey has stronger links with the UK and is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination, which explains the different tax system for all you duty free shoppers! The island of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, and although Jersey and Guernsey are often referred to collectively as the Channel Islands, the “Channel Islands” are not a constitutional or political unit. Jersey has a separate relationship to the Crown and is not part of the United Kingdom, and has an international identity separate from that of the UK, but the United Kingdom is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey, which was put to the test during the Second World War, but more about that later. Jersey gives the feeling of being abroad, but with the added bonus of the currency being the pound and everyone speaking English, although the minor roads curiously are nearly all French named. Getting to Jersey could not be easier either by sea or air, and Jersey is well serviced by a number of towns including London, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton, and British Airways, Easyjet and Flybe all have direct flights. Alternatively, you can travel more 10
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Jersey sedately on the ferry, but be warned the fast ferry from Poole still takes 4 1/2hrs. Jersey’s airport is well located to reduce noise over the island and although small, is well organised, and after a short 40 minute flight from Gatwick you will soon be through the baggage hall and out onto the island. We decided to get a hire car as we were there for a number of days, but Jersey has a good bus system, and for those who are more energetic (and don’t have luggage!) you can hire bicycles. I am a great believer in first impressions, and mine was that this island, although certainly sophisticated and up to date, had the feeling of England of yesteryear, where courtesy and respect still exists between drivers and people alike, and the air, for some reason, just felt fresher. Having checked into The Club and Spa Hotel in the centre of St Helier, the capital, we walked down the High Street and marvelled at how many jewellery shops there were (note Jersey is a tax haven and hence a haven for those who like shopping!), and we stopped at a lovely coffee shop to study all of the visitors guides so that we could plan our itinerary for the next few days, as you do need a plan as there is so much to do on the island for all the family. After a number of cups of tea and a truly marvellous cake, we had our plan and our adventure started with the imposing Elizabeth Castle which has protected St Aubin’s Bay and St Helier for more than 300 years. The Castle has been built on a rocky islet, which at low tide is able to be walked to via a causeway, but the tide was in so we used the amphibious castle ferry. What you don’t realise is just how large this castle is, so leave more time than we did
as there is so much to do, from climbing the battlements dating back to the 1590’s just before Sir Walter Raleigh was Governor of Jersey, manning the additional gun tower the Germans added in the 1940’s, or visiting the Hermitage where St Helier is thought to have lived around 550 AD. Having completed our whistle-stop tour of the Castle, our next stop was up the coast at St Catherine’s Breakwater where we were going to take an 9.5m Redbay Stormforce RIB, or a really fast boat to the less initiated, courtesy of Jersey Seafaris, to go out to Les Ecrehous, an island about 6 miles off the coast of Jersey and equidistant to France. The islands are under the administration of Jersey, and Maîtr’Île is the largest of the islets and measures approximately 300 meters in length. There are a small number of fishermen’s huts on the main island, and for a lucky/hardy few you can elect to stay on the island which is usually uninhabited. The island is accessible at all tides, but is most spectacular on the spring tides where the magnificent L’Ecreviere sandbank is exposed. On a spring low the Ecrehous transforms from a small cluster of rocks to a massive moonlike environment of rocks gullies and sandbanks and are fantastic for exploring rockpools, hidden beaches, fishing, bbq’s and kayaking, and the trip gives you plenty of time to explore all of these and even swim in the crystal clear (but very cold!) waters. On our way to the island we started with a search for dolphins, as Jersey has a number of large pods, and we were lucky enough to find one of the pods and were treated to a marvellous display from these magical and noble creatures,
TRAVEL who swam up to and under the boat, before speeding off to the island which grew rapidly before our eyes as the tide dropped. On the way back we visited some of the smaller outlying islets where we saw individual Atlantic Grey Seals basking on the rocks, which was an education in itself as they were much larger than I expected! This is a magical tour (3hr trip £49.95 for adults, £40 children or the 2hr trip for £39.95 or £30) which incorporates looking for dolphins and seals (on very rare occasions you can see sharks and whales as well), with a stop off at a truly deserted island, which really does appear and then disappear before your eyes with the changing of the tide, where you can swim and relax along with an exhilarating speed boat ride. What more can you ask for? Well there is more as you also get really knowledgeable staff, with a true love for their island and wildlife, who really care that you have a great time, all of which adds up to a truly memorable experience. Jersey Seafaris have a number of other trips available including private hire or trips over to France, so check out their website jerseyseafaris.com for all the other options. We are definitely going to go back to do another trip, and I honestly would put this very high on your agenda. My advice would be to plan this in early on during your visit, as the weather can result in the trips being cancelled or postponed, so if you are unlucky with the weather, at least you would still have a chance to take the Seafari later on during your stay. Having completed our first day, we wearily wend our way back from St Catherine’s to our hotel via the picturesque coastal road which took us past the really spectacular Mont Orgueil Castle, perched on an outcrop, which has protected Jersey from France for over 600 years. The next day after some pampering in our hotel’s spa and a great breakfast, we were
raring to go again, and our first stop were the Jersey War Tunnels, which is Jersey’s most visited attraction. As those who know their history know, Jersey was in effect surrendered to the Germans when the English made the decision to not defend it in 1940, which led to 5 years of occupation until 9 May 1945, when Germany finally surrendered. These tunnels stretch for almost 1km under the Jersey countryside and were built by prisoners of war, and initially were intended to be a vast network of underground tunnels that would allow the German occupying infantry to withstand Allied air raids and bombardment (in preparation for an invasion), but in late 1943, with the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe (Operation Overlord) becoming clear, it was converted into a casualty clearing station and emergency hospital. The hospital had 500 beds for patients, with a full heating and air conditioning system, and now tells the story of the occupation very cleverly with a lot of interactive props. What they do best is the way they respectfully portray the stories of heroic people and how they dealt with the occupation. On arrival you all get a set of papers for a real person whose story is told within the Tunnels so you get to find out their story, but be aware some are inspiring and others very sad. Our final venture was within the handsome grounds of Les Augres Manor in the parish of Trinity, where the late, great naturalist Gerald Durrell unlocked the mysteries of the animal kingdom for generations of young people. This patch of Jersey has been transformed into a fascinating domain for creatures ranging from flamingos to orang-utans and is called Durrell (no need to say zoo). The main attraction for us were the Gorillas, and it was a pleasure and honour to watch these noble creatures interacting with each other, and it is awful to
realise that they are so endangered. The main thrust here is conservation and the ongoing support of the animals, and this shines through via the staff and the amount of information they provide. What you don’t find are cramped cages, and the enclosures are natural and for the benefit of the animals rather than for the visitors. We spent a marvellous afternoon with the animals and frankly an afternoon was not enough as you can easily spend a day here. Despite is compact size, Jersey has something for everyone, and as well as the all year round attractions, there are also a number of festivals which can determine the number of available rooms on the island. One of the most famous festival’s is the Battle of Flowers Carnival and Moonlight Carnival, where flower festooned floats, musicians and dancers create an amazing atmosphere in the Grand Day parade on the 11th and 12th August. This is world renown as it is one of the largest floral carnivals in Europe. Jersey wears fortifications like jewellery, from Martello towers dotted around the shores to the forbidding walls of Elizabeth or Mont Orgueil Castle, and all are testament to the island’s strategic position: part of the British Isles, but tucked into a fold of France. We only spent two days there and barely scratched the surface, as there are many more child friendly attractions to visit, including aMaizin Adventure Park or Tamba Park, or for the more green fingered the Lavender Farms and the Botanical Gardens at Samares Manor to name just a few, and don’t forget the fabulous beaches. This is a destination you will want to come back to again and again, and with it being only 40 minutes from Gatwick, and all duty free, it is perfectly located to do just that. For further information on Jersey and all its attractions, please visit www.visitjersey.com
The Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey
Jersey enjoys some of the most varied landscape, in only 45 square miles, that you will find anywhere in the world, from the cliffs on the north coast, home to many birds including puffins, to the golden sand beaches on the south coast. The capital and largest town is St Helier, and right in the heart of the town you will find The Club Hotel & Spa, which is perfectly situated for the shops and restaurants and near to many of the sights St Helier offers. A good sign of a hotel’s quality is that it is well frequented by those in three piece suits as well as those in bathing suits, as business travellers expect quality and top service, but what is clever is that this boutique hotel caters for everyone and their different needs effortlessly. We arrived from the airport too early for our room to be ready, but reception took our luggage and a contact number and once the room was ready rang to let us know. There is much to do in Jersey, but as the weather was poor we decided to visit the subterranean spa for a little ‘R n R’ and we rewarded with a hidden gem. Although underground, the pool area has a warm feel, and the smart shallow pool is perfect for relaxing with a Jacuzzi bench at one end, and the salty 12
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waters make it easy to float effortlessly letting the stresses and strains of life slip away. In addition there is a sauna, a steam ‘pod’ and a salt steam room and a rainforest shower, all of which we used extensively. The spa has a wide range of treatments for men and women, and having lowered our stress levels soaking in the pool we opted to reduce them totally by having a full body massage. The Club Hotel & Spa does have a couples treatment room, but we stuck with the more reserved English attitude of having separate rooms where a skilled masseuse manipulated and targeted all of my tired muscles to release my tension. The hotel has a secluded outside terrace which boasts a small heated outside pool and loungers (perfect for the Jersey sunshine) and an ‘honesty bar’ where you let reception know what you have had and they add it to your bill (something unusual in this day and age). The Club Hotel & Spa is an exclusive boutique hotel with only 38 deluxe double rooms and 8 suites, and all are in keeping with the neutral colour palette. Plush carpets, crisp white Frette bedding, and chocolate and coffee-toned furnishings - including stylish touches such as chaise longues and mirrored sliding wardrobes -
feature throughout. The rooms also benefit from natural light, which streams in from the floor-toceiling windows. Thoroughly modern comforts including LCD flat screen TVs, DVD players, portable telephones, en-suite bathrooms with luxury Elemis toiletries, and soft bathrobes and slippers, are staple features in all the rooms. Apart from the décor and service, the other thing that makes The Club Hotel & Spa stand out is its outstanding in-house restaurant, Bohemia Bar & Restaurant. Situated on the ground floor of the hotel, with its own private entrance, the newly refurbished Bohemia Bar & Restaurant has been Jersey’s finest dining establishment since opening its doors in April 2004. The restaurant serves Michelin Star cuisine created by Head Chef Steve Smith, while the bar area provides a less-formal setting for lunch, dinner, drinks and Afternoon Tea. Diners are treated to a culinary delight, which is exactly what you would expect from a chef striving for his second Michelin star. Bohemia offers its diners a variety of tasting menus from a 5 course Classic Menu (£59) to the Tasting or Pescatarian (or Fish to you and me) (£75) and what is excellent, a full menu for vegetarians (£75). Each tasting menu can be supplemented by various wine flights, but if that doesn’t appeal
there are many choices from the extensive wine list by the glass, or bottle, all from £28. My wife and I decided that as we were close to the sea we would choose the Pescatarian menu and were treated to a couple of hours of food bliss. Our journey started with 3 delightful Amuse Bouches - Rabbit and Tarragon, Caramelised Onion and Panacotta and a Mussel & Vadouvan, all light and a tantalising start. After a Sweet and Sour Grapefruit starter which cleansed our palates, the delights just kept coming. Jersey Royal Potatoes bathed in a decadent creamy sauce topped with a quail egg was followed by Oysters with some pickled cucumber, adding a contrasting sharpness to the smooth oysters. These were followed by a Crab Custard Tart with mango and coriander that was just divine, with the clean and fresh crab complemented by a foie gras textured custard, all lightly seasoned by chilli and coriander. Scallops followed, topped with indulgent black caviar and a mouth-watering watercress purée. The Scallops not only tasted like they had literally been caught a second ago, but were visually stimulating as well, with their pure white flesh offset by the dark moody caviar and the pure green watercress purée. Our final main before we started on the desserts was a large Fillet of Turbot with Cauliflower, Langoustine and Sea Vegetables. Turbot is a much underrated fish as it has such a delicate taste and to maintain this it needs to be cooked just so and it was with the flesh firm and moist and the crunchy cauliflower providing a perfect foil. I don’t usually opt for the optional cheese www.theamericanhour.com
section (£15), but I defy anyone to resist the cheese trolley as the selection was breath-taking and I took a chance with a number of cheeses I had never tasted before, under the expert tutelage of the waiter. The final 2 courses were a fresh and crisp Pineapple with Coconut and Coriander and then a fitting finale a Rhubarb, Champagne and Yogurt, both providing a light end to a gastronomical treat. Unbelievably after such a meal the night before, the next day after touring the island, my wife and I returned to Bohemia mid-afternoon to sample the Afternoon Tea, and again were treated royally. The cakes were so stunning that we commented on them to our waiter, only to be told that the Pastry Chef is the sixth best Pastry Chef in the country, which was evidenced in what we were treated to. Teas start at £19.95 per person and you can feast on wonderfully light sandwiches, cakes and scones served with a rich fruity strawberry jam and thick and moreish clotted cream. It was during this that we discussed the thorny issue of all Afternoon Tea takers, whether you put cream on a scone first and then the jam or was it jam then cream. Either way you do it, and the jury is still out, I think my waistline suffered but my taste buds certainly benefitted! The Club Hotel & Spa is a perfect location to spend a weekend or longer, visiting all that Jersey has to offer, and Bohemia is a perfect addition, and I am sure if it continues in the same vein, its second star is not far away. For further information please visit www.theclubjersey.com www.bohemiajersey.com www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Settling Into The UK Mind The Gap – An Expat Spouse‘s Experience Of Moving From The US To The UK By Angela Weinberger April is an employment lawyer. She is successful and hard-working. The law firm she works for recently suggested her for the partner track and after almost 15 years in the firm, April thinks it’s about time. She packs up early (around 8pm), buys a bottle of champagne and when she arrives at home, she notices that something is off. The kids are in bed and the dinner table is set for a romantic candle light dinner for two. “How did you know…?” April bursts out. Richard, her husband comes out of the kitchen. “Honey, know what?”, kisses her on the cheek and takes the bottle out of her hand. “…that I have something to celebrate…?”she chimes in. “I did not.” Richard looks down and even before he breaks the news to her, April feels like she needs to sit down. “Let me serve the chicken korma first”. While Richard moves back into the kitchen April wonders what he wants to tell her.
“An international career move had come up several times in his career, but it was never concrete enough to consider. This time it was the real deal.”
Never would she have expected that her husband was about to accept a position in London. An international career move had come up several times in his career, but it was never concrete enough to consider. This time it was the real deal. Even though it meant another career break for April, she felt she needed to support Richard in his career step. Little did she know that moving to the UK would be more of a challenge than she had expected. 14
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She could not start to work right away. First, there was an issue with her permit. Also, one of her children had a hard time settling into the new school. After a year without employment, April finally updated her resumé. It was not ready and looked old-fashioned, as she had only moved up the ladder with the same law firm since law school. April’s last interview was in the late 1990’s and she never had to sell her skill set. As a lawyer in the US, April had never bothered about social media for fear of followers of cases she had fought for in court. She did not want to be found on LinkedIn, as she was busy enough. April considered herself an introvert, even though she liked to have friends within the legal world. She did not have many though, and most of her contacts from law school had majored in corporate law. Employment law in the UK is different from the US. There are hardly any companies who hire a lawyer with a US background as there are not enough cases. April’s job search became a drag and after three months without an interview, she finally decided to seek help. Through an intercultural career advisor, she was given advice on how to tone down her resumé to come across more modest about her achievements. She also contacted her former employer about a referral to the same law firm she had contacted earlier. Even though she did not get a job, she was invited to join a workshop. In this workshop, April met another partner from the US, who advised her to seek a job in HR within a global organisation. This partner also pulled a few strings so she could set up lunch meetings with HR professionals who sought legal advice and immigration support. April gave a workshop on basics of US employment law to the company as a pro-bono activity. She also chaired an expat spouse club of her husband’s company. While she enjoyed her voluntary work and reduced stress level, she felt she missed work. The intercultural career advisor worked with her on her interviewing skills and gave her tips on her presence. One day, April went to a networking event with a new level of confidence. She spoke about her expertise and experience as an expat spouse to a Global Mobility Manager called Thomas. Thomas ended the conversation with “April, why don’t you send me your resumé. I’m actually looking for an immigration manager on my team.You don’t have to be lawyer for this role and I think you’d handle our cases really well.” That night, it was April’s turn to cook
chicken korma for her husband. April’s case is an example of stories GM Managers often only hear through the grapevine. In the last four years, I have dealt with around 100 similar cases and condensed all of the advice I’m normally giving in person into “The Global Career Workbook”. The book will help expat spouses to improve their networking, cover letter and résuméwriting, personal branding and interviewing skills. It will appear at your favourite booksellers shortly.
“The intercultural career advisor worked with her on her interviewing skills and gave her tips on her presence. One day, April went to a networking event with a new level of confidence.” Angie Weinberger has lived in Germany, Switzerland, UK, India and Australia. Since her graduation in “International Business Studies” of the University of Paderborn, she works in International Human Resource Management in the corporate world. In 2012 she launched Global People Transitions. She offers intercultural career advice to internationally mobile professionals, dual-career couples and scientists, runs intercultural and skills-based trainings and lectures on IHRM and GM.
WWW.THEAMERICANHOUR.COM Our Website To Assist Americans Living In, Or Moving To The UK Our website is updated regularly with content and information beneficial to any American moving to, or living in the UK. There are over 40 pages of information full of resources and useful contacts and links. Our Pages Include: Competitions & Offers Living In Serviced Apartments Moving Expatriate Clubs Tax Events Having A Baby In The UK
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WEALTH MANAGEMENT Financial Considerations and Planning for a Property Purchase as a US person in the UK Historically, property alongside pensions has been one of the most common ways to invest in the UK both for a main residence and a buy-tolet portfolio. As many know, property is an asset class, just as cash, bonds and shares, and can serve as a form of diversification when building an overall investment portfolio for assets. In the UK, there have traditionally been many tax incentives for property investing. However, these are slowly being tapered back making other avenues of investing potentially more attractive. Below we will explore some of the important financial considerations with respect to owning property.
Why Has Investing In UK Property Historically Been Attractive? The UK does not currently charge capital gains tax on the sale of a main residence. As property prices have increased over the years, it has allowed individuals to upgrade and downsize their properties and keep their gains intact without the extra consideration of what might be payable to HMRC. In addition to tax advantages provided for a main residence, the UK also allowed for attractive benefits related to buy-to-let properties. Landlords buy to let properties have been able to generate considerable rental income and that income could be offset against mortgage interest and other ‘wear and tear’ allowances leaving a very tax efficient way to place capital to work.
What Has Changed? Beginning in April 2016, second properties now attract an additional 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) charge on purchase. The comparative rates for SDLT are outlined below:
Upon sale of a second property, UK capital gains tax is charged at 28% (assuming you are a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer) as opposed to a more favourable gains tax of 20% for the sale of other investments such as shares. Additionally, over the next few years, mortgage interest relief is supposed to be capped at a 20% basic rate of tax benefit and gross rental income will be used to determine the tax rate applicable on the net rental income earned each year. With some of the incentives being tapered back, many people are reconsidering its place in their overall investment portfolio.
The Traditional Financial Considerations Of A Home Purchase In The UK When it comes to planning for a home purchase in the UK, the traditional factors and aspects of your financial life to consider include: • How much can I (and should I) put down? When considering how much to put down on a home purchase, you need to think about what you have in the way of existing liquid assets versus what you will pay off over time. The more you put down up front the more equity you are putting into the property as you move forward. Frequently, the larger the deposit, the greater the choice of mortgage deals. The exact amount of deposit will depend on individual facts and circumstances. • Have I taken into account any Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Conveyancing Fees that will be payable? It is easy to forget about how much SDLT and Conveyancing Fees amount to when you are purchasing a property. When looking at how much you have available to allocate towards a deposit you also need to consider the cash outlay for these.
Up to £125,000
The next £125,000 (£125,001 to £250,000)
The next £675,000 (£250,001 to £925,000)
The next £575,000 (£925,001 to 1.5m)
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• What kind of mortgage do I want to secure? Knowing whether it is beneficial to secure an interest only loan or a principal repayment mortgage as well as looking at the appropriate repayment period and repayment vehicle are all important things to understand and give consideration to. Additionally, you want to think about whether you want a fixed rate or variable rate and what, if any, associated insurance protections are appropriate. The decisions made here will first and foremost impact monthly cash flow. Thinking through how the property will be used now and in the future and knowing how long you may own the property are factors to take into account.
What Can Property Offer Investors? As noted above, property is an asset class separate and distinct from fixed income and equities. Therefore, it can serve as a diversifier within an individual’s overall investment portfolio. When you own property, there are two main ways to earn a return: 1. Make the property a buy-to-let and earn an income stream over time by letting it out to tenants 2. Hold the property for use as a main residence or second home and sell the property at a later date for a higher price than you purchased it for. For some approaching retirement, a buy-tolet property may, depending on individual circumstances, offer an income stream to supplement pension income and possibly serve as a form of annuity over time.
What Are The Risks Of Investing In Property? It may not seem like it from recent history, but it is important to remember that property prices and demand for rentals can ebb and flow over time. Additionally, property is considered to be a more illiquid investment as you cannot get your money out immediately if you need quick access to capital. There is also the spectre of negative equity if property values fall significantly and the mortgage is higher than the value when you want to move/sell! It is important to factor in any buying, selling, maintenance and management costs associated with owning a property as these are not
WEALTH MANAGEMENT insignificant. Additionally, this not only involves financial costs but also a time cost. When there is a mortgage in place, you need to factor in that there is no guarantee that the rental income will fully cover the loan repayment over time. And, if you cannot keep up with the loan repayments, the bank can reclaim the property. This is why it is important to remember that investment in property should be a long-term buying decision and time horizon and access to other more liquid sources of capital should be carefully considered before purchase. If the housing market slows down, having the ability to postpone a sale until more favourable market conditions return will help increase the odds of a profitable investment.
The Additional Considerations Of UK Property Purchase For An American As with other financial decisions, Americans often have additional areas of consideration. At purchase Americans need to assess their sources of capital for a deposit. If any assets will be brought onshore from the US or other locations outside of the UK, it is important to understand whether those assets are considered ‘clean’ from a remittance standpoint or whether there will be a tax charge in the UK upon bringing that money in. Understanding any tax charges that might be applicable is extremely important as no one wants to be surprised to find out that a chunk of the assets available to put towards a deposit is actually going to go towards paying a UK tax bill. When an American is married to a nonAmerican, there is an additional consideration relating to the appropriate ownership structure. The sale of a main residence has tax implications for an American individual whereas, as noted earlier, it is tax free from a UK perspective. When one spouse is not American, it can often be beneficial to think about the ownership structure of the property and determine whether it is in the family interest to consider Joint Tenants in Common or ownership in the non-US spouse’s name. The amount a mortgage lender will lend will also be based on who is going to own the property. At sale, in addition to understanding whether the property qualifies as the individual’s principal residence under certain IRS definitions entitling them to receive a $250,000 gain exclusion on the sale before any US tax applies, the fluctuation of foreign currency exchange rates can have a large impact on the recognition of gains upon disposal of real property. The exchange rate on the date of purchase and the date of sale are used to determine the taxable gain in local currency. When a mortgage is paid off on a foreign property, the owner must also calculate whether there has been a gain or loss on the disposition of the mortgage due to exchange rate fluctuations. If a mortgage costs less at settlement due to the exchange rate at sale and the date the mortgage was obtained, the portion www.theamericanhour.com
of gain recognised on the mortgage repayment is taxed at ordinary income tax rates. Without careful consideration of the currency fluctuation over the period of ownership, a taxpayer can sometimes unknowingly create large gains in local currency. Planning well ahead of a property purchase will help ensure that you’ve given proper consideration to the above and will help ensure that you don’t get adversely surprised as you embark on a very large financial purchase.
and Management and completed her MBA at Imperial College London. Andrea holds her UK Investment Advice Diploma and US Series 65 license. 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.
Risk Warnings And Important Information The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. Past performance is not an indicator of future results. The above article is for educational purposes and does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individuals and is not to be construed as advice or recommendation to invest. You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. 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 wellknown Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she gained considerable experience advising high net worth individuals with multijurisdictional 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 www.americaninbritain.co.uk
TAX ISSUES US Tax Implications For Retired US Citizens Living In The UK Planning for retirement is always an important step in life. You want to plan considering both the financial and tax consequences of the investments you make so that you are able to maximise your return on investment. When you are a US citizen who retires abroad, and has more than just US income to consider, the tax planning aspect of retirement can get a bit murky. To help with planning for that, this article addresses the tax consequences of common retirement income streams you may receive as a retiree in the UK.
Social Security Payments Social security income has always been an important source of retirement income. Many US expats will continue to receive social security income even after they move overseas. Additionally, some US expats who have lived and worked in the United Kingdom long enough will be eligible for coverage under the UK’s State Pension system as well. So how is this income taxed? Under the Income Tax Treaty that the US and the UK have in place, social security income is taxed in the country you reside in. Accordingly, for expats living in the UK, social security income, whether it is US social security or UK State Pension, will be taxable only in the United Kingdom.
US Retirement Plans Many expats who now reside in the UK have at one point or another worked in the US, and likely contributed to a retirement plan while employed. In addition, they may have also contributed to IRA plans not only while living in the US, but after moving abroad as well. While the tax consequences of US plans are typically the same whether you are an expat or not, there are some careful considerations in regards to applying the Income Tax Treaty to avoid double taxation. For this discussion we are assuming that retirement distributions are made at retirement age as to avoid any early distribution penalties.
Tax On Non-Lump-Sum Distributions From A US Retirement Plan Tax on distributions from a US retirement plan (employment-based plans or individual plans) is mainly governed by two provisions of the Income Tax Treaty. The general rule provides that the country of residence has the exclusive right to tax non-lump sum payments from retirement plans. Additionally, the IRS maintains a revisionary right to also tax the distribution under another provision of the Treaty. 18
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Accordingly, if you are living in the UK, both the US & UK can tax your periodic retirement distributions no matter where the plan is administered. The good news is that by using the available Income Tax Treaty you will be able to avoid double taxation by claiming an offsetting credit on your US return for the amount of tax you pay to the UK on these distributions. This of course assumes that the distribution is taxed in the UK in the first place, as remittance based tax rules may govern in some situations. One exception to the above rule provides that distributions from a Roth IRA account are tax exempt both in the US and in the UK.
Cross-Border Rollovers Are Taxable
Tax On Lump-Sum Distributions From A US Retirement Plan
Distributions from UK retirement plans are generally taxable in the United States to the extent they are taxable in the UK, with an available offsetting credit available for taxes paid to the UK. However, there is one main exception in the UK that will control how the distribution is taxed. Retirees in the UK are allowed to take a tax-free withdrawal of up to 25% of pension assets at retirement age. While this distribution is tax-free in the UK, the same treatment is not applied on the US side of the Atlantic. This could result in a large US tax liability without an offsetting foreign tax credit. However, if you have accumulated foreign tax credit carryovers on your earned income throughout the prior 10 years, you would be able to use these carryovers to apply against the tax-free distribution amount to minimise
Lump-sum distributions under pension plans are governed by a separate Treaty provision which provides that any lump-sum payment be taxed by the country in which the plan is administered, but the same revisionary right allowing tax in the country of residence (for a UK resident) also exists. Accordingly, any lump-sum distribution from a US retirement plan will be fully taxable in the United States and may be taxable in the UK as well. The big difference in this scenario is which return you are going to claim the offsetting tax credit. In this case, you are going to look to the UK Self Assessment return for relief if the distribution is taxable to you.
Finally, note that there is no tax-free crossborder rollover of retirement plans. The IRS has been clear that tax free rollovers can only be made between two US retirement plans, or by using the Treaty, two UK based retirement plans. Any attempt to “roll over” assets from a US retirement plan to a UK plan, or vice versa, will result in a taxable distribution.
UK Retirement Plans, Including Tax-Free Lump Sum Amounts
TAX ISSUES or eliminate your US tax liability. Because the tax rates in the United Kingdom are generally higher than the US rates, using the foreign tax credit method may be a strategic tax move you make moving into retirement. Not only that, but any tax-free redundancy payments can be offset by carryovers as well.
UK Investment Assets Another popular investment tool in the United Kingdom is investment accounts. While US investment income may not be taxable in the UK if you are under the remittance basis, your UK source investment income is taxable so long as the amounts exceed the applicable annual exemption amounts. However, as capital gain and dividends now both have annual exemption amounts in the UK, you may have a tax liability in the US when you do not have one on your UK return. Another popular tax-free investment vehicle that may cause a tax liability on your US return is an ISA (Individual Savings Account). While the investments in these accounts are tax-free for UK purposes, that is not the case on your US return. Complicating the matter, some expats have investments in UK based mutual funds or unit trusts, whether held within an ISA or in a regular account. While mutual funds and unit trusts are attractive from an investment perspective, they are a nightmare from a US tax standpoint. These investments are
classified as Passive Foreign Investment Company’s (“PFIC”) for tax purposes and the tax treatment of PFICs is extremely punitive compared to their US counterparts. For example, preferential capital gain tax rates are not available to PFIC distributions, and instead a portion of the PFIC distributions may be subject to the highest tax rates (39.6%) along with an interest charge. Therefore, it is recommended that expats avoid investing in any non-US mutual funds or unit trusts, or at least have a discussion with their tax advisor first. Retirement should be a time you relax and enjoy life, let your US tax experts help you enjoy it a bit more.
H&R Block Expat Tax Services is a highly specialised team of tax attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents whose sole focus is expat tax preparation for Americans abroad. Remember that due to the complexity of US tax reporting for expats and its highly fact-specific nature, this article is general in nature. Please consult an H&R Block Expat Tax Advisor at www.hrblock.com/expats for advice on your specific tax situation.
Harry Yang is an Attorney with a Masters of Law in Tax working as a Senior Tax Analyst with H&R Block Expat Tax Services. As a member of the training, research and support team, his expertise in international tax planning and compliance helps tax advisors prepare complex tax returns and resolve challenging tax issues. Before joining H&R Block, Harry worked at a law firm in Kansas City, Missouri. He represented clients on various tax planning, business planning and estate planning cases. A bilingual and bicultural lawyer, Harry received his legal education in both the United States and China.
LEGAL ISSUES All Change: Domicile Status And UK Taxation Changes In 2017 The UK tax system is unique in using domicile status as being relevant to a taxpayers’ UK tax position. In other countries, domicile status often means something akin to residence status, however, in the UK, it means something quite different. This article provides an overview of domicile as a concept and a summary of the upcoming changes to the UK tax position, which are due to come in from April 2017.
Domicile In the UK, domicile is very broadly where a person’s permanent home is. Unlike residence status, where a person can be resident in more than one country, a person can only have one domicile. Domicile of origin: Under English law, everyone has a domicile of origin, which is inherited from their father, if their parents were married at the time of their birth, otherwise they take the domicile of their mother. Domicile of dependency: Children under the age of 16 take the domicile of their parents or legal guardian. Domicile of choice: A person can acquire a domicile of choice if they can sufficiently demonstrate that they have acquired equivalent ties (social, fiscal etc.,) in another country and ‘displaced’ their domicile of origin. Deemed domiciled status: This relates solely to inheritance tax; once a person has been UK resident for 17 tax years out of 20 tax years, they become deemed domiciled for inheritance tax purposes, meaning that a person’s worldwide assets potentially fall into the UK inheritance tax net. This deemed domiciled rules will change significantly from 2017.
UK Taxation Domicile status can be relevant to a person’s tax status. A non-UK domiciled person who is UK resident can access the remittance basis of taxation. The remittance basis allows a taxpayer to pay tax on their UK source income and capital gains, but not their non-UK source income or capital gains, unless they are brought into (remitted) to the UK. There are tax charges for claiming the remittance basis once a person has been UK resident for a certain period of time. For inheritance tax purposes, a non-UK domiciled person is only subject to UK inheritance tax on UK based assets, such as property. As explained above, a non-UK domiciliary becomes deemed domiciled once they have been UK resident for a certain period of time (17 years out of 20 years) and then their worldwide estate potentially falls into the UK inheritance tax net. It is possible to undertake planning to ensure 20
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that non-UK assets remain outside of the UK inheritance tax net even after a person has become deemed domiciled for inheritance tax purposes.
2017 Changes From 2017, there are some significant proposed changes to domicile status. These have not yet come into force and may change before the Finance Bill is finalised, so this article is based on what the proposals currently are. The deemed domiciled rules are going to change so that a person will be deemed domiciled for all UK tax purposes, not just inheritance tax, after spending 15 years of residence out of 20 years. Therefore, from the 16th year of UK residence, a non-UK domiciliary will no longer be able to claim the remittance basis of taxation, or use other tax rules previously available to a non-UK domiciliary. This is a significant departure from the previous rules and the potential scope much greater than can be covered in this article. The effect of this change means that a non-UK domiciled person can be resident in the UK for less time before becoming deemed domiciled, and that in order to‘break’the deemed domiciled status, they need to remain non-UK resident for a longer period of time (at least 5 years as opposed to 3, under current rules).
“In the UK, domicile is very broadly where a person’s permanent home is. Unlike residence status, where a person can be resident in more than one country, a person can only have one domicile.” A further change is that a person with a UK domicile of origin who moves out of the UK and acquires a domicile of choice in another country, from 2017, will no longer be treated as a non-UK domiciliary and claim the remittance basis, if they return to the UK. The proposal is to ensure that their UK domicile of origin revives on becoming UK resident again. This would have a
significant impact on UK domiciliaries who have moved abroad and believe they have acquired a domicile of choice in another country and then return to the UK. They will need to seek advice to ensure that they do not become UK resident again as to how this can be managed. All UK resident non-UK domiciliaries and non-resident UK domiciliaries should now seek advice as to how these upcoming changes will affect them.
Family Law Relocating to a new country can be an exciting chapter in an individual’s life. Taking time to understand the new country’s legal systems may seem daunting, but it can be invaluable for individuals and families. As an expat living in England, if you get married or your relationship breaks down, there will be additional legal issues over and above the routine ones to deal with. International family law is a highly complex and specialist area. Any husband or wife with international connections should take legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in international family law.
Pre-Nuptial Agreements In an ever increasing mobile population it is quite common for people of two nationalities to marry. Against the backdrop of headline divorce pay-outs, more couples are seeking advice as to how to deal with finances on a divorce before they marry. Pre-Nuptial Agreements aim to set out how assets are shared between a couple in such circumstances. They are common place in many countries and are binding. This is not the case in England and Wales, although their status has increased considerably in recent years and there is a growing recognition of their important role in society. For couples who wish to have a PreNuptial Agreement, then the current advice is that each seeks independent legal advice as to what would be a fair and reasonable settlement on a divorce. It would be prudent to include a review clause in the agreement in the event of children being born or after a set number of years passing. In addition, you must provide full details of your respective wealth and ensure that any agreement is signed by you both well ahead of the wedding. Providing these guidelines are followed the presence of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement in the event of a divorce will be a factor that the Court will give potentially considerable weight to.
Divorce In the unfortunate circumstances where you believe that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down” and you want a divorce, then for any spouse with international connections it is
LEGAL ISSUES important that urgent specialist advice is taken in each of the countries concerned from a family law specialist. Different countries with their different legal systems will approach divorce and financial settlements quite differently. The choice of country (and State) can have a huge impact on the outcome of financial arrangements. Your English solicitor will want to speak to their counterpart in any other connected country to establish the range of financial orders available to you in either country so that you are fully equipped to make an informed decision. In order to divorce in England or Wales you will need to persuade the Court that either you or your spouse is domiciled or habitually resident here at the time of the divorce petition. Both legal concepts require careful evaluation.
Domicile Broadly, domicile can be summarised as an individual’s “permanent home”. Everyone has a domicile of origin which can alter if a domicile of choice is acquired. When considering whether someone is domiciled in England and Wales it is important to build up a complete picture of a person’s life and guidance can be taken from case law. Evidence of an intention to reside here permanently and indefinitely is fundamental and can be evidenced by such factors as whether an individual has bought or rented a house in the new country, whether their spouse and children are here, where the individual wants to be buried,
and where they are registered to vote. These are just some of the examples that have been found to be important in past cases and, whilst individually they are not enough to demonstrate domicile, they are matters to be considered as a whole. All cases are different and each one should be considered on its own facts.
Habitual Residence You can only have one habitual residence at a time. Habitual residence can be established quickly. Again, when considering whether someone is habitually resident in England and Wales it is necessary to consider where an individual’s life is centred. Just as for domicile it is necessary to consider such factors as the reason why they are in a particular country, whether other members of the family are present, where the children are being educated, whether tax is being paid, where their assets are, and where a person’s main computer is kept. These are just some of the types of questions that your family solicitor will consider with you should you ever need to consider whether or not you are able to divorce in England and Wales.
Children In the event of a breakdown in a relationship you may wish to return to your homeland with the children. In the event that the other parent does not agree to you returning then it will be necessary for you to seek the permission of the
Court here. The Court will base any decision on what is in the best interests of the child; where will you live, where will the children go to school and what your proposals are for the children to see your partner. These are just some of the considerations that will need to be dealt with. Miranda Green is a Partner in the Family law team at Mundays and is nationally recognised as one of the very few Resolution accredited specialists in International and European Family Law, and the only such recognised lawyer in Surrey. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44(0)1932 590670 Julie Man is a Partner at Mundays. She has a broad case load of private client work including wills with Business Property Relief planning and domicile issues, the administration of estates, deeds of variation, lifetime tax planning, preparation of lasting powers of attorney, registration of powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications. Contact email@example.com Tel: +44(0)1932 590643 The contents of this article are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.
American Eye Judith Schrut meets Trevor Dion Nicholas We’re excited to welcome actor, singer and musician Trevor Dion Nicholas to American Eye. Trevor hails from West Virginia via Broadway. He recently moved to London and is currently wowing the crowds in his West End stage debut as Genie in Aladdin the Musical. Judith Schrut spoke to Trevor in his dressing room ahead of the show’s opening.
Tell us a little about growing up in West Virginia.
I could describe that in three words: mountains, snow and family. I’m the youngest of five in a really close family, ten years younger than my next sibling. I’ve been lucky with my place in the family as I had the attention of a single child with the nurturing of a large family.
Who’s been your biggest inspiration in your life and career?
My parents, Bobby and Doris, have always been inspirational and supportive in my life and career. Dad’s a singer and I grew up watching him perform. Mom’s a social worker with a big love of theatre and music; she’s been a huge inspiration as far as my work ethic goes. I watched her fight and struggle and push to earn her doctorate in social work while taking care of our family. She taught me that if you want it, you should push for it.
What sparked your interest in theatre?
My parents were both big theatre fans. When I was young, we’d often just get in the car, the 3 of us, and drive to places like NewYork or Toronto to see shows. All the way there and back we’d listen and sing along to recordings of great musicals. That was my first exposure to theatre. I’m very happy that both Mom and Dad are coming over for the London press night of Aladdin.
We understand you’ve brought your family with you to London. How are they finding it?
Yes, my wife and two young children are here with me, and the kids are going to a nearby English school. They love their new school and their friends in London. They love the museums, they love the food…we all do! The accessibility to lots of different food and art and culture is great.
What most excites you about being in Great Britain? And may all your wishes come true. Trevor Dion Nicholas in Disney’s Aladdin
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This is my first time in the UK, ever! I’m most excited about doing Aladdin here, getting to
american eye build this new version for British audiences. I’m also excited about the ease of travel so I can expose my kids to as much of Europe and the UK as I can. And for an old theatre nerd like me, London is amazing, like being in the birthplace of all that. There’s this pumping, beating heart here that you just don’t get anywhere else.
Please share with our readers a little more about the show.
It’s all about magic, friendship, love, glitz and glamour! My favourite moment is when the lamp is rubbed and I first enter as the Genie. You can feel the excitement in the audience, and my adrenaline goes through the roof. It is the most exhilarating and awesome moment, the best time!
What would you advise Americans in Britain, especially families, not to miss while they’re here?
My family and I had a real blast at the Udderbelly Festival, a cool, outdoor, bohemian style festival happening on London’s South Bank all this summer. There was so much energy, I can’t wait to go back. The museums are unmissable, especially the Science Museum. And theatre of course. I believe the younger you can expose kids to live performance the better. My advice would be, whether you’re here for a short time or long time, enjoy as much of the culture and history as you can.
And your recommendations for ‘eating American’?
out together! And I’d definitely want my indie rock band, Neighbourhood Goliath, to come and play some great music.
Are there any American pleasures you particularly miss?
You can experience Trevor’s Genie in Aladdin, now showing at London’s Prince Edward Theatre (www.aladdinthemusical.co.uk). And tune in to Trevor’s tweets at twitter.com/astonishingtrev.
The best American chicken wings I’ve had was at the Hippodrome Casino. And I hear Maxwell’s do really good ribs.
I’m pretty adaptable but I do miss my bakeries! Specifically, the Hummingbird Cake at New York’s Magnolia Bakery. And the incredible rice pudding at Rice to Riches.
Trevor Dion Nicholas (Genie) and Dean John-Wilson (Aladdin), Disney’s Aladdin in rehearsals, photo credit Johan Persson
We hear you consider yourself a Foodie, that you enjoy cooking and you’re an especially big fan of brunch. So, who would you invite to your fantasy brunch?
Yes, cooking is my solace. I love to cook, to feed people. I got that from my parents. The preparation, the presentation, the act of creating something right there with your hands that people enjoy. And I do love my brunch! I’d invite as many of my friends and family I could feed at one time. And the US President of course. How cool would that be? To have the Obamas over for brunch and impress them with my poached eggs! I’d definitely want my favourite chef, Alton Brown, to be in charge of food. We could hang
UK SPORTS In this issue we focus on the amazing conclusion to the 2015/16 soccer season and review the past quarter’s events in Rugby Union and Cricket.
Soccer Who said miracles don’t happen in professional soccer? Well, probably most of us, but this season a team that avoided relegation in 2014/15 by the skin of their teeth produced the most amazing fairy tale story, perhaps of all time, by winning the Premiership title for the first time the following season. Leicester City, under their new Manager, Claudio Ranieri, not only beat all the established favourites, but did so by a massive ten points. With twenty three wins, twelve draws and only three defeats, Leicester amassed eighty one points. They achieved a goal difference of thirty two, scoring sixty eight goals and conceding thirty six. Only Manchester City achieved a better goal difference of thirty four. Leicester put their high priced competitors to shame, and have given hope to all the Clubs who do not possess the financial muscle of those Clubs who usually dominate the Premiership. Much credit goes not only to Ranieri, but also to his Assistant Manager, Steve Walsh, who identified and brought new players to the Club. The three most influential transfers were Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy. Mahrez justifiably won the Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year Award and Vardy received a special PFA award for his record breaking run of goals in eleven consecutive Premier League games. And what was Vardy’s pedigree before joining Leicester? Not Manchester City or United and not Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool – it was Stocksbridge, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town!! Well spotted, Mr. Walsh. But the essence of Leicester’s success was their unswerving teamwork, always fighting for each other with a one hundred percent commitment in every game. As such, all the players who represented Leicester last season
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Credit Pro Sports Images.
can be proud of their achievement - Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan (the captain), Fuchs, Drinkwater, Albrighton, King, Schlupp, Okazaki, Ulloa and Gray all played major roles in the Club’s success. Will the fairy tale story continue next season with Leicester City winning the European Champions League? Probably not, but the Book Makers had them at 2,000-1 to win the Premiership last season!! As for the also rans, runners up Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City qualified for next season’s European Champions League, whilst Southampton and West Ham qualified for the Europa Cup from their League positions as did Manchester United by winning the FA Cup. Sadly, two Clubs with terrific histories, Aston Villa and Newcastle United were relegated to the Championship along with Norwich City. Next season the Premiership will welcome back Burnley, Middlesborough and Hull City, Clubs with recent Premiership experience. Next season will see new managers at several (so called!) top Clubs. Pep Guardiola with his outstanding record at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich has replaced Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, whilst Jose Mourinho having lost his job at Chelsea has replaced Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United. Italy’s current coach, Antonio Conte, replaces temporary manager Guus Hiddink at Chelsea and Southampton’s successful manager, Ronald Koemann, is replacing Everton’s Roberto Martinez. It is a merry-go-round and whether successful or unsuccessful it seems another lucrative management position is never far away! Away from the Premiership we would like to mention another fairy tale story, that of AFC Wimbledon, whose home ground fourteen years ago was once at Plough Lane, Wimbledon. Following the sale of the Club to new owners, Wimbledon Football Club was renamed MK Dons and relocated to a new stadium in Milton Keynes. The supporters lost their Club, a Club that once beat Liverpool in an FA Cup Final. But the fans did not go away and in 2002, following
trials on Wimbledon Common, AFC Wimbledon was born. During the next fourteen years AFC Wimbledon won promotion seven times and, following their League 2 Play-off Final victory at Wembley against Plymouth Argyle on 30 May, they will play next season in the third level of English soccer in League 1. And the great irony? MK Dons were relegated last season from the Championship to League 1!!! That should produce a couple of feisty matches. In the FA Cup Final, Manchester United defeated Crystal Palace 2-1, but that victory was not enough to save United’s manager his job. Van Gaal has a very impressive managerial pedigree but the Club has struggled to find the success that Sir Alex Ferguson and, before him, Matt Busby achieved. Now Mourinho is in the hot seat. United have always had the philosophy that no one person is bigger than the Club. Will this be a problem for Mourinho whose ego is well documented? We must wait and see. The partnership could be a great success or …..? The Euro 2016 Championship is about to begin and England have taken a young but very promising squad to France. Up first will be Russia followed by Wales and Slovakia. England should qualify from Group B and progress to the knock out stage but, after the disasterous World Cup in Brazil in 2014, who knows? We will review England’s performance in our next issue. As for a winner, it is hard to look beyond the favourites Spain, Germany and France, the latter playing in their home country. But, for an outsider how about Switzerland?
Rugby Union Congratulations go to the England coach, Australian Eddie Jones, and the team in their Six Nations Grand Slam victory. It was thirteen years since England last defeated all opposing countries to win the Grand Slam, but Eddie Jones has brought a new dimension to England’s rugby play as he seeks not just to make England the best Northern Hemisphere team but world number one.
UK SPORTS England opened with a 15-9 victory away to Scotland followed by another away victory against Italy 40-9. A tougher home game against Ireland ended with a 21-10 victory and then the toughest match for England in the tournament ended with a narrow home victory over Wales 25-21. England’s last game was away to France and the team concluded their Grand Slam with a 31-21 victory.
Cricket First, we must congratulate England captain Alastair Cook in becoming the twelth batsman and first Englishman to score 10,000 Test match runs. He joins a very distinguished list of Test batsmen, including India’s Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar; Australia’s Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Ricky Ponting; Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene; West Indies Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul; and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis. Cook became the youngest batsman to reach this milestone at 31 years, 5 months and 5 days, and replaced the great Tendulkar who achieved the same milestone when 5 months and 15 days older. Tendulkar went on to become the highest scoring Test batsman with 15,921 runs. Some way to go then for Cook to overhaul this massive total but who knows? England have started well in their three match Test Series at home to Sri Lanka and currently lead the Series 2-0. Sri Lanka are going through the same process as Australia and England in
recent times in building a new team after losing key players to retirement or injury and the playing conditions in England favour the home side. But Sri Lanka have always played positive and aggressive cricket in all formats of the game and we wish them well. England’s World T20 ended in a heartbreak Final against the West Indies but showed some huge improvements in some of the earlier matches. After a defeat in a first round Group match against the West Indies the team qualified for the semi-finals, including chasing down a massive total of 229 in a Group match to beat South Africa. A great semi-final victory over New Zealand put England in the Final and up again against the West Indies. England batted first and scored 155 from their 20 overs on a difficult pitch for batters. It did not look enough but England’s bowlers reduced the West Indies to 11 runs for the loss of 3 wickets and, later, to 107 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. The West Indies needed 49 runs off 27 balls and by the start of the last over still needed 19 runs. England were then hot favourites but West Indies batsman Carlos Braithwaite hit a six off each of Ben Stokes’ first four balls and West Indies were home and dry – World T20 Champions again. You have to feel sorry for the bowler who takes on the last over, but Stokes did bowl four balls on to Braithwaite’s legs and one wonders what might have happened if he had bowled full length just inside the marker on the off side. Still, it’s easy
when you are bowling from an armchair! The West Indies Women’s team also won their World T20 Final beating Australia by 8 wickets. England’s women had lost to Australia in their semi-final and what followed was not altogether laudable. England’s captain, Charlotte Edwards, who first played for England aged 16, was unceremoniously dumped by Clare Connor, the Director of England’s Women’s cricket, and coach Mark Robinson. After winning the World Cup, World T20 and an Ashes Series against Australia in 2009, followed by back-to-back Ashes Series in England and Australia in 2013, it is true to say that the team’s performances did dip, losing the Ashes back to Australia in 2015 and failing to win another World T20 or World Cup. Maybe it was time for a change of leadership in the team that Edwards had led for ten years, but there is a way to handle these matters and it was distressing, to say the least, to see a great leader and player be reduced to tears and emotional distress by a new management team. Time will tell if a new captain and new players will improve England’s success in the coming years. If Connor and Robinson fail in this regard, it would not be unreasonable for them to be unceremoniously dumped as well. Perhaps Edwards could then return as Director of England’s Women’s cricket or coach! We hope you all enjoy the UK’s forthcoming summer of sport. And don’t forget the Olympics in Rio which we will review in our next issue.
Education International Education In A British Setting I am a mother of four; I have little time to think, or reflect. However, in a moment of clarity and rare thoughtfulness a few years ago, we made a choice to step out of the British school system and place our children into an International school in Woking. In contrast to many English families, this was not a leap into the unknown for us. Years previously spent living abroad meant we were familiar with the International Baccalaureate, and how well IB graduates fared after school, but we have had a lot of explaining to do to our friends and families! Woking, and Surrey in general, has wonderful schools, stocked with dedicated teachers and often impressive facilities, but we were disappointed to discover that such rich resources were not always fully utilised. We met parents at our local primary school who were refused permission for a morning off to take music exams. Incredibly, the school was under such pressure to maintain its impressive test scores that children in this primary school were unable to partake in wild and frivolous activities such as playing the violin. Children of 26
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friends in a local independent school were not allowed to take a national times table quiz until it was sure they could pass first time. Giving it a shot? Unacceptable. Meanwhile, teacher friends lament over the pointless requirements of Ofsted inspections and SATs tests, and the unavoidable impact of excessive paperwork on the time they spend on the important work of educating our children.
“Confidence, risktaking, independence and resilience are all key to succeeding in this modern world”
We know that maths and literacy in primary education are important, it goes without saying. But we also know that success in life requires much more than the 3 Rs. Confidence, risktaking, independence and resilience are all key to succeeding in this modern world, and young children learn these skills best through play and experimentation. Interestingly, recent studies have also suggested that a play-based, “easygoing” start to primary schooling, results in better maths and literacy scores at age 11. In our rush to get those great scores, we are missing the building blocks for genuine success. Parents here in the UK have justifiably started to react against this culture of performance. Recently, thousands of children were kept out of school in protest against irrelevant and unnecessarily stressful SATS tests. Teachers associations have expressed concern about the harmful effects on children’s mental health, and social media is flooded with articles about Finland - a country where teachers work autonomously, students don’t begin formal education until the age of 7, and homework is
EDUCATION abandoned in place of outdoor play and childled activities, all the while remaining at the top of international league tables.
“In the middle of our busy days, we owe our children a moment of reflection. Does our education system, as it stands, best prepare them for the world in which they will work and live?” Senior schooling offers little respite. Many senior schools now start the GCSE curriculum in Year 9. This means that our children lose three years of education in rigorous preparation for meaningless exams. GCSEs, originally
intended to take students into vocations, careers or further study, no longer fulfil this purpose. CBI Director-General, John Cridland, has led the call for the scrapping of GCSEs, and the complete reinvention of education for British 14-18 year olds.* The IB answers this call. The enquiry-based curriculum means that teenagers learn to be active and authentically curious participants in their own education, and cross-curricular work allows them to make connections across subjects, while the service and research requirements mean IB students must take charge of their own learning, as well as their place in the community. Instead of spending their formative years on GCSEs, my ‘kidults’ will be laying the groundwork for success in the world beyond the school walls. Rather than token “empowerment” initiatives and tick-box opportunities for the UCAS form, schools like The International School of London (ISL) Surrey, which my children attend, offer genuine opportunities for autonomy and self-determination. This can be an intimidating thing to witness, as a parent! To give an example, the ISL student body recently created the school’s official mobile phone usage policy. The Student Government led a town hall style debate, without adult intervention, and the students themselves defined the policy. In a stunning leap from how I run my home (“yes, you have to get off the iPad - this, darlings, is not a democracy”),
these children debated the pros and cons of how mobile phones are used by students and teachers, decided upon what was reasonable, and created their own contract. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Drinking coffee with a friend recently, we discussed his role in charge of the finance internship programme at a large multinational company, based here in Surrey. “Thousands. We have had thousands of applicants over the last three years. On average, perhaps six a year impress us enough to get an internship and less than half of those impress us enough to get offered a job. The applicants need to show us they can take initiative and have done something beyond the list given to them by their Careers Advisors. The interns need genuine curiosity; they must be able to connect-the-dots and form new insights; and they need to be able to collaborate. We struggle to find this, even amongst apparently highly qualified applicants.” In the middle of our busy days, we owe our children a moment of reflection. Does our education system, as it stands, best prepare them for the world in which they will work and live? * (http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/cridland-calls-foreducation-system-that-works-for-all-young-people/ Stephanie Parkes, Parent at The International School of London (ISL) Surrey.
A Letter from Scotland Three Royal Residences In Scotland by Yvonne Willcocks “Who goes there?”The sentry’s classic challenge in the castles of olden days has a new meaning so the response today is,“Everybody!”There are hundreds of castles in Scotland. Some of these are massive, some are more modest fortified mansions, while others have suffered from time and neglect but still conjure up visions of archers on the battlements defending the walls, and knights in armour ready to ride out and chase the besieging soldiers away. The domestic parts of the castles, like the banqueting halls, require little imagination to picture them bustling with diners and servants, with lairds and ladies at the head tables. Although most castles originated from military necessity and were often situated on rocky outcrops to give the defenders an advantage, they were also a visual statement of royal or baronial power and wealth. During peaceful times the castle grounds were often laid out with gardens which followed the latest fashion but also provided food for the garrison. The royalty and aristocracy in later medieval periods followed European fashion for the decoration of their castles, and gardens, to flaunt their knowledge of classical arts through wall and ceiling paintings, tapestries, furniture and libraries, and in their gardens they displayed sculpture and complicated sundials as well as exotic flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Stirling Castle Stirling Castle is perhaps the most spectacular in Scotland. Overlooking the upper waters of the River Forth, it is high up on a volcanic rock where it’s gleaming Great Hall can be seen from miles away. The castle is protected on three sides by precipitous rocks, and the entrance is reached via a zig-zag route up through the City of Stirling. Attacking armies would have been confronted by a deep moat and massive fortifications. Back in 1314, the castle was held by the English but under siege by the Scots, and the Battle of Bannockburn was fought (and won!) by King Robert the Bruce to halt the
relieving army of the English King Edward II. In addition to its military importance, Stirling Castle was a royal home which had to accommodate the monarch’s family, household, court, important visitors and guards. The splendid Great Hall, built by James IV around 1500, has a lofty hammerbeam roof 54ft high, and is 126 ft long and 37 ft wide. It once served as a meeting place for Parliament and has stained-glass windows depicting the heraldry of great Scottish families. A small gothic bridge connects the Great Hall, with the Royal Palace built by James V during the 1540’s. In an age when impressive buildings trumpeted the power, wealth and cultivation of kings, this palace was decorated outside with statues of historical and mythological figures, while the interior boasted tapestried walls, massive fireplaces with heraldic decorations, and a ceiling covered with painted, woodcarved roundels depicting the heads of famous personalities. Looking south-west from the Palace to the flat ground below, visitors can trace the outlines of an extensive, geometrical garden called “The King’s Knot” that may have had canals and arbours and has been dated to around 1620.
Stirling Castle, ‘Hunt of the Unicorn’ (Clive Willcocks)
Stirling Castle Royal Palace (Courtesy Historic Environment Scotland)
Stirling Castle, ‘Stirling Heads’ Ceiling (Clive Willcocks)
Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Castle has a similar hilltop location to Stirling with sheer rocks on three sides. The gently sloping fourth side provided a parade ground which is now the permanent site for the famous Military Tattoo that entertains visitors every summer, continuing the military history of Scotland’s capital. From its origins in the Bronze Age, the castle has been repeatedly enlarged and modified but the oldest remaining building is a tiny chapel built by King David I in the 12th century for his mother, Saint and Queen 28
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A LETTER FROM SCOTLAND
Edinburgh Castle at Night (Courtesy Historic Environment Scotland)
Edinburgh Castle, National War Museum (Courtesy Historic Environment Scotland)
Falkland Palace Gatehouse (Courtesy National Trust for Scotland)
Margaret, founder of the 200-year Canmore Dynasty in Scotland. Nearby is the famous“Mons Meg”, a French six-tonne siege gun dated 1449, that fired cannon-balls weighing 330lbs. At the highest of the successive levels of the castle is Crown Square, which is flanked by the Great Hall, built in 1511, with its fine hammerbeam roof and heraldic stainedglass windows. The Royal Palace housed the Royal family when in residence and has a central tower and lofty flagpole. It was here that Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to King James VI (and James 1st of England) in 1566. The building also houses “The Honours of Scotland”, comprising the Royal Regalia, the Crown, Sceptre and Sword of State, which were successfully hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s Army in the 1650s at Dunnottar Castle. Later they were locked away in the Crown Room from 1707 until 1818 when the author Walter Scott was preparing for the state visit of the Prince Regent (later George IV). He had the room opened and discovered the ‘Lost Honours’ safe and sound. The Scottish National War Memorial completes the forth side of Crown Square and presents an encyclopaedia of military information that is not to be missed. This elegant and impressive shrine was designed by the noted Scots architect Sir Robert Lorimer in remembrance of those who fell in WWI. It opened in 1927 and now also commemorates later conflicts. A flying figure of St. Michael guards the Shrine and the steel casket containing the Roll of Honour. Throughout the Memorial there are stained-glass windows by the Scots artist Douglas Strachan, some symbolic, others depicting a multitude of wartime situations.
Falkland Palace, South Range (Courtesy National Trust for Scotland)
Nestling by the Lomond Hills in Fife is the village of Falkland where a medieval castle became a royal lodge which grew into Falkland Palace. Here monarchs could entertain their guests with hunting and hawking, without the formalities of the Court. Succeeding Scottish kings from James II in the 1450s to James V in the 1540s, built or adapted parts of the Palace were filled with splendid furniture and valuable decorations. The impressive double-towered Gatehouse, emblazoned with colourful coats-of-Arms, adjoins the sunny South Range of the Palace and faces the village. This is the main surviving structure as the East Range is ruined, reputedly by a fire during the time Cromwell’s troops were garrisoned there. In the South Range is the delightful Chapel Royal with its fine panelled and painted ceiling, and painted trompe l’oeil windows as well as Flemish tapestries and a fine 16th century oak entrance screen. While Falkland Palace may no longer have the splendid rooms of other royal homes, it has glorious gardens and orchards, and the Royal Tennis Court, built in 1539, even before the one at Hampton Court, is still in use today. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
READER’S LIVES Reader, William ‘Bill’ Roberts, Tells Us About His Life As An American In Britain
I was born and raised in the American northwest. Although I still only carry a US passport, I have lived in the UK as a permanent resident since 1969, and spent a year prior to that as a graduate student at the University of Manchester. There I earned a Diploma in Drama, after having completed a B.A. in Theatre Arts at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. During my student years I also spent several summer seasons acting with the Oregon Shakespearean Festival at Ashland. My intention was to gain as much experience and training as I could at various key universities and summer stock theatres prior to setting out on a career in professional theatre in the US. Little did I suspect, however, that my year at Manchester would change the direction of my life forever. During that stimulating year I became acquainted with a young lady who was teaching in the Drama Department, and within a year we were married. After a year spent pursuing an MFA degree together at the University of California at Riverside, we decided to return to London, where I shortly found employment – thanks to the thorough practical training I had received for my drama degree – as a stage manager in charge of lighting with The Victoria Theatre repertory company in Stoke-on-Trent. There I remained for a year, earning my full membership in British Actors’ Equity. Having finished my contract with the Vic, we then moved to Canterbury to live in the wonderful 15th century townhouse that had been bought by my wife’s mother, Mollie Lee (then Editor of BBC radio’s ‘Woman’s Hour’), as a retirement home. 30
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As she was finishing her final year of work, she invited us to live in the house rent free, in return for me using my handicraft skills to do odd building-in jobs. Unfortunately, she developed a brain tumour shortly after her retirement and died, never having enjoyed living in the house herself, ownership of which was made over to my wife by her father. In Canterbury I spent several seasons acting with the Marlowe Theatre company. When the acting work ran out, I took advantage of the British government Training Opportunities (TOPS) scheme to train intensively for six months as a carpenter/joiner, thereby giving myself the wherewithal to remain in funds even in slack times of theatre work. It was during this period that our daughter, Emily, was born. In the years since, I have abandoned carpentry and have enjoyed a varied and successful career as an actor, voice artist and writer, working in theatre, film, television and radio. Throughout that time, however, I was making frequent trips back to Oregon and California to visit family and friends, and to keep my American accent up to scratch. After years working in British repertory theatre, and with few opportunities to play American roles, my natural American inflections and pronunciations had inevitably begun to morph into those I was hearing daily. For a time I was untroubled by that, since it prevented the ubiquitous conversational gambit at social gatherings: ‘Oh, you’re American? From California? I have friends in Fresno. You wouldn’t happen to know them, would you?’ But when I began to be sent by my
agent to casting interviews for American films, it quickly became clear that any trace of an‘English’ accent was a serious handicap. From that time on, though I still played occasional ‘English’ parts on radio, I concentrated on preserving my American accent – though it had in truth slipped irretrievably from the West Coast to the East (or, more precisely, to somewhere midway over the Atlantic). In spite of that, I have appeared over the years in dozens of American films – including Cold Mountain (2003) and, more recently, Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation. For many years I also enjoyed regular work acting in BBC radio drama, and reading serialised American novels and short stories on BBC Radio 4. Since John Birt savagely restructured the BBC shortly after the millennium, however, forcing most BBC radio dramas to be produced in outside studios by independent production companies, my radio work has sadly dwindled. I still regularly read, however, for various audiobook publishers, sometimes from my own home studio in south London, and appear often in key roles in internationally popular CD Rom and play station games. In short, the phone has continued to ring, and I am lucky enough to be a pensioner who still enjoys frequent and varied jobs to keep my creative juices active. My other interests? In the late ‘90s, using a legacy left to me by my father, I spent some weeks in Oregon (my birth state) earning my FAA pilot’s license. Following this I earned a European pilot’s license, then added an FAA instrument rating. In 2006, after a lucrative period of voice
READER’S LIVES work, I bought my own small plane, a two-seater Liberty XL2 out of Melbourne, FL, which is based at Biggin Hill, near Bromley, and in which I have made many trips around the UK and deep into Europe. Prior to my flying, I qualified as a PADI diver, with an Advanced rating, and enjoyed several summers diving in such locations as the Great Barrier Reef, around the islands off Santa Barbara in California, and in various places in the Mediterranean. Then there are my grandsons, Luke William and Julien Claude, who live, with their parents, in Provence in France – a locale I love and regularly visit. One of the advantages of living in Britain is the proximity of some of the finest holiday destinations in the world, and I have taken advantage of that many times over the years – holidaying regularly in France, Greece, Spain, Turkey, and elsewhere, where quality sun and sea are guaranteed, the food and drink is always enjoyable, and all available at a very reasonable price.
A dozen or so years ago, while on such a holiday in Cyprus with my new partner, Carolanne, I happened to re-read some of the short stories of my old college friend Raymond Carver and came across a piece he wrote about writing. Essentially what he said was that everyone had a story or two within them, and that – if one felt the urge - these stories could be told in the simplest language. Now, though I had written prose on commission many times over the years - adapting American plays and novels into radio plays for the BBC, drafting audio description scripts of films for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and occasionally penning sleeve notes for various audio publishers - I had not written any fiction since my teenage years (it was awful). Spurred by Ray’s words, however, it occurred to me then, in my early sixties, that I had lived a life filled with exposure to a wealth of personalities and events that could be turned into short stories. Accordingly I sat down at the laptop and in a day or two completed a short story of some twelve thousand words with a beginning, middle and end. This I passed on to Carolanne to read. When at the end of her reading she raised her eyebrows and smiled, I took confidence from that and set about writing more stories. The upshot is that over the intervening years I have written some three dozen short stories, a novella and a long novel (both set in California), and am currently in the midst of writing my fourth book, another novel set in northern California.
Bill’s advice for newcomers to the UK? If your stay is to be a long one, be prepared for an awkward and occasionally difficult transition period. We Americans tend to be far more open and gregarious than our more reserved hosts, and our conversational efforts can, at times, seem to fall flat, or at the least not proceed as expected. But persevere and you will win out. The conversational protocol is soon learned, and the British are a kind, generous and warm-hearted race, in spite of their reticence. It will not be long before you find yourself completely at home in this richly different, and increasingly comfortable environment, and you will return home with memories of events, people and places that will always be treasured. Bill Roberts - firstname.lastname@example.org Bill’s books, The Humanist, An Ill Wind, and Close To Home (a collection of twenty of his stories), have all been published and are available on Amazon as paperbacks and Kindle downloads under his penname WERoberts. The Humanist is also available as an audiobook read by Bill. He is pleased to say that all of his works have been received with glowing reviews on both sides of the pond, and he would be delighted if American In Britain readers were also tempted to read them.
If you would like to feature in our Reader’s Lives article in a future issue, please contact email@example.com
Happy 90th Birthday,Your Majesty, photo by PolizeiBerlin
Celebrating Shakespeare at 400, Midsummer Night’s Dream, London’s Globe Theatre 2016, photo by Steve Tanner, courtesy Globe Press Office
Celebrate Summer by Judith Schrut
The sun has got its hat on and the clouds are right as rain! Welcome to summertime Britain, bringing you traditions like fun fairs and fetes, green parks and gorgeous gardens, fish and chips on a pebble beach and daily chit-chat about the weather. You’ll also find an incredible choice of music, arts, festivals and other cracking cultural treats. We invite you to enjoy those fabulous long days and late, light nights with our pick of this summer’s savouries.
1. Anniversaries In The Air Make a date with history this summer as 2016 Britain celebrates a bevy of birthdays and anniversaries. Our beloved and oldest-ever monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is 90 this year, so join the nation as it says “Long Live the Queen” and Her Majesty generously shares her love of horses, corgis, pomp and pageantry with her subjects in a year-long birthday party. Royal revels include street parties in villages and towns across the UK, a Windsor Castle ceremony as the Queen lights the first in a chain of 900 beacons, and a service of Thanksgiving 32
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in St Paul’s Cathedral. The Clean for the Queen project calls on the country to show its gratitude by joining in a nationwide clean-up campaign, while the Patron’s Lunch promises the world’s largest-ever street party, with 10,000 guests invited to the Mall near Buckingham Palace for feasting and fundraising in honour of the Queen’s 600+ sponsored charities. In case you haven’t yet received an invitation, the event will be broadcast live on the BBC and on giant video screens in a Royal Park near you. Expect plenty of bunnies, beavers and badgers on hand for the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter, writer and illustrator of children’s favourites like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and The Roly Poly Pudding. Beatrix was one of the Lake District’s most famous residents, so 17th century Hill Top Farm, her former cottage home turned National Trust museum, will be hosting special events throughout the summer. There will be tours of Hill Top and its lovely gardens, birthday picnics, guided walks and storytelling Saturdays. Nearby Hawkshead Gallery will have a charming display of original illustrations. Not only was Ms Potter a prolific author and
artist, she was also a passionate farmer and conservationist, an expert on mushrooms, a prize-winning sheep breeder and the first woman president of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders Association. Hard to believe that Peter Rabbit, her first ‘little book’, was rejected by several publishers so she had to print it herself. It was an instant and huge success. Since then, her works have sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into more than 35 languages. Further south, the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire, celebrates the 100th birthday of the late, great Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches and The BFG. Step through the Museum’s chocolate doors, dress up as your favourite Dahl story character, enjoy workshop and craft activities in Miss Honey’s Classroom and visit Dahl’s famous Writing Hut. One of the finest musicians of all time, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, would also have been 100 this year. Born in New York, raised in San Francisco, renowned as the ‘Miracle Boy’ who gave his first solo concert aged 8 and was world famous by 13, Menuhin spent most
The inspirationalYehudi Menuhin, photo copyright BildZeitung
of his adult life in England, where he founded the famed Yehudi Menuhin School and taught and inspired generations of young musicians. Celebratory events include an exhibition and Magical Musical Journeys Workshops for families at the Royal Academy of Music and a series of concerts at Kings Place. Last but not least, Britain makes much ado about William Shakespeare in the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death in 1616. In his relatively short life– he died in his early 50s– the greatest writer in the English-speaking world penned an astonishing 38 plays, 154 sonnets and dozens of quotable quotes. Shakespeare’s Globe in London and The Swan in his birth town of Stratford upon Avon, are marking the occasion with numerous exhibitions, performances and events. From the hidden gardens and spectacular lawns of Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, comes an immersive production of As You Like It, with a mouth-watering gourmet BBQ served to the audience during the final wedding scene.You can also enjoy a summer evening of open air theatre at its very best as The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s sparkling battle of the sexes comedy, in the majestic riverside setting of Ham House near Richmond. So, what’s not to celebrate? Further information: Her Majesty the Queen, www.thepatronslunch.com William Shakespeare, www.shakespeare400.org Beatrix Potter, www.nationaltrust.org.uk Roald Dahl, www.roalddahl.com/museum
WOMAD’s massive list of world class musicians is topped by Senegalese legend Baaba Maal, all-woman Malian supergroup Les Amazones D’Afrique and the exquisite Anoushka Shankar, considered the queen of the sitar. You can also experience ska Balkan punk from the Dubioza Kolektiv, ancient a capella vocals from Sardinia’s Cuncordu e Tenore de Orosei and roofraising rhythms from New Orleans’ magnificent Hot 8 Brass Band. All that hard work traipsing from stage to stage makes for hearty appetites and WOMAD’s Global Market is more than ready for this. Let your tastebuds do the travelling as you eat and drink your way around the world. Try festival favourites like Goan fish curry, Indian thali and Japanese tempura, whole spit-roasted chickens, sheep’s milk ice cream cones and splendid tea and cakes. We strongly recommend at least one visit to the St Valentine’s Licorice cart. Although WOMAD’s stage shows are its main draw, there are loads of other unique events to enjoy. You can browse the huge selection of crafts, clothing, books and instruments on offer or be moved to action by a range of worthy causes on display. The World of Words brims with poetry, talks, authors, discussions, human books and lots more to spark your creativity. In the cool shade of the Arboretum you’ll find the World of Well Being, with massages and mindfulness, healing therapies and hanging candles and a delightful chance to nap under the trees. Tree climbing, a big hit with festivalgoers last year when first introduced, will be back. A team of trained climbers will be on hand to kit you out and show you the ropes so you can scale the massive Turkey Oak in the heart of the Arboretum. The festival is famously family-friendly, free for kids and loaded with imaginative workshops,
activities and the traditional Sunday Children’s Parade. The World of Children has a Brazilian Carnival theme this year, so expect plenty of samba and capoeira, magic and mystery, storytelling and song. Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dancers will lead workshops in the All Singing All Dancing Tent and the Happening Tent. The extraordinary Taste the World cookery stage will also be back with a bang. Here, guest artists prepare a choice dish from their homeland whilst chatting about their lives, music and culture with charismatic Taste the World host Roger de Wolf. It’s all served up with a side order of spontaneous music and the audience gets to sample the completed dish. And should you tire of chemical toilets and your parents’ borrowed vintage tent, consider treating yourself to self-pampering extras like the La-Di-Da Loos, luxury camping in tipis, podpads and yurts or the Womad Spa. A weekend Spa ticket gives you unlimited access to pamper pavilions sumptuously filled with Persian rugs and saffron light, an exclusive cocktail bar, gardens and gazebos, hammocks and luxury showers, outdoor jacuzzis and wood-fired sauna, plus a choice of therapeutic treatments. Further information: WOMAD 2016, Charlton Park, 28-31 July, womad.co.uk
Fabulously family friendly, WOMAD Festival, photo by Geoffrey Davies
2. The Wonderful World Of Womad
If you’ve never been to WOMAD– short for World of Music, Arts and Dance– you’re in for an unforgettable treat. This year’s WOMAD, taking place at the end of July, promises to be even more extraordinary. The biggest international festival on the planet is celebrating its 34th year in style, bringing hundreds of performing artists from dozens of countries and thousands of world music fans to a beautiful open air site deep in the Wiltshire countryside. www.theamericanhour.com
Festival Style, The Womad Spa, photo by David Hedges
Beer Festival at London’s Olympia, where you can partake in tutored tasting sessions, enjoy traditional pub games and sample real ale from hundreds of breweries across the UK as well as an unparalleled range of international beers. Further information: Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall, 28-31 July, www.porteliotfestival.com Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 5-10 July, www.rhs.org.uk Ludlow Food Festival, Ludlow Castle, 9-11 September, www.foodfestival.co.uk
4. Pride Of The Proms Teatime at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, photo credit RHA, courtesy Michael Barrett, the Press Office
3. Food’s Out For Summer Foodies are in for a fabulous season of culinary delights as summer Britain becomes a food lover’s paradise. Amongst a cornucopia of summerlicious events are esteemed traditions like strawberries and cream at Wimbledontime, cockles, whelks and winkles by the seaside and picnic teas in the park. You can opt for tastings, chef demos and local producers galore alongside botanical brilliance at the Hampton Court Flower Show, or eat your heart out at themed fests like Pembrokeshire’s Fish Week, Isle of Wight’s Garlic Festival or Hoxton, London’s Great Indian Food Feast. Indulge in some serious supping at classic events like Ludlow Food Festival, where this year’s highlights include a Sausage and Ale Trail, tastings of 300 puddings and dozens of free cookery workshops for kids. Turn up the heat with Grillstock, Bristol’s annual family-friendly barbecue feast of ‘meat, music and mayhem’ where you can take part in chili pepper, hot dog
and hotwing eating competitions and cheer on teams such as Smokus Pocus, Grillers in the Mist and Apocalypse Cow as they compete for the coveted title, ‘King of the Grill’. You can even satisfy those Fourth of July yearnings with a PBJ hot dog and champagne at Fitzrovia, London’s Bubbledogs or an old-fashioned Louisiana crawfish boil at Dalston’s Pamela Bar. Or, save your alfresco appetite for the Port Eliot Festival, where food takes centre stage. Port Eliot is a uniquely creative and laid back festival of words, imagination, fashion, flowers, music and a well-deserved reputation for phenomenal food. Over the Festival’s extended weekend, a mellow mix of local chefs and top foodie legends offer talks, tastes and demonstrations celebrating all aspects of food from planting and growing to prepping and eating. Summer eating is obviously thirsty work. That’s where the London Craft Beer Festival comes in, with 30 top independent breweries bringing over 250 of their best beers for you to sip and savour along with great music and abundant food. There’s also the Great British
Hailed as the world’s greatest festival of classical music, the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, affectionately known as The Proms and a national treasure since 1895, roll into town mid-July, filling London’s Royal Albert Hall with 93 concerts and 9 weeks of sumptuous sound, ending with the legendary Last Night of the Proms. But the Proms are much more than a chance to savour a delicious feast of international orchestras, conductors, choirs and soloists. This year’s Proms proudly present 30 world and UK premieres and 132 debut artists. You’ll find a David Bowie Prom, Gospel Prom, CBeebies Children’s Prom, an Erik Satie Cabaret and a Strictly Prom dance extravaganza, plus dozens of extra events, talks, films and workshops. The season also sees Proms in some unusual places like the Roundhouse, Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College and Bold Tendencies Multi-Story Car Park in Peckham. American musicians and performers are always well-represented. There will be a Prom applauding six decades of jazz and popular music by Quincy Jones, a Prom saluting Duke Ellington’s groundbreaking, Shakespearethemed Such Sweet Thunder and the magnificent John Wilson Orchestra greets George
Gorgeous gardens and phenomenal food, Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall, photo by Fiona Campbell, courtesy Michael Barrett, the Press Office
American In Britain
The Last Night of the Proms, copyright BBC, photo credit, Chris Christodoulou
Gershwin’s 120th birthday with a magnificent tribute night. The charismatic Marin Allsop is back to conduct two concerts. Prom seats are affordably priced and every concert famously features Promming tickets for £6, enough for 900 Prommers standing in the central Arena and a further 500 standing, sitting or even lying down in the upstairs Gallery. Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and online, with many also televised. For the Last Night on 10 September, the Proms spill out from the Royal Albert Hall onto open spaces around all four countries of the UK for Proms in the Park. There will be music and merrymaking at Belfast’s Titanic Slipways, Glasgow Green on the banks of the Clyde, Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay, Wales and Hyde Park in London, culminating in a cross-country link up of flagwaving, fireworks and passionate singalong-ing to Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and the like. Should you be unable to get to a Last Night event, you can still watch, wave your flags, pop your party poppers and singalong via giant public video screens around the UK, or enjoy the magic of the evening live on radio, laptop or TV in the comfort of your own home, courtesy of the BBC. Other outstanding choices for classical music lovers this summer include the York Early Music
Last Night of the Proms, Proms in the Park, Hyde Park, copyright BBC
Festival, Cheltenham Music Festival and Westminster Abbey Summer Organ Festival, while opera lovers can gorge on Glyndebourne, Garsington and Opera Holland Park. Further information: BBC Proms and Proms in the Park 2016, 15 July – 10 September, www.bbc.co.uk/proms
5. All That Jazz We think summer and jazz are great natural partners. This coming season you’ll find jazz gigs galore in pubs, village greens, riverside barges, church halls and other chilled out venues across the UK, from major star-draw fests like Brecon Jazz Festival, Glasgow Jazz Festival and Edinburgh Jazz and Blues to joyful one site events like Love Supreme, TW12 Jazz Festival and Greenwich Music Time.
If you’re new to jazz, TW12 is an ideal place to start. It’s a friendly, weekend extravaganza founded by jazz musicians Terence Collie and Janet McCunn, featuring an impressive mix of jazz styles, an intimate local feel and a beautiful riverside location. This year’s line up includes Anita Wardell, Femi Temowo and Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble. The jazz jewel that is Love Supreme looks set for a 4th successful festival on its spacious country house site near Brighton. Expect three days of fresh air, green fields and a Sussex Downs backdrop with the very best of jazz, soul, R&B, pop and beyond. American talent is generously represented by Burt Bacharach, Melody Gardot, Esperanza Spalding, Cecile McLorin Savant, Kamasi Washington, Scofield/ Mehldau/Guiliana, amongst others. You can sleep in style with a choice of ‘glamping’ options, sample the new Lazy Bird banqueting kitchen, browse Rough Trade Records range of classic and current vinyl and CDs with artists appearing across the festival for album signings. There will be talks, film screenings, guest speakers, and artist interviews throughout the weekend, and if you’re not exhausted after all that, feel free to boogie the night away in the secret woodland setting of the Blue in Green Bar. There’s also a distinct jazz focus at Greenwich Music Time, a series of outdoor concerts in the magnificent surroundings of the Old Royal Naval College, overlooking the Thames and lit by the big city lights of Canary Wharf. GMT’s jazz artists this summer include Jamie Cullum, Jacob Collier, and Andrea Triyana. Further information: Love Supreme, 1-3 July, www.lovesupremefestival.com Greenwich Music Time, 5-10 July, www.greenwichmusictime.co.uk TW12 Jazz Festival, 21-24 July, www.tw12jazzfestival.co.uk Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. We’d love to hear how you’re celebrating British summertime. Email Judith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joyful jazz, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, photo by Tom Gates, DSY Media
Open Top TourS As a Brit it is sometimes easy to dismiss the true beauty of the English countryside and how many unsung wonderful places England has off the usual tourist routes, but if you can combine that beauty with classic British engineering, in the form of a classic car, I think you have a heady combination which takes some beating. We proved this to ourselves when one sunnyish May weekend we hired a classic car to travel around the Suffolk countryside, famous for being ‘Constable country’. I must initially state that you genuinely don’t have to be a petrol head or a classic car enthusiast to enjoy this, as who doesn’t love fresh air and hanker back to the golden age of cars where you really have to drive them, rather than rely on all the gadgets that exist in today’s cars. And who doesn’t love turning heads by cruising through small villages in an eye turning car? Open Top Touring is a company, based near to the historic market town of Woodbridge in Suffolk, that provides the nostalgic of us a chance to drive some very special cars of yesteryear without the need to spend an arm and a leg. Bookings are flexible and John, the owner, is always available to help create whatever package you want, ranging from wedding hire, day trips and now packages including delightful country boutique hotels for up to a week. What is also great is that there is a range of cars to choose from, which are a who’s
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who of UK cars from a bygone age, including an Ivory Morgan 4/4 with cream leather seats, an orange MGB (called the clockwork orange) from 1972, a Triumph Herald from the swinging sixties and the MGB Roadster from 1973. My wife and I were still babes in arms when our car, the MGB Roadster was built, and it was with slight trepidation and awe that we took our seats in the open topped Mallard Green British icon. In its day the MGB was an epochal car for MG, and during its 18 year production run it became the world’s bestselling sports car and it is not hard to see why. The sleek lines and traditional ‘rasp’ of the exhaust when you put your foot down is just wonderful, and makes you feel like a racing driver as you power through the Suffolk countryside with the wind whistling through your hair (just make sure you keep to the speed limit as it is easy to get carried away!). One thing you realise as you pull out onto the lanes is that this is not a car from the current era, and so power steering and enhanced brakes it doesn’t have, so do ensure you test them out early in your journey. Two other bits of trivia about the car is that it appeared on the TV in the series Dr Frost (a great series if you didn’t see it), and the first owner of the car was one V. Wade of Wimbledon, who bought it 4 years prior to taking the Wimbledon crown for the first and only time. For our trip we were taking a two day/
one night break, so John had organised two routes, taking us on the first day through the picturesque Suffolk countryside from Ufford, where OTT is based, to Lavenham, and a second on the next day round the other side of Ipswich nearer the coast back to Ufford. The routes are all clearly explained and take you off the beaten track through lovely quaint British villages full of history. Indeed Lavenham, our stop for the evening, is noted for its 15th Century church, halftimbered medieval cottages, and being one of the wealthiest settlements in Britain thanks to its connection with the wool trade. Indeed The Swan Hotel & Spa at Lavenham, where we stayed, retains one of the only wool guild halls left standing, and the traders enjoyed such prosperity that Henry VII fined some of the wealthier Lavenham families for displaying too much wealth! Lavenham retains much of its Tudor buildings as due to the sharp decline in the wool trade residents didn’t have the money to renovate the buildings, so retains a lovely mix of styles to this day, and in the heart of this stands the charming 15th Century Swan Hotel & Spa. The hotel is steeped in history and the décor is sympathetic with this age with cosy nooks and open fireplaces combined perfectly with contemporary sophistication in its rooms, dining rooms and the luxurious spa. The Swan’s 45 bedrooms offer a wide range of
Open Top TourS
accommodation from the Constable Suites offering the height of comfort and elegance, to superior rooms, all providing a perfect blend of old and new. All rooms are unique and all have the luxuries you would expect from an AA 4 Star hotel, including free wifi, fluffy bathrobes and tea and coffee making facilities. Having had a full work out trying to steer the MGB round the country lanes I was in need of slight relaxation prior to dinner, and so decided to visit the Spa, and was impressed by how sympathetically they have created a luxurious spa in the shell of a 15th Century building. Maybe the original residents, despite their wealth, didnâ€™t have a delightfully hot Jaccuzi in their garden, but everything else was authentic and that Jacuzzi was a life saver. The Spa provides the usual treatments and also boasts a sauna to allow tired guests to totally unwind, and having made the most of the facilities I was ready for dinner. The Swan Hotel & Spa has two restaurants, The Gallery, or the Brasserie which is less formal, but both provide fine food using the best seasonal ingredients from the local area, and for those requiring a nightcap the Airmenâ€™s
Bar stays open until the last resident retires. The next morning, after a hearty breakfast we regretfully left Lavenham and opened up the throttle of the MGB and started to wend our way back towards Woodbridge, revelling again in the undeniable thrill of driving with the roof down and the wind in our hair and the sun on our backs. I truly loved my trip down memory lane and driving a true British classic, and if I could only play tennis as well as its original
owner I might be able to get one of my own, but until then I will just have to wait until the next time, and yes there will be a next time as it was just that good. For further information on hiring a classic car please visit www.open-top-touring.co.uk and for information on The Swan Hotel & Spa at Lavenham, please visit www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
kcwc - Coffee Morning
kcwc – International Women in London
kcwc is an organisation of British and international women who enjoy everything London has to offer. Established for over 30 years and with hundreds of members from over 48 countries, kcwc is a truly international activity-based social Club. Members can participate in over 35 various activities organised by fellow members who follow their passion and volunteer their time and skills to run events - from history and culture, art and design, tours and travel, special events, sports, languages, hobbies, book and lecture groups, and days out, to just having fun with like-minded women. There are also a variety of evening and weekend activities including theatre, music and opera appreciation, life-styling, walks,
kcwc - Happy Hour
wine tasting, dining out, and evening speakers. The last few months have been busy for kcwc, with visits by the Travel Group to Brescia and Bergamo in April, and they have just returned from an inspiring 3 day Impressionist Heritage Tour in Normandy, France. British History spent the day in Cambridge, and viewed rare books in the Parker Library as well as lunch by the river, and The Art History Group explored street art in London in April. Life Styling visited the Duke of Somerset’s historic family home, Bradley House in Wiltshire, and lunched with the Duke in the formal dining room, before strolling around the grounds and chapel of the estate. The Wine Society enjoyed a delicious lunch and wine tasting with Jonathan Rae, the renowned Wine Critic for The Spectator Magazine at their Headquarters in May. The After Six in the City gals dined on Italian cuisine kcwc -Bible Study
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before dancing the night away at Da Mario’s Gastronomia in Kensington, and in May enjoyed a guided tour of Fortnum & Mason followed by dinner at Café Royal. Volunteers for Charity have been busy sorting donations at The Wandsworth Food Bank, and our Bible Study Group celebrated the Queen’s 90th Birthday with a fabulous“fancy hat”luncheon. Two activities - New and Expectant Mums and Fun with Feng Shui came together in June to learn how to Feng Shui a child’s bedroom, and Antiques and Design will visit the Fashion and Textile Museum in September to explore the creativity of Italian fashion house, Missoni. Art History are running a course in November “Understanding Contemporary Art”, so join kcwc now and sign up for this informative and interesting four part course into the complex, challenging and exciting world of contemporary art. Country Walks are walking the Seven Sisters Walk in July, and Hassocks to Lewes on the South Downs in August. The Travel Group have organised a special day at Cliveden House in Berkshire, including a 3-course lunch in Nancy Astor’s “Boudoir”, a tour of the private garden, and a one hour Thames river trip on their vintage flagship boat with refreshments. New additions to our variety of activities include: Weekend Activities – who have just had their first outing to Barnes Village; Creative Writing; Culture After Six, who will enjoy evening visits to Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions around London; and “Techy”Teas – a chance to learn how to make the most of your iPad and smart phone. There are still places available for members to attend the traditional annual event, Henley Royal Regatta at Phyllis Court, on Wednesday, 29 June 2016. Cost includes morning refreshments, Pimms/ champagne reception, three course luncheon with wine and return trip by coach. Cost £145.00
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
After Six in the City gals enjoying dinner and dancing at Da Marios Italian Restaurant, April 16
Travel groups trip to Normandy in May 2016
Art History tour of Street Art in London, Apr 15
SAVE THE DATE: kcwc General Meetings are open to non members for a guest fee of £10.00. They are usually held on the first Thursday of each month between September and June. The next meetings are: September General Meeting: Thursday 15 September 2016 at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR - 9.30am-12 noon. October General Meeting: Thursday 6 October 2016 at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR - 9.30am-12 noon. kcwc also welcomes non members at their monthly Happy Hours and Coffee Mornings hosted by their Hospitality group which are held at fabulous London locations, where guests can come along for an informal chat over a coffee or drink and enjoy the company of other international women in London. Coffee Mornings: Thursday 14 July, 10.00 am, Clifton Nurseries, 5A Clifton Villas, London, W9 2PH (closest tube: Maida Vale). Thursday 25 August, 10.00 am; The Lido Café Bar, The Serpentine, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH (closest tube: Lancaster Gate, 10 mins walk) or Knightsbridge/Kensington and No. 9 or No. 10 bus to Kensington Gore). Happy Hours: Thursday 7 July, 5.30 pm; Bibendum Oyster Bar, Brompton Cross, 81 Fulham Road, South Kensington, SW3 6RD (closest tube: South Kensington). Thursday 18 August, 5.00 pm; 16 Sumner Place, London, SW7 3EG (closest tube: South Kensington). There is no need to pre-register to attend the Hospitality events, and the cost is your own tab. For further details contact: email@example.com To join kcwc please visit www.kcwc.org.uk and click on JOIN US or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Women Lawyers in London
“Volunteers for Charity”sorting donations at Wandsworth Food Bank, April 16
Wine Society Lunch www.theamericanhour.com
American Women Lawyers in London (“AWLL”) is an organisation of Londonbased women with ties to the American legal community. Our aim is to provide professional development support to members through educational events, networking and mentoring opportunities. AWLL has also partnered with several top companies to offer exclusive discounts and benefits to members. Our recent events have ranged from a networking and shopping event at Lucy Choi London’s flagship store on February 18th, co-hosted with the Association of Asian Women Lawyers, to a professional development event on “How to Build Professional Relationships and the Benefits of Mentoring” on March 16th at Covington & Burling LLP. We also launched a mentoring programme at this event and all AWLL members are welcome to participate. On April 13th, AWLL held a professional development and networking event that was
kindly hosted by Shearman & Sterling LLP. “Women in Law: Securing Talent for the Future” featured Geraldine Gallacher discussing how employers can attract and retain female talent. Geraldine is Managing Director of the Executive Coaching Consultancy, which launched in 1994 as one of the first dedicated executive coaching providers in the UK. On May 16th, AWLL participated in the 10k London Legal Walk and helped to raise much needed funds for free legal advice charities in the London area. These charities, which are supported by the London Legal Support Trust, help society’s most vulnerable individuals obtain legal advice and representation. The London Legal Walk is the largest annual gathering of lawyers and the judiciary with over 10,000 participants this year representing more than 600 law firms, barristers’ chambers, in-house teams and legal organisations. Starting at the Royal Courts of Justice, finishing at the Law Society and culminating in a street party, the walk was a wonderful opportunity to exercise for a great cause. The next AWLL event will be our annual Independence Day celebration, which will be held on June 30th. AWLL is also delighted to be a supporting organisation of the fourth annual “IFLR Women in Business Law Forum: Building the Talent Pipeline” on June 16th at the Waldorf Hilton London. This conference, hosted by the International Financial Law Review, will bring together leading women counsel and private practice lawyers to provide an interactive discussion on mentoring, networking, leadership and breaking the glass ceiling. For more information about AWLL and becoming a member, please visit our website at www.awll.org. uk or contact AWLL Marketing Director Joanne Skolnick at email@example.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We are planning an incredible line-up of events in the fall and hope to see you then!
CAWC International – www.cawc.co.uk is a group of International women who either call the Chilterns their home, either temporarily or permanently. CAWC members have the opportunity to network through meetings, social activities, and charitable events. We currently have over 90 members and are a great resource to newcomers and returning members. We always welcome new members so, please get in touch with us if you would like to attend our September 15 General Meeting. Our May Tea Party was such a lovely event and the tea party tables decorated by our members were the most elaborate yet. Attention to detail was the secret ingredient and the ‘Re-Loved and in the Pink’ table was the grand prize winner!
AWLL - London Legal Walk
CAWC International, formerly known as Chilterns American Women’s Club (CAWC) will host its annual Christmas Bazaar in support of local Bucks charities on Sunday 20 November 2016. This year’s event will again take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Gerrards Cross, and will see the popular event raise funds to be split between two chosen charities - the Epilepsy Society and Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity. There will once again be more than 70 artisan, craft and gift stalls. In addition, there will also be food stalls, raffles and the much sought after CAWC gift baskets. Pam Showalter, CAWC Bazaar co-chair: “We’re delighted to be hosting this important charity-focused fundraising event again in support of two very worthy charities. This is the 29th year CAWC has worked with the community to fundraise and we hope that people will come, have a fabulous time
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shopping and, by shopping, help donate to some worthy causes.” Fellow co-chair Pam Houghton: “Last year we managed to raise more than £15,000 which was split between our incumbent charity The Epilepsy Society and The Pepper Foundation. We’re delighted to welcome the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity as a joint recipient of this year’s fundraising efforts and we invite everybody to get on board either as donors, sponsors and exhibitors or as shoppers.” Many of the stalls for the event have already been reserved, but those wishing to either have stalls or explore other event-related sponsorship opportunities should visit www.cawc.co.uk.
AWBS International Women’s Club
The lovely buds of May and London is in full bloom! Our last General Meeting before the summer holiday break featured our Annual Member Appreciation Meeting and Luncheon and dynamic guest speaker, comedy writer and novelist, Kathy Lette. The 2016-17 AWBS Board had their first meeting where they welcomed new Board members. Excitement and Energy is starting already. The fun continues. And thanks to an enthusiastic membership, lots of exciting activities are still going on now, this summer, and in early fall.
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS KEY EVENTS IN 2016: September 6: First General Meeting after the Summer Holiday Break • We are privileged to have a very special speaker: Mr. Sujo John, 9/11 survivor who has a very unique and inspiring story to share with us on this 15th anniversary of 9/11. October 29: 35th Anniversary Celebration • Late 70s/early 80s music, Dinner, Dancing, all for the symbolic price of £35!! Husbands, partners, friends and COSTUMES encouraged!! November 5: Annual Craft Fair • Just in time for holiday shopping!
Lunch & drinks get together for our members who may be in town and fancy catching up with old and new friends! • July 6 - Wyndlesham Golf Club • August 10 - Wentworth Golf Club MEMBERSHIP New Members, Information Update, and Renewals: Online renewal is available to all current members.
The weekend of May 19-22, a group of members enjoyed fantastic company, beautiful weather, and delicious port in Porto, Portugal 2016-17 trips are being planned now. • December 2-4: Christmas Market Trip to Innsbruck • January 26 - 29: TBD • March 16 - 19: TBD • May 11 - 14: TBD Website to be updated with the destinations of the trips in 2017, as soon as possible.
GUEST SPEAKER: KATHY LETTE At the May 17 General Meeting, Members were entertained by the dynamic, charismatic, and funny comedy writer and novelist, Kathy Lette. Kathy is best known for her international best seller books including Courting Trouble and Men: A User’s Guide. She first achieved success as a teenager with the novel Puberty Blues, which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series.
After several years as a newspaper columnist and television sitcom writer for Columbia Pictures in America, she wrote numerous international bestsellers including Mad Cows (which was made into a film starring Joanna Lumley and Anna Friel), How to Kill Your Husband and Other Handy Household Hints (recently staged by the Victorian Opera, Australia), To Love, Honour and Betray and The Boy Who Fell To Earth (soon to be filmed by Emily Mortimer). Kathy’s novels have been published in seventeen languages around the world. Lette teamed up with Radox in 2009 to write a water-resistant book, which was released free online, with an aim to encourage women to be selfish with their time. She appears regularly as a guest on the BBC and Sky News and is an ambassador for Women and Children First, Plan International and the White Ribbon Alliance. PROGRAMMES: “WHAT’S ON!” DURING SUMMER TGIF Pub Nights for AWBS Members and their Friends and Families • July 8: Wentworth Golf Club • August 12: TBC Summer Wednesday Lunch Club for AWBS Members and their Friends and Families www.theamericanhour.com
ACTIVITIES Adventures Abroad
November 5 - Christmas Gift and Craft Fair: The annual Gift and Craft Fayre is THE largest charitable fund raising event of the AWBS year. It will be held at the fabulous Royal Holloway in Egham. Please save the date! We will need our members to help plan the event and volunteer to help on the day. Many opportunities are available. This includes baking treats, including pumpkin and apple pies and creating some lovely craft items to sell, such as pallet wood Christmas Trees. We welcome member’s teenage children to be volunteers on the day of the Fayre, especially as many will require to volunteer in some capacity as part of their IB programme. FAWCO HIGHLIGHTS The FAWCO Foundation Development Grants The FAWCO Foundation Development Grant Fund is a dynamic programme which financially assists charitable projects that are passionately supported by FAWCO Member Clubs. For more information: www.fawcofoundation.org. UN Youth Assembly The UN Youth Assembly is a pilot for a new FAWCO Youth Programme module. It offers an opportunity for children (ages 18-25) of FAWCO and FAUSA members to participate in the UN Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York City (August 10-12, 2016). For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org SPECIAL EVENTS May 26 - Annual Hats and Handbags Luncheon: AWBS members dressed up in there finest hat and summer dress and enjoyed a lovely cruise, delicious luncheon, and a relaxing cruise up the Thames River. Members were treated to a back drop of blue sky and sun, complemented with a view of the gardens of Windsor Castle, while pleasantly passing through the beautiful Romney Lock and village of Datchet.
Country Walks May 24: Seven Sisters Members took a coach to the lovely Seven Sisters country park on the coast, east of Brighton. The white cliffs were basking in the warm sunshine and blue sky. The weather was heavenly. The walk was challenging, but only 4 miles and well worth the effort! The Seven Sisters have been a popular movie local, including Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang & James Bond (the Rock of Gibraltar). June 2: The Long Walk to Windsor To close the AWBS year properly, we stayed close to home. Walkers met at the Fox and Hounds, trekked the Long Walk to Windsor, enjoyed lunch, shopped, before making the trip back to the starting point. Round trip was estimated at 6 miles. Let’s Go! June 13: Ben Franklin House Tour & Talk & Title Members will enjoy a Private Architectural Tour at The Ben Franklin House in London, the only surviving home of “The First American”, who lived here in the 16 years leading up to the Revolutionary War. George Goodwin, Author in Residence at the Ben Franklin House in London, will speak about Franklin’s life on Craven Street and provide a short reading from his new book, Benjamin Franklin in London - The British Life of America’s Founding Father. Let’s Go! Plans for 2016 - 2017: There are twelve Let’s Go! events in-the-works for next year! At the September 6 general meeting we will be doing sign-ups for five events! Yoga Hatha and Beginners Yoga to Continue Through June and July • Hatha Yoga: Thursday mornings from 9.30 – 10.40am www.americaninbritain.co.uk
• BeginnersYoga: Thursday mornings from 10.50 - 12:00pm Venue: Sunningdale Parish Council Offices, Broomhall Lane, SL5 0QS Contact Rosie at email@example.com.
The AWC, an international women’s club in London, is set to have a phenomenal summer and enjoy everything that England and greater London has to offer!! As the weather gets better we are ready to explore, entertain and have fun at Ascot, Wimbledon, the Henley on Thames races and many, many more events! We are an active group of women who want to enjoy the London environment, explore the surroundings, meet new people and get involved in charitable organisations and activities. The AWC is your home away from home. A place to ask questions, make friends and feel welcomed in a strange new place. Over the past few weeks we have done many activities and have many planned for the upcoming weeks and months. Here is a small glimpse... The hiking group walked to Pangbourne and its companion village Whitchurch, on the other side of the River Thames - in Oxfordshire. These are delightful villages, spoilt only by too much traffic. Passing on a toll bridge over the river, we came to St Mary’s Church, with the route continuing along part of the Thames Path National Trail (which opened in 1996) past Coombe Park, to a wood with views down to the Thames! Simply a delight! From there it was up through a nature reserve and Great Chalk Wood to a pub for lunch by Crays Pond. After lunch we passed the entrance to Oratory Preparatory School, and went through woods and fields, before heading back down through Whitchurch and into Pangbourne. It was a terrific day! AWC members and partners enjoyed one of the best brunches in London. They dined at the Cookbook Café, which is not your normal brunch! Members dined on brunch favourites like: fresh eggs, waffles and pancakes smothered with syrups! This brunch also included tapas style main course options and a dessert table! The Cookbook Cafe also offered the lovely tradition of unlimited Bellini’s and Prosecco! All had a fantastic time and no glass was left empty! Every week AWC ladies take part in Boot Camps, Fitness in the Park,Yoga, Meditation and Running Clubs to stay happy and healthy! It is a terrific way to meet new friends, have a little fun, get sweaty and become fit and healthy! So don’t stay indoors anymore! Enjoy the summer months by getting out and getting fit! There are many different types and levels of classes and activities to get involved in. Way to go today Boot Camp Babes! The Gardening Club has secured a private, before-hours tour of the most famous twentieth century garden in England. Sissinghurst Castle Gardens is a prime example of the Arts and Crafts style garden. The garden was made on the site of a medieval manor and some structures have survived. Harold Nicolson, a diplomat 42
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Beautiful views from the hike
and author, laid down the main lines of the Sissinghurst design in the 1930s. Vita SackvilleWest, a poet, a garden writer and Harold’s wife, took responsibility for the planting at Sissinghurst garden. She worked as an ‘artistgardener’ and her planting design was brilliant! The most famous and influential feature of Sissinghurst is the White Garden, which will be in full bloom at the time of our visit! Every month there is an American Women’s Club of London Meeting for all members, and perspective new members, to learn more about the club. Meet members of the club in an informal setting and network about club activities and interests. Check the website at www.awclondon.org or email the office firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and location details. For more information about these events or the Club in general, come by the AWC office at 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ or visit the website at www.awclondon.org or email the office email@example.com.
Empty glass from Brunch!
AWC Ladies celebrating after a work out!
Iris De La Torre, artist
ARTS & ANTIQUES Emerging Artists of London By Shari Lebo
As the old adage goes, â€œBeauty is in the eye of the beholderâ€?. Art, like beauty, is subjective; it can mean different things to different people. Styles, genres, mediums and techniques evoke various reactions and feelings within the viewer. One person may consider a unique piece of jewellery to be art, while another might not. Whatever your medium and style, it can be found in the city of London. While London is certainly known for its exclusive galleries, invitation-only exhibits and 44
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concierge sales; the emerging artist scene is bigger than ever. One does not have to travel far or pay exorbitant prices in order to purchase great artwork. East, west, south or north, whichever London neighbourhood you call home, talented artists are nearby. Located within walking distance to the West Hampstead train stations is the Kingsgate Workshops. Kingsgate provides a residency programme for emerging artists. Artists are given a studio, professional mentorship and
financial assistance freeing them to create and nurture their talent. Opportunities are available to purchase artwork from over 75 artists. Northwest London also houses the Camden Arts Centre featuring emerging and established artists showing for the first time in London. After exploring the current exhibit, enjoy a lovely lunch or tea in their private garden. MADE LONDON is a new design and art fair in central London. Held in the Mary Ward House, an Edwardian grade one listed arts and
Arts & Antiques craft settlement in Bloomsbury, this intimate setting allows the artists to present, discuss and sell. MADE LONDON includes sculpture, painting, jewellery, silk-screening, woodwork, ceramics and more. Showcasing her work at the 2016 fair, plastics artist and jewellery designer, Iris De La Torre explained that her inspiration came from folk crafts in her native country, Mexico. Working with graphic design elements and bold colour, her pieces are playful and exciting. Clearly, De La Torres enjoys every aspect of the creative process and is happy to discuss her work, “I am constantly looking for new ways to showcase my work including expanding smaller pieces which began as jewellery into large scale hanging art.” Located within Portobello Market is the Westbank Gallery. A multi-purpose arts space with a top sound system showcases contemporary artwork inside. Once a bank in the 19th century, this Notting Hill location is a unique platform for emerging artists. Westbank focuses on the artist’s place in contemporary culture as well as a space for all aspects of the artistic process. East London’s Old Truman Brewery is home to several galleries and artist markets, as well as The Other Art Fair. Each year, over 100 artists are chosen by industry experts and encompass all mediums. Although the 2016 fair takes place in October, their online store is open year round allowing anyone to view and purchase new artwork without waiting. A new start-up online art auction site entitled,
ArtScout, should be available soon. ArtScout will showcase emerging artists on their new site allowing for instant purchases. Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night and realising that you have the perfect space for a new sculpture or painting created by your favorite artist? With a few clicks on your phone, laptop or tablet, the possibilities are endless. For a diverse collection of artwork at affordable prices, head east to the Spitalfields Arts Market. Make sure you check their website before going, since this unique market is only open once or twice per month from Thursday to Sunday. Stroll among the artists while browsing and buying works of all mediums. When you finish at Spitalfields, the Brick Lane area contains many wonderful artists with permanent galleries as well as ever changing pop-up locations. The Brick Lane Gallery now has an ongoing exhibition, Art in MInd, which gives emerging artists another venue to exhibit their work. Art in MInd also houses well-known artists such as Banksy and others from around the world who may not otherwise be able to attend or exhibit in London. Knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect piece. South London Art Map is a useful online tool helping art lovers navigate the gallery exhibits of emerging London artists. An interactive map allows you to target specific areas of southern London and plan your visit. This user-friendly guide also organises monthly Friday evening gallery tours open to all.
Greenwich Market includes the Artist’s Quarter which houses several local galleries. Each weekend, art lovers will be inspired by the Greenwich artists showcasing fine art, posters, photography, sculpture and more. At the Market meet the artists and discuss their work. For some, purchasing artwork and knowing the inspiration behind a piece adds to the entire experience. Located in south-east London, Bearspace is well-known for giving exceptional emerging artists a showcase for their contemporary work. Explore a wide range of talent, from digital collage to sculpture, to installation art and more. Having discovered award winning artists early in their career, this is a place to experience art that will leave you thinking long after you leave. Bearspace assists artists and enhances the entire experience for art lovers by giving a platform and allowing collections to reach a greater audience. Twice a year, the Affordable Art Fair takes place in London. Springtime in Battersea Park and summertime in Hampstead Heath, galleries pop up to showcase affordable, contemporary works by both established and emerging artists. Whatever medium you seek, the Affordable Art Fair is the place to find it. With all pieces priced between £100-£5,000, it is a great place to begin, or add to, your collection. In addition to browsing and buying, there are hands-on workshops and discussions available for all ages. Who knows, you may be
Lucinda Metcalfe, artist
Camden Arts Centre
Jasmin Simpson, artist
the next big artist to hit London! Expect large crowds as this is a popular fair, especially when the weather cooperates. Talented London painter, Lucinda Metcalfe explains, “To summarise the London art scene right now you might use phrases such as anti-establishment, grassroots or community focused”. Exhibiting her work at several venues including the Affordable Art Fair, she expounds, “To see a glimpse of what’s happening in the commercial galleries, you find a great cross section at the Affordable Art Fair. If you’re 46
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looking for up and coming artists, head to galleries that truly reflect the current art scene, and therefore, what’s happening in the world today. For exciting and fresh paintings and striking mixed media artworks, check out Bearspace gallery and Laysha Contemporary. If you are interested in photography and print making, you should also head to the stands for The Artful Project, East London Printmakers which are all London-based”. With so many ways to experience emerging art throughout London, the opportunities are immense and ever-changing. New platforms arise constantly and buying from emerging artists is a smart way to add to your collection. Pricing is certainly less, thus allowing collectors to take chances on pieces they may not have
otherwise purchased. In addition, buying from independent, emerging artists encourages future talent. For those beginning their art collection, take the time to explore many venues throughout London. The more galleries, fairs, exhibits that you visit, the better you will appreciate the emerging art scene as it happens. As you gravitate towards certain styles and artists, take advantage of the wide range of platforms that London has to offer. Often, there is more than one venue to find pieces by your favourite artist. Lastly, although an artist may be the “hottest new talent in London,” be wary of buying on this basis alone. If a piece does not stimulate you, or evoke something in your senses, then leave it for someone it will.
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THIS Trav A Letter el t Tax Is ISSUE’S FEAT sues URES From Sc t Ea INCLU otland Open ting O DE: Top To t Th ut t ur eatre Hotel Wealth t A Review s t Arts & Manag merican Antique t Em Women ement s t bassy Legal ’s Clubs Corne Issues r t News UK Sp t Ta orts t ke Five Reade r’s Live s
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The 2016 Ex Guide to L patriate's iving in th e UK
This brand new website, where you can also view The 2016 Expatriate’s Guide to Living in the UK online, supports expatriates who have moved to the UK from anywhere in the world, by providing key information about living in the UK. 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 have relocated for business, family or lifestyle reasons, this website will prove to be an invaluable resource. The site currently contains over ten Useful Advice pages covering: Banking & Wealth • Expatriate Clubs • Embassies & High Commissions • Driving & Transport • Education - Schools & Universities • Healthcare & Hospitals • Immigration & Residency • Legal Issues Moving & Relocation • Residential Lettings • Serviced Apartments • Taxation
American In Britain
Supportin g Internatio nal HR Prof essionals Worldwide
EMBASSY CORNER Summer Travel Tips As we move into the summer months, many Americans in the UK are planning exciting summer vacations to countries across Europe and around the world. Here are some important tips from the US Embassy in London to help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable trip.
Do Your Research Read up on your destination at travel.state. gov. This comprehensive Department of State website provides information about visa and other entry requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care in the countries you plan to visit. Some travellers, including women, LGBTI persons, and people with disabilities may face specific challenges in certain countries, and it is important to be informed before you travel. Check travel.state.gov for any Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts for your destination country, which describe risks to you and may affect your travel plans. Also check the website of the US Embassy or consulate where you will be travelling for additional security messages. Enrolling in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Programme (STEP) at step.state.gov ensures that you will receive the latest security updates for your travel destination and enables the nearest US Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency.
Understand Entry Requirements Some of the most important information on travel. state.gov is guidance about entry requirements for every country in the world. There are countries that require American travellers to apply for an entry visa well in advance, while others offer entry visas upon arrival, and still others have no visa requirement at all for short tourist visits. Be sure to find out if your destination country requires you to have one or more blank pages left in your passport for entry visas or stamps. South Africa, for example, requires visitors to have two blank pages side-by-side in their passports. Many countries also require that visitors have at least six months’ validity left on their passports, and will turn away anyone who does not. The US Embassy in London hears almost
daily from American travellers who have had to disrupt their travel plans, often at significant cost, because they were unaware of their destination country’s entry requirements. Avoid suffering that inconvenience and expense by consulting our information on travel.state.gov long before you travel. One other tip about entry requirements: If you’re an American who holds dual nationality, please remember that US law requires that you enter and exit the United States on your US passport.
Take Health Precautions Health issues represent another key area of pretravel research.The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC.gov) and the World Health Organisation (WHO.int) provide recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad. If you are considering travel to an area affected by the Zika virus, including parts of Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, please read the CDC’s travel notices about Zika very carefully. This is especially important if you or your partner are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. If you are travelling with prescription medications, it could be useful to have a letter from your doctor explaining your medical need for each prescription, as some countries closely scrutinise medications brought into their borders. Check travel.state.gov for country-specific information about that. Make sure you have adequate international health insurance whenever you are travelling abroad. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service does not cover overseas travel, although there is some reciprocal coverage in the European Economic Area and Switzerland if you have an EHIC card (www.ehic.org.uk). Many private health insurers also have geographic limitations in coverage, so contact your insurer to find out if you will need to purchase travel health insurance to cover you and your family while travellling.
In Case Of An Emergency Of course, emergencies and unforeseen situations can still arise no matter how well
prepared you are for your trip. Carry a list of key phone numbers and addresses with you including local emergency services and the nearest US Embassy or Consulate (available at usembassy.gov). Try not to keep all of your cash and bank cards in one place so that you still have access to some money in the event of a loss or theft. Have a plan in place for how you would access funds if all of your cash and cards were lost or stolen. If you are the victim of theft or another crime, or if you feel unsafe for any reason, your first point of contact should be local law enforcement in the country where you are travelling. They will be in a better position than US Embassy officials to respond rapidly to a crime or security issue. Then contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate if you need additional assistance, such as a new US passport. Our Embassies and Consulates have duty officers who can provide emergency assistance 24 hours a day - as can our Washington, DC, call centre at 202-501-4444. Lost or stolen US passports can be replaced with emergency passports during normal business hours at US Embassies and Consulates. In the event that a natural disaster or major security incident occurs while you are travelling, follow local media for guidance from local authorities, who will likely provide advice on whether to shelter in place or take other necessary steps. If you are safe, make sure to contact family and friends by phone, email, or via social media so they will know you are OK. The nearest US Embassy will provide further guidance and information to US citizens via its website, Facebook, and Twitter, and by email if you are enrolled in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Programme.
While We Have Your Attention… And finally, before you travel, consider taking a few minutes to register to vote from abroad in the 2016 US elections by visiting FVAP.gov. Email LondonVote@state.gov with any questions about voting. Happy (and safe) travels!
US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6AH www.uk.usembassy.gov Switchboard: (020)7499 9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American and UK holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, every day, for a life or death emergency involving a US citizen in the United Kingdom. Passport and Citizenship Services: By Appointment Monday - Friday Notary Services: By appointment Appointments available only online at www.uk.usembassy.gov Federal Benefits Unit: www.uk.usembassy.gov General Social Security information: www.ssa.gov Travel Advice: www.travel.state.gov www.theamericanhour.com
American In Britain
Published on Jun 24, 2016
The features in this issue include Expat Tax: US Tax Implications For Retired US Citizens Living in the UK by H&R Block; Wealth Management:...