Free Subscription Offer Inside Serving the American Community in the UK
Features Include: UK Sports • Travel • Taxation Eating Out • Wealth Management • Immersing Into The Local Culture Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News • Arts & Antiques Take Five • Hotel Review • Embassy Corner
Eating Outï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ 3 Taxing Issues ........................................................................... 7 Wealth Management ................................................................ 9 Take Five ................................................................................ 12 Hotel Review........................................................................... 17 Travel...................................................................................... 19 Immersing Into The Local Culture......................................... 22 Did My Identity Get Lost In The Move? ................................. 24 UK Sports................................................................................ 26 Theatre.................................................................................... 28 Caring For Your Family Whilst Living Away .......................... 32 American Womenâ€™s Clubs News............................................. 36 The American International Church . .................................... 40 Readerâ€™s Lives......................................................................... 42 Arts & Antiques...................................................................... 45 Useful Numbers...................................................................... 48 Embassy Corner.................................................................... IBC
Free Subscription Offer Inside Serving the American Community in the UK
PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott Tel: 020 8661 0186 Email: email@example.com Publishing Director: Damian Porter Tel: 01737 551506 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB Advisory Panel:
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Ambassador Barzunâ€™s visit to The Tower of London. Image courtesy of The US Embassy London www.london.usembassy.gov
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Eating Out Restaurant Reviews
THE PORCHESTER 88 Bishop’s Bridge Road, Bayswater, W2 5AA Telephone: 020 7229 2886 The Porchester, situated in West London, has recently re-opened with a colourful new look and a brand new menu to match, and when I read that their signature dish was a British Beef Burger with a Peanut Fritter, I couldn’t wait to go along and see what this lively pub was offering. My friend and I went along one cold, rainy, Friday evening, and the warm welcome we received, along with the bright orange seating around the edge of the restaurant, lifted our spirits and soon made us forget the wintry conditions outside. The gin and tonics and bottle of Sauvignon Blanc may also have helped too!
There is ample seating in the restaurant, and what I personally thought was great, is that there are long tables in the centre of the pub allowing large groups of friends to sit together, which is not always easy in pubs around the country, and this resulted in a lively atmosphere, especially as the night we were there I think a team of rugby players must have been having a team night out (this maybe a venue for the single girls!!). The Manager, who was charming, informed us that during the week the pub runs more like a restaurant, with most tables full of diners, whilst at weekends there is a mixture of people just drinking, as well as those out for an evening meal. The restaurant advertises the menu as British food with an American twist and there is a bar menu for diners to choose from that includes small dishes such as Chorizo and Black Pudding Scotch Egg; Sausage Roll; Beer Candied Bacon; Pork Belly Lollipops, and a small plates menu that includes Goat’s Cheese and Roasted Butternut Squash Tart; Pan Fried Scallops with Black Pudding and Pea Puree; and Cornish Crab served on Dingley Dell Pork Crackling (so popular that I sadly missed out on the dish as it had sold out!). There are a selection of Sharing Boards ranging from £12.50 - £13.50, and mains that include Butternut Squash and Sage Pearl Barley Risotto, which I tried as a starter and was delicious as I could taste all the ingredients in the dish; Young’s Ale Battered Haddock; Smoked Mackerel Salad and The Porchester Burger – a British Beef Burger topped with a Peanut Butter Fritter, American Cheese, Ale Onions, Beer Candied Bacon, Pickles and Skinny Fries, which was as good as I had hoped it would be, so much so that I finished off the entire lot and still had room for dessert, which was a very tasty Pear Tatin, probably one of the best I have ever had! At weekends you can head to The Porchester for a bountiful brunch, including
the Bayswater Breakfast (one for meat lovers and one for vegetarians); as well as Scottish Porridge with seasonal nuts and berries; or classic Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. Alternatively, pop in for a traditional Sunday roast with all the trimmings. The bar menu offers a large selection of craft bottle beers, craft draught beers and ales, classic cocktails, wines and spirits. This is definitely a venue for groups of friends who are looking for an evening of merriment, with a good selection of food and a great choice of drinks. Rowley’s Restaurant 113 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6HJ Telephone: 020 7930 2707 Rowley’s, is a well established and well known family restaurant, famed for its top class steaks and a unique Herb, Roquefort Cheese and Butter Sauce, and if you are a steak lover, is somewhere you should probably head to at least once whilst you are living here. Situated in Jermyn Street which is famed for men’s clothing and up market tailors, Rowley’s is housed in the very building where the famous Walls meat business began, and as such, is steeped in charm and history. With tall, tiled ceilings, and large mirrors, the atmosphere is buzzy, and has more oppulance than you might expect, considering it was a butchers many years ago and still retains most of the tiles that were originally used to decorate the interior. Rowley’s sources all its meat from the Lake District Farm’s Association, and its fish from the award winning H. Forman & Son, and the potato supplier must be delighted as Rowley’s offers its diners unlimited fries! The menu is classically British, with dishes such as Soup of the Day, Chicken Liver Pâté, Smoked Salmon and Haddock Fishcakes and Prawn Cocktail which is what I chose and which instantly transformed me back to my 3
childhood, when my parents or grandparents used to take me out for dinner to celebrate a family birthday or anniversary as I always chose prawn cocktail! I think the atmosphere in Rowley’s has an element of nostalgia due to the age of the building, which probably helped with my time travel! The steaks were fantastic, and there is a selection of Chargrilled English 28 Day Matured Rib Eye, Fillet Steak and T-bone Steak or Côte De Boeuf or Chateaubriand for two people. My steak was cooked to perfection and then kept warm on the little stove and pan that is placed on the table, and the unlimited fries were a great bonus, although I’m not so sure my scales at home thought so the next morning! For those who aren’t so keen on steak, you can choose from Battered Cod Fillet, Chargrilled Cumbrian Lamb Cutlets, Poached Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce, and the Vegetarian dish of the day, but if you do like steak, then you will be delighted with your selection, and there are a choice of delicious sauces to accompany it. Desserts are also a treat, with typically British dishes such as Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ice Cream, Eton Mess and Steamed Treacle Sponge Pudding with Custard, and European inspired desserts such as Crème Brûlée and Tarte Tain with Ice Cream. The service was excellent and we had lots of questions on the history of the restaurant which were all answered informatively, and we enjoyed a thoroughly delicious meal. L’ESCARGOT 48 Greek Street, Soho, London Telephone: 020 7439 7474 After bustling through the busy areas of Soho and much of theatre land, we reach 4
our destination, L’Escargot, the oldest French restaurant in London. With deep red paintwork, dark floorboards and exquisite chandeliers adorning the ceilings, this chic restaurant, has captured a certain Parisian glamour; helped by being set in a magnificent Georgian Town House dating back to 1741. In 1896, M. Georges Gaudin established a restaurant at the bottom end of Greek Street called Le Bienvenue. He became famous for a certain French delicacy, and the restaurant made it’s name as the first in England to serve snails. When in 1927 he moved to larger premises at 48 Greek Street, his customers implored him to rename his restaurant L’Escargot after his most popular dish. He surrendered to them and called the new restaurant L’Escargot Bienvenue. His snail farm in the basement of the new restaurant became quite a talking point. A L'Escargot
plaster bust of M. Gaudin riding a snail with the motto “slow but sure” is to this day on display outside the restaurant. L’Escargot was acquired in early 2014 by Brian Clivaz (of Arts Club, Home House and Langan’s Brasserie – some of my favourite London establishments), Laurence Isaacson (co-founder of Chez Gérard) and a group of their friends. It has since undergone renovation, and boasts some beautiful private dining spaces, charming function rooms and a private members club in the uppermost rooms. The new Head Chef is Oliver Lesnik, formerly of The Connaught working under Michel Bourdin and Angela Hartnett. The menu is changed seasonally, in addition to some classic French dishes, which are staples of the menu and which you would typically expect to find in such a long-standing establishment of French cuisine.
There is a varied selection of starters, including many of my personal favourites, making the choice so much harder! They range in price from £7 to £18. I probably should have ordered Les Escargots, which are still unsurprisingly a speciality of the house, but ended up being seduced instead by the Lobster and Avocado salad. The lobster meat was succulent, and paired perfectly with the buttery avocado. My wife enjoyed a traditional Pissaladière (Onion and Anchovy Tart), a dish full of flavour, and encased in flaky pastry. Perfect comfort food for a dark winter's evening. The main course proved to be another struggle to pin down, as I am a real fan of French classics, such as Moules marinière, Coq au Vin and Beef “Bourgignon”. However, on the night I decided to opt for the Fillet steak (£32). The steaks are served with frites and L’Escargot’s renowned piquant sauce, which added a spicy kick to the meat. The dish was complemented by my choice of an accompanying portion of Spinach. Other choices of sides include the tempting Truffle & Cheese Macaroni- ruled out on this occasion by my desire to make it through to dessert! My wife opted for the Grilled Lobster with garlic butter, with Frites and Kale on the
side. I had to sample a morsel of lobster, in spite of having already experienced it through my starter. The verdict: you cannot beat the delicious simplicity of nature’s own larder, in this case a perfectly cooked and prepared lobster. The same could be said of the Fillet Steak- a true melt in the mouth experience. The main courses range in price from £14 to £34. There is also a selection of side orders ranging from £4 to £6. They also offer a reasonably priced 2 or 3 course set menu (£17.50 and £19.50 respectively), available from noon to 7pm. In addition, there is a Saturday and Sunday brunch available, which would, in my humble opinion, be well worth a visit. Being a French restaurant, there is, as you might expect, a varied and extensive wine list to suit all tastes. Again this is reasonably priced from £18 a bottle. The Dessert Menu reads like the contents page of a classic French dessert cookery book: Pear Tarte Tartin, Rum Baba, Sorbets, Crème
Brûlée, Profiteroles, and of course a French Cheese selection. I opted for the Crème Brûlée, and my wife was more than happy to sample the profiteroles - one of her all time favourite desserts. We sampled each other’s choices, and were not disappointed, although finishing them proved a challenge. The desserts range in price from £6 to £9. Service at L’Escargot is not intrusive, and has a relaxed, romantic air; albeit a very popular establishment. On the night we visited it was busy with couples, friends, business partners, dates and family gatherings. Take a moment to ask for a look around if they’re not too busy – this beautiful Georgian property is full of charm, and has rooms to suit any social occasion or gathering. The recent restorations enhance the unique character of one of the loveliest venues I have visited in recent years. Apparently though, I am in good company, as previous visitors include Coco Chanel, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Judy Dench, and the late Princess Diana. n
You are cordially invited to
Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on
Monday 2nd February 2015 10.00am - 5.00pm at
Hotel Russell, 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE
This event is FREE TO ATTEND
Come along and meet our exhibitors who have products and services that support expatriates and their families. There are also free seminars running throughout the day (please see page 8). You will need to pre-register for the seminars as places are limited so please email email@example.com For further information on this event please call Helen Elliott on 020 8661 0186
Taxing Issues UK Tax Issues Arising With US Revocable Trusts
typical US estate plan involves the most common of household tax items, a US revocable trust. A US individual (the settlor) creates and transfers ownership of their assets to one of these during their lifetime to act as a substitute will, by providing for the distribution of assets upon their death. Commonly the settlor performs every role in relation to the trust by creating it, acting as sole trustee and being the sole beneficiary during their lifetime. Generally, the terms of
the trust allow the settlor significant flexibility to deal with the assets as if they still owned them outright. These arrangements are incredibly popular in the US and are considered standard estate planning. There are a number of advantages to these arrangements including for one, the avoidance of probate, which is the legal process of transferring assets on death that can be costly and time consuming, especially for assets held across different States. In addition, the fact that the trust is revocable means the settlor can change the trust terms or take back the assets into their own name at anytime during their lifetime. The avoidance of probate ensures privacy as the transfer of assets is controlled by the trust deed which is not a public document. Finally, the beneficiaries do not have to receive assets outright once the settlor is deceased so control can still be exerted from beyond the grave. Often included within the deed is provision for a durable power of attorney which allows someone to act on the settlers behalf if they become incapacitated. From a US income and estate tax perspective, these arrangements do not generally provide any tax savings as they are treated as grantor trusts. This means the settlor is treated as “owning” the assets for all tax purposes. Therefore, all income, gains, deductions and credits are includible on the settlor’s US income tax returns and the assets are still includible in their estate for US estate tax purposes. For UK tax purposes these trusts can give rise to a number of tax issues. The UK considers the residence status of the body of trustees to determine the tax residency of a trust. Therefore, if the settlor becomes tax resident in the UK and remains sole trustee, the trust will be treated as tax resident in the UK. The worldwide income and gains generated within the trust will be subject to UK tax on an arising basis and taxable on the grantor as the trust will be treated as a settlor interested trust, effectively the UK equivalent of a grantor trust. As such, foreign tax credits should be available in either the UK or US depending upon the income type so double tax can be avoided. However, the trust investments also need to be considered to ensure the assets are both US and UK tax friendly. If the trust owns non-UK mutual funds the gains on these are likely to be taxable in the UK at income tax rates rather than capital gains tax rates if the funds do not have reporting status. In addition, interest on taxfree muni-bonds will be taxable in the UK. Once the trust becomes UK tax resident it is not as simple as just moving the situs of the trustee to one resident outside the UK to change the trust residence. This change of
residence creates an export of the trust and a deemed disposal of the trust assets for fair market value occurs which could generate a significant UK capital gains tax liability. This exit charge can also be unintentionally triggered if the trustee ceases to be UK tax resident themselves. These UK tax issues are not just relevant for taxpayers moving to the UK but also for those already UK tax resident who are undertaking US estate tax planning. If a taxpayer is deemed domiciled in the UK for inheritance tax purposes, i.e. they are not domiciled in the UK but have been tax resident for 17 out of 20 tax years, then funding a trust can give rise to UK inheritance tax issues. Any transfer of assets into a trust is treated as a chargeable lifetime transfer. If the settlor is deemed domiciled in the UK when a chargeable lifetime transfer is made, then a 20% inheritance tax charge arises if the value of the transfer is in-excess of the nil-rate band, which is currently £325,000. In addition, there is an inheritance tax anniversary charge which is a maximum rate of 6% on the fair market value of the trust assets on every 10 year anniversary of the settlement of the trust. Finally, any capital distributions (i.e. distributions in excess of income) made to a beneficiary are subject to an inheritance tax exit charge, again at a maximum rate of 6% of the value of the distribution. It is easy to trip into these complicated UK income and inheritance tax issues if no UK tax advice is taken pre-arrival or for long-term UK tax residents when they are considering their US estate tax planning. Some of these issues can be easily avoided, for example, by changing trustee before the settlor moves to the UK to ensure the trust does not become UK tax resident. n Suzanne has been practising US and UK tax since 1997 and spent 15 years at a wellknown London tax firm before establishing her own US and UK tax advisory practice. She joined Westleton Drake in 2014 and focuses on advising high net worth private clients and families especially in relation to US and UK trust and estate tax issues, heading the Trust and Family Wealth Group. She is a UK Chartered Tax Advisor, an agent enrolled to practice in front of the Internal Revenue Service and a member of STEP. She was previously a member of the STEP Cross Border Estates special interests group and is also an active conference speaker in respect of US tax issues, especially in relation to trust matters. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.westletondrake.com 7
The 2015 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition Monday 2nd February 2015 from 10.00am - 5.00pm Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE
FREE SEMINAR PROGRAMME 10.30am - Raising Internationally Mobile Children: Understanding and Nurturing the Third Culture Kid Experience
A significant reason for failure of international assignments revolves around the ‘soft’ issues - the adaptability of families and children. For the majority, when properly understood and managed, the benefits of growing up abroad can far outweigh the challenges. This session for parents and professionals who are working with internationally-mobile families will share research-based insights into how a global experience can enhance future educational and career opportunities for children, and how to manage the stumbling blocks encountered along the way. While parents naturally worry about how moving away from the home culture and language will impact their children, when approached with knowledge and optimism, it can be an enriching life-changing experience. Presented by Mary Langford whose own international journey began at the age of two, and who has worked with international schools and families as an educator, researcher, writer, speaker, independent consultant and trainer for over 34 years. She is currently Director of Admissions for Dwight London School.
11.30am - Did My Identity Get Lost In The Move?
Once the practicalities of moving are in place, spouses and partners often experience a loss of identity. This can have a serious impact on their personal confidence and daily routine. Helping them with their career search and with building their network can get them on the right path to their new life so they no longer say “Who am I?” Join FOCUS as they explore the key factors that contribute to a successful establishment of a spouse or partner’s new identity. Presented by FOCUS.
12.30pm - US Tax Updates & Overview Of The US/UK Tax Treaty For US Persons Residing In The UK This seminar will cover tax updates for 2014 and any for 2015, and interaction of the UK and US tax treaty and how this affects US persons living in the UK. Presented by BDO LLP.
1.30pm - Immigration Update
This seminar will be a practical session providing advice on the latest Immigration developments and the implications for businesses, and will cover Immigration Policy Updates, Global Immigration Strategy and Management, Compliance and Risk Management. Presented by Ferguson Snell & Associates, and if you have an immigration enquiry that you would like Ferguson Snell consultants to cover on the day please email your enquiry in advance to email@example.com.
2.15pm - Short-Term Business Visitors: Staying Ahead Of The Game
Any global employee is potentially a business traveller, capable of creating tax or immigration obligations in any country in an era of increased scrutiny by tax authorities around the world. For many organisations, defining the size of the population and identifying the relevant individuals is the biggest challenge. We discuss how a data-driven approach utilising the latest analytics techniques coupled with tax and immigration expertise can enable a process to identify, review and propose actions for organisations to help manage business traveller compliance risk efficiently for any size of population. Furthermore, this data also provides business and mobility leaders the opportunity to pro-actively manage business travel before an issue arises, identify cost reduction opportunities by analysing spend and evaluate adherence to an organisational travel policy. Presented by Scott McCormick, Partner and Robin Brown, Senior Manager from Deloitte Global Employer Services.
3.30pm - Employment Disputes And How To Avoid Them
This seminar will take a practical look at things assignment managers (and expatriates) can do to reduce the risk of employment disputes. The discussion will focus on: Common Flashpoints, Managing Expectations, Where Paperwork Can Help (And Where It Can’t), Practical Steps To Avoid Claims, Why Expatriate Claims Are Different, Dispute Resolution Strategies & Things You Could Do Now To Avoid Disputes Later. Presented by Juliet Carp, Employment Partner, Speechly Bircham LLP.
4.15pm - Expatriate Costs Simplified
The seminar will cover not only how much an expatriate should be paid, but also how much this will cost the business, and also how it should be delivered. Presented by Total Rewards Group.
If you would like to register for any or all of these free seminars, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the times of the seminars you would like to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!
your situation allows you to look at how to develop effective solutions and, in many instances, this affords you flexibility in implementation as you are not pressed up against a year end calendar deadline. A few easy steps can ensure that your current wealth planning strategies remain optimal given inevitable changes in your life. Below we discuss the areas that are beneficial to consider and review at the start of each year. Review your wealth goals and objectives Most people begin the investment process thinking about one or more goals that they want to achieve. Time should be spent developing an asset allocation that will help meet those goals. Consideration should be given to how much money is needed to achieve the goal, the time horizon of the goal, and the individual’s willingness to take risk to meet that goal. The plan is implemented. Job done? Unfortunately, not. Once a year, it is worth sitting down with the dedicated purpose of determining whether your current financial targets and the time horizons associated with them are still appropriate. Some questions to consider: • Do you have any new goals that haven’t previously been considered? • Are the amounts you previously considered to meet your goals still appropriate? • Have any time frames changed for meeting your various goals? • Have you met any assumed additional savings targets for meeting your goals?
Kick-Starting The New Year With A Financial Spring-Clean
New Year heralds a new beginning. Along with the popular New Year resolutions to have a healthier diet, a more active lifestyle or perhaps pursuing something on your personal bucket list, a New Year can also provide an opportunity to review your personal wealth goals and objectives and consider the implications of any changes you may need to make. Taking some time at the start of the year to review
• Have you received any inheritances or gifts that dramatically change the overall level of your investable assets? • Are you required to begin drawing income from your portfolio? (i.e. either Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your Traditional IRA or 401k accounts or supplemental income to meet your everyday needs). Once you know this, you can work out whether the growth rates of your investments continue to meet your eventual needs. This can be very helpful when you assess the performance of your portfolio and whether it is still positioned properly to meet your goals. Assess your portfolio performance and asset allocation After you have reviewed your goals and objectives you can take a closer look at the
performance of your current portfolio and determine whether or not the performance is meeting or falling short of those goals. If you are falling short of your growth targets, you could consider whether individual investment changes, an increase in your overall exposure to growth assets, an adjustment of your goal or an increase in your level of current savings is needed. If you are exceeding your growth targets, consideration can be given to whether you should decrease your exposure to growth assets or perhaps explore other goals. And, if you are meeting your growth rate targets then focus can move to asset allocation and tax efficiency. A good asset allocation is at the heart of a solid wealth plan. Even if your objectives haven’t changed, your portfolio will have. Different asset classes will perform better than others during different time periods and a diversified portfolio of assets will ensure that you benefit from the outperformance of each asset class as and when it is realised. This varying performance will likely lead to what is called style drift within the portfolio. Looking to rebalance at least once a year will help ensure that you maintain an optimal risk and reward trade-off for your set of financial goals. Assess the tax-efficiency of your investment and saving plan In light of the above, consideration should be given to how to meet your goals in the most tax-efficient and optimal manner. As an American in Britain, you want to make sure you avoid the tax traps that are littered within the investment world. Investing in a tax efficient manner will help ensure that you do not need to make your capital work harder than it needs to for you. Below are some planning areas to consider. You should consult with a US-UK tax advisor on which strategies make the most sense for your individual needs. • For retirement goals, should you maximise your contributions to tax-deferred growth vehicles. Generally, employer pension plans allow individuals to receive tax deferred growth in both the US and the UK. There may also still be opportunities to contribute to Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs in the US. The tax benefits of these accounts are generally recognised in the UK as well. For instance, distributions from a Roth IRA are generally tax exempt in the UK under the US-UK tax Treaty • Understand how various UK tax wrappers are viewed from a US perspective. In general, many different tax advantaged accounts in the UK do not enjoy the same treatment from a US tax perspective. For 9
instance, ISAs and offshore bonds are ‘looked through’ from a US perspective and taxed on the underlying investments. For some, investing in SIPPs can be a good opportunity to use excess foreign tax credits and establish cost basis in the account • Avoiding PFIC investments. As many know, US persons should avoid investing in non-US registered collective investments as these are taxed unfavourably in the US • Investing in US mutual funds with UK reporting status. If a US person taxed on the arising basis invests in US funds that do not have UK reporting status, capital gains earned on the funds are taxed in the UK at ordinary income tax rates. This is known as offshore income gain (OIG) rules • Should you asset locate investments to achieve maximum tax efficiency. In general, interest and capital gains receive more favourable tax rates. Therefore, these investments should be held in taxable accounts. Whereas, interest income is taxed as ordinary income and can be optimally sheltered in tax-deferred accounts. Additionally, if one spouse is a non-US person, consider whether your wealth is invested optimally to take advantage of the differing tax status • For education savings goals, explore your funding options, including 529s, UTMAs and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts if you haven’t established an education savings account. As there is some grey area with respect to the funding of 529 plans while you are a UK tax resident, it is best to speak with a US/UK tax accountant before making 529 plan contributions • Ensure you understand what your investing costs are. Some funds charge up-front fees, back-end fees or high annual management fees. The higher the fees and charges are the more your capital will likely need to earn to meet your goals. If you can lower your investment costs and still meet all of your other investment objectives, the better off you will be. Review your estate plan Whether your estate plan involves the writing of a basic Will or a complex Trust document, it is something that should be reviewed annually and often needs to be updated every few years. Life’s inevitable changes in either your financial or family situation can impact the suitability of your current plan and may require an update in your estate planning documents. Now is the 10
perfect time to look at your current estate plan and review it in light of any changes in your personal circumstances and objectives. You should review the titling on all your accounts as well as beneficiary designations to ensure they reflect your current wishes and family dynamics. Below are some life events that many trigger a need to review your estate plan: • Getting married – Generally, a new spouse will warrant an update in your current Will or trust document. You want to address joint and separate property and also ensure that beneficiary designations and inheritance provisions are up-to-date • Divorce or death of a spouse – similarly, the end of a marriage or loss of a spouse triggers the need to review the documents you have in place and make appropriate changes • Child events – having a new baby, adopting a child, or having a new stepchild all would trigger the need to review your estate plan to ensure that guardians are appointed, beneficiaries are updated and inheritance provisions are up-to-date
potential strategies to minimise future estate taxes. Summary Undergoing a review of your financial life at the beginning of the New Year allows you to maintain a clear picture of where you stand financially. It is an opportunity to ensure you are still on track to meet your goals and help identify areas in need of adjustment. Being pro-active allows your plan to evolve as your needs change and leaves you with a level of comfort that you have implemented an optimal strategy to meet your needs. Risk Warnings and Important Information The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. 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. n
• Purchasing or refinancing a home – when you purchase a home, consideration should be given to the ownership structure of property and how that relates to your estate plan • Change in citizenship for you, your spouse or your children – multi-national families should pay close attention to creating tax efficient wealth transfer strategies for inheritance purposes. If both spouses are not US citizens and one or all children have varying nationalities then estate planning with consideration to crossborder issues can be extremely important • Approaching 17 out of 20 years living in the UK – When you pass this threshold you will be deemed domicile and will likely be subject to UK inheritance tax on your worldwide assets. There are planning opportunities that can be undertaken before you become deemed domicile which can be addressed with an updated estate plan • Net worth approaches estate tax exclusions in US or UK – sometimes a large inheritance, gift or simply your own wealth accumulation will result in your net worth surpassing the estate tax exclusions in the UK and/or the US. The UK threshold for inheritance tax is currently £325,000 and the US lifetime allowance for estate and gift tax purposes is $5.34 million (2014). A review of your estate plan can consider
Andrea Solana is a Financial Planning Consultant at MASECO Private Wealth. Andrea spent the first 9 years of her career with a well-known Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she provided advisory services to US expatriates abroad and foreign nationals living in the US. Andrea has 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 whitepapers regarding financial planning and investment strategies for US connected individuals and has previously been invited to speak on financial planning topics at both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Andrea graduated from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management. She recently completed her MBA at Imperial College London and holds her US Series 65 license.
Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of Disney’s beloved 1994 animated film - has been seen by an incredible 70 million people worldwide and is celebrating its 15th record-breaking year as London’s topselling stage production. If you’re after something new, don’t miss dazzling Jane Horrocks (Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous) as she steals the show in the BritishAsian comedy, East is East. It’s rare for a musical to offer both shock and entertainment, but that’s what you’ll get with Kander & Ebb’s extraordinary Scottsboro Boys. Downton Abbey fans will be moved by Penelope Wilton’s (aka Lady Crawley) spellbinding performance in Taken at Midnight, and babyboomers will love letting their hair down for Sunny Afternoon, the acclaimed new musical telling the story of the rise to rock stardom of The Kinks. The eternally superb National Theatre gives us Tom Stoppard’s newly-minted The Hard Problem and Man and Superman for GB Shaw and Ralph Fiennes fans, while younger theatregoers will be tempted by the NT’s promise of murder, money and mutiny in Treasure Island. You can also catch NT-originated War Horse and Curious Incident
Winter Warmers by Judith Schrut
ith the festive season’s glitz and glitter well behind us and those tell-tale crocus, snowdrops and blue skies of spring not quite ready to put in an appearance, you may be wondering what to do with those wintry weeks ahead. Well, Britain's got loads of cockle-warming treats this time of year, so resist that urge to hibernate and tuck into our top ways to cut those frosty feelings down to size. 1. HOT TICKETS Whether your fires are best lit by toasty and traditional pantomime, steamy and serious drama, or toe-tapping, soul-warming musicals, depend on UK Theatreland to deliver a snowplough of great shows to snuggle up to this winter. For uplifting family entertainment, you can’t lose with smash hit West End oldies but goodies like Matilda the Musical, Wicked, Mamma Mia or The Lion King. The latter 12
The unforgettable and upliftingLion King, Lyceum Theatre, London, photo by Johan Persson
National Theatre by Night, image by Philip Vile
of the Dog in the Night-time in the West End and on tour across the UK. Even more exciting to learn that friends and family back home can also enjoy these wonderful shows, as the National broadcasts in movie theatres across the USA as part of groundbreaking National Theatre Live. London’s many off-West End venues offer a pleasure and quality match for the West End’s best, at a fraction of the price. Oh What A Lovely War! opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East before embarking on its nationwide tour, whilst Islington’s Almeida Theatre serves up an electrifying production of Shakespeare’s most controversial play, The Merchant of Venice, relocated to Las Vegas in a whirlwind of glitter, gambling and greenbacks. Get your splurge guns out and join Bugsy, Blousey, and Talulah at Fat Sam’s Grand Slam as Bugsy Malone re-opens the Lyric, Hammersmith, in style, following the theatre’s stunning multimillion pound redevelopment. Britain’s excellent regional theatres should not be overlooked, especially for outstanding drama, musicals and family-friendly shows. Within a hop, skip and long jump from London you’ll find Salisbury Playhouse, with its reputation for standout theatre as well as an inspirational youth theatre company. Winchester has Theatre Royal, offering a unique mix of historic and contemporary architecture and superb shows for all ages in one of the UK’s most beautiful theatres. Chichester Festival Theatre has been producing world-class theatre for over 50 years including a regular stream of recent West End transfers like Sweeney Todd and Singing in the Rain. Further afield are gems like Manchester’s Royal Exchange and Liverpool’s Everyman, recent recipient of the RIBA Stirling Prize, the world’s most prestigious architecture award the list goes on and on.
Finally, when treating yourself to a show this winter, remember the Golden Rule: there's no need to pay full price! You’ll be amazed how many theatres offer hugely discounted on-theday tickets to in-person callers, students and over-60s. Also, do check out Leicester Square’s official half-price ticket booth or the numerous online theatre discount sites. For really useful tips on seats and insider reviews, consult Theatre Monkey. Further information: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk www.tkts.co.uk www.theatremonkey.com 2. GET YOUR SKATES ON Whether you're a champion figure skater, a rink regular or a nervous novice, you’ll be wowed by this winter’s fabulous choice of UK ice skating options. Hyde Park's popular Winter Wonderland is back this year in spectacular form. It features the UK's largest outdoor ice rink, wrapped round a picturesque Victorian bandstand, and illuminated by over 100,000 lights. Other chill thrills on offer at the free basic entry site are two circuses performing in the stunning Sky Dome tent, a giant Observation Wheel, live music, bratwurst, mulled wine and other seasonal refreshments in the popular Bavarian village. Returning star of this year’s
Wonderland is the Magical Ice Kingdom. Layer up and enter the -8C surrounds of this unique display, with a frozen forest, ice slide and ice thrones amongst over 100 frozen sculptures carved by 50 international sculptors from hundreds of tonnes of ice and snow. Other favourite London skating sites this winter include rinks at the Natural History Museum, at Somerset House's magnificent 18th century courtyard and at Canary Wharf. Nestled beneath the soaring buildings of Canada Square’s financial giants and surrounded by glamorous shops, bars and restaurants, the Canary Wharf rink features an off-rink skate path, allowing skaters the chance to leave the main rink and glide through tree-lined paths glittering with fairy lights. Tower of London’s dramatic skate setting is its magnificently illuminated moat beneath fortress battlements. Many venues provide skating aids for newbies in the form of adorable child size polar bears and penguins. Skaters outside the capital have plenty of choice too, including rinks under the Eden Project’s dome in Cornwall, in the majestic fairy tale setting of Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII's riverside Palace, and at Brighton's scenic Royal Pavilion. Further information: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com www.icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk The Magical Ice Kingdom, Hyde Park, image courtesy of PWR Events
Skating at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, image courtesy of PWR Events
Don't miss a note with the English Touring Opera, photo by Robert Workman
3. SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT The British opera scene burns bright at any time of the year, but seems to glow especially in the chillier season. There's just something about the rich mix of human voices, costume and stage design combined with tragedy, romance and emotion, set to music on a grand scale that work together perfectly to inflame passions and raise temperatures. And 2015’s opera bag is truly packed with warming wonders. Look no further than the English Touring Opera for imaginative, accessible productions showcasing the finest in home grown operatic talent. The ETO sparkles in early 2015 with a new version of Puccini’s timelessly romantic La Boheme, promising to break hearts and breathe joy into everyone who has ever wanted love. Audiences can also enjoy productions of Donizetti’s thrilling wartime opera The Siege of Calais and his rarely performed love story, The Wild Man of the West Indies. The season begins with a bang at London’s superb Hackney Empire Theatre in early March, then tours onwards and upwards at breakneck speed to 17 locations across the UK, including Norwich, Cheltenham, Canterbury and Cambridge. It’s a lovely bonus to hear that one of ETO’s leading lights is American in Britain, Paula Sides. Acclaimed soprano Paula hails from Cookeville, Tennessee and this season plays tragic heroine Mimi in La Boheme and reprises her role as Eleonora in The Siege of Calais. It’s also worth mentioning ETO’s innovative and award-winning education and outreach programme, which has been so successful in sharing the company’s passion for opera with schools, communities and disadvantaged groups around the country. Other top choices for opera lovers include Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute and Peter Pan, touring with the endlessly inventive Welsh National Opera, Sweeney Todd, Pirates of Penzance and Carmen from the English National Opera and sure-fire delights like Madame Butterfly, The Flying Dutchman and La Traviata belted out by top stars of the operatic world at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. If your first choice is sold out or too far to travel to, there’s no need to miss a note. Many productions will also be 13
available to enjoy at synchronised live cinema screenings around the UK or in the comfort of your own living room via BBC’s Opera on 3. Further information: www.englishtouringopera.org.uk www.eno.org 4. COLD HANDS, WARM ART For a simple, pleasurable and often free way to come in from the cold, it's hard to top a visit to one of Britain’s huge range of museums and art galleries. With over 2500 to choose from, there's something for every interest, age, place or attention span in your household. And if statistics are anything to go by, it’s also one of the nation’s favourite pastimes, with an astonishing 46% of UK adults visiting at least one museum each year. The National Gallery and Tate Modern between them attract over 11 million visitors each year. With free entry, first class collections, and lovely eat, drink and shopping opportunities, the museums offer ideal easy escapes out of the chill and into the imagination. Tate Modern and its gallery siblings - Tate Britain, Tate St Ives and Tate Liverpool are readying themselves for another recordbreaking visitor year in 2015. From Matisse to Magritte, Picasso to Picabia, and Dali to Damien Hirst, Tate Modern offers an everchanging feast of visual treats, outstanding special exhibitions and some of the best riverside views in London. Tate Britain has an unparalleled focus on British art, including the world's largest collection of Turners, plenty of Hogarths, Hockneys, Henry Moores and Blakes (both William and Peter), free daily tours, open studios and exhibitions like Salt and Silver: Early Photography, celebrating the uniquely British invention of salted paper prints. Always innovative, Tate Liverpool’s winter exhibition is Transmitting Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers, 1888, copyright National Gallery, London
On yer Bike, TallyHo Cycle Tours visits Big Ben
The magnificent John Majedski Garden, Victoria & Albert Museum
Andy Warhol, with 100+ artworks from one of the most influential, controversial and notorious artists of the twentieth century. Tate St Ives, majestically perched on the sands of Cornwall's loveliest coastal town, gives us The Modern Lens, a superb exhibition on the pioneers of photography. Over at the National Gallery, you can de-chill in the warm glow of some of Europe's greatest paintings - on tap are must-see treasures by Van Gogh, Monet, Turner, Leonardo DaVinci, Canaletto and dozens more. Don’t miss the last few weeks of the masterful Rembrandt: Late Works and upcoming exhibitions on Impressionism and Francesco de Goya. There are gorgeous gift shops for tasteful browsing and a choice of cafés and restaurants for that essential rest stop. We recommend the Gallery's Family Sundays and its Friday Lates, where you’ll enjoy free weekly concerts, talks and tours. If you’re not quite sure what you’re after but just want a cosy-cultural day in, we recommend the Victoria & Albert Museum in London’s South Kensington. The V&A, as it’s affectionately known, tags itself as the world’s greatest museum of art and design and seems to have a gallery for almost everything. Whether this is your first visit or you just haven’t been for a while, you’re in for a delightful surprise. The V&A has been transformed over the past decade by a complete re-design. From the moment you step (admission free of charge) into this exciting space and are greeted by the gobsmacking Dale Chihuly blown glass candelabra in the main entrance, we think you will be hooked. From that point, the challenge is deciding which of 145 galleries holding millions of objects to visit, from breathtaking jewellery, glass, theatre and performance collections, to vast and glorious displays of gold, silver, fashion, ceramics, and hand painted botanical illustrations. Spring 2015 opens with Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the first
retrospective of the late fashion designer’s work, and the impressive new Europe 16001800 galleries. Shoe worshippers will be highheeling it to the museum’s spectacular summer exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure or Pain. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, the V&A’s free daily guided tours offer an ideal way to start. The museum’s splendid gift shop is an exhibit in itself, featuring a wide selection of original fashion, jewellery, home wares, paper craft, and toys crafted by top contemporary British craftsmen. Like many other venues, the V&A has found night time and culture to be an attractive mix, so the museum stays open late on Fridays for free music, drinks, tours and talks across the galleries. Further information: www.vam.ac.uk www.tate.org.uk www.nationalgallery.org.uk 5. SOUL MUSIC St James Church Piccadilly is but one pearl in a glittering string of historic and welcoming London churches, halls and other venues hosting free lunchtime concerts throughout the year and providing a particularly warm refuge on a cold winter’s day. St James is a Sir Christopher Wren-designed church, famed Musical stars of tomorrow at Free on Fridays, Royal Academy of Music
Miles Davis Project Band at St James Piccadilly, photo Stephane Grandeux, copyright Nathan Hassall Music
for its exquisite wood and marble carvings by carve master Grinling Gibbons and celebrity past parishioners like poet-painter William Blake. A large, light and airy space with perfect acoustics for both preaching and music, St James has long been a quality music venue, with three lunchtime concerts each week plus other musical events year round, including innovative jazz evenings. You can also enjoy piano Mondays at St Lawrence Jewry, recital Tuesdays at St Brides Fleet Street and organ Wednesdays at Temple Church. Thursdays are ideal for concerts at St-Mary-Le-Bow, renowned for its bells,
magnificent steeple, gourmet café in the crypt and American colonial connections. Complete your musical week with an uplifting Friday concert at Regent Hall on Oxford Street. If, like us, you’ve shopped and schlepped Europe’s most famous retail road dozens of times without noticing the simple doors of the Salvation Army HQ on one of its busiest stretches, then this is an experience you won’t want to miss. You’re guaranteed a hospitable welcome, comfy seating and a sanctuary of pure calm and musical joy. We also highly recommend Free on Fridays at the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone, a unique
chance to hear top musicians of the future performing in the inspiring environs of the Academy’s Duke’s Hall, with its wall to wall portraits and sumptuous new organ funded by a former student, Sir Elton John. Southwark, St Paul’s and Westminster Cathedrals all hold organ, choral and other free musical events in their famous spaces. Further afield, St Albans Abbey is the magnificent setting for weekly lunchtime organ recitals, and first class choral concerts can be enjoyed at St Johns or Keble College, Oxford. A few counties away, Kings College Cambridge has free Sunday afternoon organ recitals in its wondrous Gothic Chapel, where you can warm your soul and bathe your spirit in the vibrant tones of Kings’ gorgeous and ancient pipe organ. n Further information: www.st-james-piccadilly.org www.cityevents.org.uk www.regenthall.co.uk/zone.php www.ram.ac.uk/free-on-fridays Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. We’d love to hear how you’ve been warming up this winter, so please email Judith at email@example.com.
Hotel Review Hartwell House
ownton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House, and a number of other popular costume dramas all sprang to mind as we wound our way along the driveway to Hartwell House, set in the tranquil countryside of the county of Buckinghamshire. Located in the Vale of Aylesbury, and just forty miles north west of London, Hartwell House is a beautiful stately home, that will have you conjuring up images of all those aforementioned television adaptations, along with any relevant historical figures or facts you may have stored in the dusty recesses of your mind. This is the perfect location from which to discover Oxford, The Cotswolds, and the Chiltern Hills. Restored by Historic House Hotels, who also restored Bodysgallen Hall in North Wales, and Middlethorpe Hall in York, Hartwell House was donated to the National Trust in September 2008. Built in the early seventeenth century for the Hampden family, this Grade I Listed house has both Jacobean and Georgian features, with outstanding decorative plasterwork and panelling. Its most
famous resident was Louis XVIII, exiled King of France, who lived there with his Court for five years during the French Revolution. Guests are welcomed into the Great Hall, an impressive room filled with portraits, comfortable sofas and the one thing I had hoped to find on a chilly winter afternoon; a roaring fire. The Baroque design of this room remains virtually unchanged since its completion in 1740. Having completed an efficient check-in process, we were then shown to our room. This short journey through the house had my eyes popping out on stalks at the beautiful and unusual features, which are in abundance here. Perhaps the most intriguing of all is the main staircase with its extraordinary carved figures. According to legend, Queen Mary-Josephine de Savoie, wife of Louis XVIII, loathed these figures so much she had them removed during her time living at the house. If you examine them closely you can sympathise with this sentiment, especially when you imagine them illuminated in the dark by the flickering flame of a candle! Each of the forty-six bedrooms in the main house and adjacent Hartwell Court are individually furnished with fine prints and antiques, to reflect the character of the house. Many of these rooms have four-poster beds, including the room which was to be ours for the evening. This room was magnificent both in its décor, and proportions. It also offered stunning views of the surrounding gardens, including the stone bridge that spans the lake. We were fascinated to discover that this had been the bedroom of the previously mentioned Queen of Louis XVIII.
Having acquainted ourselves with the house we took a short walk through the grounds. We barely covered a fraction of the 90 acres of parkland within which Hartwell House stands, but still managed to work up an appetite for dinner. We enjoyed an aperitif in the morning room, a stunning room decorated in the Rococo style, and adorned with embellished plasterwork and ornamental details everywhere you look. The restaurant has achieved 4 AA Red Stars, and offers a fine dining experience. The principal Dining Room, designed in 1988 in the style of the eminent early 19th century architect, Sir John Soane, is the setting for some delicious cuisine. Both the À La Carte and daily menus feature seasonal local farms and county produce, together with their own Hartwell orchards and garden fruit, vegetables and herbs. The menu options leave you spoilt for choice, but luckily the Scallops and Mushroom Soup starters we selected exceeded our expectations. For the main course we chose Seabass and Aylesbury Roast Duck respectively and it can safely be said that not a trace of food envy was felt for our fellow diners. As the name suggests Aylesbury Duck is a local speciality and was also apparently a firm favourite of King Louis XVIII. I can understand why. The meal was perfectly concluded with Cheese and Biscuits and a delicious chocolate creation for my sweet-toothed husband! The hotel offers an extensive wine and drinks menu. Pre and post dinner drinks in one of the public rooms is highly recommended. You can choose from the previously mentioned Morning Room, 17
Great Hall, Library, or the Drawing Room; all beautifully and sympathetically restored with a character and ambience of their own, perfect for relaxing with friends or enjoying a romantic evening. It should also be mentioned that there are three dining rooms available for private dining. The Hartwell Spa is situated about 100 yards from the main house. My husband and I both enjoyed a relaxing treatment in the Spa, which has a wide range of beauty treatments using Aromatherapy Associates and Jessica products. A swim in the attractive pool lined with blue mosaic tiles is a must, and unlike some spas, the pool is sufficiently large to be able to work off some of the previous nights excesses. There is also the opportunity to relax in the steam room, sauna or the bubbling waters of the hydrotherapy hot tub, located outside. In addition the Spa boasts a well-equipped gymnasium, but why use it when there is 90 acres of the most beautiful gardens and parkland on your doorstep? Hartwell Spa Health and Beauty Days, Half Days, Lifestyle Days and
individual treatments are available to guests staying in the hotel and non-resident guests. The Spa Café is perfect for a post workout coffee, and it should also be noted that they serve lunch and afternoon tea. The garden was laid out at the start of the 18th century, in the formal style with allées and garden buildings: temples, columns, an obelisk, garden statuary, canals and an amazing yew tree exedra. By the middle of the 18th century most of the formality had been swept away and the garden was landscaped by a follower of Lancelot (Capability) Brown, one Richard Woods. Not all the formal garden features were removed however; some of the garden buildings remain, in particular a gothic tower and pavilion by James Gibbs. Hartwell House now boasts a spring garden planted with snowdrops, daffodils, eranthis, primroses and anemones. In the autumn of 2001 a path, leading to the canal temple, was planted with 10,000 daffodils, which we imagine would be stunning in spring. In the orchard old varieties of apples are grown and the walls of the former kitchen garden support apricot, peach,
pear and plum trees, of the same variety as those planted in 1868. Flowers for the house and fresh herbs for the kitchen are grown in Hartwell's gardens. Hartwell House is a memorable, cosy and comfortable retreat, providing a wonderfully relaxing setting. With beautiful lounges, Royal rooms, and walking trails around the landscaped grounds, it's all very Austen: squint and you'll swear that's Mr Darcy taking a dip with the swans in the lake. The service is friendly and relaxed, whilst being highly efficient. A visit to Hartwell lends itself to a peaceful, relaxing break, or as a base to explore the surrounding towns and countryside. Either way, this is one house you will not forget, and if you should need any more persuading the long list of awards and accolades presented to Hartwell House, as one of Britain’s Top Country Hotels, should provide it. n Hartwell House, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8NR Telephone: +44 (0)1296 747 444 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel Kimberly Cole Takes Us On A Tour Around Cambridge
ambridge is a 45 minute ride from Kings Cross London so is a perfect destination for a day out. It has a great atmosphere where the world famous university mixes with churches, museums and both independent and well known stores. It really does have something for everyone. The Round Church is a very interesting building in Cambridge. It is one of four remaining round churches in Britain. It is a Norman church and is based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It also has a great display about the history of Cambridge, so is a great place to start your day. Of course, you should visit as many of the colleges as you are able to, and some of the nicest ones are off Trinity Street, including Trinity College, St John’s College and Kings College. St John’s was established by Henry VII’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. The walk through the courts are lovely, and it leads you back to the Bridge of Sighs. Rumour has
King’s College Chapel
it, that it received this name because students sighed from relief when they walked over the bridge after finishing with their exams, but the truth is it is based on the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. It has also been a victim of pranks by students, including hoisting an Aston Seven in 1925 using ropes. Trinity College is also located on Trinity Street. Its Great Court was in the movie, Chariots of Fire, where undergraduates run around the court to beat the strike of the clock. It is also the college that Isaac Newton belonged to when he calculated the speed of sound. The Wren Library, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who also designed St Paul’s Cathedral, holds many priceless manuscripts, including the first copy of the Winnie the Pooh stories. Any trip to Cambridge must include a visit to King’s College Chapel. This chapel sees more visitors per year than Westminster Abbey and is one of the largest examples of fanvaulted ceilings. Above the doorway in the oak screen, you can still see the initials of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. On Christmas Eve, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is recorded and broadcast all over the world. It is free to attend, but you must get in line before 8:30 am in order to secure your place. Even if you are unable to attend this event, any of the Evening Songs will
allow you to appreciate the ambience of this beautiful building. King’s has an attraction for students that are climbers, and in 2009, they climbed up and put Santa hats on the spires of the chapel. Dominating the market square is St Mary the Great. It is the University’s church and used to house all ceremonies until the Senate House was built. You can go up the tower for a small fee and on a clear day see Ely Cathedral in the distance. St Mary's has the only ring of Round Church
12 bells in the country which is very unique, and you can hear them ringing on Monday and Wednesday evenings at around 7pm. The Westminster chime at Big Ben was based on the sequence developed here. For Americans, it is imperative that you stop and visit the Eagle Pub. Here you will find in the RAF bar messages from airmen from World War II. This was a frequent watering hole for them during their passes and was close to where they stayed in town. It is also the place where Francis Crick and James Watson, on February 28, 1953, announced their discovery that DNA carries genetic information. This is also a great place to stop for a pint or lunch. Corpus Christi is an interesting college as it was founded by the townspeople. Matthew “Nosy” Parker, who was Archbishop of The Eagle Pub
Canterbury during Henry VIII’s reign, was able to save the Thomas Beckett’s psalter and King Alfred’s copy of Anglo-Saxon Chronicle during the dissolution of the monasteries. Around the corner on the street is the Corpus Christi Clock which was unveiled by Stephen Hawking in 2008. It has no hands and has a grasshopper on the top ticking the time away. Tour guides like to tell gullible tourists that the Mathematical Bridge was built by Isaac Newton without any nuts or bolts and that fellows or students tried to take it apart to see how he did it and were unable to put it back together again. The original bridge was built well before his time and was not built with nails, but iron pins, but they were enclosed, so this may have contributed to it. The current one was built with visible nuts and bolts in 1905. If you come up by train, or prefer to find an easy way to get your bearings in Cambridge, the hop on and off bus is a great option. It will enable you to see more locations than walking, and will take you straight into the centre of Cambridge which is about a 30 minute walk from the station. It is also great because it will take you out to another important place to visit for Americans. Madingley American Memorial Cemetery is in a village right outside of Cambridge. The land was donated by the University of Cambridge and it is the only American cemetery for World War II in the United Kingdom, where 3,812 American service members have been laid to rest. There is also a wall for the 5,127 missing personnel from all branches of the service which are updated with a rosette when they are recovered. They continue to hold services which are highly
attended on Memorial and Veterans Day to remember the fallen. There are also some great museums that the University of Cambridge has, many that are perfect for little ones and are free to visit. The Fitzwilliam Museum has a wide range of collections ranging from ancient Rome, to paintings, sculptures, silver, and textiles. It is a very big museum which could take a day in itself to get around. The building that hosts these items is beautiful and worth a look. In 2016, the Museum of Zoology will reopen and it is a great place to visit because it hosts specimens from Charles Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle. This trip helped him write the Origins of Species while he was an undergraduate at Cambridge. The Scott Polar Museum is a very unique place to visit as it is dedicated to the research of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team, and their expedition to reach the South Pole first. It has a great display of the equipment that they used and how things have changed over the years. The newly redeveloped Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has one of the most important collection’s in its genre in the United Kingdom. It is also free to visit and hosts a variety of items that includes artefacts from Captain James Cook in Fiji, and AngloSaxons in Britain. The shopping in Cambridge is quite diverse, boasting high end clothes retailers on Trinity Street such as Reiss and Jaegar, and independent shops like Ark and When I Was A Kid. Most shops are open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Cambridge has a market every day of the week, held in the Market Square and an American Cemetery
arts and craft one in the All Saints Garden on Trinity Street on Sundays. A must to do in Cambridge is to take a punt on the river. You can either hire one yourself or you can get a guided tour along the banks which is one of the best ways to see the colleges. You will probably be approached by punters on the street near St Mary or the river. Just be sure to haggle with them to get the best price, ÂŁ12 per person is about average. If you would like to see the spooky side of Cambridge, a ghost tour is the best way to see it. A great company to go with is the Cambridge Ghost Tour. They are quite entertaining and let you see a side of Cambridge that cannot be done in daylight. If you are lucky, you might see something yourself! A visit to Cambridge does not have to be an expensive one. Rather than eating lunch in one of the many restaurants, you could grab a bite of lunch from one of the grocery stores and have a picnic in one of the many parks in Cambridge. These will be crowded, especially when the sun comes out. Another place to sit and have a spot of lunch and people watch is on the wall outside of Kings College. Cambridge hosts a variety of chain and independent restaurants as well. So there is
Punting on the River
quite a bit of choice! If you are looking for more ethnic foods, Mill Road is the place to go. This area has quite a lot of ethnic restaurants and shops to get those hard to find ingredients. A day out in Cambridge is a great way to see
another side of England. It is something that can be done at any time of the year. Since most of the sights are outside, itâ€™s best to come when it is not raining in order to really appreciate this beautiful city. n
Immersing Into The Local Culture Bursting the (Expat) Bubble: How American Teens in London Engage with the Local Culture
ver many years I have worked with expatriate families looking for schools in London, I have met many parents who ponder whether a disadvantage of enrolling their children in the American international schools is that it prevents their children from engaging in the local community and the English culture. Particularly in Britain where the host country language is not a barrier for Americans (not the case in many other countries), the local school seems an attractive option. Parents perceive, sometimes 22
Sophia Zorek (centre) with her fellow percussionists on break during a LSSO rehearsal
justifiably-so, that international schools may be insular and isolated institutions with few host country families represented. Families nonetheless choose international schools because they more effectively address their school criteria: a better match for educational continuity, a more inclusive or relevant curriculum, instructional differentiation that accommodates the learning styles and aptitudes of diverse students, and shared understanding of standardised testing, accreditations, or university counselling for students destined to enter universities outside of Britain. Lastly, these schools know how to welcome newly-arrived families at short notice year-round. Some international schools in Greater London have evolved into convenient ‘one-stop shops’ that, in addition to the educational services they offer, become the hub for all extra-curricular activities as well as out-of-school-hours social life. Yet how often one has heard an expat parent lament, ‘We would have liked to have gone to an English school so that our child could have made British friends and experienced more of the British culture…’ So, must families who opt for these schools forfeit the opportunity for their children to get to know the locals? I was recently invited to a delightful dinner with an old college friend whose family had just relocated with his company from Japan where his children all went to American schools. His youngest son, William, a freshman at the American School in London (ASL) was an aspiring basketball player who worried he was not quite going to make the cut for ASL’s competitive varsity teams. Determined to find a way to continue honing his skills, he used the internet, maps and friends’ suggestions to explore ways of playing with local basketball teams. William explains, ‘I rarely met any other Americans, but I made friends with British, Filipino, Indian and Korean kids who I would not have met otherwise. After a year, I actually feel like a part of their basketball community.’ He eventually did qualify for the ASL junior varsity team, but William chose to continue playing at nearby St. Georges High School, a local comprehensive, with the Westside Ballers who compete nationally. ‘The team members come from all over London, representing various backgrounds, and I am
Sophia Zorek with Gill Tarlton, Head of Strings at CYM, at LSSO’s recent Birmingham concert.
the only American. All of this practice, the new experiences, and the new competition, not only developed me as a basketball player, but made me more comfortable and more aware of London and what the city has to offer. I made the varsity team at ASL, but I will continue to play basketball at Westside, and meet up with old friends at Ravenscourt Park’. William has always been very happy at ASL with his new friends and classmates, and his parents feel he’s adapted easily, but he observed that the kids ‘mostly spend time with each other’ and that his school is in many respects ‘a sort of bubble’. William’s initiative impressed me, and inspired me to explore how other expat American teens find ways to integrate with local peers. I was reminded of a US embassy family, newly-transferred from an African posting, whose daughter, Katie, a middle-schooler at Southbank International School, wanted to develop her singing voice beyond what was available at school. She joined the Finchley Children’s Choir, a 50-year-old choir that has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, at Notre Dame in Paris, and for HM The Queen, singing with world-class orchestras such as the LSO, BBC Symphony, and Royal Philharmonic. Through the Choir, Katie auditioned and got a part in an ENO production of Hansel and Gretel at
the Coliseum. It was a thrilling experience for her classmates and teachers to see her on the London stage. For Katie, this was not merely a musical enrichment activity, but also a new network of friends with birthday parties and sleepovers, and an opportunity to get to know her British peers on a much deeper level. Fourteen-year-old Dwight School student Amelia arrived with her sister and brother in August when her father’s company transferred them at relatively short notice. Back in Kentucky, and Idaho before that, Amelia had been a keen soccer player since elementary school and had played in statewide tournaments. Amelia’s mother learned about the Islington Borough Ladies Football Club and within two months of joining, Amelia was made girls’ team captain ‘because my coach said I’d be a good role model’. She was also selected by the London FA Player Development Centre-North London team, one of 27 teams nationwide. She plays on Dwight’s girls football team, but with the Islington and London PDC leagues she plays to a higher standard, while at the same time interacting with local girls with whom she shares a love of ‘the beautiful game’. ‘There are often no subs for the IBLFC team, so the whole team is on the field for the duration, which allows me plenty of time on the pitch. The PDC is a level up from local teams in the FA Girls England Talent Pathway, giving me more opportunities to practice and develop skills and technique. We have matches in cities all over the UK’. Amelia was happy to move to London; she knew a bit about Britain’s football heritage but has learned a lot more in her first months here. ‘Most of the girls have been playing together for several years, and I am the new one. The way they approach the sport is different because they start developing skills at a younger age and they are footballmad! It’s definitely been a positive experience; it’s given me a sense of purpose. Being the only American has not made me different to them – After all, people are people!’ Sophia, a senior at ASL, is a percussionist whose passion for music has meant a significant time commitment throughout her secondary education. Following in her singer-mother’s path, she has pursued her own musical interests as a member of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO), and the Centre for Young Musicians (CYM). She auditioned with CYM as a cellist in 7th grade when she moved back to London from New York; this led to another audition, this time as a percussionist, for the LSSO. The LSSO, founded over 60 years ago, is sponsored by the City of London Corporation and is managed by the Centre for Young Musicians, a Division of the Guildhall School. Under the artistic direction of conductor Peter Ash (also American), the LSSO consists
of about 100 students, some of whom later become professionals. They have worked under such world class conductors as Sir Colin Davis and Sir Simon Rattle. This rehearsal schedule has meant that Sophia has visited the US only twice during her secondary school years, unlike her twin brother who goes annually. When we met she was steeped in the college application process, and she hopes music will feature in her university studies. She was immediately recognisable to me when I interviewed her as she made such a lasting impression at the LSSO’s September Barbican concert where she featured in Strauss’s Don Quixote playing many of the percussion instruments she has mastered over the past six years (they include timpani, snare drums, chimes, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, cymbals, clappers, gongs, tamtam, wind machine, bass drum, maracas, wood block, castanets, and triangle). ‘I feel very British; both my parents are American, but my mother lived here and attended ASL as a teen. The CYM and LSSO have taken me out of the bubble and I feel I have adapted to the culture here, more than my brother has. Some of it may just be personality, but I know I am more reserved, a bit ‘more British’ especially living and travelling in the summer with the Orchestra, we share much more than just the music. Although I hope to go to an American university, it may feel very foreign to me.’ She and her brother may end up at the same place which she acknowedges might be helpful for re-adjusting. Sophia has not regretted the heavy commitment and feels she has gained so much through her musical activity. ‘Bubbles’ are a feature of many expatriate family experiences, but in Britain at least it seems that many young Americans have made it a point of ‘bursting the bubble’ to enrich their lives here as they develop their Third Culture Kid traits as open-minded bridge-builders. William, Katie, Amelia and Sophia are wonderful examples of how Third Culture Kids can be exemplary young American ambassadors. The LSSO’s next Barbican performance is on 7 January 2015. Mary Lang ford is a London-based international educationalist with more than 30 years’ experience specialising in the area of international school placements and supporting families, TCKs, and schools with the transition process. She is currently Director of Admissions at Dwight School London. Her Master’s research at University of Bath centred on how international schools respond to internationallymobile pupils. Mary will be speaking on Raising Internationally Mobile Children: Understanding and Nurturing the Third Culture Kid Experience at the 2015 Expat Conference and Exhibition on Monday 2nd February 215 at Hotel Russell, London.
FREE SEMINAR Monday 2nd February 2015 at 10.30am
Raising Internationally Mobile Children: Understanding and Nurturing the Third Culture Kid Experience A significant reason for failure of international assignments revolves around the ‘soft’ issues - the adaptability of families and children. For the majority, when properly understood and managed, the benefits of growing up abroad can far outweigh the challenges. This session for parents and professionals who are working with internationally-mobile families will share research-based insights into how a global experience can enhance future educational and career opportunities for children, and how to manage the stumbling blocks encountered along the way. While parents naturally worry about how moving away from the home culture and language will impact their children, when approached with knowledge and optimism, it can be an enriching life-changing experience. Presented by Mary Langford whose own international journey began at the age of two, and who has worked with international schools and families as an educator, researcher, writer, speaker, independent consultant and trainer for over 34 years. She is currently Director of Admissions for Dwight London School. This free seminar is taking place at The Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on Monday 2nd February 2015, at 11.30am. To register your free place in this seminar please email email@example.com The Conference is taking place at Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London.
Did My Identity Get Lost In The Move? Prior To Their Free Seminar On Monday 2nd February 2015 At The Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition, FOCUS Explore This Sensitive Topic That Many Expatriates Face Once They’ve Relocated To The UK
icture the scene: your partner comes home from work one day and says, ‘Honey, I’ve been offered a great job opportunity, in London!’ Fantastic! Now 24
imagine the wave of emotions that you feel upon hearing the news: excitement, fear, joy, worry. A new chapter as an ‘expat’ is about to begin, adding a new layer to your identity. The initial phase of an overseas posting is very busy and often focuses on the practicalities of the physical move. Getting the house packed up, finding a place to live, getting the children settled and sorting out all the logistics. Eventually the shipment of goods arrives, the move is over, children start school, your partner is at work and you realise that real life begins. Naturally your partner starting a new job takes priority over thinking about where you fit in this new landscape. But something is not quite right, and you begin to wonder: ‘Did my identity get lost in the move?’ The Oxford English Dictionary defines identity as, ‘The fact of being who or what a person or thing is’. Many aspects make up your identity; as a professional, spouse, parent, child, friend, etc. At any given point at least one aspect of the equation is changing and your identity is constantly evolving with all of the experiences that you gain throughout life. For an expat, the rate of change occurs exponentially. An international move, therefore, does provide a major contribution to reshaping who you are. Before a move you may not have given your identity a second thought because it fits into the jigsaw puzzle that made up your community, your family and your professional life without thinking about it. It is only when the jigsaw piece comes out and no longer fits in your new environment that you realise how strongly established your identity was. As a result, it is not uncommon to feel at a loss when you first move, especially as there are so many changes that make you feel out of your element. What is normal for you is suddenly no longer ‘normal’ in your new environment and searching for ‘normal’ in the new landscape can prove to be challenging. You may have given up your profession, and therefore are no longer defined by your career; you may find yourself not understanding the local language, and therefore have difficulty in making yourself understood; you will be unfamiliar with your surroundings and experience difficulty mapping out how everything works. Simple tasks like doing the weekly food shopping may take hours longer than they would have beforehand. Additionally, your familiar networks may no longer be available, ranging from book clubs, babysitters and religious affiliations to your position in the local community. As a result of these losses, there may be a perceived dent to your self-image and often a lack of confidence, being unsure of how new ‘peers’ view you, and what they think of you. Rest assured, this is all normal! One of the first steps in the search for your new identity should be acceptance of the loss and realisation that there are many expats
around experiencing the same emotions. What can be very useful at this point is to map and define your identity. Remember that an international move is a great opportunity, and it is important to be kind to yourself and to allow yourself, and your family, time to adjust. Recognising and acknowledging the ‘loss’ of your identity is key in moving forward and making progressive change. And of course having a positive attitude is fundamental. Remember that things will be different in your new environment – open your mind and try not to make comparisons to how things were at home. Being flexible, adaptable and maintaining a sense of humour are qualities that will also facilitate the transition to the new culture. From a practical perspective, there are many things which can expedite the settling in process. Establishing a new support network may seem daunting, but there are a myriad of opportunities through children’s schools, expat organisations, women’s clubs, professional bodies, religious affiliations and friends and colleagues at work, among others. Equally, acquiring local knowledge will enable you to feel more comfortable in your surroundings and navigate daily life more efficiently. Get out and explore your local neighbourhood, learn the language, pick a new area or town to explore every week or every month. Even something as simple as watching the evening news and reading the local paper will help you to understand the culture and be able to participate in daily social interactions. Working on your career goals can also be a positive stimulus. There are innumerable tools to assist in getting your career off the ground, from working with a career coach to organisations which assist spouses in preparing for their job search. It could also be an opportunity to move your career in a new direction through volunteering, additional education or even making a conscious decision to take a career break. It is not uncommon to hear stories of people who are initially concerned about living in a new country and culture, and by the time they have to go ‘home’, they don’t want to leave. The experience of living abroad is so rich because you expand your horizons, overcome challenges, strengthen your resilience and have new experiences which all come together to enhance your identity. Final thoughts: · Be open minded · Maintain a sense of humour · Accept your new surroundings and culture · Be understanding of those around you · Stay true to yourself. n Written by Eva Stock, Director of Sponsor Relations, FOCUS. FOCUS is a membership community for expats by expats. Visit us on www.focus-info.org
FREE SEMINAR Monday 2nd February 2015 at 11.30am
Did My Identity Get Lost In The Move? Once the practicalities of moving are in place, spouses and partners often experience a loss of identity. This can have a serious impact on their personal confidence and daily routine. Helping them with their career search and with building their network can get them on the right path to their new life so they no longer say “Who am I?” Join FOCUS as they explore the key factors that contribute to a successful establishment of a spouse or partner’s new identity. Presented by FOCUS. This free seminar is taking place at The Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on Monday 2nd February 2015, at 11.30am. To register your free place in this seminar please email firstname.lastname@example.org The Conference is taking place at Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London.
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UK Sports Our Quarterly Overview Of UK Sports
nother year of great UK sports comes to an end and it has been the girls who have given us most to shout about. Our disappointments with the Men’s cricket, soccer and rugby union teams was overshadowed by the British sports women, many of whom we have featured in our earlier editions of ‘American in Britain’, so we will start with them. Sportswomen of the Year AWARDS 2014 There were so many great individual and team performances from our girls this year and it was always going to be difficult to chose the best. The six finalists for the individual Sportswoman of the Year were, in alphabetical order, Charlotte Dujardin, Fran Halsall, Laura Massaro, Jo Pavey, Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Yarnold. The range of sports represented by these ladies was amazing; in the same order as 26
the nominees - equestrian dressage, swimming, squash, athletics, cycling and skeleton bobsleigh. Personally, your writer would have gone for Jo Pavey, the forty one year old mother of two who took the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games 5,000 metres in a field dominated by Kenyan and Ethiopian runners, and then took gold in the European 10,000 metres, but Jo took third place in the awards. In second place was Lizzy Yarnold who took the gold medal in the Skeleton event at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Winning any event at the winter Olympics, or even getting any medal, is a rare event for Great Britain, and the skeleton event requires not just incredible skill but massive bravery. The winner was Charlotte Dujardin who won two Olympic gold medals, two European gold’s and two world championship gold's in equestrian dressage. It does seem a shame though that her horse, who probably did most of the work, hardly got a mention! Valegro must have gone through competition after competition without putting a foot (sorry, hoof) wrong. The finalists for the individual Disability Sportswoman of the Year were, in alphabetical order, Libby Clegg, Kelly Gallagher/Charlotte Evans, Stephanie Slater and Jordanne Whiley who represented athletics, impaired sight Super-G skiing, swimming and wheelchair tennis. The winner was Stephanie Slater who, at one time, was an up and coming able bodied swimmer, but an injury to her nervous system meant she could not raise her left arm above ninety degrees. But, swimming with one arm, Stephanie won eight swimming medals in the year, seven of them in seven days at the European championships. Nominees for the Young Sportswoman of the Year were Dina Asher-Smith, Claudia Fragapane, Morgan Lake and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor who represented athletics, gymnastics, athletics again and swimming. Each of these young athletes have amazing futures in their chosen sports. Dina Asher-Smith became world junior 100 metre champion, Morgan Lake took gold in both the heptathlon and high jump at the IAAF world junior championships and SiobhanMarie O’Connor won one gold, four silvers and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games, and all three are under nineteen! But the deserved winner was Claudia Fragapane who became the first British woman since 1930 to win four gold medals when competing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Watch out for all these girls at the Rio Olympics in 2016. The Sportswomen’s Team of the Year was really hard to call with the cricket and rugby teams, the Great Britain 4 x 100 metre athletics relay squad and the coxless pairs rowing duo all strong contenders. The cricket team had retained the Ashes playing in Australia for only the third time in eighty years, the 100 metre relay squad
won gold in the European championships and bronze at the Commonwealth Games, and twice broke the 34-year-old UK 4 x 100m record, and Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the world championship coxless pairs following on from their London Olympics success. The deserved winners, though, were the women’s rugby team who became world champions. Runners up to New Zealand in the previous three world cup finals, the present team secured the title after a thrilling final against Canada. Two other awards deserve special mention. A Lifetime Achievement Award went to Louise Martin for her long and dedicated service to sports administration. Louise played a major role in bringing the Commonwealth Games to Glasgow, became honorary secretary of the Commonwealth Games Federation and acted as vice-chairman of the Glasgow organising committee. The Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration was won by Mel Woodwards, a lady who suffered physical and emotional abuse from a violent husband and, having left him, dedicated herself to forming the Somerset North Youth Football League. Now in its second season, the league has recently signed up its 1,100th player. Ms. Woodwards still has to deal with posttraumatic stress, but her commitment to her sporting venture has generated much happiness to all the kids who now enjoy and have the opportunity to play football in a well regulated youth football organisation. Formula One Our congratulations go to Lewis Hamilton who was crowned World Champion after the final F1 race of the season in Abu Dhabi. This was Hamilton’s second world title following his victory in 2008. Hamilton triumphed over his Mercedes team mate, Nico Rosberg, after a hard fought two horse race (well two car race) throughout the year. After a collision in the Belgian Grand Prix which left Rosberg leading the championship, the relationship between the two drivers appeared to be somewhat fractured but it also appeared to galvanise Hamilton. Hamilton won eleven of the nineteen F1 races and was a deserved champion. How many more championships will Hamilton win? He is the first British double champion since Sir Jackie Stewart in 1971 (who won a third in 1973), and only the fourth in history, and he did it with two different teams following in the footsteps of those great drivers Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna. It must be remembered, however, that the drivers championship is not determined by the skill and courage of the drivers alone. Champions are made by the design technicians of the cars and in every season the champion driver will almost certainly have the fastest and most reliable car on the circuit. This season it
was Mercedes, and it is no coincidence that both the champion and the runner-up were from the same constructor. Golf - Ryder Cup Sorry readers - another Ryder Cup victory for the Europeans! Unlike the previous European victory in the States this one was not even close, Europe winning by 16½ points to 11½, and things got worse for the American team when post match criticisms of captain Tom Watson came flooding out from some of the American players, noticeably that amiable nice guy and giant, Phil Mickelson, some of whose comments were expressed with exquisite malice! Unfortunate comments had been heard even before the closing ceremony but the British crowd, who have always taken Tom to their hearts, were heard singing “one Tom Watson, there’s only one Tom Watson”; and that was meant in appreciation of his wonderful career, including at our own Open tournament, not because of any failings in his captaincy of the American team. It is probably true that Watson did not enjoy his finest hour as team captain and that is a shame as he previously led the Americans to their last victory on European soil at The Belfry. A Ryder Cup captain is more a manager than a captain and in all sports it is true that great players more often than not do not make great managers or coaches. It is also strange that a European team made up of players from different countries gels better
as a team than the Americans who come from the same country. UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, would probably find that difficult to explain as would the USPGA! Europe have now won eight out of the last ten Ryder Cups and Jim Furyk has now claimed the unenviable record of being the first player in US history to lose twenty matches! Poor Jim. Rugby Union With the rugby world cup being held in England and Wales in 2015, the autumn internationals between England and the Southern Hemisphere nations took on added significance. This was England’s chance to lay down a marker against the mighty All Blacks (New Zealand), the Wallabies (Australia), and the Springboks (South Africa), but it did not quite work out like that. New Zealand beat England 24-21 and South Africa won 31-28; close but not quite what we had hoped for. However, after an easy match against Samoa which England won 28-9, the home team did defeat the Australians 26-17. So, a mixed bag of results. Can England, on this form, win the World Cup? Well, probably an outside chance having home advantage. Next up is the Six Nations championship and England will have stiff opposition from Ireland, Wales and France, if not Scotland and Italy. This championship will give us another opportunity to assess England’s world cup credentials.
Soccer With one game left to play in the European Champions League, Chelsea and Arsenal have already qualified from their Group stage to progress to the knock out stage. Manchester City and Liverpool, however, need to win their last matches. Chelsea will finish top of their Group, but Arsenal need to beat Galatasary of Turkey and hope Anderlecht defeat Borussia Dortmund to finish top of their Group with the benefit of not being drawn against another Group winner in the Round of Sixteen. Manchester City and Liverpool can only hope for a runners up position. In the Premiership, Chelsea have led the way and are playing good football. It looks like the Championship is already becoming a two course (sorry, two club) race, with Manchester City, the current champions, chasing Chelsea who only recently lost their first Premiership game of the season at Newcastle United. At the present time the only real excitement concerns the remaining three places to qualify for next seasons European Champions League. By the Spring 2015 issue of ‘American in Britain’ we will have a clearer picture of the Premiership title race, and we will know if an English team is still competing for a place in the European Champions League final. Until then, let's have a great sporting New Year. n
Theatre Urinetown The Musical - Bobby Strong (Matthew Seadon-Young), Penelope Pennywise (Jenna Russell) & The Poor, Urinetown The Musical. Photo by Johan Persson.
Reviews of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker
URINETOWN the musical This production of Urinetown is a transfer from the St James Theatre, but opened to rave reviews and won many awards first off and then on Broadway in 2001. Although, as the character Little Sally keeps saying, 'it’s a terrible title for a musical, do not let it put you off'. This is one of the few new musicals I have seen in years that has well–written and memorable original songs. It is the only one I have seen that sends an important message about the environment, over population, corporate greed and love. 28
Urinetown the Musical imagines a world where water and food are in such short supply that after a time of pandemonium, water supplies are restricted and people must “Pay to pee” at a Public Amenity, owned by Urine Good Company. The one in question here is run by Penelope Pennywise, a white faced doorkeeper who collects money from the poor. Those who cannot wait for a toilet, such as Old Man Strong, are brutally punished and taken away by the police, Officers Lockstock and Barrel. Strong’s son, Bobby, is the cleaner at the Public Amenity and is the only person brave enough to ask why the poor should be made to pay, stirring up the first signs of a revolution. When he falls in love with Hope, the naïve and protected daughter of the evil Caldwell B Cladwell, owner of Urine Good Company, things get complicated. This is not a musical for the faint of heart. In director Jamie Lloyd’s staging, the police beatings are bloody and violent; one number called Cop Song has the officers singing and dancing with dead people. It is a shocking juxtaposition to have jolly songs and a very funny script punctured with such gore. The music by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis is terrific with clever lyrics and hummable tunes. The choreography, by Ann Yee, is very original as it is more movement based except for one brilliant moment in Act II where Corey English as Hot Blades Harry shows off some surprising ballet skills. The play is self- referential as the story is narrated by Officer Lockstock and Little Sally, constantly commenting on the goings on while making fun of musical theatre traditions, i.e. the plot reveal, the love songs etc. Just when things get really grim Little Sally will say just what we’re
thinking, that this isn’t a very happy musical. The cast were uniformly excellent in bringing the musical to life. They had to strike a balance of over the top, let’s put on a show type of acting, with actually making us care about them and their horrific plight. Matthew Seadon-Young and Rosanna Hyland as the young lovers are real finds with beautiful voices and perfect comic timing. Jonathan Slinger as Officer Lockstock hit just the right note as an amusing yet devastatingly cruel character. As he is our narrator we want to like him but can not. Jenna Russell as Penelope Pennywise and Simon Paisley-Day as Cladwell were also standouts, both are genuinely funny and Miss Russell is a real musical talent. Mention must go to Corey English, one of the few Americans in the cast, who also doubled as Old Man Strong. He reminded me of a young Nathan Lane with his booming voice. I also loved the very tall Jeff Nicholson as Tiny Tom. It was great to see an interesting looking ensemble who can jump into different roles at the drop of a hat. The play opens with Officer Lockstock reading a book by Malthus, which is key to the play. In the programme notes it explains that Malthus predicted in 1798 that overpopulation would lead to shortages. This is known as the Malthusian Prophecy and is ever more relevant each day as water shortages become a reality in our world. Urinetown the Musical puts a smiling face and cheery songs on a devastating problem that must be faced. If you can stomach the brutality, rush to see this fantastic musical. The Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES Box office 0844 482 9671 www.urinetown.co.uk
THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS Another musical with a deadly serious heart is The Scottsboro Boys, which also originated off Broadway and then moved back to Broadway, where it ran for just over a month. It opened at the Young Vic last year with several of the original American actors and the renowned director/ choreographer, Susan Stroman on board, and is happily enjoying a more successful run in London. The night I attended, the audience rose for a standing ovation at the curtain call with rapturous applause. It is possible that American audiences could not warm to a story of extreme racism in 1930’s Alabama presented as a minstrel show with a mixture of acting styles, ranging from caricatured clowns, reminiscent of old Hollywood stereotypes of black men to naturalistic performances from the men who are incarcerated. It is an uncomfortable watch, showing real life horrific events and then flipping the mood with a fabulous song and dance number. The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of nine young men, the youngest only twelve years old, who are arrested on the Chattanooga train for supposedly raping two white women. The women, according to the play, were actually prostitutes who lied to protect themselves from getting arrested. The men were imprisoned and nearly executed several times before “Communists” from New York objected and demanded retrials. Two years after their sentencing one of the women retracted her statement and admitted she’d lied, but this was ignored by the court. The retrials went on for years until finally only four of the youngest were released. Without any evidence the remaining five were held in prison for at least another ten years. These events ruined the lives of nine hopeful young men who were either looking for work or just trying to get home. The Interlocutor, the only white character in the play, tells the story. He acts as a sort of ringleader of the proceedings with assistance from Mr Bones and Mr Tambo who play exaggerated Stepin Fetchit types. These three characters were all traditional in Minstrel shows. Bones and Tambo also play all the white characters in the story, including the Sheriff, Deputy and various lawyers. These are performed in a grotesque fashion much as black people were portrayed in the Minstrel shows by white actors. In addition, two of the actors playing the boys skilfully double as Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, the white women. The excellent songs, some heartbreakingly beautiful, are written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, who also created Chicago, Cabaret and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. There are echoes of all three in this production, grim reality contrasted with catchy tunes and loads of irony. The book, by David Thompson,
The Scottsboro Boys - Photo by Johan Persson (L-R) Keenan Munn-Francis (Eugene Williams), Emmanuel Kojo (Clarence Norris), Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton (Olen Montgomery), Carl Spencer (Andy Wright), James T Lane (Ozie Powell), Joshua Da Costa (Roy Wright), Brandon Victor Dixon (Haywood Patterson), Dex Lee (Charles Weem), Emile Ruddock (Willie Roberson).
strives to bring across the tragedy of these men’s lives, portrayed in the more naturalistic prison scenes. The choreography was a real highlight - one tap dance number led by young Keenan Munn-Francis, would have been more enjoyable if it wasn’t about a boy being threatened with the electric chair by the bullying prison guards. The performers were all very talented musical theatre artists but I felt that the more serious scenes in the prison were let down a bit by the acting. It cannot be easy to find that many young actors who can act as well as they sing and dance. The older actors fared better, especially the three brought over from the original production, Colman Domingo, James T Lane and Forrest McClendon. They were consummate professionals, although Domingo and McClendon did have the advantage of only playing comic characters. Brandon Victor Dixon, another American import, who played Haywood Patterson, is a very accomplished singer but did not pack enough of an emotional punch in his dramatic scenes. Julian Glover held his own as the Interlocutor and a variety of roles as evil white men, not an easy task. For me the mixture of styles was very jarring. I felt in some ways that I would have preferred the whole production to be done as a minstrel show, which would probably have been more disturbing or just a straight musical tragedy with entirely realistic dialogue. The staging was fantastic with only chairs representing the entire set, expertly moulded into a train or a courthouse by the cast. The
company worked brilliantly together as a team, especially in the musical numbers, which lifted the whole production. The ending, of course, is not a happy one but it is hopeful, finishing as it started, with Rosa Parks on the bus. Apparently she met her husband at a rally for The Scottsboro Boys. Like Urinetown, The Scottsboro Boys is an intelligent musical for those with a strong constitution and well worth seeing. You may not leave the theatre whistling but you will leave wondering at this shameful time in American history. The Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0HH Box office 0844 482 9673 www.scottsboromusicallondon.com Sunny Afternoon It’s not often you make plans to go see a show again before it’s halfway through, but Sunny Afternoon, a new musical about the British band The Kinks, is one of those shows. After a sold out run at the Hampstead Theatre, the production has transferred to the Harold Pinter and looks to be just as successful. It follows the story of the band, started by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in 1963. When we first see them, they are backing a middle class crooner, Robert Wace, who soon realises the potential of the group of working class students, which also included drummer Mick Avory and bass player Pete Quaife. Along with his business partner Grenville Collins, Wace manages the band and brings them to a publisher, Eddie Kassner and yet another manager, Larry Page. Between the four of 29
them, they not only propel the band to fame, but also take most of their profits. The Kinks encounter further greed from American trade unions who insist on taking a cut during the US tour. When they refuse to pay they are banned from the country for four years. Between all the trials and tribulations of the music business, the band members fight constantly and Ray falls in love and marries his pregnant girlfriend, Rasa, just when he is about to go on tour. Dave gallivants, enjoying the life of a rock star with plenty of women, booze and drugs. Mick and Pete demand attention and threaten to quit. Amidst all this, Ray manages to write his wonderful songs, full of clever, witty lyrics that are at times almost like poetry. And this production is really all about the music, how songs come to a writer, how they are built and how these songs manage to stand the test of time. We see the inspiration for each song as they are cleverly interwoven into the story. As Dave is being dressed by a stylist in outrageous clothes, Ray comes up with Dedicated Follower of Fashion. Grenville and Robert sing Well Respected Man, as they are a couple of stockbrokers. Ray and Dave's father sings Dead End Street, explaining to all the
managers the background he comes from when they ask him to sign the contract for teenage Dave. A beautiful number, I Go to Sleep, written for Sonny and Cher, is performed by Rasa and Ray when they are separated during the Kinks tour of the US. Some songs are performed straight out, such as You Really Got Me, in their first Top of the Pops performance, Sunny Afternoon, Waterloo Sunset and Lola. All of the hits are worked in, much to the delight of the audience, most of whom are probably the same age as The Kinks. Luckily the production never feels like a tribute band showcase as the book by the accomplished playwright Joe Penhall, from the story by Ray Davies, makes it an engrossing play with music. The dialogue and characters are well written and the story is involving, often funny, and other times very moving. John Dagleish is a stand out as Ray, combining a brooding sensitivity with keen intelligence and even magnetism, as we see women fling themselves on him when he sings. Although he doesn't much resemble Ray Davies in looks or sound, he made the part his own and was completely believable. George Maguire, as his wild brother Dave, not only had the right
manic energy (including swinging from a chandelier in women's clothes) but could also play guitar like a true rock star. Ned Derrington as Pete the bass player was the sweet opposite to Adam Sopp's scrappy Mick, the drummer, both real musicians, as were all the cast. Lillie Flynn was excellent as Rasa; not only does she have a lovely voice but she was often in the background playing guitar with the stage band. The very talented Phillip Bird and Ben Caplan were not only brilliant in their many roles but also doubled on guitar and drums. Dominic Tighe and Tam Williams hit just the right notes as the managers Robert and Grenville and then picked up trombones to play in the ensemble. The production, beautifully directed by Hampstead Theatre's artistic director Edward Hall, is true to the spirit of The Kinks, a uniquely British band, who were proud of their London working class roots and yet dared to different. Their songs are iconic and can still make people leap to their feet to dance. Let's hope this exciting musical runs for a very long time. n Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN Box office: 0844 871 7622 www.sunnyafternoonthemusical.com
Ned Derrington, George Maguire, Adam Sopp, Tam Williams and Dominic Tighe in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Caring For Your Family Whilst Living Away Are You Worried About Elderly Or Frail Parents Back Home?
ot so long ago, members of an extended family would often live close to one another in the same community, sometimes even in the same house. It was normal for the younger generation to share responsibility for caring for their parents as they aged. 32
The world is now a smaller place and economic globalisation means global mobility. Many people need to manage caring for elderly and frail parents at a distance and from another country, so here are some tips for expats who find themselves worrying about elderly parents back home while they are living overseas. Some of these are best approached during visits back home, but if you do not have a trip back very soon, tackle them long-distance. 1. Start Planning Now Before A Crisis Hits If possible start before your parents become frail. Don’t worry if your parents are already frail. There are still many positive things you can do and there is a section at the end of this article about what to do in a crisis. 2. Have Those Difficult Conversations…. Many people do not want to acknowledge that they are getting older and that their health and welfare needs are changing. Consequently, it can be very difficult for children to discuss with their parents how they want to live and be cared for as they age. Why do I need to do this - my parents are completely healthy and active? Long may it last! Planning for the future in tranquility is always infinitely better than having to make urgent decisions about things you have never considered before because there is a crisis. I prefer to take the light-hearted - Well, Dad, what if you get run over by a bus? - approach to encourage people to discuss contingency plans. It is best to start with the practical, matterof-fact stuff first. 3. Get The Paperwork Sorted Out If your parents haven't already prepared Durable Powers of Attorney, try to encourage and support them to do so. If they are concerned that they will be signing away control of their finances to their appointed attorney (which may or may not be you), it may be a reassurance for them to lodge the Power of Attorney with their lawyer with clear written instructions as to when control can be handed over to the attorney. Durable Powers of Attorney are often accompanied by a Living Will. This sets out specific instructions to family members and the medical profession about the treatment someone would, or not wish, in the event of them being unable to give permission at the time. This can be a great source of comfort if you do find that you have to make decisions about your parent's health when they are not in a position to do so for themselves, and it can avoid family conflict if you and a sibling
disagree about a course of action. You have the security of knowing that you are abiding by your parent's own wishes. Try to lead by example! These documents are not just for older people. If your parents haven't made Durable Powers of Attorney, talk to them about how you made yours, who holds it and who is your attorney as an encouragement for them to act now. Naturally, when your parents are talking to their lawyer, this is also a good moment to get their Wills updated or created for the first time. If they haven’t got a lawyer find a good one for them. Make sure that they are experienced in dealing with older people who might need more time and patience than lawyers are customarily used to giving. 4. Think About Financial Planning And Financial Management Get professional advice for your parents from an accredited, referenced professional who specialises in Later Life Financial Planning. Some States have a Filial Support Statute which could mean that you have to contribute to your parent's care costs if they are not able to fund themselves. Quality care at home or in a residential setting can be very expensive. Some medical insurance won’t cover the costs or may offer limited choices of care provision. Financial worries can ruin the last years of someone’s life if they think they will run out of money. Good financial planning can alleviate many of these concerns. Ensure that your parents can still cope with making day-to-day financial decisions. Some older people find the sheer volume of paperwork associated with insurances, taxation, pensions etc., overwhelming, and although they have the mental capacity to deal with it, their confidence and patience may be exhausted. To have a helping hand to get such things sorted out can be very reassuring. Is this something you can do on one of your visits back home or can a sibling or other another utterly trustworthy person help? What about my inheritance? At TimeFinders we have been blessed that the children of our elderly clients have all believed passionately that their parents’ money is there to provide the best possible care and support for their parents. It does not belong to the children nor does it become ‘their inheritance’ until their parents have chosen freely to make them a beneficiary in their Wills and have subsequently died. But we are not naïve, and we know from many financial advisers, solicitors and care providers that some children of elderly clients want to skimp on the level of care for their parents because it is ‘wasting their inheritance’. So if the thought has ever crossed your mind - face an
uncomfortable truth: If your parents are able to pay for care then it is right and proper that they should spend their money in this way. 5. Create Your Support Network Back Home With your parents’ permission, get up to date contact information for their closest friends and neighbours, the Church minister, the social club Secretary – whoever your parents are in regular contact with – and let them know you live abroad. Give them your contact information. Your parents might get angry with the notion that you are asking their friends to “spy” on them, so you need to be very diplomatic in asking your parents’ contacts to let you know if they have any concerns about your parents’ wellbeing. If your parents’ agree, contact their doctor and ask them to keep you informed of any important health issues which may impact their ability to live safely at home. 6. Identify Sources Of Practical Help You can research this from abroad but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to find out if someone is suitable to help your parents. Arrange a Skype or other video call if you are not going to be back home for a while. You need to create a list of local service providers such as gardeners, cleaners, home carers, personal assistants, and house maintenance experts. Take up references, make a local police check and an FBI records check and establish a relationship so that even if you don’t need them for a year or so they will know who you are and what your parents might need. Many health care and welfare problems can be avoided by providing a little bit of extra help well before a crisis hits. 7. Research Technological Aids There are a vast array of technological innovations which can help keep a frail person safe in their own home - pendant alarms, automatic medication dispensers, temperature monitors, door sensors and web cams. Be respectful of your parent’s privacy and always ask their permission and get their freely given agreement to any kind of web-based monitoring. If a parent has dementia, don’t automatically assume that they don’t have the capacity or the right to make their own decisions about what level of surveillance they are subjected to and consider that it may be frightening for them to have a whole host of technological aids all at once. Start small, simply and gently. 8. Identify Suitable Care Facilities If you think that a care home might be the right choice for a parent, research all the local
facilities. You can do this online but you have to visit the homes – if you really can’t get back to do this, then ask a trusted family member or find a Senior Life Adviser who is experienced in undertaking care home research. Ask your parents’ Doctor for recommendations, check care quality reports and State and Federal regulations and compliance reports. Don’t be swayed by fancy websites and beautiful buildings with hotel style decor. The subject of choosing the right care home is vast and there are so many things to look for but finding a home with a cheerful, motivated and supported staff team and, above all, happy, fulfilled residents is just the starting point. I would always recommend that you or your adviser visits each short-listed home and makes an arrangement to stay for lunch. This allows you to test the quality of the food as well as quietly observe how the care staff support and enable residents. Talk to residents and care staff without the sales manager present. Ask to be put in touch with residents’ families. 9. Talk With Your Siblings If you have siblings, don’t forget that they might also be anxious about being left in the lurch because you are living abroad. Don’t be surprised if there is a bit of resentment because often they will not understand the worry and guilt you might feel leaving your parents behind. They may think that you are the lucky one, swanning off to exotic places leaving them to deal with all the practical issues and take the emotional flack for trying to help. It is an uncomfortable fact that some parents can be very unforgiving, demanding, unreasonable and ungrateful, and play one child off against another. Some siblings aren’t very nice either! So it is essential to talk calmly about how you will deal with any crisis or progressive need for assistance, and to put any childhood rivalries to one side. Think creatively about how you can provide practical help and emotional support whilst you are abroad both to your parents and to your siblings. If a sibling is carrying the burden of everyday care, how can you make sure they can get a respite? Money issues so often cause resentment and ill-feeling, so offering money might inflammatory, but perhaps working with them to organise respite care for a parent and providing a short vacation as a thank you to them might be acceptable. Never underestimate the value of a phone call to ask how they are doing. 10. Communicate Regularly And Frequently It is so easy to keep in touch and if your parents are not already online get them familiar with the basics of an iPad or other tablet computer,
even if it is just so that you can Skype them regularly and exchange emails. Many children communicate quite infrequently when they are away so it is important to change that and schedule regular and frequent communications. Ideally this should be established before your parents become frail as it sets a routine which doesn’t need to be varied hugely if a parent becomes frail or unwell, when they might find sudden and frequent communication intrusive. Some people find it hard to chat on the phone. They feel awkward. If you are one of these, now is the time to learn the art of conversation! If you are struggling, get your parents to tell you about their lives before you were born bit by bit. Ask them to find old photographs to show you when you are next home. Get them to write their life story and read you bits every time you phone. Be creative. Unless your parent has a very macabre sense of humour, do anything to avoid the "just checking that you are still alive" phone call. Be aware that often an older person will answer a phone call with variations of “I’m fine, darling” even if they are struggling or are unwell. Seasonal illnesses can push an older person from “just about managing” to “not managing at all” very quickly. Skype or other video communication at least means that you can see your parent and can be vigilant for signs of ill-health, weight loss etc. Now For The Next Stage Once you have got contingency plans sorted out you might feel able to broach the slightly more testing subjects of ageing. If your parents are together you need to think about questions which may be distressing such as:“What happens to you Mom, if Dad were to die (and vice versa)”? If one parent does all the driving and the other all the cooking and cleaning, you need to ask what would the surviving partner do if they were left on their own. Your parents’ individual circumstances will highlight potential concerns. If they live in a city with a great public transportation system then not being able to drive might not be an issue. If they live in the middle of nowhere it could be a very big problem indeed. Manageable Living You need to discuss how well they are managing living in their present home. Just because they are finding it difficult to manage does not mean they need immediately to move into care. However, that is what many older people fear and is the reason why they can be very reluctant to admit they are struggling now, or they are afraid they might do in the future. A more manageable home, perhaps closer 33
to amenities or to other family members, and having appropriate help at home, may be the best way of staying in control and living in their own home until the day they die. Many people don’t realise what a burden maintaining a large house has become until they no longer live there – and so many of our clients who have settled into their new smaller home say “I wish I had moved years ago”! Research in the UK indicates that older people living in inappropriate accommodation are far more likely to have a crisis which necessitates the intervention of health and social service professionals. Inappropriate doesn’t just mean that a home has accessibility problems. A house that is too large can have a detrimental affect on the confidence and, consequently, the mental and physical health of an elderly person living in it. Such crises often lead to a move into a care facility which may not be in the best interests of the person concerned and maybe against their own wishes - but it may be the best anyone can do in a hurry. Crises happen. It is almost inevitable, but being prepared for a crisis means that you and your parents can take decisions in tranquillity and discuss the options that might be available and preferable to your parents. This is why these discussions with your parents are so important. Staying Put If moving is not an option – and staying put should be a positive decision to stay, not simply an aversion to considering the alternatives – then how can you help ensure that your parents are able to manage? Try and identify the things which will make life easier for them such as:• Remodelling the house so that stairs are easier to manage or install a stair lift • Eliminating the step into the shower by making a wet room and provide shower seating • Improving lighting and reducing clutter to avoid falls (and consider that ill fitting footwear is a major cause of falls) • Is maintaining the garden or cleaning the home becoming a burden? • Can they manage the laundry? • Are they eating well – has cooking nutritious meals and keeping hydrated become an issue? • Can they manage personal care? Remember that by eliminating some of these issues or getting a little extra help now will enable your parents to stay independent and in control for much longer. No-one underestimates how difficult it is for a child of whatever age to have this sort of conversation with their own parents. Sometimes it is helpful to have an objective 34
professional adviser to help you and them through the process. Progressive Illnesses If a parent has a progressive illness such a Parkinson’s Disease you will need to be objective about the prognosis and what adaptations may be necessary to enable them to stay in control and independent for as long as possible. This is incredibly difficult to talk about with a parent and may not be advisable. There are excellent sources of information which will help you to plan ahead even if your parent doesn’t want to, or simply can’t face doing so. Make sure that your sources of information are reputable and supported by rigorous scientific and medical knowledge and research. What About Dementia? As the population lives longer so the incidence of Dementia increases. Dementia is still a taboo word, as much as cancer was a generation ago. Many people are more frightened of dementia than anything else but it is possible to live well with dementia. Early diagnosis is important because, treatment aside, there are many things someone with dementia can do in the early stages of their disease to help their family and their carers connect with them as the disease progresses. Recording someone’s life story with their own special memories, key phrases, favourite songs or hymns, the poetry they learned by heart at school, first loves etc., will help you and them find connections that will create feelings of love, comfort, and security, when their world is a confusing and frightening place. Be vigilant for early signs of dementia in a parent, but remember that other medical conditions such as dehydration or having a urinary tract infection can cause symptoms of confusion. Unfortunately, it is common for one spouse to mask the condition in their loved one, either consciously or sub-consciously, and it can take a long time for family members, particularly those living at a distance, to realise the extent of their parent’s confusion. Denial is often seen in the early stages of Dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease, and this can make it very difficult to persuade someone that they need extra help. Do not be afraid to ask for professional help and support. HELP – Parents In Crisis! So what do you do when you get that telephone call that every expat dreads? The first thing is not to panic - you will have plenty of time to think and to plan during your journey back home. This example assumes a medical emergency requiring hospital admission. Airline pilots have checklists of what to do in an emergency – which procedures to test, sequences of what should be done and in what
order. You have to start thinking the same way. 1. You need up-to-date and accurate facts on the crisis and, most importantly, you need to write down or record the information you are given because there will be an awful lot of information that you have to absorb in the coming days. • What exactly has happened? Family members and close friends may be too emotional to give you proper details so talk, if at all possible, to a health professional caring for your parent • What is the prognosis? • What is happening to your parent at the moment? • What immediate support does your parent’s spouse/partner require? 2. Following the airline analogy you should fit your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else to put on theirs, so you need to secure your own position first. Divide your planning into three sections: 1. Actions for where you live now 2. Before you travel 3. Actions for where your parents live Where you live now • Decide if you need to go back immediately • Call in your partner/spouse or a friend to help you and delegate to them as many of the practical arrangements as possible such as booking your travel, running errands, packing up the children, pets and other domestic arrangements etc. • Decide who will look after the children • Do they need to stay with friends whilst you are away? • Provide information about schedules and activities for their carer • Can you arrange time off work? • Delegate work activities to a colleague • Book your travel arrangements • Pack Before you travel • Arrange travel from the aiport • Talk to your siblings about what needs they have – even if they live just around the corner they will have their professional and personal lives to re-organise • Decide if you need to go straight to the hospital • Arrange a family conference and a Care Review Meeting with your parent’s medical team. Unless it is a life-threatening emergency, try to get some rest and catch up from jet-lag before making important decisions. Actions for where your parents live During your travel back to the USA make a list of decisions that you think will need to be taken. Try to envisage objectively what your parent
will need and what they will want. Make a list of the organisations you may need to contact; medical insurance companies, convalescence arrangements, domicilary care providers, etc. When an emergency happens it is sometimes difficult to stand back and take your time about making important decisions. Try not to feel rushed. Make notes of what health professionals and others say so that you can go back and review them which will help you in making longer-term decisions. Sometimes there can be pressure to discharge a patient from hospital straight into a long-term care facility. If that isn’t right for your parent you will need to put alternative arrangements in place. You will have to do a certain amount of thinking on your feet as you will only be able to judge what is necessary when you are there in person. It can be helpful to go into “project mode” and to be very practical by taking one step at a time. Your parent needs you to be practical for them to make the things happen which will keep them safe or will let them go with dignity and without pain. But this is a very emotional time too, so make sure that you give yourself time to deal with your emotions so that you are able to give your parent the love and comfort they need.n
Alison Hesketh is the founder of TimeFinders Senior Life Specialists who provide practical and emotional support for elderly people and their families in changing circumstances. She has particular expertise in supporting families caring at a distance. At TimeFinders we understand that caring at a distance can cause great stress and anxiety and can have a detrimental impact on your career and your personal relationships. We know that planning ahead and putting a support network in place can allow you the peace of mind that you need to live your life abroad. “I have no doubt in my mind that if it hadn’t been for TimeFinders, my father would not be alive today.” Mr. S.F. Connecticut If you would like more information on the TimeFinders Service please visit us at www.timefinders.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Women’s Clubs News American Women’s Club of London It may seem the sun doesn’t shine more than an hour or two a day, but this too shall pass. Don’t let the shorter, cooler grey days of winter get you down. Put on your warmest jumper, find a cheerful hat, scarf and gloves, and join us at the American Women’s Club London as we engage in a variety of fun activities over the coming months. We’ve got a little something for everyone, whether you are looking to fill a few hours, learn a new skill, give back to the community, or find fellow readers, stitchers, hikers or game players. London offers a wonderful variety of things to do when it is easier to spend most of the day indoors, but it can be much more fun to share these activities with others. A great way to meet fellow American expats is to join us at our monthly New Member coffees at the AWC offices, held at 68 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington. We meet on the third Tuesday of each month to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and bit of something sweet, and celebrate, or 36
Let's Do Lunch at Ffionas -Women's Club of London
commiserate, about living in London. Our next coffees are scheduled for January 20 and February 17 and we would love to meet you. We also have Monthly Meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month. An interesting speaker, a few local vendors, 50/50 raffle and luncheon afterwards makes for a busy Tuesday. Check the AWC website for specifics. If Tuesday coffee doesn’t work for you, the MMC, (Monday Morning Coffee group) may better fit with your schedule. Every Monday a different venue is chosen throughout the city, based on venue, excellence of coffee, deliciousness of baked goods or friendliness of staff. The group meets from 10 to 11:30am and you are welcome to join us for as much time as you have. Looking more for something towards the end of the day? Our Thursday Afternoon Drinks at the Paxton’s Head Pub, 153 Knightsbridge, London, is a wonderful way to catch up with friends, find out what’s going on around the city, or get travel recommendations! Order your drink from the bar and join the group at the reserved table downstairs, you can’t miss us. One of the best things about being an expat in such a vibrant city is being able to be a part of history in the making. Many AWC members have taken part in the “wedding watch”, the “baby watch”, Jubilee celebrations and Olympics, and recently a group of women from the AWC had the honour of participating in the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” exhibition at a the Tower of London. From 18 July, the Tower’s moat was turned entirely into a sea of red through the installation of over 800,00 ceramic poppies, each beautifully handmade in the studio of artist Paul Cummins. Our own Nanette Pigaga organised our group of 40 with the Tower coordinator to arrange our participation in the “planting” of the ceramic poppies. We arrived at the Tower, were ushered inside, handed our bright red volunteer t-shirts and asked to watch a short training film on the proper steps in assembling the poppies and safe installation including wearing safety glasses and gloves. Then we were off to collect large flats of poppies and bunches of wire stems and set
off to the “pet cemetery” section of the moat. The Yeomen live at the Tower, so it is their pets, over the years, that have been buried there. We contributed to the planting of 10,000 poppies that morning, 20,000 were planted every day. It was fun to answer questions from tourists as we moved back and forth getting more blooms, and it was one of those times when you really felt like a “local!” Planting took place until Armistice Day, 11 November, and they remained in place for a few days, and then volunteers removed them and readied them for posting to those individuals who paid £25 for one from the installation. Each of the 888,246 blooms in the artwork “Blood Swept Lands and Sea of Red” represented a life lost in the World War I, one for each of the British and Colonial soldiers killed in the conflict which began 100 years ago. Between 60,000-70,000 visitors will have visited the installation each day by the time it ended. It was a moving exhibition and we at the AWC were honoured to be able to participate. A great way to beat the winter blues is to join one of our most popular day trips - the annual Stoke-on-Trent Pottery Trip. It is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of the semi-annual sales at the pottery outlets in Stoke-on-Trent. There are many deals to be found and it always nice to have somebody nearby to give you an opinion before you buy. A private coach picks us up in Sloane Square and drives us to the individual factory stores where you can shop till you drop! You can store your purchases on the bus, or have them shipped directly to your home in London or in the USA. £50 saves you the trouble of fighting traffic and parking and gives you a bus full of friends to boot. Bring a packed lunch as shopping is the number one priority! Don’t forget a cart if you need to carry your purchases home. RSVP by January 5 for the January 21 trip. This is just a taste of what the AWC offers each season and you can find a much more comprehensive list at www.awclondon.org. Business Women’s Group, Bumps to Jumps, Health & Fitness, Stitching, Bridge, Wednesday at the Movies, Book Group,
Classical Music, Spanish Conversation, Food, Glorious Food; Hiking, Area Coffees, Shopaholics, Mah Jong and Community Outreach, all have activities scheduled during the winter. Call 020 7589 8292, email awc@ awclondon.org or check our website for the most up to date information. Let us be your home away from home! Junior League of London Cheers to a New Year! 2014 was a fulfilling, busy and successful year for the Junior League of London (JLL). The JLL’s 2015 activities are well underway. The Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) kicksoff on 23 February, helping to make poverty unfashionable. LBDI is a poverty awareness campaign which asks members to wear one Black dress for five days, to illustrate the effects poverty can have on access to resources, confidence and employment opportunities. Following the campaign, participants will donate their dresses and other business wear
Boutique De Noel
Junior League at WrapUp
to Smart Works, a charity that helps women on low incomes prepare for job interviews, by providing them with professional attire and career development advice. In 2014, the campaign raised over £17k to support the activities of the JLL. Learn more: jll.org.uk/ littleblackdressinitiative. In March, the JLL will hold its All Service Day where around 100 volunteers will participate in a range of Done-in-a-Day (DIAD) volunteering activities across London. The day will be filled with community service projects helping enhance the lives of those in need in the London community. Previous All Service Day activities have included cataloguing books for Colville Primary School’s library; cleaning closets, organising stock rooms and preparing over 100 interview outfits for Smart Works and Suited & Booted; and working with EAVES to prepare case studies, website articles, and advising on social media strategies. Find more details about DIAD activities: jll.org.uk/donein-a-day. Our members continue to work to improve our community through supporting the Kensington & Chelsea Foodbank by collecting food items and filling grocery bags for clients, cooking and serving meals to guests of the West London Churches Homeless Shelter, and sorting and distributing donated clothing to homeless individuals at The Manna Society. Are you drawn to volunteering and enriching your community? Keen to lead and learn? Are you looking to meet a group of international women? Then the JLL is for you! Register your interest at jll.org.uk/becominga-member to receive details about the new member programme or email the New Member Development Committee (NMDC) Co-Chairs, Claire Roper and Cynthia Ward, at NMDCJLL@gmail.com. To learn more about the JLL, visit our website: jll.org.uk, contact the office at 020 7250 8104 or email email@example.com.
The Chilterns American Women's Club Our November General Meeting was a Heidi & Hudson fashion show, featuring CAWC members as models. On 8 December, we enjoyed a delicious 4 course traditional Christmas luncheon and celebrated the holiday season at the 5 star luxury Stoke Park Country Club, Spa, and Hotel. For our next General Meeting, 15 January, we will return to the Buckinghamshire Golf Club for a handbag auction to benefit Free the Girls, a FAWCO Target charity. Simon
permanently. Our club offers the opportunity to network through meetings, social activities, outings, and charitable events. We are a great resource to newcomers and returning members alike. For more information visit us at www.cawc.co.uk.
Brown of Bourne End Auctioneers, will be our auctioneer and has graciously offered to provide an evaluation of any items members bring to the meeting. General Meetings are held at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club and begin at 9:30 with a chance to shop from a selection of local vendors. In addition to General Meetings, CAWC also has several activity groups for our members to enjoy, including Moms and Tots, Day Hikes, Stitch & Chat, Golf, Tennis, Christian Corner, Let’s Go, and so much more. Also, many members are looking forward to an exciting day of chatting and bargain hunting during our annual trip to Stoke-on-Trent pottery outlets on 22 January. CAWC’s primary fundraising event is our Annual Charity Christmas Bazaar, which was held at The Bellhouse Hotel in Beaconsfield, on Sunday, 16th November. We were privileged to have Cllr. Stephen Jones, Cllr. Lesley Clarke OBE, Cllr. Santokh Chhokkar, and Cllr. Noel Brown on hand to help the CAWC welcome over 1000 shoppers to the Bazaar. Featuring over 60 local specialty artisans and vendors, an American-style bake sale and cafe, and 279 of our ever-popular CAWC made gift baskets, the Annual Bazaar raised over £14,000 for two Chilterns area charities. All proceeds will benefit both the Epilepsy Society, which seeks to enhance the quality of life for people affected by epilepsy through education, research, and services; and Horizon Sports Club, which provides children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports. CAWC is an active group of over 100 North American and International women who call this area home, either temporarily or 38
KCWC, Kensington and Chelsea Women’s Club Here are the details of our General Meetings over the next three months: January General Meeting: Speaker Maajid Nawaz, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn and co-founder and chairman of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank 15 January 2015, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm Royal Geographical Society 1 Kensington Gore London, SW7 2AR February General Meeting: Speaker Michael Wheeler, author and editor of several books on Ruskin, introduces him and tells the story of the origins of the National Trust. 5 February 2015, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm Royal Geographical Society 1 Kensington Gore London, SW7 2AR March General Meeting: Speaker Jude Currivan, PhD is a cosmologist, sensitive, healer, Hay House author, futurist and educator. 5 March 2015, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm Royal Society 6 - 9 Carlton House Terrace London, SW1Y 5AG Everyone is welcome to our General Meetings – non-member fee £10. American Expatriate’s Club’s News Americans in Bristol Americans in Bristol was proud to celebrate its second birthday this year and continues to be the main hub connecting North
Americans in Bristol
Americans living in Bristol to socialise and offer knowledge and support. We now have more than 250 active members in the local community and rising. Individuals are constantly organising events and socials where new and returning members alike can gather about once a month. October saw the Americans in Bristol group’s first expat reunion event. A friendly local venue put together an American style BBQ with local bands playing for our musical entertainment. The programme included raffles, games and prizes and even a piñata for the kids. Proceeds of the event went to St. Peter’s Hospice. We celebrated Thanksgiving in November with a great turnout of members bringing dishes traditional to their home state or family Thanksgiving. With tables decorated and excitement high, expats sat down and feasted on world class, home cooked cuisine. Everyone was encouraged to express what they were thankful for. Co-founder Liam Dillon reported, "The group has gone from strength to strength in the short time that it has been running and a real sense of community has developed as it has grown and welcomed newcomers. To be perfectly honest, it's become far more than we could have hoped for when we first kicked things off, and I've become friends with some truly wonderful people that I wouldn't have known were in the same town otherwise." 2014 has been an exceptionally dynamic year with more activity to follow into next year. Plans are already being devised for a Superbowl event in February. Americans in Bristol hope to see some new faces as well as the friendly familiar ones. For more information about Americans in Bristol contact Tim Ellis: Email: Americansinbristol@yahoo.com Follow: @AmericansinBris on Twitter www.facebook.com/groups/usexpatsinbristol
The American International Church Revd. John A. D’Elia Senior Minister Of The American International Church Happy New Year! The start of a new year always has us thinking about resolutions. Now we know that the vast majority of the resolutions we make in January won’t live to see February, but it’s still 40
a good habit, I think. It’s good and right to take a little time to reflect on what we can do in the coming year that is better and more meaningful than it’s been in the past. I’ve been reflecting on some of the teachings of Jesus especially the ones that are so familiar that we can miss their radical meaning. In Matthew’s telling of the story, Jesus is being tested by people who were trying to back him into a theological corner. They ask him: “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus answers: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” We’re right to remember that first part of what Jesus says in this passage, to love God and love your neighbour is such an important thing for us to know and to do, it is, in so many ways, the essential ingredient to a full and happy life. We’re right to remember those two rules for living, but I’m struck by the last thing Jesus says here, too: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Really? Think about that for a moment. The Law helped shape the behaviour of God’s people. It was where the followers of God learned their ethics, and the boundaries of what they should and should not do. The Prophets corrected God’s people when they went astray, when their worship was hollow, and when they forgot to be just and fair in the ways they did business. When God needed to discipline his people, he spoke through the prophets. Now Jesus comes along and says simply, Love God and love your neighbour. “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” And so the core of the Christian message, the one that everything else hangs on is this: Love God, and love your neighbour. Every other law and every other prophet, the sum total of everything we know about living the life of faith, everything hangs on these two commandments. We spend so much time trying to achieve, that we can miss the role that service plays in finding meaning in our lives; we can miss this powerful and generous path to greatness. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in one of his speeches: “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle, or Einstein's Theory of Relativity, or the Second Theory of Thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A
soul generated by love.” A heart full of grace, and a soul generated by love. But maybe you’re having a hard time loving God right now. Maybe the thought of loving God never occurred to you before. That’s OK. God isn’t going anywhere. He’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready, and in the meantime there is so much for us to do. But where do we start? Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn of the New York Times published a book last year called A Path Appears. In so many ways this book is a thoughtful, hopeful, and very specific answer to the question: How do I love my neighbour? They tell some great stories. Like the kid who was told by his third grade teacher that he would never amount to anything. A trio of family friends started mentoring him, and after college and a career as a journalist, Lester Brown became an evening news anchor in Boston. Oh, and the mentoring charity he started will serve 30,000 kids this year. Or the group in Africa that provides chlorine dispensers to families so they can drink clean water. The units cost $1.98 per year, and they reduce one of the major contributors to childhood deaths by 40 percent. That’s 2 dollars a year. Or the high school students in Southern California who were so moved to see how kids around the world were prevented from learning, that they raised $200,000 for a partner school in Haiti. This book is a treasure trove of opportunities to help other people, and it’s a feast for those of you who base your decisions on a good answer to the Return on Investment question. (You know who you are). Here’s one just for you: A medical doctor applied his knowledge of infectious diseases to the way gang violence spreads in urban communities. The US Justice Department estimates that the doctor’s programme reduced gang shootings by as much as 28%, and here’s the kicker: for every dollar spent on this programme, almost 16 dollars are saved in medical costs and legal fees. That’s in addition, of course, to fewer young people being shot. I’ve never recommended a book in one of these pieces, but that changes now. If you are at all curious about what you and your family can do to make this world a better and more livable place, read A Path Appears, and commit to trying just one single suggestion you find there. Fair warning, though: doing good, loving your neighbour, it’s a little like potato chips. You can’t do it just once. Here’s another quote from Dr. King. Listen to the way he once challenged his congregation. He said:
“Life's most persistent and urgent question", King said, is, "What are you doing for others?” As you begin this New Year, take a moment to think about what you can do for someone else, talk with your family and friends about one thing you can do or share with another person to make their life safer or gentler or just better. It’s not about feeling bad. It’s about setting yourself up to feel better than you’ve ever felt before. If Dr. King is right and life’s most persistent and urgent question really is ‘What are you doing for others?', then let me invite you to take a stab at one of the answers today. What’s the worst that could happen? Seriously, what’s the worst thing that could happen, if we spend just a fraction of our day thinking about how we might help another person? Now that would be a great resolution to make…and to keep. Let me invite you to give it a try. Happy New Year! n www.amchurch.co.uk
John A. D’Elia
Reader’s Lives This Issue We Focus On Tim Ellis, An American Living In Bristol Where are you from originally in the US ? Though there was a lot of movement when I was younger, I consider myself to be a native of Cleveland, Ohio. My father managed hotel resorts so I was lucky enough to grow up in some of the most beautiful landscapes Ohio has to offer. Truly, a place with four actual seasons (one lasts a little longer than the others, but still) with scorching hot summers and snowy wonderland winters. 42
The Cleveland Metroparks are in perfect harmony with the stunning backdrop of Lake Erie. I’ve always looked back fondly at the aesthetics of Cleveland, but it was the neighbourhood communities that really stood out. A lot of people take pot shots at Cleveland, but in terms of American cities, there’s none better. Even if 4 out of 5 doctors advise that being a Cleveland Sports fan will kill you! How long have you lived in the UK and what brought you here? The on and off total is 10 years. My mother is English and so I’ve bounced back and forth between the US and the UK. I arrived here in my early teens and entered the British education system. I was lucky in that respect; I figure that it is much easier to acclimatise to change when you are younger. Adapting to the differing curriculums was interesting. SAT’s were now A-levels or GCSE’s, with a focus on specific courses over generalised education. Spelling became terrifying and cursive disappeared. ‘Math’ was now ‘maths’ with the metric system instead of the imperial. History was still history, but I did notice the Revolutionary War didn’t seem to feature on the syllabus! Again, I was lucky in that I went to the second largest high school (secondary school) in the country, so I was afforded a certain level of anonymity. Your American accent makes you stand out. Though now I find it a (constant) ice breaker, for children it can be a double edged sword if they are looking to fit in. Where do you live now? Upon my most recent international return I had located close to my family and long-term friends. Looking to reinvent myself I settled briefly in Exeter. A promotion sling-shot me here to the vibrant city of Bristol where I have been ever since. The trend is for expats to relocate to London. For anyone with location options, I recommend looking here. Bristol challenges London on many fronts without the massive population density, extortionate cost of living, and exhausting commuting options (sorry London readers). There is a thriving independent spirit to the city of Bristol which has been voted the best city to live in the UK by multiple publications. Bristol is about as multicultural as it gets. In a world where internationals are still sometimes poorly received, it is reassuring to live in and experience a city that welcomes us. We have streets here that probably have more independent shops on them than anywhere else. Though they mostly trade in pound sterling, Bristol also has its own unique currency. ‘Brizzle’, as it’s referred
as, has a music and festival scene that rivals most major cities and the diverse culinary experiences on offer would excite any palate. Street art adorns the city without vanity. It took some time for me to appreciate what I previously regarded as reckless graffiti. In retrospect, identifying with Bristol as a whole, and discovering it for what it is, was a clumsy journey I thoroughly enjoyed. Bristol takes pride in its eclectic, bohemian nature, and the natives defend it. In many respects, the pride of a Bristolian (pronounced Bristooe-lee-an) mirrors those of Cleveland. Have you worked here and if so were there any cross-cultural issues? I have been working here in the UK in the third sector. However, I’ve been interested in fundraising for charitable causes on both sides of the pond. Stateside, I worked at the university I attended, fundraising for various programmes. Personally, I volunteered for an organisation that focused on canine rescue and rehabilitation. I’m passionate about animal welfare, though I’m engaged in many different campaigns. As a consultant, I am lucky to work with some fantastic organisations that simply make the world a better place in different ways. My principal practice focuses on income generation through donor acquisition, be this corporate, individual or otherwise. I have worked operationally, managing live campaigns. At times this has involved line managing employees predominantly new to a work force. This is challenging, regardless of which country you are in. I did, however, note the work ethics are truly different between the US and the UK. As Americans, we can be driven by the American dream and believe that freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success often achieved through hard work. I brought this concept with me. This cultural ideology, however, was met by some resistance, by my young European staff. There was a sense of self-entitlement often expressed that I was unfamiliar with. I’m not speculating here as to the origins and it’s not for me to discuss the merits of the age old “work to live/live to work” debate. 28 paid days off though, where do you stand? What I will say, is that the ‘American-ness’ that we bring with us is a powerful occupational tool and is noticed by employers, clients, and service providers alike. I’ve seen that it can fade in time. Don’t lose it. You set up an expatriate social group, would you tell us about this? My Aunt was always very active within the
community and she encouraged us to be part of it. A big part of me misses that greatly as ‘community spirit’ here manifests itself in different ways than I am used to. I have read some brilliant anthologies on British culture in an attempt to better understand the ‘British cultural reserve’. You can see reflections of this reserve everywhere, from closed off front yards to silent transportation coaches. Eventually, all expats will succumb to some form of cultural nostalgia (some stronger than others depending on circumstance). 2012 saw the birth of a small group for North Americans in the greater Bristol area. Initially there were only a handful of members, but it became clear that what began as an idea to share knowledge and advice from our experiences, began forging relationships that are evolving and growing. Two years later, the Americans in Bristol group has grown to become a thriving community. There is a strong cooperative focus which can offer support, companionship and more. It was started online using social media, but we often get together for holidays and socials. Individuals are very active and put huge efforts into our endeavours. Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Superbowl are particularly
popular events. It’s a very interesting time for the Americans in Bristol group with some big things coming up. Watch this space. Have you got any advice for our new readers who may have relocated over the past few months? They say that we are two countries separated by a common language. We are separated by much, much more. It is not the US.of A. Plain and simple. Yes, drive on the left now. No, strangers will not talk to me. Yep, everything seems to cost more. What exactly is that thing I just ate? We can spend a lot of time pining for American culture, weighing up the pros and cons, missing certain items. The realisation that you are now in the UK and that it is different here will make your transition bearable, and enjoyable. Eventually, you will make friends and immerse yourself with good company. Ultimately it’s going to be the people you surround yourself with that will make all the difference to your time here. n
SEEKING PARTICIPANTS FOR AMERICAN FOOTBALL TEAM – THE SILVER BULLETS We are looking for coaches, players and any American expats willing to assist in the formation of a new American Football team. Based in Uxbridge and training is on Sundays at 1pm. Please contact Dave Bentley, The Silver Bullets on 07565 639 864 (office hours)
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Arts & Antiques A Victorian Obsession by Abby Cronin
s you step into the inner hall of Leighton House Museum to visit the current exhibition, A Victorian Obsession, pause at the foot of the tiled stairway. Look up and your attention will focus on an exquisite painting of Queen Esther hung on the upper wall. Edwin Longdsen Long, RA, painted Queen Esther’s beauty and finery in a muted palette with assiduous attention to detail; it portrays a biblical story in a Babylonian setting. Long’s remarkable painting (1878) helps to establish the context for the exhibit; it sets the scene and highlights key themes, namely, historical views of Orientalism, classical antiquity and most notably, feminine beauty. Long’s Queen Esther is just one of fifty-two remarkable paintings on loan from the private collection of Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, a wealthy Mexican art collector with the largest Victorian art collection outside Great Britain. Daniel Robbins, Senior curator at Leighton House, has described the exhibition as an opportunity to show paintings which have seldom, if ever, been exhibited before. They are by the most celebrated Victorian artists,
Queen Esther, 1878 by Edwin Long. Courtesy of the Leighton House Museum
many of whom were Leighton’s friends and contemporaries. Six paintings by Leighton are on display, four of them back ‘home’ to the house in which they were painted. Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) built his opulent Holland Park residence in the 1860s. Noted for its exceptionally stunning Arab Hall with its gold mosaic frieze and oriental tiles, the house combines the intimacy of a private home and palace of art; it is perfectly suited to display the Pérez Simón Collection. Except for Leighton’s studio, the permanent collection of paintings in Leighton House, has been cleared to make space for Pérez Simón’s pictures. The rich interiors provide the atmosphere of an art salon; paintings are hung in ideal settings. Extensive care has been taken to place them so they complement the different rooms. The public are invited to view these masterpieces as they stroll through the domestic and public areas. There are works by some less well-known artists such as John Melhuish Strudwick and Simeon Solomon as well as notable pre-Raphaelite painters John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. Exceptional works by immensely popular painters of the period include Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Albert Moore, Edward Poynter and, of course, by Frederic Leighton himself. Visitors can wander through the authentic period interiors and view High Victorian art as it would have looked at the time it was created. If there is a star in this exhibit it must be Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s magnificent work, The Roses of Heliogabalus, 1888. It is displayed upstairs in The Upper Perrin Gallery which
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Venus Verticordia, 1867-8. Courtesy of the Leighton House Museum
is devoted to telling the story behind The Roses together with a preparatory oil sketch, supporting drawings and photographs. Lawrence Alma-Tadema had a love of ancient Rome and always strived for historical accuracy. At first glance the women appear to be relaxing seductively. But in reality they were smothered - swamped in rose petals. In The Roses, his most ambitious picture, Alma-Tadema is “responding to the contemporary fascination with decadence in the ancient world, [he] represents the depraved young emperor Heliogabalus (203222AD) suffocating his guests beneath a torrent of rose petals.” (1) Here Alma-Tadema portrays 45
Albert Moore, A Quartet: A Painter’s Tribute to the Art of Music, 1868. Courtesy of the Leighton House Museum
Edward John Poynter. Andromeda, 1869. Courtesy of the Leighton House Museum
horror, the opposition between the apparent beauty of the scene and the actual cruelty being enacted. The co-curator Véronique GerardPowell explains that John Aird, one of the leading engineers of the Victorian age, paid £6,000 prior to the appearance of The Roses in the Royal Academy’s annual exhibition in May 1888. Acquired by Juan Antonio Pérez Simón
in 1993, the painting has not been seen in London since 1913. Albert Moore (1841-1893) was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement, yet his work A Painter’s Quartet: A Tribute to the Art of Music, 1868, has elements drawn from Japanese prints and the idealisation of beauty based on Greco-Roman sculpture. Quartet illustrates a close connection between art and music. Three women, partially clothed in classically-styled drapery, focus their attention on a string quartet of four male musicians. It is a highly stylised composition with deliberate anachronisms, historical inaccuracies and includes contemporary instruments which look out of place in this setting. Moore was obviously less concerned about portraying historically accurate subject matter than developing purely Aesthetic decorative paintings. In this composition he aimed to portray an ideal of female beauty fused with music. The ‘Victorian Obsession’ with female beauty knew no bounds. So it is hardly surprising that the exhibition includes some exceptionally fine paintings of scantily clad and naked women. Whilst the representation of female beauty is a key feature in the Pérez Simón collection, it is worth noting that only one of the paintings in the exhibition is by a woman artist. Although
female British models have pride of place in several works on display, nude modelling was viewed very differently in this period. It was respectable to be painted ‘from the head’, but many artists painted partially covered or completely naked women. Remarkably stunning paintings in this genre include Daniel Gabriel Rossetti’s Venus Verticordia, Frederick Goodall’s The Finding of Moses, Edward John Poynter’s Andromeda, Albert Moore’s A Bathing Place, and John William Godward’s Study for At the Tepidarium. All of these paintings are in the exhibition. They depict feminine beauty in many different ways: women are presented as central figures in historical events, biblical stories, British myths, legends and the art and poetry of classical antiquity. The question arises: who were the models for these artists? Art historians’ research has found a lot of evidence to answer this question. In the case of Frederic Leighton, Dorothy Dene (born Ada Alice Pullan born in 1859) was well known as © hisFrederic modelEdwin and muse. relationship Church.Their Niagara Falls 1867. is Courtesy of the Gallery.of really a Pygmalion story. As National the daughter an impoverished father from south London, Ada Alice Pullan found herself and her siblings with few options. A natural beauty, she began modelling for Louisa Starr and other artists at the studios in Holland Park. She soon came into Leighton’s life and became his principal model until his death. Leighton was sensitive to the financial situation of Ada’s family and encouraged other artists to have her model for them. Despite his respected public profile amongst the upper echelons of the art world, Leighton led a solitary private life and remained unmarried. There has been endless speculation about the nature of his relationship with Dorothy Dene. She had ambitions to become an actress and Leighton supported her by paying for acting and elocution lessons. Her stage success was limited but she and Leighton remained close and were seen together at social events. Dorothy was
Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The Roses of Heliogabalus, 1888. Courtesy of the Leighton House Museum
Frederic Leighton. Crenaia, the Nymph of the Dargle, 1880. Courtesy of the Leighton House Museum
at his bedside when he died. He left her money in his will and his sisters set up the ‘Dene Trust’ to support Dorothy’s sisters. Among Leighton’s many paintings and sketches of Dene, perhaps Crenaia, the Nymph of the Dargle, 1880, is one of the most beautiful. The picture reveals Dorothy as a sensual nymph and the subtlety of her nudity is viewed beneath folds of drapery which blend into the waterfall behind. She is tall and slender unlike Ingre’s La Source (1856), said to have influenced Leighton when he saw it in Ingre’s studio in Paris. Co-curator Véronique` GerardPowell describes Crenaia: “Her elongated proportions contrast with those of Ingres’ petit French model …[and] are emphasised by the long fluid, transparent folds of her drapery….. the nymph chastely clasps her hands across her breast, modestly lowering her face and eyes.”(2) Leighton’s style of painting has been described as a struggle to establish a path between the classical tradition and the Aesthetic movement. Crenaia appears to have resolved this struggle. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to become acquainted with 52 treasured Victorian paintings loaned by Mexican collector Juan Antonio Pérez Simón. It is fitting to see them returned to studio interiors of the period, Leighton House Museum. Their presence here in London
provides us with an opportunity to re-assess the grandeur of High Victorian art, often scorned as unfashionable. It is hoped that this exhibit will open our eyes so that we may appreciate the many superb works of late 19th-century British art, many of which, sadly, have left home. n NOTES • Visitors are given a guide to the paintings on loan displayed in each room • Visitor’s Guide includes a comprehensive Events Programme • Book to see the play about Dorothy Dene: dates in the guide. Performances on March 13,14,20, 23, 24, 25 ,27 & 28 2015 • There is an audio guide to provide more information about the paintings & the Pérez Simón Collection • Catalogue A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón Collection at Leighton House published in 2014 by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ Catalogue references: 1. P 55 2. P.113 Get in touch. Contact: Abby Cronin Email: email@example.com Website: www.abbycronin.co.uk
Useful Numbers EDUCATION - SCHOOLS
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Winter is here and the long evenings provide plenty of opportunities to plan your vacations. Whether it's the exotic trip of a lifetime or a visit to your Great-Aunt, while you're booking flights, reserving hotel rooms, and downloading maps, take a moment to ensure your passport can get you where you want to go. Check the expiration date and number of blank pages in your passport carefully before travelling. Airlines can refuse to permit travellers to board a plane if their passports don't meet the requirements of the destination. Usually, no refund is offered. Many countries have specific requirements about passport validity and blank pages, even if they don't require visas for US passport holders. The 26 European countries that make up the Schengen zone strictly enforce the requirement that passports be valid for at least three months beyond the holder's intended date of departure. And those aren't the only countries with specific rules. Check the requirements for your destination at www.Travel.Sate.gov by looking up the Country Specific Information. Exit and entry information is in the Quick Facts section for each country. You can read-up on other useful travel information including public transportation, road safety, accessibility, criminal penalties, and issues specific to that country. Be sure to check whether you need vaccinations too. The Department of State recommends passports have at least six months validity. This cushion allows time to renew, and can accommodate unexpected travel needs to countries with validity restrictions. So even if you don't have immediate travel plans, check the expiration date on your passport - and your children's passports! If you need to renew, take advantage of our slow season, January through March, to apply. Adults who have a full-validity, current passport, may be eligible to save time by renewing by courier. Don't forget that minors under 16 must apply in person accompanied by both parents. You can find out whether you qualify to renew by courier, or how to obtain a passport for children by visiting our website at www.London.usembassy.gov. Be prepared and ready to take on the world!
Published on Jan 5, 2015
This issue features theatre reviews of Urinetown The Musical, The Scottsboro Boys and Sunny Afternoon; restaurant reviews of The Porchester,...