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WINTER 2015

Serving the American Community in the UK

THIS ISSUE’S FEATURES INCLUDE: Legal Issues   •   Travel   •   Tax Issues   •   Eating Out   •   Wealth Management A Letter From Scotland   •   Theatre   •   American Women’s Clubs News Days Out With The Family   •   Arts & Antiques   •   Take Five Hotel Review   •   Embassy Corner   •   UK Sports


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American In Britain


You are cordially invited to

The 2016

Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on

Monday 8th February 2016 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 and these are listed overleaf. You will need to pre-register for the seminars as places are limited so please email helen@theamericanhour.com For further information on this event please call Helen Elliott on 020 8661 0186


The 2016 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition Monday 8th February 2016 from 10.00am - 5.00pm

Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE

FREE SEMINAR PROGRAMME 10.30am - Understanding Third Culture Kids

The experience of international mobility presents advantages and disadvantages for children whose routines, friendships, schools, and linguistic and cultural environments are disrupted because of the career path of a parent. With a better understanding of what these benefits and challenges are, parents and professionals working with expatriate families can help children negotiate the complexities of international relocation. This session will draw on research to offer insights into Third Culture Kids and provide a forum for discussing strategies that can help children and their families embrace the exciting positive and life-changing advantages that can be gained while growing up abroad. Hosted 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 35 years. She is currently Director of Admissions for Dwight London School and Director of Langford International Education Consultancy Ltd which is providing support in 21 mother-tongue languages to students in international schools worldwide.

11.15am - Dual Career and the Importance of Creating a Powerful Network

Understanding the importance of networking is essential to succeed in any business. The rules and styles can be unique to the UK and can pose a challenge to dual career families as they relocated. Join FOCUS who will share effective networking advice and tips to help overcome these challenges and will uncover how to take full advantage of any networking situation in the UK.

12.15pm - Tax Seminar

This seminar will cover tax issues that affect expatriates living and working in the UK, and will highlight issues that expatriates need to know about in order to keep their finances in check. Topics that will be covered include Federal and State Tax Return Preparation and Filing, FBAR filing (reports of foreign bank and financial accounts) and bringing expats into IRS compliance. This seminar is hosted by Roland Sabates, a tax attorney and Director of Operations for H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services business. Roland has a wealth of experience in international tax preparation and helping clients navigate through their unique tax situations that exist as a US expat. His area of specialisation is resolving international tax issues for individuals and small business owners, such as FBAR and foreign information reporting, IRS voluntary disclosure programme participation, and US taxation of foreign trusts and retirement arrangements.

1.15pm - UK Immigration Update & Compliance

Ferguson Snell will present an overview on the effects of the recent policy changes, the results of the recent MAC survey on Tier 2 migration and skilled labour shortages, as well as the possibility of a skills levy on sponsor organisations and the effects of increased costs in bringing migrant workers to the UK, including the NHS surcharges for Tier 2 ICT assignees. We will also cover compliance and due diligence in running an efficient corporate immigration programme in today’s competitive market.

2.15pm - Building a Strategic Vision of Global Mobility for Your Organisation

This session will explore that challenge from a new paradigm; how would the focus and priorities of a mobility leader change if that role was truly in the C-suite? As much as any enterprise process, effective cross-border deployment relies on working across functional silos. Mobility leaders orchestrate across HR specialties in talent, reward and business HR as well as Finance, Accounting, Payroll and Tax, all in support of business strategy. This session aims at developing an enterprise approach that considers all the priorities and stakeholders in this complex and strategically critical endeavour. Presented by Deloitte LLP.

3.15pm - Key Trends In Global Mobility

Andy Piacentini will explore some key emerging themes from research within the RES Forum and their membership of 750 mobility professionals. The presentation will focus on policy, workforce planning, talent and the future of the mobility function. Hosted by Andy Piacentini, Standard Life & RES Forum.

4.15pm - Documenting Expatriate Reward

Juliet Carp, employment law specialist at Dorsey & Whitney (Europe) LLP, and author of “Drafting Employment Documents for Expatriates” will explore tips and traps associated with documenting expatriate reward. With a focus on risk reduction, discussion will cover areas such as retaining discretion; links to policy documents; variable remuneration; documenting high value benefits such as housing, schooling, pension and share plans; and approaches to tax equalisation.

If you would like to register for any or all of these free seminars, please email helen@theamericanhour.com with the times of the seminars you would like to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!


WINTER 2015

CONTENTS

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1 Your Invitation To This Year’s Relocation Conference 5 Eating Out 9 Theatre

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12 Travel 16 American Women’s Clubs News 20 Tax 22 Wealth Management 24 Legal Issues 26 An American Comedian In Britain 28 Hotel Review

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30 UK Sports 32 Take Five 36 A Letter From Scotland 39 Days Out With The Family 42 Reader’s Lives

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45 Arts & Antiques 48 Useful Numbers IBC Embassy Corner

Advisory Panel:

PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott, Telephone: 020 8661 0186, Email: helen@theamericanhour.com Publishing Director: Damian Porter, Telephone: 01737 551506, Email: damian@theamericanhour.com American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB www.theamericanhour.com

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas in action at Wembley Stadium vs. the Buffalo Bills. Photo Credit: NFL UK

No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Origination and Printing by Gemini Group

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EATING OUT

EATING OUT

Restaurant Reviews

Heliot

The Hippodrome Casino, Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7JH Telephone: 0207 769 8844 London is one of the best cities in the world to go and have a great night out in, as it has such a variety of restaurants, shows and activities. There is something for everyone, but there are few places where you can do all of these under the same roof, which is why The Hippodrome is so special. The Hippodrome has had an incredible varied existence, and was so named as its original use was as a circus and variety venue, and initially even had a 100,000 gallon water tank for what were described in the beginning of the 1900’s as ‘aquatic spectacles’. After that, it became a music hall and even has the accolade of introducing a little known boy actor, who at the time had to be in a bear suit (as he was too young to be on the stage) - none other than, the one and only, Charlie Chaplin. In 1958, the venue was reborn again as the Talk of the Town, a nightclub where ‘anyone who was anyone’ has played. This includes AC/DC through to Stevie Wonder and many more inbetween. The Hippodrome’s final incarnation started in 2009, when it was purchased by Jimmy and Simon Thomas, and it was reborn again as a Casino and entertainment venue, and what an amazing job they have done, with the venue including four floors of gaming, including a Gold Room Casino sited in the original basement with access directly into Chinatown to the rear of the building, Heliot restaurant, six bars, a smoking terrace and The Matcham Room Cabaret Theatre. Our evening was to start at the Heliot restaurant which perches in the eaves of the www.theamericanhour.com

first floor overlooking the main gaming area on the ground floor, and is a restaurant serving top quality USDA prime steaks in a lively atmosphere. It is named after another one of the venue’s more colourful performers, Claire Heliot, who was famous for feeding raw meat to lions on stage in the 1900’s. I am unsure if the quality of the meat was the same then, but if it was I envy the lions, although I personally prefer medium rare to raw! Heliot follows the great adage of a restaurant that provides exactly what the diner expects from its type of restaurant, and it does it really well with a few unforseen twists. Starters are exactly what you expect, and are dominated by fish dishes including Seared Scallops (£9), Smoked Salmon Terrine (£8) and Tuna Tartare (£7) which was perfectly offset by the avocado wasabi and mint jelly. My personal favourite however, was the Potato Truffle Soup (£6) with caramelised shallots and chive oil which was rich and comforting. Although the starters were good, the best was yet to come, and the main event was worth waiting for. Heliot boasts great value USDA steaks aged for between 4 and 6 weeks which really develops the tenderness and flavour, and then they are seasoned perfectly so they are at their best when served. The steaks are served in three sizes - small (180 to 200g), medium (250 to 350g) and large (500 to 650g), and with all cuts the combinations are extensive. I opted for a large T-bone as I love the mixture of short loin and tenderloin meat and I wasn’t disappointed, as the steak was slightly crisp on the outside and oozed flavour once cut. Heliot also caters for those not swayed by steaks, and I was pleasantly surprised by the Mushroom Ravioli (£13), as the pasta was just slightly al dente and the truffle and

parmesan sauce was delicious, giving just the right amount of earthy mushroom flavour with that hint of cheese. This dish wouldn’t be out of place in a high class Italian restaurant. Along with the steaks, the true test of a steak restaurant is their sides, and this continues to show the quality of Heliot. The Millionaire’s Mac & Cheese (£7) with a poached duck egg and black truffle is a must, as are the triple cooked chips (£3). Desserts are all £6.50 and include a wonderfully robust and chocolately Chocolate Mousse with dulce de leche ice cream, and a light and delicate Lavender Panna Cotta. Once you have finished your meal you really should take in a show or have an after dinner drink in one of the many bars, and the choice at the Hippodrome is extensive. In keeping with its history The Hippodrome provides shows worthy of the West End theatres and combined with such a great restaurant and the gaming tables, where else can you get an amazing night out under one roof? We thoroughly enjoyed watching The 4Tunes in the Matcham Theatre, which is a fantastic venue for shows as it is intimate and creates an intense atmosphere, and because you aren’t too far away from the stage, you get completely drawn into whatever you are watching. There is waitress service in here too, serving drinks and bar food. Upcoming shows include The Soho Burlesque Club, T’Pau, Odyssey, Viva Las Magic and The Hippodrome’s Superbowl Party, and you can view more of the entertainment programme on The Hippodrome’s website under the Theatre section. We enjoyed our evening at The Hippodrome Casino so much, we are already planning our next visit for early January! Who knows, we may hopefully see you there! www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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Sake no Hana

23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA Telephone: 0207 925 8988 For me, St James’s Street has always been noted for its gentlemen’s clubs which include some of the most exclusive in the world. Prime Ministers and all the gentry did, and still do, frequent such luminaries as Brooks and the Carlton Club, but for those who aren’t that well connected to be admitted into such hallowed halls there is, for my money, a better alternative, Sake no Hana. Literally meaning ‘Sake flower’, Sake no Hana, from the same stable as Hakkasan, is a delight, and has thankfully steered away from the recent trend of Japanese fusion food and stuck to the core principles that not only makes good Japanese food, but also a good restaurant. A night out at a restaurant should not only tantalise your taste buds, it should stimulate all of your senses and be an experience, and Sake no Hana ticks all those boxes. From the moment you leave the street you know this is a little different, as how many restaurants take their diners to the seating area by an escalator? On taking the escalator to the first floor you are then struck by the beauty and serenity of the dining room. As you walk past the open kitchen prep area that enables diners to witness the chefs skills, you enter the main dining room, designed by the esteemed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The walls and ceiling are awash with bamboo, and screens cover the windows blocking out St James’ Street, giving the feeling of a futuristic forest, although I personally thought I had just been transferred into a world of Jenga blocks! Either way, the feeling of peace and serenity was palpable and was a perfect foil

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to the food we were about to eat. The menu is extensive and could be a little intimidating as there is just so much choice, but if you feel unsure just ask your waitress as they know the menu well and ours certainly gave us some very good options. Sake no Hana sticks to the principles of Japanese cuisine basing its dishes on the seasonality and quality of the ingredients, and uses only a modest number of herbs and spices focusing on the 5 tastes of sweet, sour, salt, bitterness and Umami. The menu is split into 9 different sections (I said it was extensive), along with a number of signature menus, and we chose from as many as we could! To start we chose two from the Small Eat Section - the Hamachi Usuzukuri with Truffle Ponzu Sauce (£16.50) and the Maguro Caviar Tartare (£16.50). The Hamachi, or Japanese Amberjack, and the Maguro were delightfully meaty and fresh with the sauce and Caviar complementing each fish perfectly. Other small eats range from £4 to £28 and include some tempting vegetarian options. For our second course we went from the Fried Section. We chose the Kaisen Tempura Platter (£21) which had a selection of scallops, vegetables and crab, encased in a light and crispy batter. These were accompanied by a paprika and a tempura sauce along with a spicy wasabi mayonnaise. After a little rest to allow our first two courses to go down, we turned our attention to the main course, and for that we went for the Gindara Mirin with Kanzuri Miso (£29.50). The cod was light and flaky with wonderful flavours and went perfectly with our choice of the Tarabagani Zuwai Ikura Kamameshi (£19.50) which was a king crab and snow crabikura pot rice. This is

served in the pot it has been cooked in (please note you do need to wait a while for this) and do scoop it all out as for me the best bit was the sticky bottom of the pot. As a finalé we decided to try some Sushi and chose the Mango and Softshell Crab Maki (£11.50) with 8 pieces and the Unagi Maki (fresh water eel) at £7.50 for 6 pieces. Good sushi requires careful preparation and the right combination of vinegar and temperature to create the perfect texture for the rice, and to do justice to the freshness of the other ingredients, and this balance is masterfully achieved. The mango freshness marries well with the texture of the crab and the eel has a slightly shellfishy sweetness. Japanese whisky has become increasingly popular over the last few years and is now competing with Scotland for the top accolades, and Sake no Hana has an extensive selection of these award winning whiskys. In addition to individual drams, Sake no Hana has created an exclusive Whisky and Chocolate Flight, featuring three hand selected whiskies paired with chocolates created by the restaurant’s pastry team specifically to accompany and complement the complex flavours of each dram. I am not really a whisky devotee, but I am a chocolate devotee, so I just had to try this unique offering, and you should too, as the taste combinations will surprise you as it did me, and I may be starting a greater affinity with the strong stuff! As part of the Hakkasan group, Sake no Hana maintains that meticulous quality and attention to detail that they are reknown for, whilst staying true to the roots of Japanese food, and I will be returning very soon.


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THEATRE

THEATRE

Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker

Waste at the Lyttleton, National Theatre Waste, by Harley Granville Barker, a tale of a politician involved in a sexual scandal, was censored when it was first written in 1907, apparently as much for its examination of the machinations of politicians, as for the affair and subsequent tragedy that ensues. It led Barker to campaign against censorship of plays, with the help of some well-known friends including George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells. It was only staged for the first time in 1936 in a rewritten version, which took into account the change in the political climate. The production at the Lyttleton, beautifully directed by Roger Michell, uses both texts and still seems relevant for our times. Although Waste begins like any Edwardian drama, with gossip and chit chat in the drawing room of the Farrants’ country home, as they discuss Henry Trebell, a rising independent MP, whom they are hoping will join the Tory party, it soon becomes something quite different. In the next scene we meet Trebell as he has a moonlit tryst with Amy O’Connell, a beautiful married woman who has also been invited for the weekend. Although she is flirty and wants to demand declarations of love, he gets quickly to the point of insisting that he come to her room that night. He’s not kissed a woman in ten years and seems to schedule in love making as a necessity rather than a flight of passion. She is swayed once he kisses her. By Act Two, Trebell is in the Tory cabinet, preparing to push through a bill of the disestablishment of the Church of England. He is not a religious man and would rather see “a secular church…a church full of the best brains, sworn not to tell a lie.” He has finally found his passion in life. Unfortunately, this happiness is interrupted by the arrival of Amy who announces she is pregnant and wants an abortion. She hates children and declares she has a right to choose what to do with her own body. Trebell wants the baby and promises he will take care of it, but Amy only uses his desire for fatherhood to try to blackmail him into loving her, something he cannot do. It would not be a spoiler to say that by Act Three, Amy has had the abortion and subsequently died from it. The tragedy is that her death is only discussed by the established Tory politicians as a cog in the works of Trebell’s brilliant career and the disestablishment bill he is trying to push through. In a scene verging on www.theamericanhour.com

comedy, the elder statesmen debate how best to deal with a rum situation, whether to hide it under the carpet, by appealing to Amy’s Irish Republican husband, Justin, or to sever all ties with Trebell immediately. Although very much a tragedy, this particular scene seemed a forerunner of political TV comedies Yes, Minister and The Thick of It, as they coldly dissect a difficult situation without regard to anyone’s feelings, putting into action plans to cover up scandal and control the media and public opinion. Charles Edwards, best known to American audiences from Downton Abbey, as Lady Edith’s lover Michael Gregson, is excellent as Henry Trebell. My theatre companion and I had much debate over whether he was a cold-hearted, uncaring politician or a straightforward, honest man who wanted to be a father and values his career above all else. Only a fine actor could make us care for this man who expostulates at length about the benefits of disestablishment and can easily tell a woman he has never loved her. He seems to care more about the loss of his

bill and his career than he does for the loss of the baby and his lover. Olivia Williams is also superb as the complicated Amy O’Connell, described as the sort of woman other women hate, a flirt and a trollop. However, she has been in a loveless marriage for years, is intelligent, lonely and without many options to express herself, like all of the women in the play. As young Lucy, played by Emerald O’Hanrahan, says, she wants to marry and have children, so she’ll have to have a vicarious career through her fiancé, Walter. All of the cast were wonderful, but I particularly enjoyed Michael Elwyn as the fretful yet scheming Tory leader Cyril Horsham, Doreen Mantle as elderly Lady Mortimer who delivers every line with dry wit, and Sylvestra Le Touzel as Frances Trebell, who confesses her deep love for her brother, for whom she has given up her entire life in order to care for him. It’s a stunning portrait of yet another woman living her life through a man, another example of the tragic waste of the title. Box Office: 020 7452 3000

Charles Edwards (Henry Trebell) and Olivia Williams (Amy O’Connell). Credit Johan Persson

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Kinky Boots Ensemble - Photo by Matt Crocket

Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre Kinky Boots, adapted from the 2006 film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, was a Tony award winner on Broadway before making its West End debut. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, it was always destined to be a hit, but for a confirmed fan of the film, can it compare? I found it different but equally winning, a complete joy from start to finish. For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, it’s based on the true story of a shoe factory in Northamptonshire which, in order to stay in business, started making boots for transvestites. Of course the story here is given added glamour by the presence of Lola, a drag artist and six stunning drag queens, the Angels, who not only dance, but turn flips in high heels. After a move down to London with his ambitious girlfriend, Charlie reluctantly inherits the shoe factory from his father. He tries to close the factory down and fire all the workers but they just won’t let him; assembly line worker Lauren strongly suggests he just change the product. After he attempts to rescue Lola from some muggers, he takes her boot back with 10

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him to the factory to fix and the rest is history. When he brings in Lola to design the boots, there is some discomfort among the workers about having an extremely extroverted black drag queen in their white town, but eventually everyone learns to respect each other. Especially after Lola (born Simon) reveals that she was trained to be a boxer by her father, and takes on the antagonistic Don in the ring. Although most of the songs in the first act feel more like a traditional Broadway musical score, Lauper gives a lovely seventies disco diva vibe to all of Lola’s numbers, which really allow Matt Henry’s beautiful voice to soar. Not My Father’s Son, however, was a very different song, where both Charlie and Lola express how they disappointed their fathers were in their life choices, and very moving, as Lola is dressed in man’s clothes, trying to fit in. Killian Donnelly, who was such a stand out in The Commitments as the eccentric but wildly talented Deco, here has to be the straight man, so to speak, but gives so much heart and personality to Charlie, that we totally sympathise with him. Amy Lennox is excellent as Lauren, who reveals to us her secret crush on Charlie with the hilarious song The History of

Wrong Guys. She is a real comic talent with a powerful voice. Everyone in the ensemble is to be commended, all having created their own distinct characters, each of whom has a part to play in telling the story. The Angels were outstanding, adding glamour and fun whenever they appeared. It was interesting to note that two of the Angels have dabbled in reality TV contests: Javier Santos was a semi-finalist on Got to Dance and Marcus Collins a finalist in The X Factor. Matt Henry, who absolutely shines as Lola, was himself a finalist on the second series of The Voice, after already having an established career as a musical theatre performer. I find it hard to believe he didn’t win. He has incredible stage presence, a gorgeous voice and is a fine actor to boot. Hopefully it is a consolation that although he didn’t win a reality show, he is getting standing ovations in the West End. Kinky Boots is a dazzling musical about accepting people for who they are, black, white, gay, straight, in practical shoes or very high red stilettos. It’s a show for the whole family and will make you come out of the theatre happily dancing. Box Office: 020 3725 7068


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TRAVEL

Eastbourne, East Sussex And The Grand Hotel

Eastbourne’s claim to be ‘the sunniest place in the UK’ certainly provides a very persuasive argument for making this charming south coastal town a destination for a weekend break. A winter visit was always sure to test this claim to the limit but, weather aside, it still appealed for those long coastal strolls with dramatic skylines. But there is a lot more to Eastbourne than its iconic white cliffs and beaches, as we were to discover, making a long weekend seem not long enough. Our previous experience of Eastbourne was visiting Airbourne a few years ago. This is an international Air Show held annually on the seafront, and free to visitors. In 2016, it will run from the 11th-14th August, and features a thrilling line up including military fast jets, helicopters, parachutists and incredible displays from aerobatics teams, including the Red Arrows. If you get the chance to go, it is a fantastic show for all ages and there is lots to do and see besides the action in the skies. The town takes on a festival atmosphere for the long weekend with side shows, stalls and fun fair rides.

Beachy Head Beachy Head boasts the UK’s highest chalk sea cliff features at the western end of Eastbourne‘s seafront, and is part of the new South Downs National Park and Seven Sisters Country Park. In October this area becomes host to runners from across the world as they descend on the South Downs to take part in the Beachy Head Marathon, a gruelling 26-mile course across the famous beauty spot. Thankfully you don’t have to be ‘marathon fit’ to appreciate the panoramic views and the area is easily accessible to everyone, including wheelchair users, by following the ‘Peace Path’ on Beachy Head. The dramatic 530 feet high cliffs give stunning views over Eastbourne and the English Channel and from here you can visit the Beachy Head Countryside Centre, enjoy a pit stop at the Beachy Head pub, take a boat trip to the Beachy Head lighthouse or, as we did, take a coastal walk from the town below to the Cliff Edge, with its iconic view of the white cliffs and the famous red and white striped lighthouse. This route will take you past Helen Gardens, a beautifully laid out garden, perched on top of the cliff overlooking the sea and incorporating an 18 hole putting course, lawn bowls, petanque and a children’s play area, with, of course, the obligatory seaside deckchairs available to hire. 12

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The Lighthouse from Beachy Head

The Pier & The Parade The Parade stretches over three miles of beach, providing safe bathing zones (you may want to wait until the summer!), and romantic strolls. There are some lovely beach huts, which can be hired, and in the summer season a Dotto Train operates. Our wintry stroll was bracing, but great fun, as we enjoyed watching the waves crashing onto the pebble beach and catching us with their spray. Eastbourne Pier dates from the Victorian era, and has recently been partially rebuilt since a fire destroyed the amusement arcade in 2014. It houses a variety of shops, a chippy (we can verify the chips are fantastic), a café/bar, Atlantis Nightclub, Victorian Tea Rooms, Coffee Republic, fishing opportunities and fantastic views of the English Channel. I am sure there are plans to add further amusements and probably another arcade to replace what was lost in the fire, most likely in time for the 2016 summer season. However, amusements aside, any trip to Eastbourne would not be complete without a stroll out to sea on this most beautiful of Piers.

The Pier, Eastbourne Eastbourne Museum of Shops

Eating Out There is a good range of restaurants in Eastbourne. We enjoyed lunch one day in Harleywood (a fun burger joint with a Hollywood twist) and dinner in the locally famous Pomodoro E Mozzarella – a large, popular and busy Italian restaurant. Do also try and make a point to visit the well-known Fusciardi Ice Cream Parlour located just behind the promenade on Marine Parade. This long established Italian family business offers an impressive variety of authentic Italian Gelato, cakes and coffee. The kids could not resist an ice cream sundae, and our coffee and cake warmed us up from the fresh sea air. If you prefer to experience some seaside grandeur while you sip your tea, then Afternoon Tea at The Grand Hotel provides the perfect setting for this (read more about this hotel later in this review).

The Towner Gallery On Sunday morning, we visited The Towner Gallery, which was a five-minute walk from our hotel. It is an award-winning contemporary art gallery and museum that runs a number of major exhibitions of UK and international contemporary art throughout the year. Whilst we were there, we enjoyed an exhibition by awardwinning set and costume designer, John Napier: Stages, Beyond the Fourth Wall; bringing art and

Harleywood Diner

Eastbourne


TRAVEL theatre together. His innovative and distinctive designs are apparently responsible for some of the most iconic theatre productions: the horses in Equus, the barricades in Les Misérables, the helicopter in Miss Saigon, the outsized junkyard in Cats, and Starlight Express. This exhibition runs until the end of January, and is well worth a visit. As a museum, they also have a renowned collection of permanent art from across the ages. They run a number of events for all ages throughout the year. The building, designed by Rick Mather Architects (also responsible for the Dulwich Picture Gallery), was approved by Eastbourne Borough Council in 2005, and the newly designed Gallery was opened in April 2009, in an £8.58m purpose-built gallery – the largest in South East England. Admission is free, and it is open Tuesday to Sunday, and Monday Bank Holidays. Visit www.townereastbourne.org.uk Another gallery worth a mention is the Emma Mason Gallery, which is just up the road from the Towner Gallery. This charming small Gallery displays and sells some wonderful pieces, including some work by local artists. Visit www. emmamason.co.uk for further information.

Theatre The Congress Theatre is home to some big shows and performances over the year. Again, only a short walk from our hotel, they were playing Jersey Boys at the time of our stay. In January, the fantastic Blood Brothers is coming, and looking at the schedule, there are some exciting classical concerts and shows on their way in the spring.

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The High Street & The Museum of Shops Stretching from the railway station to Eastbourne Pier, Eastbourne’s town centre shopping streets offer everything from familiar High Street names to independent boutiques, all set in a delightful tree lined precinct. The main shopping precinct, the Arndale Centre has over 70 shops to peruse to give you a break from the sea air! We spent a little time in the shopping area, but our one planned visit was to the wonderfully quaint and curious ‘How We Lived Then’ Museum of Shops, featuring 100,000+ exhibits spanning decades of history with room settings and old shops displayed over four floors. The collection would appeal to people of all ages. It’s pure nostalgia for the older folk and history for the young. We spent a fascinating hour there. Visit the website www.how-we-lived-then. co.uk for further information.

Pevensey Bay If you are looking for a quieter out of town beach spot area nearby, Pevensey Bay is worth a mention. Pevensey Castle is the landing place of William The Conqueror in 1066, and these ruins are a worthwhile visit. The Bay itself, is one of our favourite English beaches; pebbly but not busy – even in the midst of summer.

The Surrounding Area Boat trips are available in the spring and summer, and there are also a few miniature golf courses, which make for a fun seaside activity.

A short drive away is Drusilla’s – you can read more about this in our Family Days Out feature. There is the Redoubt Fortress, which is a military museum in a fortress built to hold out Napoleon and his army. Alfriston is also not too too far, and is a quaint English village with an historic clergy house. Michelham Priory is also a short drive away, and whilst we didn’t have time to visit on this trip, I hear it is worthy of a visit.

The Grand Hotel During our visit to Eastbourne we stayed at the beautiful, and quintessentially English, Grand Hotel, which is at the end of the promenade. A huge, white ‘Palace’ with breath-taking views of the ocean and cliffs, The Grand is a landmark on the Eastbourne seafront, and owned by Elite Hotels, who own three other properties in the South of England. In 1875, The Grand Hotel first opened its doors to guests, so we were happy to be visiting in its 140th year to help them celebrate. The hotel’s reputation for grandeur and elegance is immediately apparent on arrival in the Great Hall, with its impressive marble colonnade, welcoming fire and fine galleries; an excellent setting for drinks, coffee or Afternoon Tea (accompanied by music on most occasions, we hear!). Other public lounges offer fabulous views out onto the ocean. The hotel is large inside, and with 152 rooms and suites. Our room was luxurious, traditional, and extremely spacious. We had a stunning sea view and were presented with a beautiful sunny view on Saturday morning - what a way

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Great Hall, The Grand Hotel

to wake up! We were all provided with soft, fluffy bathrobes, and even the children wanted to have a bath in the large marble bathroom! The room also had a Nespresso coffee machine, with small cans of fizzy pop for the children. Breakfast each morning was excellent. The buffet was substantial, and whilst busy, was enjoyable to take at a leisurely pace. We spent Saturday afternoon in the indoor pool. There is also a steam room and a whirlpool spa, with pleasant lounge areas. For those with active requirements, there is a well-equipped gym. There are also a number of treatment rooms, offering massages, beauty therapies, pedicures and manicures, and a hair salon. There is also an outdoor heated pool, which is open during the summer months. The Grand caters well for families with children, with a Junior Crew programme including a goody bag, Family Dining, a Playroom, DVD’s and Games consoles and the option of cookies and milk at bedtime. The hotel also caters for a number of banquets and conferences, and has smaller rooms to cater for celebrations and parties of all sizes. There is a great buzz in the hotel, and there are events

going on all the time; fun to people watch, and the hotel would be a beautiful venue for weddings at any time of the year. We dined in The Garden restaurant, in addition to a varied À la Carte menu, the restaurant offers an excellent value 4-course meal for £40. We sampled a variety of the dishes including Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Chive Roulade and Moroccan Chicken & Apricot for starters; ample and delicious. For our main courses we enjoyed Honey & Spice Glazed Roast Gammon (served on a trolley under a large cloche, and carved at the table) with Cocotte Potatoes, French Beans, Cauliflower Mornay & Madeira Sauce, Spiced Supreme of Duck with Mashed Sweet Potato & Coconut, Mange Tout, Broccoli with Almonds & Plum jus. My wife opted for the Monkfish from the À la Carte, which she thoroughly enjoyed. The Dessert menu offered a good choice, and we enjoyed Fresh Fruit & Ice Cream, a Dark Chocolate Cheesecake, a Mango Pavlova, and I thoroughly enjoyed my huge portion of Cheese & Biscuits. The wine list is also extensive, but we complemented our meal with a few glasses of Pinot Noir.

If we had gone earlier (between 6 & 7.30pm; each evening during the school holidays and weekends), Adults and Children’s Menus are available in a family style setting without formality. We had dinner after this time, and our kids loved their meals, and had enough energy for a game of snooker afterwards. There is a fine dining, 2 Rosette star restaurant called Mirabelle. In 2016, I would seriously consider trying to attend one or two of the organised dinners/events they have on their calendar. Nothing was too much trouble for the friendly staff at this hotel; the kids loved it, and although there weren’t hundreds of kids there, they really look after them and make them feel special - and the adults too, of course! So, definitely worthy of a day trip or longer, go and discover for yourself if Eastbourne is the ‘sunniest place in the UK’. We were lucky in our November stay that we saw some a fair amount of sunshine, so can almost verify this statement! Personally, I prefer it to Brighton – it is not as noisy or busy, parking and driving is easier and it is a more relaxed destination. Whilst in the UK, be sure to put Eastbourne on the ‘to do list’, and even on a blustery day, you will find it charming, and quintessentially ‘English’. The Grand Hotel, King Edwards Parade, Eastbourne BN21 4EQ Telephone: 01323 412 345 Website: www.grandeastbourne.com

The Grand Hotel

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Bedroom, The Grand Hotel

Visit www.visiteastbourne.com Getting To Eastbourne: By road: From London follow signs on the M25 for M23 (Gatwick Airport/Brighton) then take the M23/A23 towards Brighton, then the A27 to Lewes, then Eastbourne. By rail: A twice hourly service London Victoria to Eastbourne takes 90 minutes, and a direct rail link from Gatwick to Eastbourne is 50 minutes.


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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS

kcwc

kcwc – International Women In London

kcwc is an organisation of international women who want to enjoy everything London has to offer. It’s been established for over 30 years, with hundreds of members from over 48 countries worldwide. It is an activity based Club where members can participate in activities organised by fellow members who volunteer their time and skills to organise events, from history and culture, art and design, tours and travel, special events, sports, languages, hobbies, book and lecture groups, to just having fun with likeminded women who enjoy living in London. All members, especially working women, can enjoy evening activities including theatre, music and opera appreciation, life-styling, wine tasting, dining out, and evening speakers. The last few months have been busy for kcwc, with a visit to the BBC Headquarters in October by the “After Six in the City” activity and a fun night at Café de Paris in November; The Country Walks activity walked 15km in

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kcwc

The Chilterns; Antiques and Design enjoyed an evening at Hermes in October and visited the V&A “Shoes - Pleasure and Pain” exhibit in November; Volunteers for Charity supported the Wandsworth Food Bank; and the Travel activity visited the gardens of Prince Charles’s Country House at Highgrove and enjoyed a 4 day walk in Alsace Lorraine, France in October, and took a day trip to Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral in November. Art History toured the Basque Country of Spain and France in September and visited the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy in October. If you join kcwc now there are still a few places left on the Art History “Western Art Survey” 6 month course, where participants learn about the stylistic periods from Ancient Greeks, Medieval Art, Renaissance, Baroque, to Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop Art and Conceptual Art under the guidance of a well known Director of the Master of Arts at Sotheby’s Institute. The November General Meeting was held at The Law Society where members were enthralled by the fascinating and inspiring

story of their guest speaker, Felicity Aston, who led an international team of 7 women on an adventurous 900 km skiing trip from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in 38 days. kcwc General Meetings are held each month from September - June at wonderful London venues with prestigious speakers, followed by an optional lunch at a local hotel or restaurant afterwards. The next General Meeting is: Thursday, 14 January 2016, 9:30am-12:30pm at The Royal Geographical Society 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR (closest tube: South Kensington or High Street Kensington). Our Guest Speaker is John Osborne on “Behind the Veil, The Arts of Islamic Persia”. This month we are looking forward to lifting the veil and getting an insight into the rich culture of Iran. John Osborne will enlighten us with his vast knowledge about this magically beautiful country, which has been off the trodden path since the Iranian revolution. Guest fee £10, redeemable against membership if joining at the meeting. Lunch at Babylon Restaurant – sign up at the meeting to attend the lunch. Cost £25, 2 courses, coffee and service. The February meeting will be held on: Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 9:30am-12:30pm. The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR (closest tube: South Kensington or High Street Kensington). Our Guest Speaker will be Sonia Purnell, Author ‘First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill’. Without Winston Churchill’s inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour. Without his wife Clementine, however, he might never have become Prime Minister. By his own admission, his role in the Second World War would have been impossible. We will listen to the acclaimed biographer Sonia


AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS

kcwc

Purnell who reveals Clementine’s electrifying, but often ignored, story. From the personal and political upheavals of the Great War, through the Churchills’ ‘wilderness years’ in the 1930s, to Clementine’s desperate efforts to sustain Winston during the struggle against Hitler, the book First Lady seeks to recover the memory of one of the most remarkable women of modern times. Lunch afterwards will be at The Gore Hotel – sign up at the meeting to attend the lunch. Cost £25, 2 courses, coffee and service. SAVE THE DATE: Our March General Meeting is on Thursday, 3 March 2016 at 9.30am at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR. kcwc also welcomes non members at their monthly Happy Hours and Coffee Mornings hosted by their Hospitality group which are held at fabulous London locations, where guests can come along for an informal chat over a coffee or drink and enjoy the company of other international women in London. DECEMBER 2015: Happy Hour: Friday 18 December at 5.30pm at The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, SW1X 7TA (closest tube: Hyde Park Corner). JANUARY 2016: Coffee Morning: Friday 8 January 10.00am at Zack’s, 115 Gloucester Rd, SW7 4ST (closest tube: Gloucester Rd). Happy Hour: Wednesday 20 January, 5.00pm at Chutney Mary, 73 St James’s St, London, SW1A 1PH (closest tube: Green Park). F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 6 : H a p p y H o u r : Wednesday 24 February, 5.30pm at Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW. There is no need to pre-register to attend these Hospitality events, and the cost is your own tab. To learn more about kcwc, please visit: www.kcwc.org.uk or email potential@kcwc.org.uk  

AWC

Have you ever noticed that we seem to live and travel in our routine places, with our normal crowds, doing our habitual things? And we wonder why we don’t see new things or meet new people!!! Shaking up those routines and habits will naturally force a fresh look at the world and allow us to make new friendships. Begin 2016 by becoming a part of the AWC network and shake up your world a little!

Our Travel Team had many exciting trips on offer in 2015 and will certainly have another great line up in 2016! If you love to travel, joining the AWC should be high on your list in 2016. It is an amazing way to meet new people, see new places, have some adventures and make friends! There was an adventurous trip in October to Vietnam and Cambodia! It was a private tailor-made journey for the AWC that took us from Hanoi to Saigon to Siem Reap. Buddhist temples, Communist monuments, sailing through Halong Bay, cruising along the Mekong Delta and Angkor Wat (one of the world’s most spectacular ancient temple complexes) were the highlights of an extraordinary trip! In December we went off to the Christmas Markets in Germany! It was a wonderful trip where we visited two Unesco World Heritage towns - charming Bamberg and Regensberg. We travelled to Coburg to visit one of Germany’s largest Castles! Very cool! Then we were off to Veste Coburg and Rothenburg to see these very well preserved medieval old towns. Along the way we stopped at small wineries for tours and tastings. Bamberg, is also famous for its“smoked beer”! It was a must taste to appreciate!!! In between all of these sightseeings there was plenty of time for the main theme of Christmas markets - shopping!!! It was a great way to begin the Christmas season! We will be ringing in the New Year with the famous annual Stoke-on-Trent Pottery trip, which is set for January 28, 2016! A private luxury coach will drive the group to individual factory stores to visit four potteries: Burleigh, Emma Bridgewater, Waterford/Wedgewood/ Royal Doulton, and Portmeirion. This day-trip is always popular and fun and a great way to take advantage of the pottery factory outlets. For more information visit the website at www.awclondon. org or email: the office awc@awclondon.org. Although travelling across the globe is always fun for expats, there is much to explore right in London! Here is a terrific quote from an AWC member which sums up the Monday Morning Coffee Group. “We drank a little coffee, ate a little breakfast and did a little shopping. Oh, and a whole lot of talking!” Every Monday a different location is selected to share conversation,

AWC Group in Cambodia

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AWCCS

The American Women’s Club of Edinburgh, founded in 1974 is now the American Women’s Club of Central Scotland.

AWC Christmas Market Trip – Germany

Stoke-on-Trent Annual Pottery Trip, 2015

breakfast - and of course coffee! The idea being to make new friends while exploring London one coffee shop at a time! No booking necessary. Just watch out for the details and show up when you can! It’s a nice little easy adventure for those wintery Monday mornings! Speaking of coffee, we hold New Member Welcome Coffees that are open to everyone! They are very helpful if you are new to London and have more questions than answers! Equally, if you have been in London for a while you might be looking for new and different things to do. Either way it is a great way to meet some new people and learn more about the club. Come by the AWC offices at 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ at 10:30am on any of these dates – January 19th, February 16th, or March 15th, or for more information visit the website

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at www.awclondon.org or email the office awc@awclondon.org. Check out our website to learn more about all the club has to offer. You can take part in so many activities – from hiking, to shopping, to theatre, to exploring London. No matter how you look at it, the AWC is a great resource and a wonderful way to make some new friendships! Start something new in 2016! American Women’s Club of London 68 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3LQ awc@awclondon.org www.awclondon.org 020 7589 8292

From Picnics And Paintings To Auctions One look at the AWCCS calendar of events and you might wonder ‘do these women have time to do anything else’? Two 2015 highlights are the 4th of July picnic on Portobello Beach where the sun shone, food was great and views across the Firth of Forth were spectacular, as usual. A guided tour of the Scottish Colourists exhibit at Kirkcaldy Art Museum in Fife was organised by Wild at Art director, Ellen Colingsworth. Everyone was tempted to pick up a paintbrush after listening to artist and tutor Susan Forsyth describe the loose painting style of Scottish Colourists, and their influence on artists who followed. The 100+ members are are skilled at ‘Let’s try something different’ and Let’s have fun’. Frequently this is put to use raising money for charity. This year’s Thanksgiving dinner and auction at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian - raised £1341 for Move-On, the local Scottish charity that supports programmes to help youths aged 16 – 24 who are or have been homeless. Peer shadowing and training are two activities the funds will be used for. We’ll be rummaging in our closers for the 2016 fundraising events. First is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a good excuse to reuse that old hat. Then in March, it’s a ‘gently used’ handbag for Handbag Exchange. What next?! And every month there is a day and evening book club meeting, birthday parties, and just

Susan Forsyth for AWCCS and Wild at Art. For more information see www.wildatartscotland.com. Director Ellen Colingsworth has lived in Scotland for 25 years and creates holiday art courses for visitors to Scotland.


AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS well as other grand prizes including a shopping trip to Bicester Village. Last year CAWC, which is celebrating its 65th year in the Chilterns, raised more than £14,000 for chosen charities through sales of Christmas. In the history of the CAWC Bazaar more than £244,000 has been raised for charity. Comments - Pam Houghton, Chair of the CAWC: “The CAWC is delighted to have raised such an amount for two very worthwhile charities. Our annual bazaar – now in its 28th year, is a real opportunity to shop and, in doing so, benefit charitable causes. We have already started planning

for next year.” For details about the event please visit www. cawc.co.uk. To find out how you can become A member of this active group or CAWC, contact membership@cawc.co.uk or visit cawc.co.uk. CAWC is a group of North American and International women who call the Chilterns their home, either temporarily or permanently. Our club offers the opportunity to network through meetings, social activities, and charitable events. We currently have over 100 members and are a great resource to newcomers and returning members.

Celebrating the 4th of July 2015 on Portobello Beach, Edinburgh are Nancy Lynner AWCCS President, Joyce Halsan Website Manager, Sam Goldblatt and Linda Knowles, and their dogs

for fun events. Visiting Scotland in the coming year? Get in touch if you are interested in an AWCCS activity.

Chiltern American Women’s Club

The Chilterns American Women’s Club Raises £15,000 For Local Charities Via Christmas Bazaar International philanthropic group The Chilterns American Women’s Club (CAWC) raised a record amount - more than £15,000 - for two locally-focused charities following a successful Christmas Bazaar held at the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross (formerly the Bellhouse Hotel). Over 1,000 people attended the event that included two classic cars and a WWII military Jeep which were on show for the Remembrance Sunday event. Recipient charities, which will each receive £7,500, are the Chalfont St. Peter-based Epilepsy Society and The Pepper Foundation, which is based in Tring, Herts, but focuses on helping terminally ill children and their families receive specialist paediatric palliative care at home in both Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The event, which was attended by Countess Howe and Lord Howe, along with Beaconsfield Mayor John Read, South Bucks Council Chairman Duncan Smith, District Councillor Mimi Harker OBE and other key political figures, featured 70 specialist gift and craft stalls as well as CAWCs’ traditional Christmas Hamper & Gift Baskets sale. Visitors also got to dine at the Lone Star Café – offering its renowned homemade chilli, while another popular stall - the Cake & Baked Goodies Bar – saw brisk sales. Leading organisations and event sponsors including Santa Fe Relocation, the Crowne Plaza, Value Retail, Pelugi, Oxygen, Stoke Park, Patisserie Valerie, Starbucks and Buckinghamshire Golf Club and Visa Europe which provided a signed Usain Bolt jersey as www.theamericanhour.com

Beaconsfield Mayor John Read and wife, Lord Howe, CAWC Bazaar co-chairs Erin Wolfe and Pam Showalter, CAWC Chairperson Pamela Houghton and The Countess Howe at the annual bazaar

Cllr. Duncan Smith, Chairman of South Bucks Council and Cllr. Mimi Harker OBE, Chairman of Chiltern District Council, sound the siren on an original WWII Jeep to help launch the Bazaar at the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross hotel. They are joined by (l to r) CAWC Chair Pam Houghton along with event co-chairs Pam Showalter and Erin Wolfe.

Shoppers found more than 70 gift and artisian stalls at this year’s Bazaar.

Members of the CAWC get ready to serve up at the event’s famous Chilli Bar.

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TAX - Reflections on 2015 Adam Smith Looks Back On A Year Of Change, Proposed Change, U-Turns, And What Lies Ahead For 2016 2015 Elections And The Budget After a quiet start to 2015, the May elections gave us the first majority Conservative government for nearly 20 years. Tax, and particularly the taxation of non-domiciled individuals, was once again high up on the political agenda, with ‘non-dom bashing’ seemingly an easy way to score political points. The usual debate on the effect that a new draconian non-dom tax regime would have on the UK economy, and in particular the City of London, raged on. I personally have never been one to subscribe to the argument that being taxed on worldwide income in the UK would discourage talent from entering the UK or force people to leave, but maybe I’m just biased. But take New York, for example – top federal tax rates at 39.6%, New York State top rate of 8.82% and New York City north of 3.8%; and all on worldwide income from when you become resident. New York seems to have done just fine as a financial centre over the years - maybe London isn’t so bad after all? Plus most people I speak to are happy to pay their fair share, they just don’t want to suffer double taxation or be taxed at penal rates because some of their assets happen to sit offshore either held directly or in some kind of trust or corporate structure. So tinkering with the non-dom regime would hardly be a surprise in the summer budget. After all we have been well used to various governments tinkering with the nondom legislation since the remittance basis rules were changed in 2008. What we got was a little more than tinkering. The consultation period for the proposed changes closed on 11 November, and we can expect HMRC’s response to that, as well as more detailed proposals, early in 2016 but the headlines are as follows: * From April 2017 a new deemed domicile rule for income and capital gains tax purposes once an individual has been resident for 15 out of 20 tax years. The remittance basis of taxation is no longer available after this point. This will mean reporting worldwide income and gains in the UK and removes the recently announced £90,000 remittance basis charge for those who have been in the UK for 17 out of 20 years * The new deemed domicile year-count will also replace the 17 out of 20 year rules 20

American In Britain

for inheritance tax purposes, meaning the individuals worldwide estate will come into the UK inheritance tax net earlier * Individuals who had a domicile of origin in the UK and then acquired a domicile of choice outside of the UK will be treated as domiciled in the UK again for tax purposes on their return * Longer-term deemed domicile residents will have to remain non-resident for more than 5 years to re-set their non-dom tax position * Income and gains arising within offshore trusts established by non-doms will generally only be taxed in the UK on distribution or where benefits are received by UK residents * Further changes to the taxation of UK property held within offshore corporate structures mean that the inheritance tax benefits will be removed.

“For those individuals who are approaching 15 years in the UK, a review of their offshore investment portfolio, planning for future remittances and review of any offshore corporate or trust structures is a must” For those individuals who are approaching 15 years in the UK, a review of their offshore investment portfolio, planning for future remittances and review of any offshore corporate or trust structures is a must. Planning

opportunities still exist; for example, the use of an excluded property trust to remove offshore assets from the UK inheritance tax net. The next year will fly by and putting in place those plans sooner rather than later would be well advised. 2016 will be a busy year for advisers.

Other Notable Budget Announcements

Pension relief was once again restricted. For those with income over £150,000 the benefits of pension tax relief will be restricted by tapering away the Annual Allowance to a minimum of £10,000. This will be effective from April 2016. Legislation was also introduced to align pension input periods to the tax year. That means that there is now a one-off opportunity to make pension contributions of up to £40,000 before the end of the tax year, on top of what was already made before 8 July 2015. Dividends will be subject to a new tax regime from April 2016. Previously, dividends were only subject to UK tax once an individual was a higher rate tax payer. The 10% notional tax credit has now been removed and all individuals will receive a £5,000 tax-free dividend allowance. Basic rate tax payers will pay tax at a rate of 7.5%, higher rate tax payers at 32.5% and additional rate taxpayers at 38.1%. For some, these changes will see a reduction in the overall tax bill (thanks to the £5,000 allowance), for others, where dividends form a larger part of their income, they will see an increase. Restrictions on mortgage interest relief for rental properties, as well as a reform of the 10% wear and tear allowance, also signalled a shift in policy towards targeting private landlords. The Chancellor also announced significant changes to the tax treatment of Carried Interest that will affect people working in the asset management industry. The changes came into effect immediately from 8 July, though how some of them will work in practice is anyone’s guess. The changes included taxing all proceeds from carried interest at 28%, removing the capital shift that is available and so taxing individuals on their actual economic gain. They will also tax non-domiciled individuals on offshore carried interest payments paid offshore to the extent that investment management services were performed in the UK (irrespective of whether the remittance basis is claimed). It is this last measure that I find particularly hard to


TAX - REFLECTIONS ON 2015 fathom as to how an individual is supposed to self-assess and how HMRC are to police.

The Anson Case US individuals who hold interests in US LLCs are faced with the prospect of double taxation on distributions from these LLCs. This is because LLCs are typically tax transparent for US tax purposes but HMRC have always taken the view that they are opaque. US persons resident in the UK pay tax on the underlying income on the US tax return but report the distributions as dividends on the UK return with no corresponding double tax relief. George Anson had prepared his tax return claiming such double tax relief. The first tier tribunal had agreed with him, the second tier tribunal sided with HMRC and the Court of Appeal upheld that decision. A showdown in the Supreme Court loomed and on 1 July, Mr Anson won his case. The judgement was focused on whether double tax relief should be allowed under the UK/US tax treaty. A key element of whether relief is allowed is whether it is the same income being taxed in both countries. HMRC argued that it was not. The Supreme Court found that it was – Mr Anson had an absolute entitlement to the underlying profits of the LLC and when the court reviewed both Delaware law (where the LLC was incorporated) and the LLC operating agreement they found in favour of Mr Anson. The judgement left many unanswered

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questions, including whether or not the LLC was actually tax transparent in the UK; the ruling simply stated that double tax relief was allowed. The case was also fact specific and so individuals hoping to claim double tax relief on their own LLC interest should seek specialist advice.

Relief rules to encourage greater take-up (these rules allow individuals to remit funds to invest in business without a tax charge on the remittance itself). The focus on residential property investors also continued with a new 3% additional stamp duty charge on buy-to-let and second homes worth more than ÂŁ40,000.

HMRC U-Turn On Offshore Loans Back in August 2014, HMRC announced that taxpayers using the remittance basis, who used foreign income and gains as collateral for a loan, would be subject to taxation where the proceeds of the loan were remitted to the UK. Existing loan arrangements had to be paid off or re-arranged by 5 April 2016 to avoid a tax liability. After much lobbying from the industry, HMRC announced in October that loan proceeds remitted before 4 August 2014 would no longer suffer a tax charge. Arrangements put in place and loan proceeds remitted after this date would still be caught. The announcement was still welcome relief for those who had made arrangements in accordance with previous HMRC guidance.

The Autumn Statement After the announcements of the July budget, the Autumn Statement contained very little to impact on non-domiciled individuals. The government did announce that they were considering changes to the Business Investment

Adam Smith is a partner at Westleton Drake. He is a Chartered Tax Adviser in the UK and an enrolled agent, licenced to practice in front on the IRS. He has been advising US citizens and US businesses, as well as other non-dom individuals, for over 13 years. www.westletondrake.com

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WEALTH MANAGEMENT It’s A New Year! Review Your Wealth Plan (Especially) In Light Of Upcoming Changes The New Year provides you with an opportunity to review your personal wealth goals and objectives and consider the implications of any changes you may need to make. With some substantial changes coming down the line with respect to UK pensions and rules around long-term UK non-domicile individuals, now is the perfect time to review your situation and, if needed, develop effective solutions. Doing so early will potentially afford you additional flexibility in implementation. Below we discuss the areas that are beneficial to consider and review. A few easy steps can ensure that your current wealth planning strategies remain optimal.

Revisit And Evaluate Your Wealth Goals And Objectives The investment process begins by defining your goals and objectives. Consideration should be given to how much money is needed to achieve the goal, the time horizon of the goal and the willingness to take risk to meet that goal. Once a year, it can be beneficial to sit 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 are: * Do you have any new goals that haven’t previously been considered? * Are the amounts you previously considered to meet your goals still appropriate? * Has the time horizon changed for any of your goals? * Have you met your assumed annual saving target for meeting your goals? * Have you received any inheritances or gifts that dramatically change the overall level of your investable assets? Reviewing the above will allow you to work out whether the growth rates of your investments continue to meet your projected 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.

Measure Portfolio Performance And Assess Asset Allocation If the first step is reviewing your goals and objectives the next step is to take a closer look at the performance of your current portfolio 22

American In Britain

and determine whether or not it is meeting expectations. 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 your focus can move to asset allocation and tax-efficiency. A sound wealth plan is built around an appropriate asset allocation. 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 help to 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. An annual rebalance will help ensure that you maintain an optimal risk and reward trade-off for your set of financial goals.

Maximise The Tax-Efficiency Of Your Wealth Plan In light of the above, consideration should be given to how to meet your goals in the most taxefficient and optimal manner. As an American in Britain, you want to make sure you carefully navigate the tax traps that are littered within the world of investing and take advantage of tax opportunities available. Investing in a taxefficient 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 adviser on which strategies make the most sense for your individual needs. * For retirement goals, 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. As of April 2016, the UK pension contribution allowance will be limited for individuals with earnings in excess of £150,000. Additional rate taxpayers could give consideration to maximising UK pension funding prior to

April to take advantage of the current more generous contribution limits. 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 instance, ISAs and offshore bonds are ‘looked through’ from a US perspective and taxed on the underlying investments. For some, investing in SIPPs may 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. As of April 2017, all non-domicile individuals who have been UK resident for 15 out of 20 years will be required to be taxed on the arising basis. Any individuals who have relied on paying the Remittance Basis Charge (RBC) due to OIG assets will need to take care to restructure their assets prior to the new rules taking effect * Asset locate investments to achieve maximum tax-efficiency. In general, dividends 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. This will become even more favourable for many individuals with the introduction of the £5,000 dividend tax allowance in April 2016. Additionally, if one spouse is a non-US person, consider whether your wealth is invested optimally to take advantage of the differing tax status.


WEALTH MANAGEMENT Consider Your Inheritance Tax Planning And Estate Provisions Your estate provisions and any inheritance tax planning, whether basic or more complex, should be reviewed periodically to ensure that any required updates are made when needed. The suitability of your current plan, if you in fact have a current plan, may evolve as a result of a change in your financial situation or a family event. Additionally, modifications may be appropriate in light of the upcoming changes around long-term non-domiciles that will take effect in April 2017. Below are some life events that may trigger a need to review your estate plan: * Getting married – Generally, a new spouse will warrant an update in your current estate provisions. You need to address joint and separate property and also ensure that beneficiary designations 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 provisions to ensure that guardians are appointed and beneficiaries are updated * Purchasing or refinancing a home – when you purchase a home, consideration should be given to the ownership structure of the property and how that impacts any inheritance planning * Family members acquiring or renouncing US citizenship – the composition of families is becoming more and more complex. Families with more than one nationality need to pay even closer attention to inheritance planning and estate provisions. Gifting assets during your lifetime and passing assets at your death can become tricky when there are varying nationalities and domiciles * Approaching 15 out of 20 years living in the UK – Under current rules, UK non-domiciles become deemed domicile for UK inheritance tax purposes after being UK resident in 17 out of the last 20 years. However, the threshold becomes 15 out of 20 years in April 2017 which, if not paying attention, is likely to sneak up on many people without them realising it. There is specific planning that may be beneficial before crossing the deemed domicile threshold that may help mitigate UK inheritance tax and should not be overlooked * 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 $5.45 million (2016). Looking at ways to structure your estate provisions to minimise taxes between the two jurisdictions can potentially save millions of dollars. www.theamericanhour.com

Summary Undergoing a regular review of your financial life, especially in light of upcoming changes in the UK, 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. The above article does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individuals and is not to be construed as advice.You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. MASECO LLP trading as MASECO Private Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. MASECO Private Wealth is not a tax specialist.

Andrea Solana is Head of Advanced Planning at MASECO Private Wealth where she helps to provide financial planning and wealth structuring advisory services to US expatriates in the UK and British nationals in the US. Andrea spent the first 9 years of her career with a well-known Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she gained considerable experience advising high net worth individuals with multi-jurisdictional financial interests to design and implement strategies for tax-efficient and risk-managed asset growth. She has written numerous white papers regarding fundamental financial planning and investment strategies for US connected individuals, and has previously been a speaker on financial planning topics at numerous places including both The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Andrea graduated from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management and completed her MBA at Imperial College, London. Andrea holds her UK Investment Advice Diploma and US Series 65 license.

FREE TAX SEMINAR Monday 8th February 2016 The 2016 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition, Hotel Russell, London 12.15pm This seminar will cover tax issues that affect expatriates living and working in the UK, and will highlight issues that expatriates need to know about in order to keep their finances in check. Topics that will be covered include Federal and State Tax Return Preparation and Filing, FBAR filing (reports of foreign bank and financial accounts) and bringing expats into IRS compliance. This seminar is hosted by Roland Sabates, a tax attorney and Director of Operations for H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services business. Roland has a wealth of experience in international tax preparation and helping clients navigate through their unique tax situations that exist as a US expat. His area of specialisation is resolving international tax issues for individuals and small business owners, such as FBAR and foreign information reporting, IRS voluntary disclosure programme participation, and US taxation of foreign trusts and retirement arrangements. To register for this free seminar please email helen@theamericanhour.com

www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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LEGAL ISSUES Are You Covered On This Side Of The Pond? Many US citizens move to the UK and assume that arrangements they made in the US to secure and protect themselves, their families and their assets continue to provide them with the same cover when they are living abroad. This is not always the case, and frequently people only discover this when they need that security and protection the most. In the article below, Solicitors from Mundays LLP look at a number of these areas US citizens need to think about when they move to England, and what steps might be required to ensure their stay covered during their time in England.

To Trust, Or Not To Trust, And What Does It Mean? If you are a US citizen, national or green card holder, and have lived in the US, you may have implemented an estate plan (meaning a Will, durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy) to plan for any future incapacity and ensure that your intended beneficiaries benefit from your estate. If you move to the UK and become resident here, marry a UK citizen, or acquire a UK property, your documents may no longer be suitable for the purposes of tax efficiency in either the US or UK, or ensuring that you receive appropriate care if you lose capacity (that is, your ability to make decisions). What should you do? The quick answer is to have your documentation reviewed by an English law solicitor who has knowledge of the US rules, so that you can avoid pitfalls in both countries. Some examples of US documentation, and some of the issues US persons face are given below: Living or revocable trusts: US citizens frequently have these set up during their lifetime. They may also have a pour over Will implemented as well. The benefit is that these documents usually avoid US probate fees, which can be high, depending on the State in which the assets are based. From a UK perspective, how such trusts are treated for tax or English trust law purposes depends on how they are drafted. If the person implementing the trust is also the grantor (or settlor; essentially the person providing the economic value) as well as the sole beneficiary during their lifetime and the sole trustee, such an arrangement is not a ‘proper’ trust under English trust law. However, these trusts can become ‘proper’ trusts under a number of circumstances. For example, if the trust maker loses capacity and another trustee is appointed, or if an additional trustee is appointed in any case. Such an arrangement may then be a ‘proper’ trust under English law 24

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and there may well be UK tax consequences for someone of inadvertently setting up a trust, even if it is a US trust. The tax consequences will depend upon a person’s specific circumstances; such as how long they have been UK resident and what assets are being held by the trust. UK property: If your US trust is drafted to cover all assets (as they often are), and you own a UK property which is placed into the trust, depending on how the trust is drafted, this could end up becoming a ‘relevant property’ trust for UK inheritance tax purposes. This could make the trust subject to a tax charge every 10 years of up to 6% of the value of the assets in the trust, as well as exit charges, i.e. if you sell the property or assets leave the trust to benefit a beneficiary. It is therefore essential that any US trust is carefully reviewed to ensure that this is not an issue (unless intended). In any case, US persons who own UK property may wish to discuss their ownership and how they may mitigate US capital gains tax on a future sale of the property.

“With an increasingly mobile and international population, the Family Courts in different countries are regularly dealing with more international couples when their relationships break down.” Durable Power of Attorney and Health care proxy: These documents in the US allow a person to appoint someone else to take decisions on their behalf if they go away or if they lose the ability to make decisions themselves. The decisions can be financial or relating to the care that the person receives. Unfortunately, if a US citizen moves to the UK with these documents

in place, expecting them to work whilst they are UK resident, unfortunately, they will not. The UK has its own regime to allow a person (the ‘donor’) to appoint another person(s) to make decisions on their behalf (the ‘attorney’). Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents which have to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before the attorney can use them. There are two different types of LPAs – Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare (which deal with the management of a person’s finances and general health and welfare decisions concerning them when they can no longer make the decisions themselves). By implementing both, they cover a person whilst they are UK resident and sit alongside the durable power of attorney and health care proxies and usually without revoking them (depending on how the US ones are drafted). In the UK, if you do not have LPAs in place, and you lose capacity whilst you are resident here, this can mean that you are left unprotected and your loved ones will have to go to the Court of Protection to arrange for a ‘deputy’ to be appointed. This can be stressful, costly and may also take some time. Until the person passes away the deputy will also be accountable to the Court for annual accounts, annual court supervision fees and additional formal administrative burdens.

Pre And Post Marital Agreements With an increasingly mobile and international population, the Family Courts in different countries are regularly dealing with more international couples when their relationships break down. The English Family Court are seeing a steady stream of couples with Pre and Post-Marital Agreements and consequently those couples will quite rightly want to know what status will be given to their foreign Pre or Post-Martial Agreements. America is a welcoming jurisdiction for Pre and Post-Marital Agreements. In general, such agreements are recognised and are generally binding there, provided that they adhere to the local rules of the particular US state. If an English Court is presented with an American Pre or Post-Marital Agreement then the first consideration for a solicitor will be to ensure that the Agreement meets with the requirements of the US state where it was signed and advice will need to be taken in that US state to establish the position. In addition if you have a US Pre or Post-Marital Agreements then you should check whether there is a paragraph that seeks to determine what laws should be applied on a divorce. In England,


LEGAL ISSUES the Family Court will disregard such a paragraph and apply English law. The status of Pre and Post-Marital Agreements in England and Wales is that they are not automatically legally binding and the English Court, if asked to deal with divorce and finances will ultimately retain final discretion. Nevertheless, following a Supreme Court decision in 2010 the Family Court will now uphold Pre and Post-Marital Agreements if it can be shown that the agreement was freely entered into by both spouses with a full appreciation of its implications unless, in the view of the Court, it would be unfair to adhere to the terms of the agreement. Provided that this test is met, it is likely that the Court will give effect to the Pre/Post-Marital Agreement and the couple will be held to its terms whether entered into in this country or in the US. When deciding whether or not to hold a couple to a Pre or Post-Marital Agreements, the English Court will want to consider the following points: * Was the agreement entered into freely by both spouses without any undue pressure or influence? The Court is unlikely to uphold an agreement where evidence of mistake, duress, misrepresentation or undue influence is found. It is very important for the Court to believe and have evidence of the fact that both spouses were on an equal footing and were freely able to negotiate the

terms of the agreement * How long before the wedding was the PreMarital Agreement made? It is advisable for any Pre-Marital Agreement to be entered into well in advance of the anticipated wedding. In England, there is guidance by the Law Commission which proposes that any PreMartial Agreement should be invalid if made less than 28 days in advance of the marriage. The rationale behind this is that by this time the invitations will be have been sent, the venue booked and the dress brought to name a few * Did they seek independent legal advice? It is also advisable that both spouses seek independent legal advice at the time that the agreement is signed. Whilst this is not fatal to the status of the agreement it is advisable here for both parties to do so * Were both parties fully aware of each other’s’ financial situation? Another important factor to consider when entering into a Pre or Post-Martial Agreement is the need for both spouses to have been aware of the other’s financial circumstances at the time the Agreement was signed. If you are considering entering into a Pre or Post-Marital Agreements in the US or have already done so but your relationship is now in difficulties and you are contemplating a divorce in England and Wales, then it is important to check your US agreement with the help of your US Attorney and seek specialist English

family law advice from a Solicitor in England who will be able to work in tandem with your US Attorney to establish the status of your Agreement and the likelihood that it may or may not be upheld by the English Courts. Getting divorced and resolving the finances can be an expensive, time consuming and an emotionally draining experience. The increase in couples wishing to provide certainty on a relationship breakdown with the use of Pre and Post-Marital Agreements is recognised by the Courts here and is now likely to be endorsed, provided that the Agreement provides for a financial settlement that is still fair and reasonable for both spouses at the time of the divorce. Julie Man, Partner, Head of Private Wealth Sarah Noake, Solicitor, Private Wealth Miranda Green, Partner, Family Law Tel: +44 (0)1932 590500 www.mundays.co.uk The team at Mundays are experienced in advising US citizens on ensuring that whilst you are UK resident, even for a short period, you have the most effective documentation in place. Whether you are already living in the UK or if you are about to move, it is preferable to have any existing documentation reviewed, to ensure that you are fully covered and you do not fall into any traps that you did not realise were there, either in the UK or in the US.

The 2016 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition Monday 8th February 2016 from 10.00am - 5.00pm Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE

FREE SEMINAR PROGRAMME 10.30am - Understanding Third Culture Kids

The experience of international mobility presents advantages and disadvantages for children whose routines, friendships, schools, and linguistic and cultural environments are disrupted because of the career path of a parent. With a better understanding of what these benefits and challenges are, parents and professionals working with expatriate families can help children negotiate the complexities of international relocation. This session will draw on research to offer insights into Third Culture Kids and provide a forum for discussing strategies that can help children and their families embrace the exciting positive and life-changing advantages that can be gained while growing up abroad. Hosted 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 35 years. She is currently Director of Admissions for Dwight London School and Director of Langford International Education Consultancy Ltd which is providing support in 21 mother-tongue languages to students in international schools worldwide.

11.15am - Dual Career and the Importance of Creating a Powerful Network

Understanding the importance of networking is essential to succeed in any business. The rules and styles can be unique to the UK and can pose a challenge to dual career families as they relocated. Join FOCUS who will share effective networking advice and tips to help overcome these challenges and will uncover how to take full advantage of any networking situation in the UK.

12.15pm - Tax Seminar

This seminar will cover tax issues that affect expatriates living and working in the UK, and will highlight issues that expatriates need to know about in order to keep their finances in check. Topics that will be covered include Federal and State Tax Return Preparation and Filing, FBAR filing (reports of foreign bank and financial accounts) and bringing expats into IRS compliance. This seminar is hosted by Roland Sabates, a tax attorney and Director of Operations for H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services business. Roland has a wealth of experience in international tax preparation and helping clients navigate through their unique tax situations that exist as a US expat. His area of specialisation is resolving international tax issues for individuals and small business owners, such as FBAR and foreign information reporting, IRS voluntary disclosure programme participation, and US taxation of foreign trusts and retirement arrangements.

To register for any or all of these free seminars, please email helen@theamericanhour.com www.theamericanhour.com

www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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An American Comedian in Britain Having just lived through my 15th Thanksgiving while living in the UK it is a good time to reflect back on some of the differences between my birthplace and my adopted home. I left the US for British soil in 2000, and like many thought that coming here would be a bit of laugh and that I’d back in few years. Now 15 years and 15 Turkey-less Thanksgivings have passed and I’m settled down with a local pub and English children. I should say they are my children, there isn’t a family in Ipswich wondering where their kids are. In general, I think I’ve adjusted to the subtle differences between here and what I still call ‘home’. It’s the little things that can trip you up though. The details that take time to learn, especially because folks h e re a re n ’t

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particularly good at explaining things. I remember some of my first UK banking experiences, where in order to open a bank account you are required to produce a letter with your address on it as a form of ID. However, they look at you blankly when you note that it’s difficult to get a place to live without a bank account. I remember one woman in the queue (yes, that’s the word I use now) next to me practically in tears because the only letter that she had was a letter from that bank. Proof which they said was insufficient. Although she was Canadian, so somehow it was kinda funny. I did figure out a good way to avoid this problem: I changed my legal name to ‘The Occupier ’ that did the trick! Another time I went to the bank to withdraw some cash and when the clerk asked me which notes I’d like I said,“Hundreds, please” and she looked at me like I had just farted at tea time. Oddly, now when I go back to America I struggle with the overwhelming sense of friendliness. Partly that’s because I’ve lived in London all these years. I struggle to want to talk to anyone. I wonder whether people in the US really want to be that nice, especially in shops. I have definitely changed in that regard. Back in the US when I go into Starbucks, the barista chats away like we’re old friends: Asks me my plans for the day, where I’m headed, what I’m doing tomorrow, what’s my social security number. It feels like an interrogation, not a transaction. While I moan about the intensity of the friendliness back home, there are some levels of basic courtesy that don’t exist on this side of the Atlantic. Have you ever noticed that no one introduces themselves here? You’ll be at a work event, join a conversation and a circle of people where you only know one or two people. There might be an extra few people there who clearly don’t know you. Will they say hello? Will they acknowledge your presence? No. I think it’s because they can tell you’re from abroad and they figure by the time they learn your name you’ll have decided to go back home again. So what’s the point of even trying. One hazard of living here so long is the dreaded visit from a relative who doesn’t travel very

often. My mother spent most of her first visit to the UK starting every sentence with,“Well, in the United State we….” She cornered some poor shop worker in Sainsbury’s lecturing him for about 30 minutes on why they should sell Easter Egg coloring boxes. I felt bad for him. He has to work at Sainsburys, that’s bad enough, he doesn’t deserve my mother. She also told me that I had clearly changed, and was less-American because we don’t have a clothes dryer. One of my favourite moments was when my twelve year old brother and I talked around the 4th of July and he asked if it was a big deal here. I asked him to think about that for a minute and he just said,“Oh yeah”- although some pubs do try and capture the spirit of the day. Years ago a local pub was advertising a 4th of July night. Some other expats and I headed down on the 4th only to be told that we’d missed the party. They had a 4th of July party, but done it on the 3rd so they didn’t have to move a pub quiz. I was baffled at the time, but now have learned that going to one’s local pub quiz is often many times more important than going to church on Sunday. Politically it can be hazardous as an American here as well. Since I am often the physical manifestation of whatever the US is being credited with, or more likely blamed for, at any given moment. In the 2000’s I was often asked “Why did you invade Iraq?” and to be honest it was a difficult personal decision. Things have been better since Obama became President. But now the tables have turned and I find myself having to “defend” the popularity of Trump. I get asked how could such a buffoon with wild hair be so popular. I’ve learned to carry around a picture of London’s Mayor as a ready defence. Overall though, I have become accustomed to and really enjoy being an American in London. Of course there’s things I miss (like a decent burger - don’t get me started) but overall it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a night at my local pub. At my regular quiz - which I wouldn’t miss for 3rd or even the 4th of July. Erich McElroy is a stand-up comedian originally from Seattle and has lived in the London for the last 15 years. He is doing shows about the US Presidential Debates at the Hippodrome Casino in London on 17th January and 28th January. You can check them out here www.erichmcelroy.com Follow him on @erichmcelroy.


www.theamericanhour.com

www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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HOTEL REVIEW

The Langham, London

How excited was I to review The Langham Hotel in London, not just because it is a beautiful 5 star hotel, but because I started my career in this iconic building many years ago when it was owned by the BBC and I was one of 12 lucky people to be offered a place on an annual training scheme they then ran. Even more exciting, was that I took one of my best friend’s, who I met on this said course, and we were both astounded by the renovation of the interior, from what was an incredibly old and tired building, to what is now a beautiful, stylish, comfortable and elegant hotel, with award winning restaurants and bar. On arrival at the hotel the first thing I noticed was a large mat announcing that the building is celebrating its 150th year, having opened on 10 June 1865, when it was presided by none other than the then heir to the throne, The Prince of Wales (later to become Edward the VII). The hotel took fifteen months to build at a cost of £300,000 and was technically a tour de force, with the first hydraulically powered lifts

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in the world, air conditioning, its own steampumped artesian well, hot and cold running water and WCs in every bedroom. The Prince of Wales continued to patronise The Langham, and it was de rigeur for visiting royalty and leaders to take up residence there. Even former heads of state were granted a gracious welcome, and Emperor Louis Napoleon III spent much of his last enforced exile from France at The Langham. By 1888, the hotel had gained a reputation for attracting the most cosmopolitan and fashionable visitors. The hotel’s Management set out their policy in a guide issued to visitors to London: “The Executive has striven to introduce the best points of the three systems – English, French and American; the object being to combine the comfort and discipline of the first with the elegance of the second and the organisation of the third.” The courtship of Mrs Wallis Simpson by Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, required the discretion only a hotel of maturity could call

upon. The Langham provided the scene of what is undoubtedly “the love story of the century”, and is testimony to the hotel’s genuine service philosophy. As history determined, the monarch abdicated, as he could not continue without the “help and support of the woman I love”. During WWII Sir Winston Churchill was often in attendance at The Langham when broadcasting messages to the nation via the BBC. The cumulative effects of direct and indirect bomb attacks during the Second World War eventually caused the public closure of The Langham in the 1940s. However, The Langham still continued to operate as a hotel for the journalists and guests of the BBC, and the Bolivar restaurant still traded. The BBC bought the hotel from The Langham Hotel Company in 1965 and The BBC Club restaurant and bar operated literally inside The Langham, attracting through the years actors, politicians, writers and other famous personalities. The hotel was earmarked for restoration in


HOTEL REVIEW 1986 when the BBC sold the property following planning consent by Westminster Council and the blessing of English Heritage, and four years in the re-making, The Langham was reopened on 4 March 1991 after a £100 million restoration that took over four years. Elegance and grandeur come to mind when you enter The Langham, and there is a constant smell of beautiful flowers. There is an open and airy reception where guests can check in, but to enhance our stay, we had been invited to use The Langham Club Lounge, which I highly recommend to anyone staying at the hotel, and which is where we were escorted to in order to check in to the hotel as it has its own check in area for guests, making one feel instantly like a VIP. Situated on the third floor, the lounge is divided into three areas, a brighter lounge area on the left hand side, a middle area known as The Butler’s Pantry, where you can enjoy culinary delights from The Langham’s three restaurants, along with Afternoon Tea, and a third seating area with comfortable banquets and chairs, which is where we spent most of our stay! We arrived at 2.30pm and although our room wasn’t quite ready (check in is 3pm), we were escorted to The Langham Club Lounge where we initially enjoyed a cup of tea, that led to Afternoon Tea, that led to a few glasses of champagne, and all before we had even unpacked! The lounge is so comfortable, and the service first class, that we honestly could have stayed there all evening! Afternoon Tea, which is served for a couple of hours in the afternoon, included a selection of sandwiches and rolls, delicious cakes and desserts (the lemon posset was to die for) and warm scones and clotted cream. We had to be slightly careful as we had a dinner reservation at The Landau by Roux, but had we not, we would have happily enjoyed more cakes and treats, as well as canapés, both hot and cold, that are served from 5pm - 8pm each evening. The Langham Lounge is also situated in the very area that we had our training rooms, so we literally felt we had gone from the ridiculous to the sublime! By reserving a Langham Club Room or by enhancing your stay with Langham Club Lounge access for £72 per adult and £25.00 per child (6-12 years, children under 6 are complimentary) within the online check-out, you will enjoy The Langham’s all-day complimentary service in The Langham Club Lounge. Having realised we had to leave The Club

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Lounge at some stage, we were escorted to our bedroom, which was beautifully decorated and appointed, and has very comfortable beds, we unpacked, changed, headed back to The Club Lounge for another drink and then made our way down to the re-named Roux at The Landau for dinner. Roux at The Landau sees father and son Albert and Michel Roux Jr working together for the first time in over 20 years, bringing the Roux’s legendary culinary expertise and creativity to their second West End address. For cinema lovers, you may have recently seen Burnt, a film starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller about a chef trying for his third Michelin star, which was filmed in this restaurant, and I think we may even have sat where Sienna’s daughter did in her scene in this restaurant! The entrance to the restaurant takes you through the vaulted wine corridor, where you can browse a selection of rare and unusual wines from around the world, and then you find yourself in a smart and classy restaurant. This restaurant has a lovely oval bay window, which is where we sat, and where we thoroughly enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal that included Onion Consommé, Madeira, parmesan tortellini, radicchio and Crisp Blue Prawns, mango, orange, lobster mayonnaise, coriander (apparently the blue prawns are the best quality prawns one can buy, and are blue in colour before being cooked). For our mains we chose Pumpkin Risotto, radicchio, walnuts, and Monkfish Tail, lardo, salsify, trompettes, red wine butter. Both were fresh and tasty and nicely presented. Amazingly, we still had room for dessert, and chose the Pear Tarte Tatin, walnut crumble, brandy ice cream and Bitter Chocolae Millefeuille, maple ice cream, salted pecans, perfect dishes to end a perfect day. The combined forces of Chef de Cuisine, Jamie Draper, and Restaurant Manager Franco Becci make a dream team that guarantees the highest standards of service and culinary excellence at this highly acclaimed restaurant. Artesian, The Langham’s well know bar, has won “The World’s Best Bar”for four consecutive years, as voted for by Drinks International, and has launched its innovative new cocktail menu ‘Surrealism’ allowing guests to delve into their subconscious. This remarkable bar is named after the 360ft-deep artesian well under the hotel and specialises in exclusive rum creations. Even the ice here is special - produced using the very

latest technology, Artesian’s ice is purer, colder and with a higher density, making it last longer and your cocktails cooler. The bar also offers All-Day Dining with gourmet bar treats. The dazzling Palm Court is famed as the place where the tradition of Afternoon Tea was born over 150 years ago, an indulgence that lives on today as Tiffin at The Langham. Serving Afternoon Tea to the cream of London since 1865, the dazzling Palm Court delights guests with a bespoke version of the afternoon tea tradition created by award winning Pastry Chef Cherish Finden. I was lucky enough to be treated to Afternoon Tea in Palm Court a few years ago, and I have to say it was one of the best, if not the best, I have ever had. Following a day or night of indulging in the various culinary delights on offer, those feeling guilty with regards to the high number of calories they may have consumed (and thoroughly enjoyed), The Langham offers its residents calorie burning facilities, with its 16-metre swimming pool, which luckily I had to myself and is large enough to feel that you have actually swum a length (as opposed to some hotels where you find yourself at the other end of the pool after just three strokes!), and I would happily have stayed in longer had we not had to check-out. There is also a fully equipped fitness centre with first-rate Technogym cardio and resistance equipment, free weights, steam rooms, a salt sauna and vitality pool. To complement these facilities there is the Chuan Spa, featuring innovative signature treatments steeped in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). All in all, we had a fantastic afternoon and evening at The Langham Hotel, which is part of The Leading Hotels of The World group, and I can not recommend it highly enough for a night’s stay, dinner at one of the restaurants, or drinks in Artesian. We both felt thoroughly at home, and were spoilt rotten by the staff, as the service throughout the hotel was exceptional. How very different it is now to 30 years ago! The Langham Hotel 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA Telephone: 020 7636 1000 www.langhamhotels.com

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UK SPORTS We review some major successes for British sport in this issue, and take a look at the current soccer scene, and England’s upcoming cricket tour of South Africa.

Tennis We have to start with Britain’s triumph in the Davis Cup, the world cup of tennis. The last time Britain won the Davis Cup was in 1936 when the British legends Fred Perry and Bunny Austin, supported by Raymond Tuckey and Patrick Hughes, defeated Australia 3-2 in the final at Wimbledon. Before the Second World War Britain had an enviable record in the Davis Cup, winning the title nine times between 1903 and 1936, and being runners up seven times between 1900 and 1937 – sixteen final appearances in thirty seven years! Since then only one final in 1978 when Britain lost to the United States 4-1. Pride of place naturally goes to Andy Murray who, almost on his own, gained Britain this historic victory. Naturally, there was support from the doubles pairings throughout the tournament, notably Andy’s older brother, Jaimie, and it should also be remembered that without James Ward’s magnificent and unexpected singles victory over America’s John Isner in an earlier round, when he came back from 2 sets down to win 3-2, Britain would not have made the final, as we lost the doubles rubber to the Bryan brothers. Murray returned to represent Britain in the Davis Cup in 2013. Since then he has won 18 points from a possible 21, and his Davis Cup record reads won 31, lost 7, which compares very well to the great Fred Perry (W45 L7) and Bunny Austin (W36 L12). Murray and the Great Britain team well deserved their victory having eliminated the United States, France and Australia before defeating Belgium in the final in Ghent. Murray’s two singles victories and the doubles win with his brother, dropping only one set in the doubles match, gave Britain a 3-1 final win. We must hope that Andy’s dedication to the Great Britain team will continue – without him it could be another seventy nine years before we get it back again!!

Golf, Boxing, Cycling and Formula 1 Our congratulations go to Rory McIlroy who won golf’s Race to Dubai final standings, the European end of season title. It was close with Andy Sullivan swopping the lead with McIlroy during the final round, but Rory prevailed by one shot. In Boxing, Britain has a new heavyweight champion of the world. Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitchko on points. Klitchko had been multiple world champion of the heavyweight 30

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division holding all four world titles (don’t ask!) over nine years but, at the age of 39, he looked past his best. Will there be a rematch? Klitchko had such a clause in his contract and it is a possibility. In cycling, Lizzie Armistead, silver medallist in the 2012 London Olympics road race, won gold and the coveted rainbow jersey in the world road race championship. Lizzie became the fourth British woman to do so after Beryl Burton (1960 and 1967), Mandy Jones (1982), and Nicole Cooke (2008). She had won the World Cup series in the last two seasons but this was her first medal, and a gold to boot, at the world championships. Once again Lewis Hamilton reigned supreme in the Formula 1 world championship retaining the title he won in 2014. Hamilton won his latest title with several races to spare, and dominated the season with his Mercedes team mates. Our congratulations go to all the above British sports men and woman. Well, so much for the good news – now:

The Solheim Cup Congratulations to the USA team winning back the Solheim Cup from the Europeans. Trailing by 10 points to 6 after the first two days of four balls and foursomes, the American team stormed back in the final day’s singles, winning eight matches, halving one and losing only three, giving the USA a 14 ½ - 13 ½ victory. In many ways the European team brought disaster on themselves. It has always been a tradition with Solheim Cup (and, indeed, Ryder Cup) matches that they are played very competitively but also with great sportsmanship. Regrettably, a situation developed on the second day that breached that latter tradition. In a fourball match between Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull (Europe) and Alison Lee and Brittany Lincicome (USA), the score was level at the 17th hole. Lee had a 12 foot putt to win the hole but hit the putt some 16 inches past the hole. Lee then picked up her ball and Hull started to walk off the green. Pettersen, however, claimed that the putt had not been conceded and claimed the hole for the Europeans. The eighteenth hole was halved and Europe took the winning point. The American captain, Judy Inkster, was incandescent with rage and was heard to say “If that’s the way you want it, let’s go”! America’s Lee, playing in her first Solheim Cup, and Europe’s 19 year old Hull, were in floods of tears. Europe’s captain, Carin Koch, came under severe criticism for not intervening. Should she have instructed Pettersen, the senior player in the European pair, to concede the eighteenth hole making a draw the outcome for the match? Many thought she should have done so. Laura

Davies who had appeared in twelve Solheim Cups for Europe, said“I’m disgusted”and“How Suzann can justify that I will never, ever know. She has let herself down and she has certainly let her team down……….If the USA go on to win, there’s only one person to blame”. Well, that’s exactly what happened. The American team was so fired up by the incident that they did not need any motivation from their captain! Your writer, although a European Brit, believes justice was done!

Rugby World Cup Well, as previewed in our previous edition, we had looked forward to reporting on a great tournament for England, but all we can say is that the team were hopeless!! A win against Fiji was followed by defeats against Wales (disaster) and Australia before a consolation win against Uruguay. Eliminated at the Group stage! Not in the script! The Welsh showed so much more determination and desire, even when down to fourteen men and half the team playing out of position due to injuries, and the Australians were simply in a different class. Rather like the England cricket team that underwent a complete change of management after the disastrous ODI World Cup and tour of the West Indies, so the same has now happened with the England rugby team. Out went Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, and in came Australian Eddie Jones, who had such a successful time with Japan in the World Cup and who also has considerable experience in Australia and South Africa. Jones quickly sacked Lancaster’s assistant coaches Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt, and is assembling a new team of, probably, Steve Borthwick, Paul Gustard and Alex King. New brooms seem to be doing well with the cricket team; let’s hope the same will apply to our rugby team.

Cricket The England tour against Pakistan, played in the United Arab Emirates for security reasons, went reasonably well. Although England lost the three match Test series 2-0 with one drawn, the One Day International and Twenty20 squads did very well winning the former series 3-1 and the latter 3-0. Spin bowling was always going to be a dominant factor in the UAE conditions and England have yet to find a world class spinner since the retirement of Graeme Swann. England are now in South Africa where the conditions will be very different. Fast bowling is usually the key to success on the hard pitches there. England are still looking for a permanent opening batsman to partner captain Alistair Cook. Moeen Ali failed to stake his claim in the UAE Test matches, but Alex Hales did well in the ODI and T20 series and it looks as though he


UK SPORTS will be given the nod in this Test series. Ian Bell, a regular over many years, has been dropped and England continue to develop new talent, James Taylor being the latest batsman to show good form in the UAE.

Soccer The England team have been given a reasonably favourable draw in the Group stage of the 2016 European Championships being partnered with Russia, Wales and Slovakia. Having won all their qualifying games, England should be favourites to win their Group and progress to the Round of 16 knock out stage. England start their campaign against Russia on 11 June with the final being played on Sunday 10 July. In the European Champions League Round of 16, Arsenal have drawn tournament favourites and current champions Barcelona; Chelsea have drawn Paris St-Germain for the third consecutive season, and Manchester City will play Dynamo Kiev. Very hard for Arsenal and Chelsea, but City should get through. In the Europa League Round of 32, Manchester United, who failed to qualify from the Champions League Group stage, will play Midtjylland (and we have no idea how you pronounce that!), Tottenham Hotspur will play Fiorentina and Liverpool meet Augsburg. All these European knock out stage matches will take place in February.

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In the Premiership the Leicester City dream continues and, at the time of writing, they lead the Division by two points from Arsenal with Manchester City a further point behind, and Manchester United six points adrift. Chelsea, the current champions, continue to languish just outside the relegation zone with fifteen points from sixteen games and nine defeats – unbelievable. We commented on possible reasons for this demise in our last issue, but now Head Coach, Jose Mourinho, has turned from blaming his lady doctor to his players! After the latest defeat at Leicester City he declared that his team had“betrayed”him, that he had“worked four days on this match”and“prepared everything related to the opponent”; he went on to claim that “last season I did an amazing job and I brought players to a level that is not their level and if this is true, I brought them to such a level that they couldn’t keep it up ….” Make of that what you will, but for a manager to blame everybody else for performance problems and be scathing of other managers whom he believes are inferior to himself, a little self reflection might be helpful! Anyway, Chelsea apart, the Premiership could be an exciting and close competition this season with leading teams continually dropping points here and there. Could Leicester City under ex-Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri bring off the surprise of the century? Read our next issue.

Sportswomen of the Year Awards Once again, the Sunday Times sponsored these awards and the event showed what a great array of leading sportswomen we have in Britain. Jessica Ennis-Hill won the Sportswoman of the Year award with Lizzie Armistead (mentioned earlier) second and Lizzy Yarnold the Skeleton bobsleigh eventer third. Dina Asher-Smith, whom we have featured in a number of articles, won the Young Sportswoman of the Year Award. England’s hockey team became European champions and won the Vitality Team of the Year. Jordanne Whiley won the US Open singles wheelchair tennis championship and won the Disabled Sportswoman of the Year Award. Special awards went to Liverpool Homeless Football Club (Community Award), Annie Zaidi (the Helen Rollason Inspiration Award) for coaching her under 10s football team, and Enid Bakkewell (Lifetime Achievement Award) for her contribution to cricket – she is still playing at the age of 75! Our congratulations go to all the winners and all the other sportswomen who were nominated for the awards. We hope our readers have enjoyed another year of British sport and we wish you all a very happy, healthy, sport-full 2016.

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Gorgeous Gustavo Dudamel conducts, photo credit Susana Sanroman, courtesy Barbican Press Office

TAKE FIVE

Icebreakers by Judith Schrut

If your New Year’s resolution was “Out with the Old, In from the Cold”, let us help you break the ice and turn up the heat with our winning winter warmers.

1. Musical Moments With hundreds of dedicated live music venues, it’s no wonder music lovers think of Britain as Music Heaven. When it comes to classical, jazz, rock, country, world or fusion, this may be a small island, but it’s one with a vast and vibrant music scene. Whilst few would call it beautiful, London’s Barbican Centre boasts a fair share of excellent music spaces and ushers in the New Year with a glorious glut of world class orchestras, bands, choirs and solo artists. For readers not yet familiar, the Barbican is a 35-acre art, culture and residential complex in the heart of London’s financial district, built over an area left devastated by World War II bombs. It’s now home to the London and BBC Symphony Orchestras, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Museum of London, Royal Shakespeare Company and includes concert 32

American In Britain

halls, cinemas, a theatre, and a major art gallery as well as shops, pubs and restaurants, several hundred luxury apartments, magical roof gardens, a manmade lake with fountains and possibly the best public library in the UK. For its inaugural 2016 season, the Barbican warmly welcomes top musical Americans to Britain with another in its unique series of international residencies. February sees celebrated soprano Renee Fleming take her turn in the Artist Spotlight, with exceptional masterclasses, recitals and performances of works composed especially for “America’s reigning diva”. Next to arrive will be the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, bringing the legendary Wynton Marsalis to British shores for a residency of superb concerts and educational events, including a jazz creative learning day and the European premiere of “Our Love is Here to Stay-- The George Gershwin Songbook”. March winds blow in the gorgeous and inspirational Gustavo Dudamel, one of the world’s most exciting conductors, for a residency with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Their programme features a concert of great American music north

and south, plus an orchestra of young musicians from East London and Los Angeles which is sure to be a transatlantic triumph. Just as we were going to press, we received some very special news about an extraordinary UK musical event coming this spring to a music arena near you. The Sessions will be a live re-staging of the Beatles at Abbey Road Studios and will tour 11 UK venues after its sold-out world premiere at the Royal

The Beatles are Back, Live! The Sessions tours the UK, photo credit StuFish, courtesy Borkowski Arts & Ents


TAKE FIVE Albert Hall. Described as “part blockbuster stage show, part access-all-areas musical documentary”, The Sessions is set in a stateof-the-art reproduction of the Beatles’ famed Studios. The event promises breathtaking, musically spectacular new live renditions of those timeless albums recorded by the Beatles at Abbey Road, and will take you on a thrilling, historically authentic voyage through music history. Whether you were lucky enough to see John, Paul, George and Ringo first time round as a screaming teenager, or missed them because you weren’t yet born, this amazing gig sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime. Finally, if you have an insatiable appetite for quality music but need to keep costs down in the post-festive period, we have good news for you: there’s lots of fabulous live music to enjoy for free. There are concerts in atmospheric and acoustically brilliant churches every day of the year; our favourites include St James Piccadilly, St Martin in the Fields and St Albans Cathedral. Sample some Friday evening music at the Southbank Centre, live jazz with breathtaking views of London’s skyline each evening at the Oxo Tower Brasserie, and nightly blues and soul at Ain’t Nothing but the Blues Bar in Soho. And we highly recommend the lunchtime concerts by students and graduates at the Royal College of Music and Free on Fridays at the Royal Academy of Music, a chance to hear top artists of the future perform in the inspiring environs of the Academy’s Duke’s Hall, with its wall to wall portraits and sumptuous organ funded by former student Sir Elton John. Further information: www.barbican.org.uk www.thesessionslive.com

2. Cozy Culture We think a winter’s outing to one of Britain’s 2,500 museums and art galleries is a perfect way to cheat the chill and cut those frosty feelings down to size. Many of the 100 million-plus annual museum and gallery visitors express surprise and delight to find the vast majority can be visited absolutely free. Scotland is home to some of Britain’s familyfriendliest museums. Glasgow’s Science Centre and Kelvingrove Gallery and Edinburgh’s Museum of Childhood and National Museum of Scotland are all enchanting places to while away a winter’s day, whatever your age or interest. Fine art, arms and armour, a suspended Spitfire and Sir Roger the Elephant aside, look out for one of Kelvingrove’s most popular exhibits, the Beehive, designed to allow the bees in and out of the building. If you have a penchant for curiosities and unusual treasures, Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum is a must. It displays one man’s (Augustus Pitt Rivers) obsessive collecting over a lifetime of exploration and discovery. The sheer quantity of stuff here becomes evident as soon as you step inside the main hall, where www.theamericanhour.com

glass cabinets brimming with exhibits fill the walls and floors from top to bottom. Most visitors end up finding at least one object they wish they could take home with them. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London’s South Kensington is unreservedly the world’s greatest museum of art and design. The V&A, as it’s affectionately known, houses 145 galleries and nearly 3 million objects from around the world and across the ages, from breathtaking jewellery, glass, theatre and performance collections to vast and glorious displays of gold, silver, fashion, ceramics and much, much more. Last year’s McQueen: Savage Beauty show attracted a record number of visitors and this spring’s major shows, Botticelli Re-imagined and Undressed: a Brief History of Underwear look set to repeat the success. Photography lovers won’t want to miss the major Paul Strand retrospective and groundbreaking Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron’s bicentenary show. Be sure to check out the newly-opened, state of the art Europe 1600-1800 Galleries, and have tea and scones in the oldest museum restaurant in the world, designed by none other than William Morris. Yes, it’s a BIG place, so if you are not sure what to see first, the V&A’s free daily guided tours are an ideal way to start. The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich salutes Samuel Pepys in a landmark exhibition, Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution. Mr Pepys was a 17th century writer, socialite, gossip, renowned lover of culture, music and women. But he is best remembered for his frank and detailed diaries, bringing contemporary London to life in one of the most interesting, exciting and turbulent times in British history, from the execution of King Charles I to the Plague, the Great Fire of London and the Anglo-Dutch wars. This winter, the British Library celebrates the 150th birthday of the world’s most famous girl called Alice, with a charming exhibition marking the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. This is a unique chance to view Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript alongside works of illustrators, artists, musicians and filmmakers who have interpreted this best beloved classic in a variety of surprising ways while still remaining true to the original story. Alice fans may also know that the author had an entirely separate life as an Oxford University maths professor. The many mathematical allusions in Alice will be unearthed at exhibition events like the Festival of the Spoken Nerd, an interactive evening of live comedy, music and experiments which will reveal the “mathmagical” meanings of the Caterpillar, Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat in a spectacularly and unashamedly geeky adventure. The Tate siblings - Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives are always full of temptations for art lovers, with their hugely popular and unparalleled

Joey from War Horse at the V&A John Madejski Garden, photo courtesy V&A Images

Henri Matisse, The Snail, 1953, copyright Succession Henri Matisse_DACS 2015, courtesy Tate Press Office

The New Tate Modern, opening 2016, photo copyright Hayes Davidson, Herzog & de Meuron, courtesy Tate Press Office

collections of historic and modern masterpieces set in superb spaces. But 2016 has to be the year of Tate Modern, which sees a complete re-hang of permanent works, major shows dedicated to art trailblazers including Americans Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keefe and Robert Rauschenberg, and the opening of the ‘new’ Tate Modern in June. Its much-anticipated, revolutionary expansion will add ten stories and multiple galleries of cutting edge design, event and display space. Further information: www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/ kelvingrove www.vam.ac.uk www.tate.org.uk www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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Walt Disney’s Aladdin comes to London, photo by Deen van Meer

3. Best In Show British theatre burns bright any time of year but seems to have an especial glow in the chillier season. Whether your fires are best lit by toasty and traditional pantomime, steamy and serious drama or toe tapping, soul warming musicals, UK Theatreland has much on show this winter to counter the iciest frost. For one of the new year’s hottest tickets we’re putting our dollars and pence on a stunning 50th anniversary revival of the musical Funny Girl. Multi-talented wunderkind Sheridan Smith (Cilla, Mrs Biggs), brings the life and loves of Broadway’s Fanny Brice to the London stage complete with showstopping numbers like Don’t Rain on my Parade and People. The show opened recently to 5-star accolades at the superb but tiny, off-West End Menier Chocolate Factory, where its entire run sold out in 90 minutes. No surprise then to find it’s transferring to the West End’s Savoy Theatre in April. Until then, you can enjoy the brassy bravado of gamblers, gangsters and goniffs in Guys and Dolls at the Savoy. This is one not to miss, with a vivacious cast led by rising star Jamie Parker and vibrant choreography by Royal Ballet’s Carlos Acosta. You can also catch the show as it turns Britain’s top regional theatres into New York gambling dens during an extensive national tour. Hot on its heels comes the UK premiere of Walt Disney’s Aladdin the Musical, the Tony award-winning Broadway smash show from producers of the Lion King. Con-genie-ally 34

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combining beauty, comedy and breathtaking spectacle, this looks destined for huge success, with former SugaBabe Jade Eden and heartthrob Dean John Wilson taking lead roles. The whole family will also love the classic and multipleaward winning, Goodnight Mister Tom. Fresh from a triumphant festive season in the West End, the show will be on an extensive tour of top regional venues including Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and Glasgow. This is the unforgettable story of a young boy evacuated from the dangers of World War II London to idyllic British countryside and his moving friendship with the elderly recluse, Tom. If initial reviews are anything to go by, (e.g., “theatre doesn’t get much better than this”), the Kenneth Branagh Theatre will be unmissable in its debut season at the Garrick, London. This is a unique chance to see outstanding young thespian talent alongside national treasures such as Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Zoe Wanamaker, Adrian Lester, Rob Brydon and the great Kenneth himself in sizzling productions like Romeo and Juliet and Red Velvet. 2016 also looks like a vintage year to celebrate Shakespeare, with the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. Centrepiece of festivities will be Shakespeare’s Globe-produced The Complete Walk. Over the weekend of 23-24 April, the Walk will feature the UK’s top actors in specially-created short films, one for each of Will’s plays, showing free and continuously throughout the weekend on 37 outdoor screens along London’s riverside, from Westminster

Bridge to Tower Bridge. The weekend will also mark the return of the unprecedented world tour of Hamlet, which will play on the Globe stage for four final performances, after an extraordinary two years performing in every country in the world. Further information: www.menierchocolatefactory.com www.branaghtheatre.com www.shakespearesglobe.com Goodnight Mister Tom, Key Image


TAKE FIVE

4. Food For Thought If you fancy your chances as the next Masterchef or just want a worthy excuse to spend winter cooking up a storm in a warm kitchen, here are some mouthwatering ideas to tickle your tastebuds. In addition to incomparable cookware shops in London’s Marylebone and Kensington, Divertimenti’s splendid Cookery School has a big choice of culinary learning options for amateurs, enthusiasts and accomplished cooks alike. There are multi-part courses covering cook’n bake basics, hands-on masterclasses with top chefs and dozens of workshops with alluring titles like Marmalade: A Bittersweet Collection, Passage to Persia, Sushi for your Valentine, and Cooking with Spice and Love. Re-discover the lost art of home cheesemaking at the Cutting the Curd masterclass or create your own edible gifts on the Homemade Baked Presents course. There are also wine and beer tasting classes, joyful ‘sipping and supping’ foodie walks, workshops for young people and many other imaginative learning events. Also kicking off 2016’s kitchen calendar is an exciting new cookery school from the good folks at Bourne & Hollingsworth Group. B&H Kitchen aims to share expert techniques, seasonal recipes and ingredient knowledge in a beautifully designed space equipped with the latest kitchenware and technology in ubertrendy Clerkenwell. Courses range from knife skills and butchery to sausage-making and fish-scaling and filleting. If your preferred kitchen (pardon the pun) role is as taster and tester rather than chef de cuisine or bottle washer, there are plenty of alternatives to whet your appetite. Michelin-starred Arbutus in Soho starts the foodie year in style with an innovative series of Wine Wars. Wine and food lovers are invited to join in the monthly fun as restaurant co-founder Will Smith challenges top wine experts to find the most perfect wines to pair with Arbutus’ menus. As well having the chance to sample scrumptious dishes like Seven Hour Beef or Burrata with Watermelon as part of a 4-course themed dinner, participating wine warriors will be able to vote on their favourite regional wines to match each dish. For the dedicated chocoholic, Cocoa Runners, purveyors of fine artisan chocolate from around the globe, are hosting monthly Chocolate Salons set in the dramatic vaults of the Winemakers Club. January’s Salon showcases the best of Dark Milks, while February pits France versus USA, featuring cocoa creations from a fabulous new breed of American chocolate-makers and their tri-coloured rival chocolatiers and chocolatieresses. Making a timely entrance for those of our readers with New Year’s resolutions aimed at melting that post-Christmas pudding podge, is Detox Kitchen’s new flagship deli and fitness www.theamericanhour.com

Chocoholic’s Delight,Tasting Treats from Cocoa Runners

studio in Fitzrovia. Founder Lily Simpson, whose original, hugely successful Detox Kitchen has been attracting health-conscious UK celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophie Dahl, looks like she’s on to a sure winner here, combining delicious healthy food with exercise in a relaxing environment. The ground floor deli greets customers with an astonishing floor-toceiling living wall of herbs and fresh fruit, comfy leather seating, low level lighting and art work by talented locals, whilst the downstairs studio offers body and spirit temptations from calming yoga to high intensity fitness training. Further information: www.divertimenti.co.uk/Cookery_school www.cocoarunners.com

5. Whym It Last but certainly not least, something new, exciting, and perfect for those with a love of the last minute as well as those who dream of being more spontaneous but aren’t keen on taking risks. Imagine a day out in London with a twist. Let’s say it’s a Saturday afternoon and you are in the middle of Trafalgar Square, it’s chilly but the sun is shining and you feel like doing something a bit different but aren’t sure exactly what. That’s where Whym comes in. It’s an utterly unique, first-ever App that can connect you, wherever you are, with exclusive last-minute and discounted tickets for tours, theatres and top attractions. From individual experiences to day trips and evening entertainment, Whym aims to be the personal ‘concierge’ on your smartphone. Simple to use and with instant mobile ticketing, we think Whym will inspire you to step out and do something different, on a whim...! So it’s, 1:30pm and what’s next? Swiping through the app you might see there’s a Gin and Food Markets Bike Tour heading out from near Waterloo in half an hour, just enough time to walk over the bridge to the start point! With four tickets available at half price it’s a tempting offer and promises to whisk you on two wheels to the hidden gems and artisan industries of South London. Later today there is a guided art tour going on in the National Gallery located right behind you, good to know. Maybe next

time! Further down Whym you spot a high speed Thames Boat Trip with a special price on that afternoon’s departures. Whym’s inbuilt mapping lays out directions to the pier making it easy to find your way. Booking on the spot through the App ensures you won’t have to line up at the ticket booth upon arrival. Many of us have queued at the same-day theatre ticket booth TKTS in Leicester Square or Brent Cross. Traditionally TKTS have held a monopoly on last minute deals on shows around the West End. No longer! Whym will enable you to get the best available discounted tickets on your phone direct from theatre box offices. No more need to scoff your meal down quickly to leave the restaurant and dash to Leicester Square to arrange your evening entertainment in a state of stress. With all major shows and many other productions at your fingertips you‘ll be able to get some great last minute tickets at up to 60% off. In 3 taps your tickets are booked and ready for collection at the box office when you arrive. With dozens of last minute offers at any time you’re sure to find something for every age, taste and occasion. Whym is currently available for London and Paris, with Rome and other locations coming soon. And we’ve nabbed an exclusive offer for our lovely readers: you can get a further 10% off your first Whym experience by using code AIB. Further information: www.getwhym.com Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. Have we missed anything you think our readers should definitely know about this winter? Email Judith at judith0777@gmail.com.

Borough Market Tour by Bike, photo courtesy of Whym

Speedboat on the Thames, photo courtesy of Whym

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Famous Grouse Distillery

A Letter from Scotland by Yvonne Willcocks

2015 has been promoted as the “Scottish Year of Food & Drink”. Although Scotland may not head the list of countries famed for their gastronomic prowess, it is making serious efforts to improve the situation. As regards ‘Drink’, Scotland is certainly a world leader with Scotch Whisky exported around the globe. In its earliest form whisky was prepared in small quantities with local ‘stills’ but it was pretty raw stuff. 1491 is the earliest traced reference to ‘whisky’ when Friar John Cor of Lindores Monastery in Fife bought barley malt to make ‘aqua vitae’(strong water) for the brethren. However over the years, when quality was improved, it became more widely acceptable and a taxable commodity! This in turn gave rise to widespread smuggling to avoid the ‘excise men’ and local production was a risky operation in secluded glens. Scotch Whisky became a favourite tipple worldwide, particularly in the United States. So much so that, when prohibition was brought in, the loss of trade crippled the business for many years. To widen our knowledge of ‘Scotch’ we visited “The Famous Grouse Experience”, a visitor-friendly attraction with a modern café and gift shop. It is tucked away in a wooded valley where the waters from Loch Glenturret tumble down to the old ‘droving’ town of Crieff in the county of Perth. This distillery has its origins as far back as 1800 when Matthew Gloag 36

American In Britain

opened his licensed grocery store in the city of Perth. Previously he had worked at nearby Scone Palace and was called upon to supply provisions when Queen Victoria visited in 1842. Like so many others, the family business prospered during the Victorian era. Benefitting from the popularity of shooting parties from August (the Glorious 12th) to December, the brand name “Grouse” was introduced for their house whisky, which was so popular it later became “The Famous Grouse”. Partly due to consolidation in the spirits business, the family became a partner in Highland Distillers in 1970 and sales rose from 100,000 cases a year to one million cases by 1979, and double this by 1989, making it Scotland’s favourite whisky. The buildings of the Glenturret Distillary are guarded by a massive metal grouse ‘sculpture’. We joined a tour group that followed the progress of barley, water and yeast through distillation and re-distillation to eventually produce alcohol of up to 70 percent alcohol by volume (abv). The choice of ingredients and process of distillation in massive, shining copper vats requires years of training and experience. The end product is stored in barrels previously used for sherry production, but it must be aged for at least three years to be entitled to call itself, ‘Scotch Whisky’. At this stage the whisky is a ‘single malt’, in this case named“Glenturret”, which is only available at specialist outlets. However, the majority of

World’s Largest Bottle of Whisky Guinness Book of Records

Scotch Whiskys are ‘blends’ produced from the products of different distilleries across Scotland. Here, the best-known is “The Famous Grouse” which blends The Glenturret with other single malts like The Macallan, Highland Park, and The Glenrothes. Variations of blending have also produced, “The Black Grouse” and “The Snow Grouse”, each with its own distinctive flavour. The tour ends with a tasting in the presence of the world’s biggest bottle of whisky (according to The Guiness Book of Records). Turning from the oldest to the newest whisky distillery in Scotland, we also visited Kingsbarns, situated on the eastern coast of Fife, a few miles south of St Andrews, and next door to Cambo House where the snowdrops are such an attraction in the Spring. In fact the distillary site was previously the farm complex for the Cambo Estate.


A LETTER FROM SCOTLAND

Kingsbarns Distillery - copper still

Kingsbarns - distillery production machinery

Kingsbarns old tiled ‘doocot’ with the very first cask - matured by 2018!

We were shown round by Douglas Clement, whose dream to have a distillery at Kingsbarns grew from his experience as a caddy at nearby Kingsbarns Golf Course where visitors, especially Americans, asked where they could visit a Scotch distillery. The nearest was 50 miles away! Douglas put his dream of a distillery and visitor attraction to the distinguished local Wemyss family (pronounced ‘Weems’) whose ancestral home, Wemyss Castle, is nearby. As they already had links with the whisky industry, and the barley needed for malting is grown on their land, the dream was a perfect fit. It took three years of planning with architects, engineers, designers and leading whisky specialists, to bring to fruition Douglas’s ‘Dream to Dram’, which opened to visitors just a year ago. The impressive ‘gothic’ west frontage of the farm complex has been retained, and the reception entrance has been remodelled from the circular ‘horse-gin’ originally used as a power source for the farm. The original ‘doocot’ (dovecote) is another feature that has been retained because the pigeon-holes are made of tiles originally used as ballast by Dutch trading vessels. Most of the remainder of the site has been completely redesigned in tasteful modern style including a café and shop. The tour for visitors includes the gleaming-clean distillery area with polished copper stills and other machinery, and a display area of the history and production of whisky, while upstairs is an elegant tasting-room to end the tour. There are many whisky distilleries around Scotland, each with its own flavours, including those with a ‘peaty’ taste from the local water source. Some devotees go to great lengths to taste and collect as many whisky varieties as possible. One Brazilian whisky enthusiast, Claive Vidis, started collecting in the 1970’s and over 35 years eventually amassed more than 3,500 bottles of different whiskys! In 2006, this collection was bought by the distiller Diagio, and in 2009 it found its home at “The Scotch Whisky Experience” on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, just near the Castle, where it has its own fabulous display room. In addition to single malts and blended Scotch

Whiskys, there is a wide range of Scottish liqueurs that are quite individual and can compete with those from other countries. Probably the bestknown is Drambuie, which is whisky-based and marketed as the‘choice of Bonnie Prince Charlie’. Others have a honey ingredient making them smooth and sweeter, for example ‘Stag’s Breath’ from Badenoch, ‘Athol Brose’ from Dunkeld and ‘Bruadar’ which is the Gaelic for ‘dream’. A good variety of these after-dinner nectars can be found at Historic Scotland’s larger castles like Edinburgh and Stirling. Linking Scottish drink to Scottish food is the traditional Burns’ Night ceremony of ‘Piping in the Haggis’ with bagpipes and toasting it with a dram of Scotch! Haggis is considered the national dish of Scotland and generally served with ‘neeps and tatties’ (mashed turnips and potatoes). In spite of it being the butt of many a joke, it has been approved as nutritious and virtually fat-free. During the time when cattle were driven down from the mountains to markets in the lowlands, haggis was a favourite standby for the drovers to take along as they could not always be sure of getting other food on the way. It is made from cow’s liver, heart and lungs and cooked in a stock with minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt. Recently the humble haggis has achieved celebrity status with masterchefs inventing the ‘haggis tower’ by using an empty soup-can stuffed with a layer of cooked haggis, plus layers of the ‘tatties and neeps’. After removing the can,

the tower is surrounded by a ‘moat’ of rich gravy. Sadly, following the BSE epidemic in Europe, the importation of haggis into the United States has been banned since 1971. During the last few years Farmers’ Markets have sprung up around Scotland. In addition to fresh local produce, venison and Highland Cattle steaks are generally available. One particularly Scottish ready-cooked delicacy is the “Arbroath Smokie”, which is a haddock smoked over smouldering beechwood chips. Due to its heritage and the exceptional methods used, this name is protected by EU law. At the‘smokery’the fish are first salted, then pairs are tied together and hung on racks over a slow fire in a kiln. For Farmers’ Markets a miniature smokery is set up in a barrel. The smoky smell from the ‘kiln’ drifts away from the market and gently summons the public to come and enjoy the feast. Scotland is of course well-known for salmon farming in the many ‘sea-lochs’ around its coast, and its smoked salmon is a widely-used delicacy found in hors d’oeuvres, cocktail snacks, starters and main dishes. The Scottish contribution to the soup course is from Moray in the NorthEast of the country - a hearty fisherman’s soup called ‘cullen skink’, the main ingredient being ‘finnen haddie’, (smoked haddock) cooked with milk, potatoes and onions. Finally, moving on to the bakery/dessert/ fruit/cheese part of the menu, Scotland has contributed generously with rich Dundee Cake, Oatcakes and Shortbread in many varieties.

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Kingsbarns 18th century facade

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DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY

DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY

Drusillas Park Drusillas Park is a fantastic day out for the whole family. The park is located in Alfriston, East Sussex, just outside Brighton, so it’s perfect for a family day out or as part of a weekend away. On a cold and windy day in late November, we took our 3 children aged, 11, 9 and 5 years to Drusillas Park and were thoroughly entertained by all the attractions on offer. We had booked ahead to avoided the queues and walked straight in! With our entry pack we received a complete Guide Book and map of the park so that we could plan our visit ahead of time. The pack also included ‘Animal Spotter’ books which our children loved. We recorded all the animals that we ‘spotted’ on our way around the zoo-route and had great fun stamping the pages at the various stamper stations situated throughout the zoo. From flamingos to fruit bats and meerkats to monkeys, there is something for everyone! There is a walk-through aviary so you can get up close to the rainbow lorikeets and parrots, and in Lemurland we came nose to nose with ring-tailed lemurs! If you time it right you can watch the animals being fed at the Keeper Talks which run throughout the day. Drusillas Park also offer the opportunity for you to be a Zoo Keeper for the Day. This one-to-one experience enables you to discover what it is like to feed, clean and care for all the various animals in the park. A real insight into the working lives of keepers and their day to day work. The perfect treat for anyone who is mad about animals! We had great fun taking part in the ‘Zoolympics’ challenge measuring our longest jump, highest climb and loudest shouts to mention just a few! Each child had their own booklet to record their scores - nothing beats a bit of healthy competition! After many happy hours viewing all the wildlife we entered the first play area, ‘Go Wild’ and our children did exactly that! We took the opportunity of warming up with a steamy cup of Starbucks coffee and freshly made doughnuts while we let them burn off some energy. They could climb, swing, slide and jump to their hearts content! Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to experience the indoor Amazon Adventure soft play area as we were intent on getting to the next big attraction - Hello Kitty’s Secret Garden! Throughout the year there are various themed attractions and we were lucky enough to be there when the Hello Kitty theme was in full swing. Our 5 year old daughter was in heaven! At this point we split into two groups. The boys went for a ride in the Thomas train followed by a climb up the Vertical limit. Meanwhile the www.theamericanhour.com

Drusillas Park

girls went for the ‘Hello Kitty experience’. After a circuit of the Hello Kitty car ride, a few spins in the tea cups and a hair-raising experience in the 25 foot Hopper, we went for a pampering session in Hello Kitty’s parlour. The beautiful Hello Kitty House features Hello Kitty’s very own bedroom which is a dream for any Hello Kitty fan. At 20 events throughout the year you can even meet Hello Kitty herself in her bedroom and even though we missed this our daughter loved the Hello Kitty wallpaper, Hello Kitty duvet set and Hello Kitty luggage! For a small charge you can have your face painted, hair accessorised and decorate yourself with some temporary tattoos. As it was getting close to Christmas, there was also the chance to meet two of Santa’s reindeers! Rudolph’s relatives, Angel and Twinkle, were ‘meeting and greeting’ visitors throughout the day in the Events Arena. Of course, no Christmas visit would be complete without the ‘star attraction’. For an additional charge of £10 children could meet Santa in his cosy Christmas Cottage and receive an early Christmas gift. As dusk fell, we ended the day with the Winter Wonderland Illuminations. The dazzling display starts at 4:30pm daily and incorporates an animal themed light show which is synchronised to music. A magical end to a perfect day! For further information visit: ww.drusillas.co.uk Drusillas Park, Alfriston East Sussex, BN26 5QS T: 01323 874112

Hello Kitty ride

Lory Landing

Go Wild!

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The London Dungeon The first time I visited the original London Dungeon was as a teenager back in the early 1990’s, when it was based at Tooley Street near London Bridge. Now in its’ relatively new location, by The London Eye at County Hall on the South Bank, I have been keen to take my teenage sons to see if it scares them as much as it scared me back then! The set up is very different to the original Dungeon, which was more like a museum. From the beginning, known ominously as ‘The Descent’, you have the sense that the experience is going to be a large portion of fun with a tinge of terror, and as I was descending, I chuckled to myself at the bemusing screams of the tourists accompanying us. The format is now highly interactive, involving you, as part of an audience, travelling to sets depicting various highlights (or rather low points) from London’s gruesome past, which are then brought cleverly to life by professional actors with a good dose of humour and a generous helping of gory detail. An atmospheric ‘boat ride’ to Traitor’s Gate is enlivened with tales of Henry VIII sending traitors to the Tower, to meet their fate. Moving on a step in history we learned the fascinating story of Guy Fawkes and the gruesome details of his demise. After this a meeting with‘The Torturer’ injects a real flavor of the ‘horror’ I remembered from the original Dungeon. The showcasing of various instruments of torture is certainly not for the faint hearted, and as the details unfold, unsuspecting ‘volunteers’ are plucked from the crowd to help bring it all to life! A walk past disease-ridden house and piles of corpses brings you into the era of The Great Plague, and one of my highlights of the Dungeon- an audience with the (dead) Dr’s Assistant. She was hugely entertaining and humorous, whilst managing to evoke the desperate plight of Londoners during this period. We then moved to another favourite performance: Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop. As you may know from the famous story, Mrs. Lovett, who idolised the infamous barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd, created pies from the victims remains. We then get to meet the man himself, but I won’t spoil the surprise for you! Next stop are the old streets of Whitechapel to hear about Jack The Ripper, and his horrific appetite for murder. Lastly, we were sent to the Judge, where to my delight and the awkward embarrassment of my son, he was sent to the dock for ‘touching ladies bottoms’! The actors and actresses really make this experience. Their costumes are excellent and they manage to engage the audience throughout with their quick wit, humour and fascinating details. The journey is fast paced, and once I got over the smell (which I figure is an important part of the realistic re-creation!), I thoroughly enjoyed each of the scenes, enhanced as they are through some very clever special effects. Whilst my young teenage sons really enjoyed the London Dungeon, they were definitely a little shocked by some of the graphic descriptions, and for this reason I wouldn’t recommend the 40

American In Britain

Dungeon for sensitive or young children (their recommended age is 12 and above). At the final point of the tour, you are given a token, which you can retain as a keepsake, or trade in for a free drink at The Tavern. To end up in an East End pub concludes the experience perfectly, and the London tunes playing from a piano, accompanied occasionally by a singer, create that atmosphere of old London that is so evocative of this experience. It’s a great attraction in London, and will get busy at certain periods. It took us around an hour and half to get round, so is not too long, and no one will be bored. If anything I expect you will be kept on your toes for the duration! Apparently, fear is a funny thing…

KEY INFORMATION · Opening times: Monday - Friday 10am-5pm EXCEPT Thursday when the attraction opens at 11am with last entry at 5pm, Saturday/ Sunday 10am-6pm · Guests are advised to check website to confirm opening times and pre book tickets before visiting · Best prices online at www. thedungeons.com/london · Prices on the door £28.95 (adult), £23.95 (children), book in advance online to save 30%; The London Dungeon Tavern is included in main entry price. For further information visit: www.thedungeons.com/london/


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READER’S LIVES This issue we look at the life of reader Shunney Nair, author of the newly published book app, London via Surrey, an insider’s guide to the best of London and Surrey went out of business. I realised I needed to find a format that I myself could update and keep current. I also loved the idea of an interactive exchange, real-time access while on the go and the ability map locations (something especially important to me given I get lost so easily).

What are the most interesting things you have done here? Some highlights have been climbing Big Ben, watching catwalk shows at London Fashion Weekend, seeing the Queen at Royal Ascot and sitting at Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Where did you move from and what brought you to the UK? We moved here five years ago from Houston, Texas due to my husband’s job.

What places in the US does living here remind you of? London is like Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. all rolled into one city; while Surrey reminds me of Boulder, Colorado, though without the mountains and snow. Since these are some of my favourite places in the US, it is no wonder that I enjoy living here so much!

What was your transition like? Having worked full-time prior to moving here, becoming a stay-at-home Mom was a big adjustment. My goal each day was to find places for the kids to burn-off some energy in the hope they would be quieter than usual, so as to not disturb our downstairs neighbours. A month into living in London, I called my husband’s company’s expat services group and asked ‘what now?’ Once we moved from our temporary apartment to our home in Surrey, I became active with American Women of Surrey (AWS) and my children’s school. I guess I became a full-time volunteer helping with fundraisers and event planning using skills I had from my working days. Between volunteering and shuttling kids, I had a chance to go on some amazing outings through AWS. When a friend moved on, I ended up helping to organise these outings. It made me realise that planning comes second nature to me — the more challenging or unusual, the better. 42

American In Britain

Why did you begin writing? It was somewhat by accident – I had been sharing what I learned and experienced through informal e-mails with friends and people I met along the way. It wasn’t until I learned that my emails were being saved and forwarded to others that I started to consider writing a book. It took a while before I was convinced I should attempt it.

“I am finding new people who move here have the same questions I did and locals are enjoying learning something new too.” After doing some research, I realised while there is a lot of practical advice about moving and living here, there was not a guide about lesser known attractions in London and Surrey, or a place to find answers to a range of typical questions. I am finding new people who move here have the same questions I did and locals are enjoying learning something new too. I am told that this book app fills a nice niche.

Why an app? When I was editing the book in the spring, I learned two of the restaurants I wrote about

What are your favorite things to do here?

Afternoon Tea I cannot get enough of afternoon teas because it reminds of brunch and lighter fare. One of my favourite traditional teas is at Fortnum & Mason, but I also enjoy quirkier ones like those at Grand Imperial’s Dim Sum Tea, OXO Tower’s Not so Afternoon Tea and Sanderson’s Mad Hatter Tea. Public Foot Paths I am still in awe of the number of footpaths that criss-cross the English countryside. It is not unusual to pass through farmer’s fields, golf courses and even horse racing tracks. In the right season, there are fields of bluebells, rapeseed (canola) and wild garlic. It is one of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon – especially if there is a gastropub at the beginning or end of the walk. Theatre Before we had kids, we would visit New York in the spring just before the Tony Awards to catch all the top-rated shows. What is exciting about going to the theatre here is seeing some of Hollywood’s A-list actors. In addition to seeing Bradley Cooper in Elephant Man and Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51, my favourite actor was Kevin Spacey in the one-man play Clarence Darrow. Spacey selected this play as his last act after 10 years of being the artistic director of the Old Vic (the first American to do so).

What has surprised you the most? I am intrigued and impressed by the creative ways charities are supported here. Nearly every High Street boasts a charity shop, just as it has an Indian curry restaurant or a Post Office. These


READER’S LIVES are well-organised shops with window displays of‘nearly new’items that rival their equivalents at retail shops. It’s not unusual to find clothing or a decorative item worth taking home. Wimbledon’s Ticket Resale scheme has got to be one of the best surprises. As a general rule, I do things only once; but an exception to this rule has been going to Wimbledon. I am still floored by the idea that you can purchase a general admission ticket and with a bit of patience and luck end up seeing some of the top tennis players in the world play on Centre Court. Spectators leaving Wimbledon are encouraged to turn their tickets in to be re-sold – £5 for Courts No. 1 and 2 and £10 for Centre Court. This is such a great way to fill empty seats and support charity at the same time – I hope the idea catches on to more sporting events.

What are your three top tips? Some of the best restaurants in the world are found in the greater London area. Surprisingly, they can be reasonably priced with lunch being a great and affordable option. Many are also found in stunning settings whether in historic buildings or with impressive views. With a bit of pre-planning and effort, it’s possible to schedule unique private outings with a group of family or friends. The only limits are your interest and imagination – on offer are archeology, embroidery, gardens, music, tea or something else. Professionally trained Blue Badge Guides make what you see and do come to life.

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Take an iconic Routemaster bus to see the London sites at a fraction of the cost. The Number 11 bus starting at Liverpool Street Station goes by many of the major landmarks, including Bank of England, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

What is the best thing about living here? Beyond the endless number of places to go, it has to be the amazing people I have met – both locals and people from around the world.

What advice do you have for our readers? Make a list of all the things you have wanted to do and start ticking them off by actually doing them. You’ll soon find there is so much to see and do and so little time! Shunney Nair, author London via Surrey, an insider’s guide to the best of London and Surrey - with mini reviews of what to do, where to eat, tips on living here and more. Contact Shunney at lonodonviasurrey@ gmail.com or visit londonviasurrey.com

If you would like to feature in our Reader’s Lives article in a future issue, please contact helen@theamericanhour.com

FREE SEMINAR Monday 8th February 2016 The 2016 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition, Hotel Russell, London 11.15pm

Dual Career and the Importance of Creating a Powerful Network Understanding the importance of networking is essential to succeed in any situation. The rules and styles can be unique to the UK and can pose a challenge to dual career families as they relocate. Join FOCUS who will share effective networking advice and tips to help overcome these challenges and will uncover how to take full advantage of any networking situation in the UK. To register for this free seminar that is taking place please email helen@theamericanhour.com

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Arts & Antiques

Vertical Foliage 1941, Sheet metal, wire, and paint © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / DACS, London

ARTS & ANTIQUES Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture By Abby Cronin

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) may be best known for inventing mobiles in wire and sheet metal, but over the course of his long artistic career he redefined the meaning of sculpture. The current exhibit at Tate Modern, Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture presents a retrospective of some 100 of his abstract works. He pioneered kinetic art and evolved a radically modern approach described by critics as ‘drawings in space’. Absent from the exhibit are traditional sculptor’s materials such as stone, bronze and wood. Instead we are invited to explore several rooms filled with a diversity of figurative wire-based portraits as well as www.theamericanhour.com

selections from Cirque Calder, widely displayed in the 1920s and ‘30s and right up to his death in 1976. A selection of panel works is shown together for the first time. The grace, elegance and movement of his floor-based abstract constructions invite the viewer to study them in real time. Core themes such as theatre, dance and choreography, the circus, nature, music, and the elements feature throughout. His mastery of balance and motion in all its manifestations is the touchstone of Calder’s lifelong artistic journey. The show is indeed a performance. Calder was born in Pennsylvania to an artistic family. His sculptor father and painter mother

encouraged him to pursue his interest in building things for himself. Calder wrote: I got my first tools and was given the cellar with its window as a workshop. He studied for a degree in mechanical engineering before turning his attention to an intensive study of art at the Art Students League in New York City. A lifelong involvement with the circus began when he encountered the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Florida in 1925. His love of the circus grew into Cirque Calder developed between 1926 and 1931. Cirque Calder consisted of miniature sculptures of individual performers and circus acts which he motorised and manipulated by hand. There are examples on www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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display, but due to their age, many appear rusted and immobile but you can see a video showing a performance of Cirque Calder in the exhibition. Learn more about Cirque Calder by calling up YouTube videos of Cirque Calder - most notably the one he presented at the Whitney Museum in NewYork (www.whitney.org/calder). Avant-garde artistic circles in Paris were thriving when Calder arrived in 1926. They were influential in his development. The Dadaist and Surrealist artist, Marcel Duchamp is significant because he suggested the term ‘mobile’ for the wire sculptures Calder was producing. Initially the ‘mobile’referred to‘kinetic art’but as Calder’s work evolved, his mobiles came to refer specifically to free-moving creations, that is, sculptural works in which motion is the defining property. Given his background knowledge of mechanical engineering, Calder’s mobiles evolved in stages into finely balanced parts joined by lengths of wire and abstract shapes made from sheet metal. When completed, the individual elements in each mobile are capable of moving independently and whole constructions move when prompted by air movement or direct contact. Calder’s use of wire was infinitely versatile in terms of design, scale and subject matter. His wire sculptures capture his fascination with diverse forms of performance. There is a theatrical atmosphere in which his wire sculptures of actors, dancers in a ballet, musicians and a tennis player perform. See them in Room 3 where a compelling wire portrait of the African-American cabaret dancer Josephine Baker, made in densely coiled spirals in a swirling design, makes an exotic statement. There are mechanised wire circus acrobats, strongmen, a bullfighter, even dogs and horses. The heads of his fellow artists, namely Joan Miró, Ferdinand Legér and the composer Varesè, all key figures in Calder’s development, are displayed. He captured these figures in a few strikingly expressive lines - described as ‘Wonders of Our Age: Portraits by Wire!’. Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s abstract work inspired Calder who wrote: When I looked at [Mondrian’s] his paintings, I felt the urge to make living paintings, shapes in motion. Mondrian’s approach was to construct lines and colour combinations on a flat surface. His flat geometric abstract forms made of coloured cardboard rectangles impressed Calder. But Calder felt the need to add movement to a simple geometric design. He adapted a strict geometric flat form so that the final work included abstract weightless movement. Several of these compositions are displayed in Room 4. They incorporate a frame within which the elements of the sculpture are suspended from wires. ‘The frames not only provide a means of support but also act like the proscenium arch of a theatre, helping to focus the gaze of the viewer.’(Tate leaflet guide) Note how his Blue Panel, 1936, a three dimensional painting with an integral suspended sculpture seems to anticipate Matisse’s shapes and colours. It is one of seven key works made between 1936 and 1937, shown together here for the first time in nearly 80 years. A selection of Calder’s floor-based mobiles 46

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Red, White, Black and Brass 1934.catalogue p 153 Photo: A. Cronin

reside in the calm serene atmosphere of the larger exhibition rooms. These extraordinary works demand our attention. They are subtle, seemingly weightless and invite us to walk around them or stand still while natural motion, reveals their multiple perspectives. Resting on plinths, their simple presence occupies an entire room. They engage the viewer in a virtual sense; there is no fixed viewpoint. (Pictured here is Red, White, Black and Brass, 1934). Ceiling-based mobiles, by contrast, draw

our attention upward. Here are sculptural mobiles inspired by the movement of the stars, scientific instruments, constellations and nature. Suspended from the ceiling, his white Snow Flurry, 1948 (pictured here held by Calder), composed of pure white snowflakes which float, drift around in circles; it sways with its own independent life. See Vertical Foliage, 1941, another compelling hanging construction. By the early 1940s Calder had moved back to America and was living in Roxbury, Connecticut where he set up a workshop. Toward the late 1940s he travelled to Rio de Janeiro and San Paulo in Brazil to exhibit his work and was received with enormous enthusiasm. The final room in the exhibition features one of his most spectacular mobiles, the newly restored Black Widow, 1948. Loaned from the Instituto dos Arquitetos in Sao Paulo, it is displayed for the very first time in the UK. This monumental piece measures 3.5 metres by 2 metres and features 19 black metal shapes delicately linked to one another. Not only does Black Widow remind us of Calder’s tremendously successful reception in Brazil, it also symbolises the era of appreciation for modernism and is also a visual metaphor for a new and free social order. The curators acknowledge that the 100 works in the show do not represent the entirety of Alexander Calder’s oeuvre. Their aim was not to present a comprehensive retrospective to Calder’s works, but rather to highlight his output from the early 1920s in Paris and finish with works from the early 1950s.They have organised a superb exhibition and each piece is explained clearly. Once again Tate

Alexander Calder with Snow Flurry l (1948). by Gordon Parks © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, NY


Arts & Antiques

Aztec Josephine Baker 1930 Photo: A Cronin

Modern together with the Calder Foundation and the TERRA Foundation for American Art has given us a wonderful opportunity to experience the work of Alexander Calder, one of the pioneers of 20th century modernism. He broke down the historic binaries of sculpture: volume and void, surface and mass, gravity and lightness and set sculpture into motion. Additional Note: Calder is also well known for his stabiles. ** Calder devoted himself to making outdoor sculpture, known as stabiles, on a grand scale. They are made from bolted sheets of steel, many of which stand in public plazas in cities throughout the world. One well known stabile is Calder’s Saurien, 1975, permanently installed on the plaza outside the Seagram building in New York City. See it online.

Blue Panel 1936. Plywood, sheet metal, wire, string and paint. © 2015 Calder Foundation, NewYork / DACS, London

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture 11 November 2015 – 3 April 2016 Tate Modern. www.tate.org.uk Catalogue: Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture Edited by Achim Borchardt-hume & Ann

Triple Gong c.1948. Brass, sheet metal, wire & paint. © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / DACS, London www.theamericanhour.com

Coxon Published by: Tate Publishing 2015 www.tate.org.uk/publishing Images courtesy Tate Modern & Abby Cronin Get in Touch. Contact: Abby Cronin Email: artsjournalist@abbycronin.co.uk Website: abbycronin.co.uk

Two Acrobats 1929. MenilCollection(Houston,USA) © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / DACS, London www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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EDUCATION - Schools

ACS International Schools Heywood, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL Telephone: 01932 869721 Email: frose@acs-england.co.uk Website: www.acs-england.co.uk Contact: Fergus Rose Three superb locations close to London, ACS provides a stable environment, high educational standards and a happy social life for relocated youngsters. American SAT/ACT Tuition 207 Regent Street, 3rd Floor London W1B 3HH Contact: Elizabeth von Nardroff Email: Elizabeth@AmericanSATtuition.com Telephone +44 (0)20 7692 0766 Website: www.AmericanSATtuition.com Twitter: @elivonna American SAT/ACT Tuition is a small, independent company based in the London, UK area. Our focus is on the needs of American, British and International students applying to US Colleges/Universities or Prep Schools. We offer SAT/ACT/PSAT/SSAT advice, tutoring and bespoke online courses, as well as help with applications, admissions advice, and interview technique coaching. Our specialists are knowledgeable, experienced, and we love what we do! Plus we’ve shown results - past students now attend Yale, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, and other top US Universities. DWIGHT SCHOOL LONDON 6 Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Contact: Karen Strickland Email: kstrickland@dwightlondon.org Telephone: + 44(0)20 8920 0600 Website: www.dwightlondon.org Twitter: @DwightSchoolUK Dwight School London, formerly known as The North London International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and is one of the first schools in the UK to offer the full IB Programme. 48

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EIFA 36 Portland Place, London W1B 1LS Contact: Sabine Dehon, Head of School Email: spd@ecole-ifa.com Telephone: 020 7637 5351 Website: www.ecole-ifa.com Located in London’s prestigious Marylebone, EIFA is an independent, co-educational school offering international and bilingual education for children aged 3 to 18. EIFA will be the first school in the UK to offer the subjects of the IB Diploma Programme half in French and in English.

TAXATION

TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: ukadmissions@tasisengland.org Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic programme, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualised attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.

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MOVING

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ADVANCEDAMERICANTAX.CO.UK Telephone: +44 (0)7554 905 143 Website: www.AdvancedAmericanTax.co.uk Email: Derren@HTJosephCPA.com Our international tax team has over 80 years experience and we are fully qualified and licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We are 3 independent but allied offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and now Singapore. Our team is united in our drive to serve the US Tax needs of our clients.

WEALTH MANAGEMENT

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To advertise please contact damian@theamericanhour.com

We Wish All Of Our Readers A Very Happy, Healthy And Prosperous 2016!


EMBASSY CORNER The 2016 US Elections: How to Send Your Vote Home As Americans in the UK, we don’t always get to enjoy the American media’s 24/7 presidential election coverage, so it may come as a surprise that the first primary elections are about to kick off in February! The FAQs here cover the basics of how to send your vote home from abroad for the primary and general elections. Can I Vote In The 2016 US Federal Elections? Most Americans living abroad should be able to vote in US federal elections in 2016. Voting is coordinated through state authorities, so overseas voters need a connection of some kind with a US state in order to vote. To vote from overseas you will have to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and submit a completed ballot, as explained below. In Which State Should I Register To Vote? For Americans who have lived in the United States at some point, you should register in your last state of residence. For Americans who have never lived in the United States but have a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who did, your relative’s last state of domicile may allow you to register there. The Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP) website (www. FVAP.gov) makes it easy to find out if you are eligible to vote in a particular state. The site also provides a state-by-state guide on how to register to vote and how to request and submit your absentee ballot. Just select the state where you are registered or would like to register on the top left corner of the FVAP homepage to get started. Can I Vote In My State’s Primary? Most states allow for absentee voting in primaries, though a few hold caucuses, which require in-person participation. ALL states

allow absentee voting for the general election that will take place November 8. The FVAP state guidance will clarify your eligibility to vote in your state’s primary election. When Should I Request And Submit My Absentee Ballot? Each state has its own deadlines for registering to vote, requesting absentee ballots, and sending completed absentee ballots, both for the primary and general election. Using the FVAP stateby-state guidance, you can find your state’s deadlines and the necessary forms for registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot. How Do I Submit My Registration, Ballot Request, And Absentee Ballot? All states will accept these documents by mail; Royal Mail offers convenient, affordable mailing options to the United States with 5-7 day delivery times. You may also drop off any of these items at the US Embassy in London in a completed, postage-paid envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage). Some states will also accept documents by email or fax. You can find your state’s specific guidelines and contact information on www.FVAP.gov. If I Request An Absentee Ballot For My State Primary, Will I Automatically Receive One For The General Election? That is sometimes the case, but to be safe you may wish contact your local election authority to confirm their policy. Will There Be A Polling Station At The US Embassy On Election Day? No. The only way to vote from overseas is by absentee ballot. Staff at the US Embassy in London are here to answer your questions about voting from abroad, but it is not possible to vote in-person at the Embassy.

EMBASSY INFORMATION

American Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE www.london.usembasy.gov Switchboard: (020) 7499-9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American Holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, everyday for a life-or-death emergency involving a US citizen. Passports: 8:30-11:00am Monday-Friday and 2:00-4:00pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. IRS: 9:00am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Notary Services: By appointment only http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/notary.html Federal Benefits Unit: 8:30am-1:00pm Monday-Friday Travel Advisories: www.travel.state.gov www.theamericanhour.com

www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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American In Britain

American in Britain Winter 2015/2016  

Articles include a 2015 Taxation Overview, Wealth Management: Time To Review Your Wealth Plan, Legal Issues: Are You Covered On This Side Of...

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