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Summer 2012

Free Subscription Offer Enclosed Serving the American Community in the UK

Features Include:  •  News  •  UK Sports  •  Travel • Eating Out   Days Out With The Family  •  Property • Top Tens • Immigration Theatre  •  American Women’s Clubs News • Arts & Antiques  • Tax 


Contents

SUMMER 2012

Publisher's Note����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 3 Eating Out����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Travel��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8 Mark Scott’s Hot Spots������������������������������������������������������������������������������10 Hotel Review���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������12 Universities������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������14 Days Out With the Family�������������������������������������������������������������������������16 Sports Medicine���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������20 UK Sports����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������21 Shopping & Shipping�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 Immigration������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������26 Taxing Issues��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������28 Relocating Successfully����������������������������������������������������������������������������30 Arts & Antiques����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������31 Theatre���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������34 Top Tens�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������36 American Women's Clubs News������������������������������������������������������������39 Property��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������42 American Eye��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������44 American Church In London��������������������������������������������������������������������46 Useful Numbers����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������47 Embassy Corner���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������48

Summer 2012

Free Subscription Offer Enclosed Serving the American Community in the UK

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

Features Include: • News • UK Sports • Travel • Eating Out Days Out With The Family • Property • Top Tens • Immigration Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News • Arts & Antiques • Tax

Photograph supplied by John-Paul Evans

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

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Letter From The Publisher

Hi, Firstly, I must say a huge thank you to all those who have generously donated to the fund raising effort to raise money to build The Comard Mondello Nursery in Uganda in memory of my late business partner, Assunta Mondello, and her family. I am delighted to announce that we have reached the £20,000 target, and Abanna, the charity who are building the nursery, can now get the project off the ground over the summer months. It has been an emotional journey raising the funds, and I cannot thank those enough who have generously donated and supported the project. I look forward to reporting on how the Nursery is coming along in the next issue or two, and I am hoping to go and visit the nursery personally next year and will write a feature on it once I have returned. The US elections are also taking place later in the year. Some primaries are over, but several more are still to come. Even if you don’t plan to participate in the primaries, be sure to register according to your state deadline to ensure you can vote in the general election on Tuesday, November 6th. Due to a recent change in the law, states are no longer required to send absentee ballots automatically to registered voters unless they receive a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) during the election year. The US Embassy therefore recommends that all voters send a new FPCA each election year, especially if there has been a name or address change. It’s a bother, we know, but the good news is that submitting a new FPCA is easier than ever. Just go to www.fvap.gov for the FPCA and the 2012 Voting Assistance Guide and follow the instructions. If you live outside the US and no longer have a residence in the US then you would provide the last address you had immediately prior to coming overseas. You would also check in Block 1 of the FPCA your intent not to return to the US. There is a potential tax liability issue if a voter checks “intent to return,” but isn’t paying state/local taxes. You can send the FPCA directly to your Board of Elections in an envelope with sufficient UK postage OR it can be sent postage free through the Embassy using the US postage free envelope template – which must be printed directly on an envelope and NOT stapled or pasted on – or if the return envelope received with your ballot is marked “US Postage Paid”. Summer in the UK can be great fun, especially if the sun shines! I hope that you have enjoyed the recent Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and that you are looking forward to being in the UK whilst we host the 2012 Olympics. If you have recently moved to the UK and this is the first issue of American in Britain that you have seen, I hope you enjoy reading it, and please take advantage of the free subscription offer, available to all Americans living in the UK, that is enclosed within this magazine. This can also be applied for online on our sister website www.theamericanhour.com which also offers advice on all aspects of being an American expatriate living in Britain. I would like to wish all our readers and clients a very happy summer and we hope you enjoy the latest edition of ‘American in Britain’. Best wishes, Helen

Helen Elliott Publisher

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Eating Out London Restaurant Reviews Nahm The Halkin Hotel, Halkin Street, London, SW1X 7DJ Telephone: 020 7333 1234 Just to the east of Belgrave Square in one of London’s most affluent and prestigious districts nestles the Halkin Hotel, and within this 41 room luxurious boutique hotel you will find Nahm, a Michelin starred Thai restaurant. Nahm was in fact the first Thai restaurant to gain this award and it is not surprising that it has maintained it for so long. When you enter, the first thing that strikes you is how different the décor is from other Thai restaurants as it isn’t your usual Thai restaurant décor. It is more clean and minimalistic, with a real airy feel. The menu is also precise and to the point, and offers 2 Tasting Menus as well as the À La Carte menu. We chose the Tasting Menu with dishes selected by the restaurant consisting of 5 courses, but you can do the ‘Nahm Arharn’ or traditional Thai meal where each member of your group choses dishes from the À La Carte menu and your table creates its own Tasting Menu. 4

Nahm

Our appetiser was Minced Prawns and Chicken simmered in palm sugar with deep fried shallots, garlic and peanuts served on mandarin and pineapple. This to me epitomised all that I love about Thai food. Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and balance, and the detail and variety are of great significance. This dish ticked every box with the slightly sticky sweet prawn and chicken mixing well with the slight crunch of the peanuts. This then was perfectly offset by the sweet but refreshing fruit on which it was served. Delicious and yet so simple. Following this course came a selection of starters consisting of Kanom Krok Naa Gung (coconut cup cakes with red prawn curry) which were delightfully picante, Kanom Muag Gai Kem (salted chicken in wafers with longans and Thai basil) which was much sweeter, and Miang (roasted coconut and pomelo with caramel dressing served on betel leaves) which was both light and refreshing. It was suggested that we eat them in this order to enhance the experience, but be warned, some Thai dishes are spicy and Nahm is true to the dishes origins and serves them as they should be. As mentioned before, balancing the four fundamental taste senses in a dish, sour, sweet, salty and bitter is a key part of Thai cuisine and the next course, Yam Gung Wiset - a Langoustine Salad with rambutans, lemongrass and toasted coconut brought them all together expertly served with Geng Jeut Fak Sai Bpuu - a clear soup of green melon, chanterelles, egg and crab. The sweet and sour rambutans worked well with the sharper cleaner lemon grass taste to provide a perfect foil for the coriander and fleshy Langoustine. An explosion of different tastes and experiences in one mouthful. The main course - Geng Hang Lae, consisted of Chaing Mai curry of ‘middle white’ pork with ginger and pickled garlic, Nahm Prik Nuum - smoky chilli and long aubergine relish served with grilled trout in lemongrass skewers, and Neua Gwaarng Patgung Haeng Sai Makreua Pok - stir fried venison with chilli, dried prawn and apple aubergines, served with a large bowl of rice, and continued the mixtures of flavour that are typical of Thai meals.

The dessert menu is something I don’t usually look at, but I had the Coconut and Taro pudding with jackfruit seeds. The cool smooth refreshing coconut pudding was offset well by the ribbons of deep fried taro and will satisfy even the sweet toothed of you. David Thompson, Nahm’s Head Chef, once explained in an interview that ‘Thai food ain’t about simplicity, it’s about the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish. Some westerners think it’s a jumble of flavours, but to a Thai that’s important, as it is the complexity they delight in’. This jumble has delighted diners for a number of years now and on my experience will continue to do so for many more to come. Tom Aikens 43 Elystan Street, London, SW3 3NT Telephone: 020 7584 2003 Over the years there has been a considerable amount of column inches devoted to a few personal issues surrounding Tom Aikens, but what many miss in all of this is that as a chef he really is right up there with the best. In 1996 Tom was the youngest British chef to attain 2 Michelin stars which he then held for his whole tenure at Pied A Terre. Tom Aikens has reopened in 2012 with a total makeover and the décor is now much more low key which seems to be the current vogue. With the wooden floors only broken up by the solid wooden tables, this is minimalism and is a strange contrast to some of the intricate and elaborate delights served from the kitchen. There are also no curtains, so if you are a little reticent I suggest a table away from the large windows as you can feel a little like you are on show. The waiters are also now open shirted and casually dressed, but still maintain an obvious professionalism and a detailed knowledge of the menu. Whilst we were pondering on what to choose, we feasted on a delightful selection of canapes. These included a subtly spiced Duck Confit with cep gratings, black pudding, eel, goats cheese and a chicken crisp. All were exquisite and delightfully presented. It is not only your taste buds that are stimulated here.


Tom Aikens

Another welcome arrival was a rustic sack of homemade warm breads with an eclectic selection of different butters. The flaky onion brioche was my personal favourite. The menus separate the dishes by type with 7 Fish dishes, 9 Meat and 4 vegetable dishes, and from that you can either select 2 or 3 (£40 or £50) if you choose the À La Carte route, or there are 2 tasting menus of 6 and 8 courses priced reasonably at £55 and £75 respectively. We chose the 6 course taster menu (probably something to do with the amount of the totally moorish bread we had already consumed). The Raw Turnip Salad with Chestnuts was fresh and crisp and delightfully offset the smooth and rich roast Foie Gras we had for our second course. The Venison Tartar with grated walnuts, wild sorrel and hazelnut puree was a joy with its strong smoky flavours and alluring texture. The contrast with the Venison was there again for our fourth course with the more mildly flavoured Roast John Dory which is complimented by the sweet cauliflower and cumin accompaniment. This was followed by Romney Lamb with ewe’s cheese, anchovy and confit garlic, again not only a delight to the taste buds but also your other senses. The presentation is impeccable and manages to navigate the conundrum being presented of the more informal surroundings and the meticulous detail taken when presenting every dish. For dessert we had Candied Beetroot which was light and sweet and finished the meal perfectly. Throughout the meal we were constantly challenged with combinations which came off well and this is the delight about this restaurant and Tom Aikens. He is not afraid to take a risk creating new dishes and the menu changes regularly as new dishes are created using what produce is fresh at the time. The wine list is extensive with a wide range of choices at every price bracket and for every taste and preference. The presentation of the wine list has a few secrets which I will leave you to discover, and the final quirk in an evening full of surprises was the appearance of a battered old Oxo tin containing the petit fours. This is Michelin quality dining in an informal atmosphere and the food is fresh, innovative and

beautifully presented and is definitely one to put on your list. The Greenhouse 27a Hay’s Mews, Mayfair, London W1J 5NY Telephone: 020 7499 3331 In the heart of Mayfair in a secluded mews location, this restaurant is approached through a beautiful serene Japanese style landscaped garden decorated with stone artworks. Elements of the garden are carried into the restaurant with specially commissioned sculptures on each table, and are offset by the choice of fresh green colours for the walls and furniture. Surely this impressive entrance could only lead to a memorable meal. The Greenhouse has had a Michelin star since 2004, and offers a Contemporary European menu. Just this spring, the restaurant introduced its new Executive Chef, Arnaud Bignon. Bignon comes from Spondi in Athens, which was awarded its second Michelin star in 2008. Bignon, then aged 32, was at the helm and was one of the youngest chefs ever to achieve this. One cannot help but feel that Bignon is working hard to achieve a justifiable second Michelin star at The Greenhouse. The menus here change seasonally, and they also offer some extremely creative Tasting Menus which are changed on a monthly basis. There is also a Set Menu available (£65 for two courses, £75 for three courses), or of course,

there is an À La Carte menu. There is a choice of two Tasting Menus – An ingredient themed ‘Tomato Tasting Menu’ (Shellfish and Green Vegetables in previous months) matched with wine for each dish (£110), or the seven course Tasting Menu which my guest and I chose to give us an opportunity to sample several of the dishes on offer (£90). From the Amuse Bouche at the very beginning, we knew we were going to be in for a treat. These delicious and creative canapés provided an exciting preview of what was to come, as from this point on, everything we ate was full of surprise and intrigue. Even the breads were irresistible – I tried each one, with the parmesan roll reigning as my favourite, and the buttery brioche a close second! The Foie Gras and country breads were delicious, and the slight lemon flavour offered a true taste sensation, working perfectly in combination with the date confit. The Highland Scallops coated in Tandoori masala were sublime. Again, the lemon confit offered an exciting flavour combination, whilst the scallops were cooked to perfection. The cabbage accompaniment provided a perfect contrast of textures. Our next course was the Line-caught sea bass. This was my favourite savoury course. The quality of the fish was apparent from the first mouthful and was quite simply delicious. It was served with an interesting mille feuille of Nori seaweed and potato. Dorset lamb, served with Aubergine and a delicious Sweetbread provided the main course. The succulence and intense flavour of the meat was perfectly offset by the Aubergine. We enjoyed the combinations of texture too. The Greenhouse offers an extremely impressive wine collection – with over 3,300 bins offering a wide selection of Old and New World wines, from lesser-known producers to emerging wine regions. Many of the excellent wines on offer are available for under £40, making this restaurant a hot destination for wine lovers. With our meal we enjoyed a wonderful bottle of 2008 Viognier (£55), and

The Greenhouse

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the expertise of the sommelier will ensure a wine to perfectly match your food. We were lucky enough to be presented with the cheese trolley as a prelude to our desserts, and although feeling quite full at this stage we simply could not resist! The cheese trolley at The Greenhouse is a must, offering fantastic quality, and the widest selection of French and British cheeses I have seen in a restaurant. Not only does it look amazing, but it also offered some of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. It is not included in the Tasting Menu (an extra £10 per person), but you cannot afford to miss it! To cleanse the palette, we were served a delicious Pineapple/Mango sorbet, which was light in its consistency and perfectly sweet after the richness of the cheeses. We both absolutely loved our Chocolate/Coffee/Caramel/Hazelnut dessert. It was one of the best sweet sensations I have ever sampled, and a perfect conclusion to this wonderfully exciting and creative menu. Whilst the service was excellent and extremely professional, the staff were also very friendly and keen to please when assisting us with our questions and choices. They are all very knowledgeable, and highly attentive. Each course was served as a stylish and contemporary work of art, and the staff here are, justifiably, proud of their work. The ambience is tranquil and calm, although the atmosphere is alive with other diners enjoying their experience. The restaurant itself is extremely classy, and whilst it may not be an inexpensive dining option,

JW Steakhouse

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this restaurant provides an inventive and exciting destination that I would recommend for any occasion. Each dish here offered perfect harmony and balance – playing with fresh, original flavours and the highest quality ingredients. This modern, intelligent approach to cooking presented seasoned dishes, full of exciting flavours, textures and contrasts from an unusual combination of ingredients. This is, without a doubt, one of the finest dining experiences I have ever enjoyed in London, and one I will be talking about for a long time to come. JW Steakhouse 86 Park Lane, London W1K 7TL Telephone: 020 7399 8460 There is nothing better than a great steak and fries when you are really hungry - and on my way to JW Steakhouse on Park Lane, I was certainly ready! This large, atmospheric and vibrant restaurant, with its dark wood panelled walls, high ceilings and chalk boards covered in daily specials and cocktails, feels like a steakhouse should be. My guest and I had visited once before, and this restaurant never fails to disappoint. JW Steakhouse is part of the grand JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. The restaurant was busy, and on this Saturday evening in May, was filled with a diverse range of diners, including a high volume of Americans seeking the American Grill experience. My guest and I enjoyed a classic cocktail at

The Bourbon Bar - if the weather had been better, we could have sat out on the terrace, watching the world go by on Park Lane and Hyde Park - a wonderful destination for the summer. Alas, we all know what bad weather May brought us this year. However, The Bourbon Bar is very comfortable and serves a number of classic cocktails and has a boutique menu of small batch bourbons. Try not to over-indulge in the bowls of deliciously seasoned popcorn. I selected a Velvet Twist and my guest opted for the Wild Berry Mojito - the perfect aperitif to what was to follow. The Chef here is Welsh born Paul Hallett. He joined Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel in 2007, for the launch of BORD'EAUX. Having mastered the art of classic French cooking, he spent time in the States where he perfected his culinary skills and learnt about the heritage and recipes inherent to the JW Marriott. Paul has an extensive interest in butchery having spent considerable time sourcing animals from farms, treating and hanging the meat. He has a "nose to tail" ethos with all meats and a passion to get the best out of it. Paul therefore relishes in the fact that beef is the star at JW Steakhouse and that all meat is cut and hung in the kitchens. Chef Hallett will hand select, age and carve the restaurant's signature cuts before sending them to the 650̊C Montague Legend grill. We couldn’t resist sampling the fresh Parker House rolls (deliciously light and buttery bread rolls with a sprinkling of sea salt), a house speciality dating back to the nineteenth century when they were a staple of The Parker House


hotel in Boston. I selected the Maryland Style Lump Crab Cakes (£14) to start, and was not disappointed. They were full of succulent, flavourful crab meat. My guest chose a JW Chopped Salad (£10) which included avocado, feta cheese and a selection of fresh crunchy vegetables topped with crispy onions. The menu offers such a wide choice of American and British cuts of beef, that your biggest problem will be choosing which steak to have! The restaurant specialises in American USDA prime beef from the Creekstone Kansas Black Angus. For those preferring British meat a selection of Aberdeen Angus beef and lamb cuts are offered. There are also a good range of options for those who may not be in the mood for steak, including Salads, Fish, Spit roast chicken and Risotto. An extensive wine list allows you to perfectly compliment your food with your chosen tipple. We found the waiting staff extremely knowledgeable and willing to give advice and recommendations. They will bring cuts to the table for your perusal, and talk through the options available- with such a difficult choice, we welcomed this help. JW Steakhouse runs a ‘Beef of the Month’ promotion. When we visited, this was the Australian Kimberley Red Beef, and I ordered the

12oz strip loin (£27). Grilled to perfection, it was juicy, rosy red inside and complemented with a red wine sauce. It was a fine textured beef with deep, authentic flavours. I would highly recommend opting for the ‘Beef of the Month’ if you are a connoisseur of steak as it gives you the opportunity to try a different beef, with the assurance of quality. My guest enjoyed an American USDA 6 oz Filet steak (£27) - it may sound clichéd, but her choice of words included ‘melt-in –the-mouth’ and ‘simply delicious’, this was high praise indeed from someone that would never usually choose steak. Our main courses were complemented by a wide choice of delicious and rich side dishes - including Cheddar Mac n’Cheese (£4) (my favourite), Hand Cut Chips (£4) and Roasted Vegetables (£6). The portions are large, so ensure you visit with an empty stomach! The meal was paired with a bottle of Merlot, light enough to complement our rather heavy meal. After a short rest, we tackled our desserts. I couldn’t resist the Cheesecake (£10). It was huge (not a slice, but a whole cheesecake), and I would challenge anyone to consume an entire cheesecake in one sitting - it is possibly large enough for a family of four! It is a fabulous cheesecake, and once you have recovered from the shock of its size, the taste does not disappoint. You can

request to take any leftovers home. To conclude the meal, I couldn’t resist a glass of JW Steakhouse’s own Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, which is exclusively available to guests of the restaurant. It is a unique tasting whiskey full of rich and intense flavours. Only one in a hundred barrels is selected by Jack Daniel's Master Taster to carry the Single Barrel label, and JW Steakhouse acquired one of these. Apparently, in October 2011, a tasting session took place in the restaurant. This allowed the tasters to choose a whiskey that best fitted the JW Steakhouse guests' taste preferences. Batch 1007 was selected as the first 'JW Steakhouse single barrel' as it was agreed that the initial nose, which highlighted the toasted oak nature of the barrel would appeal to a traditional Jack Daniel's drinker, whilst the hints of liquorice, smoke and toffee would remind them of the luxurious nature of the whiskey. The service was excellent: non-obtrusive and extremely attentive. We had eaten a lot of food, but enjoyed the experience immensely. I haven’t enjoyed an authentic American grill experience like this, since being in the US! The JW Steakhouse has certainly secured and confirmed its position on the steak restaurant map of London. n

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Travel Zanzibar by Lynne McAlister

There is something mystical about Zanzibar. It’s not only a resort haven, it’s like a kid who came from a rough neighborhood surviving bullies and helpers. Now fully grown, he stands, a bit scarred, but with dignity and on his own two feet. This resilient island (known locally as Unguja) sits 25 miles off the Tanzanian mainland coast and 6 degrees south of the equator. With it’s position between Asia and Africa, the location has made it prime territory for trading and plundering since the time of the Assyrians and Sumerians. Stone Town the heart of Zanzibar is quaint shops, bustling bazaars, twisting-alleys, mosques, courtyards and squares. It is also perched on a spectacular sea, edged by fine, white-sand beaches. Named as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000, Stone Town, the age-old part of Zanzibar City, testifies to the 1000 plus years of history integrating cultures from Africa, the Arab region, India and Europe. It’s a labyrinth to manoeuvre but worth the effort. Darajani Market

T

he mere mention of the name conjures visions of adventure, Sultans, shipwrecks and steamy, dreamy nights, or at least it does for me. The odours are strong and unmistakable, fish to the left and fumes to the right. We walked toe to heal on a narrow path avoiding cars to one side and puddles, sellers and shoppers on the other. It’s late morning at the Darajani Market in Stone Town, the only functioning ancient city in East Africa. The locals gather around stalls buying and selling mangos, papayas, yellow and red bananas, plantains, pineapples and of course, fish. Under the open-air tin roof, stalls of bare wood tables overflow with octopus, crabs, mounds of squid and silvery fish of all shapes and sizes that will be purchased and carried home to cook in coconut milk. 8

BRIEF HISTORY Pottery found on the island indicates an advanced civilization lived in the area since the 5th century. However, most of the story that we know began in 1499 when the Portuguese established a loose sovereignty over the Swahili coast for trading purposes. A sleepy fishing village was overhauled into a fort and port by the Portuguese. The Portuguese quickly established a slave trade which swelled in the latter part of the 18th Century under the rule of the Omani Arabs. The Omani Arabs, who also traded in grain, dried fish and ivory, became wealthy and embellished Stone Town with palaces and multi-storied mansions. The exteriors were plain with the exception of the elaborately carved and studded wooden doors that are still the pride of the city. The doors stand proudly in sharp contrast today to the tired, grey buildings they adorn. Sultan Barghash, the last Sultan to maintain independence from European rule, is credited


with ushering Stone Town into a modern era with piped water, public baths, a police force, roads, parks, hospitals and large administrative buildings such as the House of Wonders. In 1859 his son, Khaled, became legendary in Zanzibar for waging and losing the world’s shortest war (38 minutes). Missionaries and explorers poured into Africa through Zanzibar, including David Livingstone (of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” fame) who fought to end slavery. In 1890 Zanzibar became a British protectorate, but was still primarily controlled by people of Arab and Indian heritage. A bloody revolution in 1964 lead to Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to become The United Republic of Tanzania. TRAVELlER’S ZANZIBAR Today’s Zanzibar appeals to the upmarket tourist in search of small adventures and large drinks on uncrowded, white, wide beaches with the occasional dhow passing by to break the azure blue over the turquoise horizon. That was exactly my view when my daydream was awoken. “Would you like glass of mango juice, Mrs. McAlister?” asks the young man decked out in cool white linen, with a wide smile under a large brimmed hat. Stunned, I nodded my head, “Yes.” “That’s serious service!” I muttered to myself. Only seconds before, as I lounged by the oversized, blue tiled pool, I had thought, “I wish I had a mango juice!” Zanzibar offers luxury in their resorts. Exactly what the discerning traveller expects (multiple restaurants, spas, spacious rooms, splendid gardens and pristine pools) brimming with enthusiastic staff, fantastic food that represents the eclectic history, and gorgeous Indian Ocean views. I’m always one to appreciate luxury, but in this case it’s a good base to explore this 60

Slave Market

by 20 mile island. Be sure to check out Stone Town. If you have lots of time, amble the alleyways and corridors. If you are short on time, hire a guide. Because in addition to just enjoying a stroll you will want to visit the slave market and the House of Wonders as a minimum. The slave market is sobering. As I entered what can only be described as an earthen hole, my guide, who looked remarkably like Morgan Freeman, explained that slaves would be piled in from the ships still in chains awaiting the market above, perhaps for days. There would be nowhere to sit, much less lie down and one small window. Above ground a beautiful sculpture memorialises the many who came through here in chains. In place of the original whipping post, now stands the Anglican Cathedral of Christ. Also make your way to the House of Wonders which currently houses the Museum of History & Culture of Zanzibar & the Swahili Coast. It was one of the six palaces built by

Sultan Barghash. It’s the largest and tallest building of Stone Town and occupies a prominent place facing the old town's seafront. My favourite location (beside the afore mentioned cushy lounge chair) is The Jozani Natural Forest Reserve. There I was introduced to the rare Red Colobus Monkey which is found only on Zanzibar! Initially, our forest guide seemed to walk in circles in search of the rusty primates, constantly promising we would find them. Then finally I nearly bumped into a 24 inch tail that was right in front of me. As I looked up to the branch above, I fell in love with the bright brown eyes and the casual nature of these little tree dwellers. Dozens of them played all around us, but unlike other monkeys I’ve encountered they were not at all overly curious about us or our belongings. Zanzibar is an island of contradiction. Before leaving for my Indian Ocean holiday, I’d eagerly boast I’m going to Zaaanzibaaar!!! Stretching out the word with dramatic emphasis and much waving of the arms! It seemed too fantastical to be real. After a week there, I can confirm it is real, and it’s colourful past summons more toward respect than fantasy. n Lynne McAlister is a freelance journalist who lives with her husband Tony and dog Coco in Notting Hill. 9


Mark Scott’s Hot Spots Mark Scott, who has spent 50 years in the travel industry, offers his personal advice on travelling around various city centres, and in this issue focuses on Paris

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or many years it has been my ambition to write a column catering to the discerning traveller, not only where I could

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express my own views but, through personal experience, recommend my choice of where to stay, eat, shop, favourite watering holes and of course my taste in the arts plus many other titbits connected with travel. Time and time again, after having read an article in the media or travel book about a particular hotel that I knew very well, I often could not identify with the writer’s particular description of that hotel. My guess is that often a journalist will write about a hotel that they have never actually visited, but because of their craft and creative writing ability, they are fictionally able to catch the imagination of the reader. To be truthful, although not impossible, it is rare that the income of a journalist permits them the lifestyle to stay at many luxury properties, therefore they have little to compare the experience with. A hotel has to relate to one’s lifestyle and taste. Provided you can afford it, money is not the main factor! How profound a statement is that? The same applies to one’s taste in restaurants, automobiles, homes, furnishings etc. On the odd occasion, when staying at a hotel or dining at a restaurant, unless you live the lifestyle applicable and relate to the people around you, you may not fully appreciate the experience. After all, one would not go into a Ford showroom to buy a Rolls Royce. Even then, to be more difficult yet explicit, some of us like Mercedes, BMW or Audi, whilst some of us are more Cadillac and Lexus. Even with the approximate same budget, in the end it really comes down to taste. My aim is for my column to be different, with an interesting spin. Please remember that if it is in my column, despite the fact that I may like, love or hate the place, it still comes well recommended. An example of this is that there are many hotels that fit the bill of where ‘kids take their parents’. Think on this one. If your children are safe and enjoying themselves, being well looked after, fed the right food at the right time, it enables you to relax as well, albeit the hotel may only have a four star rating. So to start off with, why not choose one of our nearest neighbour cities - how about Paris? Even though I am told the Parisians do not like the Parisians. To me it is one of my three favourite cities. In Paris, tourists generally migrate to one of three areas of where to stay. Either it is the Champs-Elysees, Opera district or the Rive Gauche (Left Bank). Because the famous Champs-Elysees district is extremely fashionable and always catches the eye of the media, it often encourages the hotels, restaurants and shopping to be very expensive. The Opera District, whilst serving its purpose, somewhat lacks the same panache but compensates in it being a little less expensive.

An absolute must the next time you plan a visit to Paris, is the Rive Gauche. This is home to the Sorbonne, Paris’s unique and brilliant university. The Rive Gauche or ‘left bank’ as it is commonly known is full of great value hotels, restaurants/bistros and boutique or market shopping. It is said that the real authentic Paris is on the Rive Gauche! - Full of laughter, creativity and life. Here, you should find everything you may need (or not need). There is amazing art. My favourite is The Gare d’Orsey. Sorry I meant the Musee d’Orsey. I forgot the French in their wisdom changed it from a railway terminal to a museum! Of course, you have the River Seine to ponder over, Notre Dame and many other places of worship if you are so minded. Pay a visit to the old book stands alongside the River Seine and if you like live blues & Jazz music, then my friend, this is definitely the place! Some of the oldest and most popular brasseries (I always worry if I have spelt that word correctly), cafés and bistros are here. You will very quickly acquire the Joie de Vivre, more so if you have the slightest shot of bohemian in your blood. Prices are much more affordable here, so more time can be done savouring the delights of your surround, than worrying about the value of the euro. Next time I will deal with my favourite eateries and places to stay. But if, in the meantime, you would like a list of my views on hotels and restaurants all over Paris, contact me via email and I will send you a copy of the latest edition. I’ve lovingly called it ‘Scott’s Hot Spots’……. my style, my taste - my choice. I am not in the business of just recommending the most expensive, just my own particular choice. If you want to live to eat and not eat to live... follow me! n Mark Scott For over 50 years, Mark Scott has worked at the top end of the travel industry and finally decided to retire and sell his Company, Mark Allan Travel, in 1990. Some years later, bored with retirement, he returned to his beloved industry and took ownership of Cassis Travel Services Ltd and based it in London’s affluent St. John’s Wood. After being heavily persuaded by his previous ‘key’ employees and due to the success of Cassis, he then proceeded to open up once again in Los Angeles and Manhattan. Today, Cassis houses over 150 experienced and dedicated people in the USA & UK. Mark, now into his eighties, still actively engages in the business although spends a lot of his time on his passion which is writing about hotels, restaurants and resorts. If you would like to contact Mark please email: marks@cassistravel.co.uk


Hotel Review Ben Everson reviews Gleneagles, Scotland

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leneagles as a name conjures up a number of thoughts depending on who you are. For the avid golfers amongst you, you will undoubtedly know it for its 3 premier golf courses, for others it will be as a luxurious hotel nestling in the heart of the beautiful Scottish countryside, and for others it’s just a name that evokes visions of majestic birds of prey swooping over unspoilt countryside. Whatever your take, this place is so much more. Yes, it has 3 Championship golf courses and is hosting the Ryder cup in 2014. Yes, it is a magnificent hotel, and yes the countryside is breath taking, but that does not tell the whole story. This is a place where the sum of its parts add up to so much more. Gleneagles is a place where the old values of quality and service are still held dear, and everyone from the traditionally dressed doormen through to the staff in the ultra-modern Spa fully embrace this ethos. The Gleneagles hotel opened in 1924 and was described as ‘a Riviera in the Highlands’ and the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. I am not sure if its garden compares with that of Babylon’s, (I do understand though that they were spectacular!) or that the statues with that of Zeus as I haven’t seen either, but it is pretty special regardless.

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Gleneagles is situated just outside the town of Auchterader which, although surrounded by the beautiful Scottish countryside, is only a short drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, and therefore is very accessible when thinking of a weekend break from London, or preferably a longer vacation. We flew into Glasgow airport and were met by one of the fleet of chauffeur driven cars the hotel has to offer, and we were then whisked away to ‘Babylon’. The drive takes you past Stirling Castle, which if you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel and its facilities, is well worth a visit, and only 45 minutes later we were passing through the gates of the hotel and up to the main building which we were informed was designed in the style of a French Chateau. I am a gadget man, and our room was a joy for me. As well as the usual state of the art TV, DVD etc., I had electric curtains to play with and a fire that is switched on by a remote. What more could a man like me want? Other delightful touches are the heated floor in the bathroom, and it is these things amongst others, that elevate Gleneagles to another level. Having torn myself away from the 4 remote controls in the room (it saves arguments as you can have 2 each), it was time to play golf on what are described as some of the finest courses not only in the UK but the world. We played the Queens, and although it had been extremely wet, (this is not unusual in Scotland!), the course showed all of its quality, and this is considered the worst of the three! The service, as you start to expect here, was second to none, and all of the pre-round issues of getting your clubs ready, getting tees and scorecards etc., were done for you, so your only real issue was to hit good shots which was easier said than done! After the round and dodging the seasonal weather, the Dormy Clubhouse welcomes the weary golfer with a warm and relaxed lounge area where I bet many a tale of 'the one that got away' has been recounted over a drink and a bite to eat. Just off this area is the Blue Bar which is a heated courtyard where you can enjoy a cigar and your favourite tipple under

a central gazebo. Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining at Gleneagles. On our first night we dined at The Strathearn which prides itself on creating an extensive menu prepared from the finest local produce, and I have to say the special that night of Beouf En Croute was of the highest quality, with the tender medium rare beef perfectly offset by the light crispy pastry. On our second night we dined at Deseo which blends dishes from the Mediterranean. Deseo’s style is informal with food stations that wouldn’t look out of place in Harrods food market, surrounded by stylish seating. This food market vibe enables the chefs to be more flexible with the menu which allows you to design your own dishes. There is also a dedicated 'quiet area' solely for adults. For the true foodie’s amongst you, the must visit restaurant at Gleneagles is Andrew Fairlie. The restaurant was opened in May 2001 and soon attained its first Michelin star. A second followed in 2006 along with a host of other awards, but be warned you need to book as it is extremely busy. I cannot leave the food theme before mentioning the breakfasts as they need to be seen to be believed, and if I had ‘seen’ these for much longer it would have led to me needing a completely new larger wardrobe. The choice is extensive with everything you could hope


to want and more. For the health conscious there are varieties of fruits, cereals and traditional Scottish porridge, and for those of us who are a little less conscious there is the traditional Scottish breakfast with all the trimmings, which also includes glasses of champagne! Muffins beckon you and don’t miss the smoked salmon and a dazzling array of cheeses. Omelettes and eggs can be cooked to order so there really is something for everyone, and the joy is how long they serve breakfast for at the weekend, appreciating that not everyone wants to rise early on a Sunday. The one thing you won’t be short of at Gleneagles is things to do. As well as the world class spa and golf courses there are plenty of other things to try your hand at. There is still fishing and shooting within the estate and the hotel caters for all disciplines and levels of expertise. If you fancy something faster then there is also an equestrian school within the grounds where the young and old can be expertly tutored. I thought about trying riding for the first time, but after the breakfast I had, I think there was a collective sigh of relief from the stable block when instead I opted for a walk in the gardens inspired by Capability Brown. For those wanting even greater speed, Gleneagles boasts two purpose built off road courses where you can test your off road skills. This even extends to younger guests where those 12 or over can test their skills on the ‘argo’, an amphibious vehicle with caterpillar style tracks. Gleneagles really caters for its younger guests and if they get tired of driving then there is so much more for them to do. There is a pitch and putt course in the gardens, there is also the chance of interacting with falcons as there is a falconry school on site, and there is a leisure centre with all the expected facilities. The highlight for me however, is that the hotel has a teenage games room (the Zone) where the children can play pool, air hockey or computer games whilst listening to music from an authentic juke box. There is also a

crèche for younger children which has a wide range of activities and as with every activity a good ratio of staff to children. The way Gleneagles manages to marry a romantic or relaxing adult break in the same venue as a break away with the kids is best shown in the leisure complex. On many occasions you see those wanting to swim and those wanting to play getting in each others way in the pool. Here the problem is solved by having an abstract shaped pool for those wanting to play with an additional pool based more on the standard pool shape for those who want to swim for exercise. It is a simple solution and those are always the best. A state of the art Spa adjoins the leisure centre offering a wide range of treatments. These range from the usual massage/facials etc., up to the next generation of treatments where transformative programmes are designed for individuals. This designs life programmes using a combination of treatments and fitness regimes enable you to achieve the goals you set. The Spa has a delightful oriental feel to it, and for the busy ones amongst us I recommend the relaxation rooms where you can shut yourself

off from the stress’ in life and unwind. What is exceptional is that Gleneagles will continually surprise you as once you think you have seen or done everything you find something else. It has also managed to seamlessly combine old value with modern surroundings and caters for all of its guests' needs and that is a rare combination. Golfers, families and friends alike, will enjoy a stay at Gleneagles, and I for one look forward to returning in the future. n For further details, please visit www.gleneagles.com

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Universities Americans Abroad: Staying in the Blighty or Heading Home for Your Child's College Education

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he US and UK boast two of the best higher education systems in the world. Naturally, for many American families living abroad, it is a tough choice to decide whether or not their son or daughter should stay in the UK for college or head back home. In either case, your child's guidance counsellor and the US-UK Fulbright Commission are here to help. Read on for more information about the key differences between the American and British university systems, applications, funding and much more! Making the Choice: Key Differences Between the US and UK While equally prestigious, the US and UK higher education systems offer students very different learning and campus life experiences. Informing yourself about these differences and talking through them with your child is one of the best ways to help them decide which system is the best fit. 14

In the Classroom – Is the student an independent learner who wants to delve into their major from day one? If so, the UK may be for them! But don't be fooled that spending less time inside the classroom means less work than their peers Stateside who will have at least 15-20 hours in class. They'll be expected to be self-disciplined and spend much more time reading and researching on their own. Keep in mind that it will be more difficult to change majors at a British university. Course Length & Flexibility - If the student isn’t 100% sure what they want to study, or want a well-rounded education to prepare them for a rapidly changing 21st century job market, the US might be a better fit for them. They'll have the freedom to explore new subjects as part of their general education requirements before choosing a major. They can also go in-depth into several fields by double majoring and/or minoring. This is good news for those who love the spotlight on a stage as much as they enjoy working through a tough calculus problem! However, keep in mind it will likely take them four years to graduate in the US instead of three in the UK. Admissions Overview: UCAS vs. US The UK university application process is straightforward relative to its American counterpart. While only 450 US universities use the Common Application and many of those ask for tailored supplemental essays, there is one common application for all UK universities (called UCAS). The UCAS application is a shorter exercise, with only one personal statement and one reference required. American applications as you know will ask for 2-3 essays and up to three reference letters. What's more, only a handful of subjects and universities require admissions tests or interviews in the UK, whereas nearly all American colleges will want to see SAT Reasoning or ACT scores. The most competitive universities in the States may require two to three SAT Subject Tests in addition to the Reasoning Test or the ACT Plus Writing. Does the British process sound too good to be true? While much shorter, the UCAS form can seem challenging for some American applicants used to the space and flexibility provided by the US application forms. Keep in mind they'll be limited to five university choices and can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge, not both. They'll also have to make their case for admission through a one size fits all personal statement that goes to each university, and there won't be space to list all of those activities they've been doing outside school.

This is because student's grades play the central role in the admissions decision, while extracurriculars play second fiddle. UK universities will look for depth of knowledge and interest in the students' academic field demonstrated in and outside the classroom. If they aren't reading academic texts at the weekend or doing work experience in their field already, now is the time to start! They'll probably be familiar with the US admissions process, but do make sure they are aware that US admission counsellors consider each applicant holistically. They are, of course, interested in academics and test scores, but they also endeavour to understand what makes a student tick. The student’s essays, recommendation letters and extracurricular activities help establish if the institution is a good match for them. Sort of like dating! Due to this holistic process – a US application is a bit longer and more personal. Putting it All Together: Managing Both Processes The fact of the matter is that many students wind up applying through both systems, and it is important to have a game plan in place for managing both processes so that nothing slips through the cracks! Admissions Tests - Applicants to the US will likely need to sit an admissions exam, the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT, and for more competitive universities, 2-3 SAT Subject Tests or the ACT with Writing. Similar to the US, students should consider taking the exams during their junior year (or UK Year 12) of high school, as this leaves plenty of time should they need to re-sit the exam the autumn of their final year. Test dates and locations are online at: www.collegeboard.org and www.actstudent.com. But be sure to register early as test centres in the UK fill up quickly! As mentioned above, only the most competitive British universities and subjects require admissions tests in the UK. Unlike the SAT or ACT, seat capacity is less of an issue, and tests are generally taken in October or November during the autumn you apply to university. Students submitting applications to the most competitive universities in the the US and UK would be wise to focus on getting good scores on their US tests in the spring of their junior year, leaving time for applications and UK tests in the autumn. Application Deadlines - Deadlines for American universities tend to fall between early/mid-November (for early decision/early action applications) through January (for regular decision applications) before enrolment. Students should plan their essay and application writing accordingly, especially if they are completing an UCAS form at the same time.


Students applying to Oxford and Cambridge, as well as some subjects like medicine, will work toward a 15 October deadline for their (common) UCAS application. The application deadline is usually in January, but early applications are encouraged. Essays - American universities will be looking for different admissions criteria than UK universities, therefore it is advisable not to use a US essay for their UCAS personal statement. Students should tell British universities about their knowledge, interest and skillset for the subject they are applying for. But US admissions counsellors will want to learn more about an applicant’s character, his/her motivation, future goals and why the applicant is interested in that particular university/ programme or field. In other words, tell the UK what makes them passionate about their subject and the US what makes them tick as a person. Reference Letters - While the UCAS form will ask for one reference letter, American universities usually want two to three. American referees tend to write in an enthusiastic tone, using very positive and descriptive language. Thus, it is important that referees keep the audience in mind and that a standard UCAS

reference will not be sufficient to complement a US university application. And vice versa, a US-style letter would not go over well in the UK where letters are more matter of fact! Funding Your Studies US citizens are in luck when it comes to funding. In addition to being eligible for university funding and external scholarships, they can also apply for US federal loans through the FAFSA website (www.fafsa.ed.gov). US federal loans generally offer lower interest rates and are student loans, meaning they can defer payment until after their studies. If students need additional funding, they may also apply for student loans from a private US bank or lender, also with deferred payments until graduation. It is worth pointing out that your British counterparts cannot use their government loans to complete full degrees overseas, and the only loans available to these students are personal (not student) loans. In most cases, US citizens will be able to pay for education in the UK using their federal student loans, but they will need to confirm with each institution that they are able to receive FAFSA loans. If you are a dual (US-UK) citizen, you will want to look into the UK student finance options (www.direct.

gov.uk/studentfinance). Also, when applying to American universities, dual-citizens should contact each university to see how the institution would like them to apply (as a domestic or international student). More Information If your child decides to apply to the US or the UK – Fulbright can help! As a first port of call, American applicants to British universities should visit the UCAS (www.ucas.ac.uk) or British Council USA website (www.britishcouncil. com) for detailed application information. If students are heading back home for college, they may be interested to know the US-UK Fulbright Commission is the government recognised official source of US study information in the UK. Visit our advising website (www.fulbright.org.uk). n

Attend

USA College Day

The UK’s only US University Fair London 28-29 September 2012

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Days Out With The Family Legoland Legoland is still my personal favourite of the theme parks in the UK. This is because it is the most attractive, with trees, lakes and the most amazing Lego creations you will ever see. In fact, wherever you are in Legoland you can see something created out of Lego. Some of it is slightly hidden away so that it surprises you as you catch a glimpse of it in the shrubbery, and new for 2012, is The Star Wars Experience in Miniland, where scenes from the Star Wars films have been re-created to an exceptionally high standard. You can buy some of the lego to take home so you can re-create the spectacular models you will see. Miniland highlights just how amazing the Lego creations are, as the makers have taken well known landmarks from Europe and the USA and recreated them in exact detail in lego. The attention to detail is second to none and you can spend many hours looking at all the scenes. They are so lifelike, you can almost forget they are made out of Lego! England is especially spectacular, as they have recreated Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Canary Wharf as well as other well known landmarks, whilst for the USA they have created a large NASA centre. Holland, Belgium, France and Italy to name a few also feature, and keep your eyes out for the tricks the builders have played where Darleks 16

Legoland

and dinosaur figures appear in the strangest places (look at the Canary Wharf buildings for one such example!), and throughout the park statues of giraffes, bears, people, dinosaurs, you name it, can be marvelled at. Legoland’s rides are generally geared for the younger children, and in my opinion it caters well for those aged up to 10 years of age, although my friend and I who are in our 40’s think the level of rides is perfect for our age too! Older children will appreciate the park, but if they are looking for big thrill rides, they will be disappointed, although the rollercoaster ride The Dragon, and the water rides Squid Surfer, Extreme Team Challenge and Pirate Falls will entertain them, the latter three guaranteeing they will get soaked! Atlantis Submarine Voyage was opened last year, and is a great success. Climb aboard a submarine and be taken through an underwater world of sharks, stingrays and colourful fish - brilliant! Younger children can enjoy Driving School where they drive around a track with traffic lights and usual road markings at about 5 miles per hour, and Boating School where they can take the wheel in a boat, although if they are under 1.3 m they will need an adult with them. Dino Safari is a car ride that youngsters over the age of 5 can do on their own as the cars go around a track and no steering is involved, although it is fun to tell the children that they do have control of the wheel so they really feel they are driving. For those who like to be spun around, Spinning Spider is based on the Teacups theme, the Dragon's Apprentice is a rollercoaster aimed at getting the younger children used to thrill rides, Space Tower is a ride where you sit in a double seat and pull yourself up a tower and then let go of the string so that you can fall back down to the ground at your own pace, and the Jolly Rocker is a large swinging boat where the brave sit in the back rows and the not so brave sit in the middle! This ride was a bit much for my friend and I, which meant we had two disappointed children, as children need to ride with an adult 16 years or older.

Legoland is split into different areas, including Knights Kingdom, Pirates Landing, Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharohs, Adventure Land, Duplo Land, Traffic and Miniland. Each area has a number of rides and activities and it is these additional things to see that make Legoland so enjoyable as you don't have to spend all of your time queuing or on the big rides. Legoland also has the Imagination Centre which houses Sky Rider, a train ride above the ground that gives you an aerial view of Legoland and in the distance Windsor Castle as well as the Imagination Theatre which shows 4D adventures, and workshops where you can play and create with Lego. There are many more rides at Legoland and large play areas ensuring your family will be entertained throughout the day. Each land is well serviced by food outlets, and in Lego City Harbour there is a great acrobatic show called Pirates of Skeleton Bay which is highly entertaining for all the family and involves the cast and some of the audience getting very wet. Legoland also offers a 'Lost Children' service, whereby you place a sticker on your child that has your mobile phone number on it, and this service is free. Legoland is situated in Windsor so is easily accessible from M3 and M4 and is only about a 40 minute drive from Central London. For further information on opening times, prices, Legoland itself and the new Legoland Hotel, please visit www.legoland.com Chessington World of Adventures Years ago, when I was a child, Chessington World of Adventures was called Chessington Zoo, and was exactly that, a zoo. However, over the years, ride by ride, Chessington Zoo has been transformed into a theme park that all ages will enjoy. There is still a zoo within the grounds, housing lions, tigers, gorillas, sealions, penguins, otters and insects, and there is also a Sea Life Centre where you can walk through a tunnel full of fish and sharks, but most people head to Chessington World of Adventures for


All Star Lanes

the thrills and spills of the rides. For the younger generation (up to about the age of 5) there are flying elephants on the Flying Jumbo ride, Berry Bouncers where children are bobbed up and down from sensible heights, or they can take the wheel on Toadie's Crazy Cars and the Tiny Truckers, and they can also enjoy a ride sitting on the Carousel. They can also visit the nearby Children's petting zoo with goats, guinea pigs and rabbits, and ride the Safari Skyway above the zoo and a few of the rides. 'Madagascar Live' is new for 2012 and allows visitors to join their favourite characters Alex, King Julien, Gloria, Mort and The Penguins as they sing and dance their way through a brand new live show. The slightly older and braver children are also well catered for with a number of rides. For those who enjoy rollercoasters there is Rattlesnake, that should be called Rattleshake

in my opinion. The Runaway Train is a good appetiser for the bigger roller coasters you will face, and Dragons's Fury, which I refuse to ride as it is a very high, twisty turny rollercoaster where you sit in something very close to a waltzer and get thrown around - although everyone I know who has ridden it says it is fantastic - and my favourite, the Vampire ride, where you sit two by two with a harness over you and fly over the theme park. For those with a cast iron stomach, Griffin's Galleon, the Black Bucacaneer, Monkey Swinger and Seastorm, will swing you from top to bottom, or twist you forward and backwards. For the most adventurous of theme park riders, Rameses Revenge and Kobra, will provide you with rides that actually make my knees shake watching them. Rameses Revenge throws you over and over and then squirts water in your face whilst you are hanging upside down, whilst Kobra twists you round and round whilst going higher and higher. For those who enjoy water rides, Dragon Falls is the ride famously depicted by the late Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry. You sit in a log boat which then goes up a ramp, and whatever goes up, must come down therefore soaking most of the riders. For the younger visitors there is Bubbleworks, where you sit in a little boat and go through the Bubbleworks factory, although you can get a little bit wet on this ride too! There are many other rides at Chessington, including another of my favourites, Tomb Blaster which is a laser gun ride, and each ride is situated in its own world. These include the Mystic East, Pirates Cove, Forbidden Kingdom, Mexicana, Land of the Dragons, Transylvania and Wild Asia. There are several fast food restaurants on site, as well as a few shops. For those who don't live in the London or Home Counties area, there is a Holiday Inn that has recently been built and is situated just outside the theme park. For further information on Chessington World of Adventures, and special offers, please visit their website www.chessington.com

All Star Lanes For an afternoon of bowling with a genuine feel of retro-Americana, in glorious ‘50s and ‘60s style, a visit to a branch of All Star Lanes is highly recommended. Even if you aren’t quite as passionate about bowling as its founding fathers, Mark and Adam, you can easily satisfy any food-from-home cravings, including burgers, hot dogs, ribs, wings and chicken gumbo, served by girls dressed in their ‘Grease’ uniforms, as our 10 year old guest exclaimed! At the original and biggest, All Star Lanes in Holborn, Central London, there are four bowling lanes, and booking is recommended. There is also a private room that also has four lanes and can be hired for private parties and corporate functions. If you are a student, go for the brilliant 3B’s bargain on ‘Student Sundays’ and feast on beer, burgers and bowling for a credit-crunching £15. All Star’s diner is a real treat to visit, kitted out with the old fashioned, ‘naughty naughahyde’ booths, checkered table napkins and fat glasses of ice water. The diner menu prides itself on offering classic coast to coast American dishes such as mouthwatering chargrilled steaks and burgers, ribs and fries and New York cheesecake. Other classics might need a little more explaining, especially if you’re visiting with a British mate, items like Succotash, Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Eggplant Cilantro and Jalapeno Quesadilla or Rocky Road Sundae. For further information please visit www. allstarlanes.co.uk The London Eye A visit to the EDF Energy London Eye with the kids is always going to be a memorable and enjoyable experience. Since it was built in 1999, and opened for the Millennium celebrations, the world’s tallest cantilevered observations wheel, at 135m high, is the fifth tallest structure in London and offers amazing views. A decade after it opened, the London Eye has maintained its status as an iconic London landmark. The London Eye is popular with tourists and 17


London Eye

Brits alike, and it’s not hard to see why it has become the UK’s most popular paid for visitor attraction, visited by an average of 10,000 people a day, or 3.5 million visitors each year. The skies were a bit grey the morning we arrived, but fortunately dry after a very wet and chilly spring. The ticket collection process is fairly simple (the ticket office is located inside County Hall, which is the building directly next to the London Eye), and you are provided with a map to assist your tour. The kids loved the interactive touch screens, which helped explain where everything is, and provided some good general facts and key information on landmarks – as well as a 3D view of each sight. With everything being so interactive these days, this is a good way of engaging the kids to take in the Capital’s best sights. You cannot help but marvel over the spectacular views – Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. You can apparently see up to 40 kilometres (25 miles) in all directions, and as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day. Each rotation takes about 30 minutes, meaning a capsule travels at a stately 26cm per second, or 0.9km (0.6 miles) per hour - twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting - allowing passengers to step on and off without the wheel having to stop. It feels extremely safe, and the 30 minutes go quite quickly with so much to look at and take in. The perfect prelude to an experience on the EDF Energy London Eye, is the new 4D Experience (you need to join the 4D entrance queue with your tickets 45 minutes prior to your booked time slot). This is a 3D film with spectacular in-theatre effects including wind, bubbles and mist to add a breath-taking fourth dimension, based on a story of a little girl in London, whose views of famous London landmarks are obscured by jostling crowds and traffic. The show ran for a few minutes, and is very 18

clever and good fun, and the kids really enjoyed it. You can also choose to do this after your ride should you prefer, and the experience is open to all standard ticket holders. The Eye is, without a doubt, a feat of design and engineering. There is undeniably not many other attractions you can enjoy whilst admiring the views from high above the River Thames. You cannot be in the UK without a visit to The London Eye take in a day flight and a night flight - with or without children! Standard ticket prices from £18.90 for adults and £9.90 for kids (both cheaper if purchased beforehand online). You may also want to consider some great combined ticket packages to make the most of a day in London. Visit www.londoneye.com for further information. Tower of London The Tower of London is a world heritage site welcoming over two million visitors every year, located within the square mile that is known as the City of London. We were lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, but regardless of the weather the sight of this great landmark really is quite awe inspiring, backed as it is by the River Thames and Tower Bridge. In my opinion, if you were only able to visit one historical attraction in London, this would undoubtedly have to be it. You can positively feel the sense of history oozing through the walls as you walk the paths that so many before you have taken, not just tourists, but the poor unfortunates who have been incarcerated within its walls, including names such as Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas More, Lady Jane Grey (the nine days queen), the two young Princes: Edward V and Richard, sons of Edward IV who are believed to have been murdered in the Tower, and Josef Jacobs, a German spy, the last person to have been executed in the Tower in 1941. The stories surrounding these famous prisoners, and many others besides, unfold as you make your way around the Tower, and provide fascinating reading. When you enter the tower there are several options to choose from to help you get the most out of your visit. You can join one of the Yeoman Warders’ tours (also known as Beefeaters, who have been guarding the tower since the 14th century). These tours, lasting 60 minutes, are included in your ticket price, and I would highly recommend joining one as they will have you gasping and giggling in equal

amounts as they tell their tales of torture, terror and intrigue! Or if you prefer to make your own way around you can opt for an audio tour. There are five audio tours to choose from at a cost of £3.00 for concessions and children or £4.00 for adults. In addition to the tours, there are activities for families including family trails, various workshops, and special events that change throughout the year. For details of these you need to check the website. Once you get inside the walls, you may be surprised by just how much there is to see, and you certainly need a whole day to really experience what the Tower has to offer. These were my top five unmissable highlights: 1. The Crown Jewels: newly displayed in the Jewel House, with the Queen’s Coronation as the central theme with footage from the historic ceremony. This is an absolute must-see! 2. Tower Green: The site of execution for the highest ranking prisoners including the three queens of England; Anne Boleyn (second wife of Henry VIII), Catherine Howard (Henry VIII’s fifth wife) and Lady Jane Grey. The memorial placed here really does give reason to ‘pause awhile’ as you ponder the fate of those that were brought here. 3. The Prisoner’s Exhibition: Interactive displays housed in the towers where many prisoners were incarcerated. You can explore their stories as well as finding their ‘graffiti’ carved into the walls. 4. The White Tower: One of the most important historic buildings in the world, built in the 1070s by William the Conqueror. There are three floors to explore, including the beautiful 11th century chapel of St John the Evangelist and the thrilling displays of armour and weaponry (including some made for Henry VIII and the infamous block and axe!) 5. The Beefeaters: True symbols of London with their distinctive red and black uniforms. Their nickname was earned from their position in the Royal bodyguard which permitted them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the King’s table! They are happy to answer your questions and have a wealth of information and stories to share. The best way to hear these stories is by joining one of their tours. For further information please visit www.hrp. org.uk/TowerOfLondon n Tower of London


Sports Medicine S

o now you live in England and you have discovered that the medical service is similar but yet very different. Many of you might have discovered that one big difference is that Sports Medicine issues are often referred directly to a Physiotherapist or an Orthopaedic Surgeon without you first seeing a Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician. There is a big difference between these three specialities. Orthopaedic Surgeons specialise in operative treatments of injuries. Both the Sports Physician and Orthopaedic Surgeon are trained in musculoskeletal problems. However, approximately 90% of all sports injuries are non-surgical, thus when surgery is necessary Sports Physicians can expedite referral to a Surgeon. Physiotherapists are health care professionals who treat individuals of all ages with medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physiotherapists use treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability. Sports Medicine is a multi-disciplinary 20

speciality where the Sports Physician is the clinical lead in making diagnosis, determining treatment and directing treatment plans. Sports Physicians treat non-surgical conditions and can also serve as a full-time team physician as well, or specialise in the field of physical medicine or rehabilitation. A Sports Physician specialises in both treatment and injury prevention and helping in maximising function and minimising disability and time away from sport, work or school. Sports Physicians are also trained in nonmusculoskeletal aspects of sport such as preparticipation screening, exercise testing and prescription, over-training syndrome, concussion management, nutrition, weight management, training and conditioning. Although Sports Physicians are ideal as doctors for teams, they also spend a great deal of their time in the office or training room and in human performance labs. On the other hand Orthopaedic Surgeons spend a great deal of time in the operating rooms of hospitals. Sports Physicians are ideal for non-athletes and for those who want to begin exercise programmes, the weekend warrior, the industrial athlete and for older individuals who have sustained injury or would like to improve their overall health. Sports Physicians perform a wide range of treatments including regenerative injection normally under ultrasound guided control. These treatments include Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma. Each of these techniques use patients’ own physical healing powers to create a bridge between conservative standards of care, treatments and surgery for musculoskeletal injuries and arthritis. These treatments are relatively non-invasive and comparatively inexpensive. They can help to heal acute and chronic tendon, ligament and cartilage injuries. Before the advent of regenerative injection therapy, patients had few treatment options. Whilst surgery can sometimes repair torn tendons, cartilage and ligaments it also exacerbates arthritis. Regenerative injection therapy not only bridges a critical gap in the conventional treatment but can also offer relief to people suffering from conditions that have previously had little chance for an effective treatment. Regenerative injection therapies are targeted biological therapies and consist of a series of injections. These injections cause some inflammation and release of growth factors which triggers the body’s immune healing system to begin the healing cascade which can repair damaged tissue or improve the symptoms in damaged joints, tendons or ligaments. So, whether you are interested in starting a fitness programme or if you suffered an injury or would like

information on an injury whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite or professional athlete, it is very important to find a qualified Sports Physician for your needs. Sports Medicine is a multi-disciplinary speciality where the Sports Physicians are the clinical lead in making diagnosis, treatment and directing treatment plans. Sports Physicians should be Board Certified in a Primary Care Speciality and then additional training in an accredited fellowship in Sports Medicine. n Dr Ralph Rogers MD PhD MBA, Medical Director of The London Sports Injury Clinic. Dr Ralph Rogers attended the University of Delaware, where he was a top college lacrosse player. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, he travelled to Europe where he completed medical training at the Catholic University of Leuven. Upon graduating medical school, Dr Rogers returned to the United States to attend the University of Maryland where he received a PhD in Exercise Physiology. He was also awarded research Fellowship from the National Institute of Health. Afterwards he completed a Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Free University of Brussels. In his search to be the very best Dr Rogers has also gained additional diplomas and degrees, including a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). In addition he is a Fellow of the Faculties of American College of Sports Medicine, the American College of Nutrition, as well as the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine in the UK and Ireland," and holds many prestigious posts and sits on National Advisory Boards. He is a former elite athlete himself so he understands the needs of athletes needing the best in Human Performance techniques, nutrition and sports rehabilitation.


UK Sports Our Quarterly Overview Of UK Sports

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he forthcoming summer months will be dominated by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games but we will not forget to review one of the most exciting Premiership soccer seasons and upcoming summer tennis, cricket and golfing events.

Logo for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Wolff Olins, 2007®LOCOG

London 2012 Olympic Games It is sixty four years since Britain last hosted the Olympic Games. Recovering from the terrible events of the second world war, it was a remarkable achievement that London was able to stage such a massive sporting event. This time everything will be on a much grander scale as befits the modern Olympiad, and from the 25th July (yes, some events do start before the opening ceremony on 27th July) until the 12th August, Britain, and London in particular, will be the centre of worldwide sporting attention. It is, of course, impossible to preview all the Olympic events and the British contenders in those events. As such, we have decided to highlight some of Team GB’s leading stars together with a selection of some of our young up and coming stars, some of whom have already made a significant impact in their designated sport and who may yet spring a surprise with a podium appearance. Team GB has high hopes for gold medals across a wide range of sports. In the athletics events, Mo Farah will hope to emulate the double gold achievement of Dame Kelly Holmes in Beijing by winning both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, in which events Mo won gold and silver in the 2011 World championships. Dai Greene will also be striving to repeat his gold medal performance at the 2011 World championships when he again contests the 400 metres hurdles. Other of our leading athletics medal contenders include Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon, Phillips Idowu in the triple jump, Hannah England in the 1,500 metres and Andy Turner in the 110 metres hurdles. Whilst the established athletes above clearly lead Team GB’s athletics medal hopes, keep an eye out for some of our young athletes who may make the team. We have mentioned Jodie Williams in previous issues of ‘American in Britain’. She dominated the junior sprint events winning 151 consecutive races and winning the 100 and 200 metre finals at the World Youth Championships and 200 metres final at the World Juniors. This year is Jodie’s first season at senior level; can she reach the finals of these events? What a start that would be. Watch out for another young sprinter, Perri Shakes-Drayton, in the 400 metres hurdles and the 4 x 400 metres relay team. Perri only just failed to make the hurdles final in last years world championships having hit two hurdles in her semi-final. Another young athlete to watch is Lawrence Okoye in the Discus event. Aged only twenty, he is the reigning British Discus record holder. Delano Williams, a teenager from the Turks and Caicos will be bidding to make the team for the 200 metres at the British Olympic Trials in June. Another young prospect is twenty year old Holly Bleasdale who won a bronze medal in the pole vault at the World Indoor Cham-

pionships in March and is fourth on the alltime world list having cleared 4.87 metres in January. Finally, twenty four year old Robbie Grabarz could be a surprise medal winner in the high jump having cleared 2.34 metres in January - that would have won him a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics! There will, of course, always be some controversy somewhere in the Olympics and the taking of drugs has been a major issue for many years now. Team GB has its own controversy with the recently announced availability of sprinter Dwain Chambers. Chambers was banned in 2003 for failing a drugs test and received a lifetime ban from the Olympics by the British Olympic Association. This ban was overturned in May by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the indications are that Chambers may be selected to represent Team GB. Chambers’ best 100 metres time is well below that of his nearest rivals (nearly half a second below Usain Bolt), but what if, by some minor miracle, he took the gold medal. Would Team GB, or the British supporters, acclaim that feat as he stepped onto the podium? Very, very doubtful and if he is selected it is our view that it would be disrespectful to all those athletes in all sports who train hard day in day out to be the best in their sport without added stimulants. Cheats should not prosper. Another of the Olympic events in which Team GB has high hopes is the cycling. Sir Chris Hoy won three gold medals in Beijing and holds a fourth. The most successful cyclist of all time, he could equal or even surpass Sir Steve Redgrave’s record haul of five gold medals. In the women’s event the star of the show is Victoria Pendleton who already holds one Olympic gold medal. After an indifferent start to the year, Victoria pulled off a remarkable gold medal in the World Championships in Melbourne. Having crashed heavily in her first semi-final race against her old rival, Australian Anna Meares, she recovered to win the next two races and then triumphed in the final. In the road race cycling, Mark Cavendish is the undoubted star of the show and will have high hopes of a gold medal. Other of our cycling hopefuls include Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips who could both win medals in the BMX cycling event. Nineteen year old Laura Trott has already won double World Championship gold medals in the track team pursuit and omnium. Another young team sprint rising star is Jess Varnish whose polished performance with Victoria Pendleton won them a European gold medal and a world record at the World Cup in London in February. In the road cycling events, Lizzie Armitstad, aged twenty three, should accompany Nicole Cooke on the course up and down Box Hill in Surrey! The Swimming and Diving teams might 21


produce the highest number of medals for Team GB. Rebecca Adlington, after her two gold medals in Beijing, could, yet again, be a double gold winner, although the 800 metres looks to be her strongest chance. Hannah Miley, aged twenty two, will compete in the 200 metres and the 400 metres medley, and Ellen Gandy will race in the 100 and 200 metres butterfly. The star of the GB Olympic trials, Joe Roebuck, will compete in the 200 metres, the 200 metres butterfly and the 400 metres medley. Tom Daley is the best known of our divers, but Jack Laugher, aged seventeen, has shown the same potential as Daley at that age and won a world junior championship in 2010. In the women’s events, Sarah Barrow and Tonia Couch won a bronze medal in the synchronised 10 metre platform event at this years World Cup in London. The other water events of Sailing and Rowing should also return a good haul of medals. Ben Ainslie has three Olympic gold medals in the Finn class. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark team up in the 470 class and took the silver medal in last years test event in Weymouth. The GB rowing team have much to follow after the amazing feats of Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent, but Alex Partridge in the coxless four and Tom James in the eight will be two of our rowers trying follow in the Redgrave/Pinsent footsteps (sorry, oars). Stroking the British eight will be twenty year old Constantine Louloudis (yes, he is British!) who coxed the victorious Oxford crew to victory in the 2011 boat race. Kat Copeland, aged twenty one, might just become Britain’s first gold medal winner in the lightweight sculls having won the under-23 gold medal last summer and finishing fifth at the senior world championships. There are so many other Olympic sports we would have liked to cover but the UK Sports article would probably have then taken up this whole issue of ‘American in Britain’! Apologies to all those other sports to which we have not referred, but to all and every member of Team GB - good luck and may the force be with you! It is to your writer’s dying shame that my knowledge of our Paralympic athletes does not reflect the coverage they deserve but seventeen days after the finale of the Olympics the Paralympics will take centre stage and, by all accounts, the twenty four events will be a sell out. In many ways the athletes at the Paralympics are a greater example to us mere mortals because they have all overcome disabilities with courage and a determination to enjoy and take part in a whole variety of sports. Their dedication to training and competitive instinct is as great as any sports person in the world and we wish each and every competitor at the Paralympics every success and an experience in London never to be forgotten. 22

Soccer We asked in our Autumn 2011 issue whether massive outlays of cash could bring success. Well, the answer seems to be “yes”, with the two biggest spenders, Chelsea and Manchester City, walking off with the European Champions League Cup and the Premiership Cup respectively, albeit by the narrowest of margins. First, our congratulations go to Chelsea. After a frought start to the season under their then new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, who was sacked after a terrible run of results, the assistant coach, Roberto Di Matteo, was appointed interim manager and steered Chelsea away from near elimination in the Champions League last sixteen match against Napoli, overturning a 3-1 deficit with a 4-1 home win in the second leg, and more stunningly beating favourites, Barcelona, 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final. Having won the first leg at home 1-0, Chelsea were 2-0 down and playing with ten men after John Terry received a straight red card but somehow came back with two goals for a 2-2 away draw - incredible. Having reached the final, Chelsea had to play four times winners of the European Cup, Bayern Munich, at Bayern’s stadium. With three minutes to go, and trailing 1-0, a Drogba equaliser sent the match into extra time and a penalty shoot out. Another miracle was about to unfold as Chelsea defeated the German team on penalties! Chelsea have not endeared themselves to one half of north London. By winning the Champions League they have gained entry to next season’s competition at the expense of the fourth placed team in the Premiership - Tottenham Hotspur! Poor Harry Rednapp, Spurs manager, overlooked at the end for the England manager's job, and having seen his side give up an eight point lead over Arsenal for third place, has now been denied a place in next season’s tournament - not what he would call “fantastic”! So Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea will again be England’s representatives in the premier European tournament next season. Tottenham, Newcastle United (5th in the league) and Liverpool (winners of the Carling Cup) will go into the Europa Cup. However, if that was dramatic, the last day of the Premiership was even more so. All teams play their last game on the same day and at the same time. Manchester City and Manchester United were equal on points with City having the better goal difference. With five minutes of added time left at City’s home game against relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers, City trailed 1-2 and United led Sunderland 1-0. It was United’s title but in those last five minutes City scored twice and, after forty four barren years, took the championship. The

reaction of the two sets of fans best showed the changing drama - ecstasy to despair at Sunderland, despair to ecstasy at Manchester City; and some City fans were leaving their stadium before the final whistle! Some said that QPR lost concentration when their goalkeeper, who had information from the crowd, told his team mates in the last few minutes that they were safe from relegation as Bolton Wanderers had only managed a draw at Stoke City and were down to the Championship League next season with Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Maybe, but the drama of those last few minutes will live forever with Manchester City supporters - and probably those of United as well! It was perhaps the most exciting Premiership ever with the battle for the title between the two Manchester teams, the battle for third and fourth place between Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle and the battle against relegation between QPR and Bolton, Blackburn having been relegated in their penultimate game, (all of which went to the last day as well). Next season will see Southampton, Reading and West Ham return to the Premiership from the Championship League. The sacking of unsuccessful managers began immediately. Alex McLeish and Kenny Dalglish, the Scottish managers of Aston Villa and Liverpool, were sacked within days of the season’s end. Will Di Matteo, despite winning the FA Cup and European Cup for Chelsea, be appointed permanent manger - if such a thing exists at Stamford Bridge? After the sacking of VillasBoas, it was said that future Chelsea managers would be given a twelve hour rolling contract! Now we move on to the Euro 2012 Finals in Poland and the Ukraine. England’s new manager/coach, Roy Hodgson, had little time to consider his squad for the tournament but has added some young talent to the expected experienced players. Two players, John Ruddy the Norwich City goalkeeper and Alex OxladeChamberlain the Arsenal midfielder, have been called up for the first time. Other players with less than ten caps for England include Leighton Baines the Everton left back, Gary Cahill the Chelsea centre back, Phil Jones the Manchester United defender, Andy Carroll the Newcastle striker and Danny Welbeck the Manchester United striker. Controversy surrounded the omission of Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United but the inclusion of John Terry of Chelsea. Terry is facing a criminal trial in July for allegedly racially abusing Rio’s brother, Anton, in a match against QPR. Hodgson said that both the omission of Ferdinand and the inclusion of Terry reflected purely footballing decisions. Don’t know if Rio buys that. The captaincy, however, has been taken from Terry and given to Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.


After two friendly internationals, England play France on 11 June, Sweden on 15 June and Ukraine on 19 June. Should England progress to the knock out stages and reach the Euro 2012 final it will be played in Kiev on 1 July. Chances? Slim! Cricket England are currently playing the West Indies in a three Test series which ends on 11 June. Then there are a series of one day and Twenty20 matches involving the Windies and Australia before they take on their current closest Test rivals, South Africa, in another three Test series at The Oval (19-23 July), Headingly (2-6 August) and Lord’s (16-20 August). These are followed by more one day and Twenty20 matches against South Africa before the team departs for Sri Lanka and the World Twenty20 championship. Tennis ‘The Championships’ at Wimbledon will take place between 25 June and 8 July preceded by the men’s precursor at Queens Club between 11 and 16 June and the women’s warm up tournaments at Birmingham, also from 11 to

16 June, and Eastbourne from 17 to 24 June. Once again the Men’s title should be contested by Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. Whether Andy Murray can succeed remains questionable. His form on the clay courts has not been great and he is again suffering from yet another injury problem, this time his back. However, keep an eye on Tsonga, Berdych, Del Potro and the young up and coming youngsters Raonic from Canada, Tomic from Australia and, of course, John Isner from the USA. All are big hitters with huge serves which suit the grass courts of Wimbledon. Can Serena Williams prevail, once again, in the Women’s tournament? She has had a good clay court season winning the WTA Madrid tournament very convincingly. She looks as fit as ever and has been hitting her serves and ground strokes with tremendous power. It is also good to see Venus back on the tour after her illness. Sharapova clearly poses the biggest threat along with Azarenka, but the reigning champion, Kvitova, looks out of sorts. Stosur could do well if she could recapture her US Open form but Radwanska lacks the power that is generally required for the grass courts.

Golf ‘The Open’ golf championship will be held at Royal Lytham & St Annes in Lancashire between the 19th and 22nd July. Can another Brit follow in the footsteps of Darren Clarke and take home the coveted Claret Jug? Luke Donald will probably be as consistent as ever but will he have that little extra determination to win? Can Lee Westwood’s putting come good and equal his fantastic tee to green play? Will Rory McIlroy achieve the standard of last year’s US Open victory performance at Lytham? Or will a non-Brit walk off with that jug? Later in the year, the great Ryder Cup battle will take place, this time at Medinah, Illinois between 28th and 30th September. Will Europe retain the Cup or will the USA take full advantage of home turf and home fans? At least this event is not likely to reach the aggressive and emotional fervour usually now associated with the ladies Solheim Cup, but very competitive it will undoubtedly be. Do enjoy the Olympics and Paralympics and we hope that many of our readers get the opportunity to attend some of the numerous sporting events that comprise these great events. Let’s see how many medals we can report for Team GB in our next issue. n

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Shopping & Shipping Home London 2012, all wrapped up

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round 250,000 American visitors are expected in London for the 2012 Olympic Games. With so many temptations awaiting in this most vibrant of capital cities, however, it could be hard for them to keep their minds on the sport. 24

If you already live in the UK, you may well be expecting guests who are planning to make the most of their stay by not only visiting the Games but also taking some time out to sample the other delights of the capital. Wherever they head to, you can be sure they will end up with much more to take home than they arrived with. Mindful of this, you might want to advise them what to look for, or even accompany them on their foraging trips. And you may also want to reassure them that they don’t have to be put off by the thought of how they’re going to get it all home. With that in mind, here are some insider tips for you to pass on. London is a shopper’s paradise. Whatever their tastes, visitors will stumble on much that is irresistible here, and even those who profess to be allergic to shopping can find themselves persuaded by that perfect ‘little something’ as a memento of their stay. From bespoke suits and designer styles to vintage finds and exclusive boutiques, there is no shortage of temptations for the fashion-conscious. Shoes, bags, belts, scarves, heritage looks from Barbour to Belstaff, luxurious lingerie from Rigby & Peller, big name brands and raw new talent – it’s all here. Head to Savile Row, Bond Street, Regent Street, Knightsbridge and The King’s Road, and look out for smaller shopping destinations like Wimbledon Village, where town meets country (and probably even the grocery store sells designer jeans). If fine food is your thing and perhaps you’re a little homesick, visit Harrods’ or Selfridges’ food halls where, among the mouth-watering array of fine consumables, you’ll even find some real American sweets to pacify your nostalgia without breaking the bank. Of course, no foodie would want to miss Fortnum & Mason’s famous Piccadilly store where, as well as shopping in the amazing food, wine and cook-shop, you can treat yourself to one of London’s finest afternoon teas – an essential part of any London visit. Wine buffs, meanwhile, should make a beeline for Berry Bros and Rudd, specialist wine merchants in Mayfair. Many of the most exciting gifts come in small packages, and London boasts some of the finest jewellers in the world. Crown jeweller, Garrard, can be found on London’s Albemarle Street and Mappin & Webb on Regent Street, or head to the UK’s diamond centre, Hatton Garden, for an array of specialist shops. If you love art and antiques, the capital has a huge choice of galleries, antique centres and of course London’s world-famous auction houses. Whether it’s affordable art or old masters, the art scene is vibrant and there are plenty of purchasing opportunities for

bargain-hunters and connoisseurs alike. Of course, collectibles come in all shapes and sizes – think vintage comic books or classic guitars – and don’t forget the wonderful street markets, many of which specialise in particular goods, like Petticoat Lane with its cut-price fashions, Gray’s Antique market and the world-famous Portobello Road with its mix of antiques, bric-a-brac and vintage clothing. It’s not just the obvious that beguiles, however. Shopping in London is dangerously tempting in ways that you might not originally have imagined. If it can be bought, it can be bought in London, and there really is something for everyone. The next challenge is how to get these bargains, one-off finds, souvenirs, keepsakes and other treasures back to the States safely and securely, at a reasonable cost. After all, noone wants to struggle with excess baggage and the associated charges at the airport on the way home. Thankfully, there are specialist shippers who will collect, pack and despatch your precious purchases, whisking them away efficiently and treating them with all the care you could wish for. It’s also a comfort to know that you can drop off your purchases locally for immediate despatch to any worldwide destination. Look for shipping experts that work with a range of couriers, including the major names like UPS, DHL, Fedex, TNT and Parcelforce Worldwide. The best providers will offer an end-to-end service that includes advice on export duties and customs regulations, expert packing (a specialism in fragile and valuable goods handling is of course preferable) and a range of shipping options to suit your budget and timeframe. If you are buying from an art dealer or auction house, your shipping company should be able to collect direct from their premises to save you any hassle, and don’t forget to ask about compensation cover in the unlikely event of loss or damage in transit. Happy shopping! n James Simmons, Marketing Manager at Mail Boxes Etc. Mail Boxes Etc. has stores on most busy shopping routes in the capital, including the Knightsbridge store – just around the corner from Harrods. Mail Boxes Etc., the UK’s network of high street stores offering reliable express and worldwide delivery, printing, mailbox rental and virtual office services, specialises in shipping services to the art and antiques market and collects from most of the major auction houses and sale rooms in the UK. There are over 1,350 Mail Boxes Etc. locations worldwide, including more than 120 stores in the UK and Ireland. For further information about any Mail Boxes Etc. service call 0800 623 123 or visit www.mbe.co.uk.


2013 Monday 4th February 2013

London CTS Ltd. 2 - 4 Circus Road, St. John’s Wood, London NW8 6PG Phone: 0207 483 1933 E-mail: mariad@cassistravel.co.uk Leisure Manager: Maria Dunn

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Immigration Immigration Tips for US citizens currently in the UK (who might want to experience life elsewhere in Europe…)

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s an American relocated to the United Kingdom you are on Europe’s doorstep. Although the second smallest continent, it is the biggest economy worldwide. It is also made up of many countries with vast amounts of history, different cultures, educational and trade centres and variety of languages. Europe contains the largest sovereign state (Russia) and its smallest (Vatican City). You can study the origins of democracy at Athens, relax in the Swiss Alps or party in Ibiza. You may also have the right to work or to reside in any of these countries and various treaties which have been drawn up specifically

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to set out the entitlements of non-EU citizens based in the UK (or elsewhere in Europe) who want to sample life in another EU country whilst on this side of the Atlantic. This is an exciting prospect, but visa requirements are not simple and errors can have serious implications. It is worth keeping a few things in mind when planning any moves into mainland Europe. The following information may help to make your life easier when transferring from the UK to another European country. Here are our top ten tips: 1. Plan in advance You will recall from your transfer to the UK how important it is to plan in advance. You are required to complete different stages to obtain a work permit or visa. This usually involves dealing with government authorities (such as the Ministry of Labour, Immigration Departments and Consulates). You will need to be aware of the different lead times at each stage in the process and must plan well in advance to avoid disappointment and frustration later if it becomes apparent that you cannot travel when you want to as you won’t yet have your authorisation in time. Be clear on what is feasible. 2. Be informed It is important that you are fully aware of the activities you will be performing or allowed to perform in your chosen destination country, whether it is work, business or tourism. You should also decide how long you would like to stay. This is crucial to determine your visa eligibility. 3. Be aware of other events (think of the bigger picture) Summer and holidays - if you are moving around Europe near the summer season, remember that summer vacations will play an important role in the time it takes to obtain your work authorisation or visa. Some countries come to a virtual stand-still over these months, and in the most extreme cases the government authorities will completely close down. During the holiday season, Greece comes to a standstill and in Spain the authorities operate with less than half the normal amount of staff. There are many different public holidays across the regions and these can affect on timings too. Let’s say you planned to collect your visa at the consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of residence as you are leaving the next day to Spain and the Consulate is closed due to a public holiday. This unforeseen closure will impact your travel date and will delay your visit. Sporting – The London 2012 Olympic

Games are drawing closer, this article would not be complete without a brief mention of the need to be aware of any major sporting events occurring in the country where you are relocating. These include not just the Olympics, but others such as the European championships are taking place in Poland and Ukraine in June and July which will attract thousands of fans to these countries. There are many other sports tournaments and fixtures that draw literally thousands of fans at differing points throughout the year. These events will have a direct impact on your travel and will also impact on work permit and visa processing times as authorities will deal with higher than normal volumes on these occasions. Should travel during these times be absolutely necessary, we recommend advance planning and prepare to face delays. 4. Know who can come with you and what they can do while they are there Eligible dependants – Your ability to be accompanied will vary from country to country. Some countries, like Spain and Italy, will only consider immediate family members (your children and spouse) as dependants. In the Czech Republic, Turkey and Russia, children over 18 are generally not considered your dependants (if applying under the standard work permit process). But in Russia (if applying under the highly-qualified process) members of your extended family such as grandparents, civil law partnership and samesex partners can be classed as dependants. It is crucial that when relocating with accompanying members you confirm from the outset if they classify as your dependant in the destination country and therefore have the right to obtain a dependant visa. Can they work? - The dependant visa category usually gives the accompanying member the right to live in that particular country, but not to work. Some countries have implemented dependant visa categories that do allow the dependant to work. For example, in Spain if the dependant holds an EU blue card they can work. Please verify this before making any plans with your dependants. 5. Dealing with different Consulates and Embassies There will generally be a consular aspect in the country of residence to any work authorisation application made: this is the application made at diplomatic mission abroad for a visa. It is generally not possible to demand immediate processing. Most frustrating is that often some consulates are hard to contact and information on the website may be piecemeal and lacking in the level of detail desired. Our advice is to initiate your immigration processes as early


as possible and allow time for any unforeseen roadblocks that may arise. 6. Don’t forget the rest… Shipping goods and signing leases are regulated differently throughout the EU. Some countries will require proof of residence before a lease can be signed or the shipment of a container can be arranged. Others, like the Czech Republic, require foreign nationals to obtain a registration number before they can buy a car or other high-value goods like property. 7. And of course… the paperwork Completing the paperwork and ensuring you have the necessary personal documents is likely to be the most tedious aspect of your relocation. There are often long lists of original documents needed for visa and work permit applications. You cannot always have every single official document immediately available. It becomes very frustrating when you realise that your marriage certificate has been left in a safety deposit box in Kansas that only you can access. We recommend that you should have these documents when travelling: • Valid passport for your dependants • Degree certificates • Marriage certificate • Children’s birth certificates. We can sometimes have new documents issued on your behalf but this isn’t something that you should rely on during the immigration process. Depending on the country you are travelling to, you will be required to complete various authentication procedures. Countries that are part of the Hague Convention will require apostilled documents (this is a special process to have documents certified or as being legitimate). This is a procedure that is completed by the competent authority in the country the document was issued. These processes can have lengthy lead times hence the importance of planning ahead of any relocation. Always ensure that any passports have been extended for the maximum period of time – and certainly with at least 2 years still left to run on them before using for any relocation. 8. Remember…every case is different I cannot stress this enough: While a friend or colleague may have had an apparently easy or an arduous experience, that is not to say the same will go for you. Every immigration process will have its own set of specific facts and circumstances which will have an affect on how the process will run. 9. Don’t forget the Treaties When in Europe, chances are there is a Treaty signed which you are able to benefit from in

some way. The Hague Convention's Van der Elst and Schengen are two other types of visas that may be suitable. Van Der Elst is a type of visa which allows non-EU citizens to work for European companies in another EEA member state than the one they are currently working in, subject to meeting certain eligibility conditions. This type of visa is one that would be of use to you as an American in Britain. Schengen is another type for business visitors which allows free movement to all countries in the Schengen area and 26 countries participate in the scheme, though it should be noted that the UK does not participate. There are external border controls for those travelling in and out of the area but no internal border controls. There are currently 26 countries participating in this. A Schengen visa will allow you to perform business visitor or tourist activities for 90 days within a 180 day period. The 180 days period counts from the first entry into the Schengen area. Please take into consideration that you cannot perform work related activities with a Schengen visa.

10. Be careful or you might end up in prison One final point that we cannot stress enough is the importance of ensuring that you have the appropriate visa type for the activities to be performed in the destination country. To start working be sure your work authorisation documents are in place before beginning your assignment and that you are 100% compliant from day one. The penalties for non-compliance can be severe and are not always limited to the employer. You can be held criminally liable in some jurisdictions and fines will be imposed. Penalties are not always monetary and in extreme cases you can be sent to prison or you may get deported. There are many things to consider when planning to relocate. Use our tips as your starting point and they should hold you in good stead. But please note that this list is, by no means, exhaustive! n Researched by Stephanie Odumosu

Schengen Countries: The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 in Luxembourg and alongside the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement created a borderless Schengen Area between the participating countries of which there are currently 26: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Liechtenstein

Carmen de Teramend leads the coordination team at Fragomen in London. Fragomen is a leading immigration law firm with offices in 39 countries worldwide. For further information please visit www. fragomen.com

Free Immigration Seminar

Monday 4th February 2013 at The Corporate Relocation Conference and Exhibition For further information or to reserve your place please email helen@theamericanhour.co.uk 27


Taxing Issues Tax Considerations for American Tax Payers Living in the UK

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s I write this article aboard a jam packed flight from JFK to Heathrow, it is easy to forget that we are still in the middle of a recession. Travel between the US and UK continues to be at somewhat of a high, with the UK remaining one of the top destinations for US citizens living and working overseas, with numbers continuing to grow. Once you arrive back on terra firma however, it is back to reality with a (hopefully not too big) bump. As a tax consultant there is an easy yardstick for determining what kind of shape the government thinks the economy is in – in good times, things are relatively quiet, in not so good times come never ending tax changes, a plethora of new tax based penalties and the announcement of “new” tax investigation teams whose task is to bring “additional” revenue into the treasury. 28

So what does that mean for US citizens in the UK? Some things have not changed. All US citizens (and Green Card holders) residing abroad must continue to file a US tax return every year to report worldwide income, regardless of how long they may have lived overseas. Failure to do so can result in a Failure to File Penalty of 5% of the tax owed per month, rising to a maximum of 25% (although if you are reading this and had not realised this, you may take comfort from the fact that if you do not owe any tax, no such penalty is due). Even if you are up to date with your tax return filings, one thing that is often overlooked is the additional requirement to file a ”Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts”. The rule is that if the balance of all foreign accounts (when taken together) totals more than $10,000 at any time during a calendar year, you must file Form 90-22.1, known more commonly as the FBAR. The penalties for failing to file are steep – up to $10,000 for non-wilful violations and the greater of either $100,000 or 50% of the account balance for wilfully failing to file. In a further effort to ensure overseas taxpayers are paying their fair share, the US government introduced the Foreign Account Compliance Act in 2010, requiring foreign financial institutions to provide information on accounts owned by US citizens. Within the last few months, the US has gone further by confirming an “arrangement” with a number of EU countries and even plans to extend that towards a global system. Under the new “FACTA” rules, a US citizen considered to be a foreign resident for the entire tax year, or who meets the physical presence test for living in a foreign country, must file a new Form 8938 if: • For single persons: aggregated foreign assets totalled USD 200,000 at the last day of the year or USD 300,000 at any time during the year; or • For married filing jointly: aggregated foreign assets totalled USD 400,000 at the last day of the year or USD 600,000 at any time during the year. The penalty for failure to file Form 8938 is $10,000 with an additional penalty of up to $50,000 for continued failure to file after IRS notification. If, by this point in the article, panic is beginning to set in, all is not lost. In an effort to persuade overseas taxpayers to bring their outstanding filings up date, the IRS has, since 2003, made available a number of Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiatives (OVDI) under which there are significantly reduced penalties for non-filing of FBAR forms. Following on from the 2011 OVDI, which expired in September 2011, a new 2012 OVDI has been

made available, although the maximum penalty for failure to file FBAR forms has risen from 25% to 27.5% of the highest aggregate balance in foreign bank accounts/entities or value of foreign assets during the eight full tax years prior to the disclosure. In limited situations, taxpayers will be eligible for a 5% penalty, and those whose offshore accounts or assets did not surpass $75,000 in any calendar year will qualify for a 12.5% rate. As the penalties for entering the OVDI programmes above could be seen as being quite punitive for US citizens that had no idea of their filing requirements, the IRS announced on December 8th another option to file 6 years of FBARS with a written explanation which could reduce penalties. What is clear is that if you are not fully compliant, the time to become compliant is now and you will need to discuss with your tax adviser whether or not to take advantage of the December 8th IRS announcement or the 2012 OVDI. Having looked at some of the IRS initiatives, it is worth casting an eye over some of the changing UK rules. US citizens moving to the UK have long been able to claim “non domicile” status in the UK, which provides exemption from UK tax on US income and gains, provided that income is not remitted to the UK. Under current rules, that status is available where a taxpayer has been resident in the UK for up to seven of the nine preceding tax years. After that, a US taxpayer must pay a £30,000 “remittance basis charge” to maintain this, or else report worldwide income to the UK authorities. Once you have been resident in the UK for more than twelve years, the charge rises to £50,000. In an effort to keep up with the IRS, the UK tax authorities have also substantially increased the penalties for failing to file UK tax returns (where a return is required). A new penalty regime applied for 2010/11 and subsequent tax years, now catches late filers even where no additional tax is due (which you may note is even more penal that the US system!). Continual failure to file results in a £10 a day penalty together with additional tax based penalties. The good news is that there are still a few planning opportunities available which can reduce the UK tax burden a little and bring the rates more in line with those in the US. US citizens seconded to the UK by a foreign employer can still take advantage of tax relief for accommodation and subsistence expenses where the intention to remain in the UK is for 24 months or less. Assignees can also typically remain within the US social security system (avoiding UK National Insurance) for up to 5 years, ensuring the contribution record is maintained in the home country throughout.


US citizens that intend to remain in the UK for a period of less than three years (whether by secondment or transfer to local employment) can also continue to claim a beneficial tax residence status that permits exemption from UK tax in respect of earnings relating to non UK workdays. This claim requires some planning at the outset and the correct structure of banking arrangements, but can provide a useful tax saving for many globally mobile executives. Turning to pensions, whilst the one-time catch up may have past, it is still possible to claim tax relief on payments of up to ÂŁ50,000 into a UK pension plan. Under the UK/US treaty, contributions to UK qualifying pensions are considered an allowable deduction against US income tax up to the US limit of $50,000. Whilst the excess over $50,000 might not qualify for relief, most US taxpayers in the UK will have excess foreign tax credits (resulting from the higher UK tax rates compared with the US) which can then be applied to the balance to reduce any US tax liability. At this juncture it is necessary to stress a word of warning. A subsequent pension transfer from a UK plan to an HMRC Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension or QROPS, (which effectively removes the pension from UK estate taxes when leaving the UK and

becoming non resident), is not a qualifying transfer for US purposes and will give rise to a US tax liability. That is fine if you have sufficient excess foreign tax credit to cover this, but not so good if you have already utilised those elsewhere. The same will apply to a SIPP, which is not recognised as a pension by the IRS under the treaty. Whilst this sounds like a dead end for some, the 2010 ratification of a new tax treaty between Malta and the US provides some interesting opportunities. A transfer of a UK pension to a Malta QROPS on return to the US is now considered qualifying by the IRS and will not give rise to a tax charge. Whilst it may not be possible to subsequently roll that into a 401k or IRA, this is a significant step that could provide some interesting planning opportunities for US taxpayers repatriating having built up significant UK pension funds. As with any tax planning matters, the warning to take advice from an international tax specialist before acting has never been more important. Whilst we would hope that things become a little simpler, it is clear that overseas taxpayers have never before been under such scrutiny and continue to remain a key target in helping fill the black hole in both the US and UK treasuries. n

Global Tax Network is a specialist provider of UK, US and Canadian tax services with offices in London and Guildford, consisting of UK Chartered Tax Advisers and US Certified Public Accountants specialising in cross border tax planning and compliance issue. For further information please contact Richard Watts-Joyce CTA or Wayne Bewick CPA on 0207 100 2126 or email: help@globaltaxnetwork.co.uk

Free Tax Seminar

Monday 4th February 2013 at the Corporate Relocation Conference and Exhibition. For further information or to reserve your place please email helen@theamericanhour.co.uk

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Relocating Successfully Developing Cultural Curiosity By Donna Marsh, Consultant, Farnham Castle

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have always been fascinated by the way different cultures have developed and interact with each other. I was born in Massachusetts in the US and lived in America until early adulthood when personal and business travel to the UK, eventually led to an opportunity to transfer to the Home Counties as a base. I subsequently spent many years living and working in the UK and have been particularly fortunate to work in many countries throughout five continents over a very long period of time. As my work has often been

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focused in the Middle East and Asia, I have been lucky enough to study many different cultures in both a working and social context. The insight I gained throughout my corporate career has led me to promote cultural awareness within organisations and now as a cross cultural business consultant. For many, the ‘nuts and bolts’ of cultural differences are most marked between some of the Western cultures and those of the Middle East and Asia. Different religious beliefs, dress codes and working days are quickly apparent as are alternative degrees of emphasis placed on relationships, trust, courtesy, hospitality and respect, compared with the more likely Western priorities of tasks, rules and deadlines. However, despite the clear distinction between obviously different cultures, perhaps some of the most surprising disparity can still be observed between the more apparently ‘similar’ cultures of America and Britain. Perhaps this is because the differences are often unexpected and can therefore, be much more subtle. For an American moving to Britain (and my own heritage is fully English, so I had a head start), it is common preconception that you are joining a culture that is similar to your own. In many ways you are. For example, many of the US’ institutional structures and values are founded on English Common Law. We have a fair bit of shared history, some of our surface culture such as general dress codes is similar and we speak the same language. Yet, even when communicating, cultural differences soon become apparent. Sometimes words will not have the same precise meaning. For example, if someone says that is ‘interesting’: an American will naturally expand on that topic. In the UK, however, ‘interesting’ may mean ‘I acknowledge that thought, but it’s not relevant, let’s park it, move on and think about something else.’ Similarly, Americans are particularly direct and the meaning conveyed within language is designed to be crystal clear. In the UK, on the other hand, it is necessary to listen to the implied messages or subtexts underneath the literal words. You may need to question your understanding of what has really been said. An American hearing: ‘It might be an idea to have another look at that report,’ may simply think: ‘no, it is not necessary’. However, in the UK, the same phase would actually mean ‘please rewrite the report as it is incorrect in its conclusions’. The subtlety and nuances of the UK’s use of the English language are not the same communication style of the US and this needs to be appreciated. Similarly, sarcasm, irony and self-deprecation are verbal traits which an American will need to recognise, but that is a whole other topic! Similarly, most Americans would not recognise that British humour can

also be used as a very effective weapon. Occasionally, the American directness can be seen as confrontational or rude in the UK, so be aware of this. An American would immediately complain if a meal in a restaurant was not acceptable. This may actually cause embarrassment in the UK, where a British person would prefer to tolerate it, eat up and resolve never to return to the restaurant again in the future. Coming from New England, some of the differences between the UK and US culture may not have been as surprising for me as for many Americans originating from other parts of the US. For example, where I grew up, a neighbour lived in a late 17th Century house. This would be surprising for most Americans and yet, when I moved to Berkshire, UK, I lived in a building of a similar era and this was seen as quite normal. This reveals another subtle difference between the US and UK cultures. In America, new and improved is usually considered to be better. In the UK there is an inherent sense of history and more resistance to change and this can sometimes frustrate Americans, especially those with a strong ‘Can Do Attitude’. There are also variances between attitudes to work/life balance. In the US hard work is seen as a value in itself and has given way to a long hours culture, where it is normal for people not to take their full vacation allocation. In the UK, constantly working late is sometimes viewed as an indication that someone is struggling to manage their responsibilities and never taking your full holiday allocation could be seen as unhealthy. One aspect of the UK culture which still strikes me as surprising even after all this time is the general feeling of optimism – or lack of it! It frequently comes up in conversation with Americans who have spent time in the UK. In the US people generally have their glass ‘half full’ and have a positive attitude on life. While in the UK, often, the opposite is true and this can be a source of frustration to most Americans. During my travels, I have tended to view each move to any new country and culture as an adventure. Training and research can help prepare you, but developing an interest and a cultural curiosity – expanding your cultural lens to see people from several points of view - will also be key to unlocking the differences between nations and this is something that will serve any expats well when moving to a new culture. n Farnham Castle is a world leader in Intercultural Business Skills training and Global Mobility Programmes and can help with more detailed briefings on individual cultures. For further information visit www.farnhamcastle.com


All images Courtesy National Portrain Gallery.

Arts & Antiques

Queen's first televised broadcast, 1957

A Visual Documentary of Queen Elizabeth II’s Sixty Years on the Throne by Abby Cronin

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he National Portrait Gallery exhibition, ‘The Queen: Art & Image’, documents the way in which Queen Elizabeth II has been portrayed through the six decades of her historic reign. The exhibit aims to present a progressive dialogue between traditional portraits and a multiplicity of media images. It brings together a variety of royal representations including formal portraiture, official photographs, media pictures and several unconventional responses by contemporary artists. Material is drawn from newspapers, film, television and postage stamps; it is often satirical. This multi-textured survey highlights significant historical moments in the life of the monarch, her family and the nation. Now, in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the public is invited to see this unique visual documentary of Elizabeth II’s sixty years as Queen. The exhibition begins in the 1950s when, upon the death of her father, King George VI in 1952, Princess Elizabeth ascended the British and Commonwealth throne. The sad occasion of his death is expressed

in a black and white photograph of young Princess Elizabeth, Queen Mary and the Queen Mother at Westminster Hall during her father’s lying in state. The following year saw Queen Elizabeth elevated to the highest position in the land, an event captured by Cecil Beaton, Court photographer to the British Royal family. Beaton recorded this momentous occasion of the Coronation in Westminster Abbey in June 1953. His iconic photograph is placed next to a video installation of the Coronation in the first room of the exhibition. Beaton’s long relationship as

royal photographer from the 1940s to the 1960s has left a rich legacy and several of his photos are included. Especially moving are the photographs of a young contemplative Princess Elizabeth taken in 1948just twenty-two years of age. Beaton also captured many important moments in the lives of the royals such as his images of the Queen as a mother shown her with young children. His special gift was the ability to capture the formality of royal occasions and situations where the Queen is shown in more informal settings.

Queen Elizabeth II by Dorothy Wilding, 1952. Copyright: William Hustler and Georgina Hustler/ National Portrait Gallery, London

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Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Regent by Pietro Annigoni, 1954-5. Copyright: The Fishmongers’ Company

When Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952, Britain still had an empire. Although pretentions of the Victorian age in Britain were on the wane, historians have described this period as one which is characterised as the ‘de-Victorianisation’ and downsizing of the British Empire. (1) Still, in the 1950s traditions and formality were firmly in place and representations of the monarch were carefully orchestrated. Dorothy Wilding’s photograph of Queen Elizabeth II taken in 1952 is a good example (pictured). The catalogue informs us that “Dorothy Wilding first photographed the Queen in 1937 at the Coronation of her father, King George VI. To mark her accession, Elizabeth posed for the photographer fifty-nine times, wearing gowns by Norman Hartnell.”(1) Note how very carefully staged this image is. There are two remarkable paintings of the Queen reflecting the tradition of great royal portraiture. Both are by Pietro Annigoni. His first, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Regent (1954-55) is a full-length portrait in tempera, oil and ink on paper on canvas (pictured). Annigoni’s second portrait,1969, is shown on the same wall. “The 1969 portrait was Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, (and) was unveiled in 1970 to enormous public and press interest. Reaction focused on the contrast with Annigoni’s earlier portrait, which presented a romantic, idealised view. The new portrait adopted a radically different approach. The artist explained: ‘I did not want to paint her as a film star; I saw her as a monarch, alone in the problems of her responsibility.”(2) While the Coronation service was the first major international television broadcast, it wasn’t long before the Queen made herself available to the media. She broadcast her first Christmas message to the nation live on the radio in 1952. Only a few years later, 1957, she gave her first televised black and white Christmas broadcast (pictured on previous page). And in 1967 she broadcast her Christmas message in colour, which is now an annual event. But television and media exposure was becoming more intrusive. The nation wanted to know who the Queen was. And what about her family? In 1969 the documentary, Royal Family, was broadcast twice in June and nearly 70% of the British population viewed Richard Cawston’s film. The film radically changed the public perception of royalty. Cameras were admitted behind the scenes for the first time and viewers saw the Queen speaking informally in private situations; she emerged as an individual. Henceforth it was the media in all its forms which came to influence the way she and her family would be represented in the future. Throughout the 70s and 80s Queen Elizabeth’s iconic global celebrity came in both for gentle and harsh representation. In the 70s 32

gallery you will find an informal photo of the Queen and Prince Philip on board the Royal Yacht Britannia deeply concentrating on her ‘boxes’ containing official documents for attention and signature. The press captured her in many informal settings –some with politically sympathetic overtones such as her visit to the Silverwood Colliery, Rotherham in July 1975. Others, however, were more subversive such as the God Save the Queen poster by Jamie Reid in 1977. Deference toward the royals had been on the decline for a long time and Reid’s poster was regarded as visual assault in a social climate less inclined to deference. It was banned by the BBC. The six decades of her reign reveal many turning points in how the Queen is represented. David Cannadine’s catalogue essay provides a clear focus for analysing how images of monarchy were portrayed and evolved. He writes: “To a greater or lesser degree, every visual representation conveys information not only about its subject, but also about the circumstances of its making. From the values and intentions of its creator to the social conditions that determined its particular appearance ….as the adage informs us: every picture tells a story”. Thus it can be argued that images of the Queen have continuously negotiated a balance between her historic role as the constitutional monarch and that of a woman who inhabits the role while maintaining a relationship with society. It has not been easy to maintain the balance. Further, as Cannadine points out: “Today, and in a manner that had not been true during the reign of any previous sovereign, Britain is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faith society, where social inclusion is the conventional wisdom and aspiration….”(3) In the 80s, images of the Queen were appropriated by artists such as Andy Warhol whose fascination with fame knew no boundaries. Several of his screen prints transformed the features of Queen Elizabeth and are featured in the exhibition alongside works by Gilbert and George. Notable photographers such as Patrick Litchfield, Annie Leibovitz and Eve Arnold also feature in the exhibit. In the 90s, various artists’ portraits stand out. In particular is the painting by Justin Mortimer in 1998. It is based on drawings made from life and photographs and is a distinctly modern representation. The Queen is depicted in flattened, cut-out shapes that appear to separate her head from her body. Some of Britain’s most eminent artists, notably Lucian Freud painted a controversial portrait. It is the product of several sittings in St James’s Palace between May 2000 and September 2001. When compared to Dorothy Wilding’s image some fifty years earlier, we see how Freud painted the Queen highlighting her age and experience.

Medusa by Hew Locke, 2008 The Queen by Justin Mortimer, 1998. Copyright: Justin Mortimer. The RSA


Unique among the representations of Queen Elizabeth is Hew Locke’s unconventional ‘Medusa’, 2008 (pictured on previous page). Born in Edinburgh in 1959, Locke grew up in British Guyana and the idea of Britishness is a central theme in his work. His mixed media collage consists of plastic lizards, beads and other throw-way objects. Here is a portrait that is both humorous and full of tension. Locke’s ‘head of state’ is featured alone in a cubicle-like space. His ‘Medusa’ is at once traditional and subversive. Take time to gaze at Locke’s ‘Medusa’. Does it have a devotional feeling - perhaps not? It’s how you see it. Every picture tells a story. In 2011 the National Portrait Gallery commissioned the German photographer Thomas Struth to make a large-scale portrait photograph of the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Duke’s ninetieth birthday. The photograph is shown for the first time in the National Portrait Gallery. Queen Elizabeth and the Duke are seated together in the Green

Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. This photo brings the royal couple up to date and is an appropriate coda to an extraordinary assembly of images. Although as Americans we do not have the tradition of an unelected Head of State - surely it is remarkable to have had one extraordinary woman on the British throne for sixty years. The exhibition continues until 21st October 2012. n References: The Queen Art & Image. Catalogue. National Portrait Gallery Copyright © 2011 1. Cannadine, D. Sixty Years a Queen. Catalogue essay: The Queen Art & Image. Copyright © 2011 p.24 2. Catalogue p 91. 3. Cannadine, D. ibid. pp-21-22 4. Paul Moorhouse. Catalogue essay: The Queen Art & Image. National Portrait Gallery © 2011. p.57 Contact: Abby Cronin artsjournalist@abbycronin.co.uk Website: www.abbycronin.co.uk

Queen Elizabeth II by Lucian Freud, 2001. Copyright: The Royal Collection © Lucian Freud Archive Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, Windsor Castle 2011by Thomas Struth. Copyright: National Portrait Gallery, London © Thomas Struth 2011

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Theatre Some Reviews Of London's Theatre Horrible Histories - Barmy Britain We ventured to the Garrick Theatre on Charing Cross Road one baking hot Sunday afternoon with two boys aged 9 and 6 in tow, amid complaints of being ‘too hot!’ and requests to ‘go home and play in the garden!’ However, as we arrived and the boys took in the buzz of the foyer, with its bright cartoon-style posters and merchandise, a change of mood occurred, thankfully! The title of this production: ‘Barmy Britain’ did not give too much away, but as both boys are fans of the televised Horrible Histories series, our expectations were high. We were not disappointed. This production takes you on a whistle stop tour through Britain’s history, beginning with the Vikings and whizzing through the centuries to take in the Romans and their fondness of cooking, Henry VIII and his six wives, the Gunpowder Plot, Crimes of the eighteenth century and the First World War to mention just a few highlights. It is hard to believe that the whole production is centred around just two performers. The energy and enthusiasm they give to the (multiple!) roles they play, never wanes and the fast-pace ensures that the audience doesn't have a spare second to get bored. The production has a sketch show feel to it, and the particular highlights for me were the Roman ‘Master Chef’ spoof; featuring such delights as roasted, stuffed Dormouse and Rotting fish-guts pickle; and the ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ style sketch with Guy Fawkes, re-named ‘Who wants to blow up the houses of Parliament?’ There was 34

Horrible Histories

plenty of opportunity for the audience to join in, as we were invited to sing songs about the fate of Henry VIII’s wives and learn a dance about the Hangings that took place in the seventeenhundreds. This light hearted look at some pretty gruesome details of our past seemed to really capture the children’s interest, and did not seem to worry my sensitive six year old at all! The set is simple but effective, with little in the way of special effects or scenery. A large trunk in the centre of the stage is cleverly adapted to become all sorts of different props and the costumes are brilliant, considering the performers have to change on stage in a matter of seconds! This production provides good, old fashioned fun, along with a lot of laughs and a fair dose of education thrown in! In the final scene they speed forward into the 21st century to remind us that whilst many things have changed for the better, we are in many ways as ‘Barmy’ as ever, with our obsession for the media and technology. I for one was delighted to see my 9 year old singing along and shouting out, with not a computer screen or ipod in sight! Garrick Theatre www.barmybritain.com Box office: 0844 482967 Long Day’s Journey into Night This deeply autobiographical play by Eugene O’ Neill was written in 1942 but was not performed until 1956. O’ Neill had given strict orders to his wife Carlotta that the play could only be published twenty five years after his death and must never be produced on stage. Luckily for us, Carlotta disobeyed his wishes and Long Day’s Journey became an American classic. The claustrophobic, punishing world of the Tyrones, all closely based on O’Neill’s actual family is beautifully brought to life in this production: James Tyrone, the miserly ex-Shakespearean actor and patriarch of the family, Mary, his unhappy wife, older son Jamie, formerly an actor but now, according to his father, a “lazy drunken loafer” and youngest son Edmund, based on O’Neill himself, a would be writer, ill with consumption.

The play opens with a happy family scene, James and Mary affectionate with each other, the two sons sharing a joke off stage. We soon realise the cheerfulness is forced; the men are overly solicitous of Mary, who has recently returned to them- she wants to know why everyone keeps staring at her. It is gradually revealed that she has an addiction to morphine, which she at first says she takes for her painful arthritis. She then blames her relapse on her worry for Edmund’s health. As the story of their collective past is revealed, and as the day turns into night, each character takes turns alternately blaming each other for their own unhappiness and weaknesses and making excuses. The men get more drunk and Mary becomes more ghost-like as they all try to heal their inner pain through self-medication, knowing that they are all caught in a web of their own making from which they can’t seem to escape. A mark of the timelessness of this play is that the dialogue feels fresh and contemporary, which is also a tribute to the fine acting on display. David Suchet, best known to audiences as Hercule Poirot, exquisitely inhabits the character of James Tyrone, a bitter, disappointed theatre veteran who is terrified of returning to the poverty stricken life he had as an Irish immigrant. Canadian actor Trevor White plays Jamie as a charming man who at first seems to be the strong backbone of the family but disintegrates into a terrifying monster once he is drunk. American Kyle Soller, winner of the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer award, plays Edmund

Long Day's Journey into Night


with the right mixture of sensitivity, insecurity and fury at his situation, while worrying that his life may soon be over. Laurie Metcalfe, famous for her comic roles on American television in Rosanne and The Big Bang Theory, delivers a truly astonishing performance as Mary, living in the past, alternating between happy memories and harsh accusations, too caught up in her own misery to even care for her family any more. The performances are all held together skilfully by Anthony Page’s fine direction. The story of a family tearing themselves apart may not sound like a fun night out at the theatre but the shocking truthfulness this play and of the performances, draws us into the characters’ lives; we feel for all of them even as we watch them self- destruct. Long Day’s Journey into Night is a production not to be missed. Apollo Theatre, until 18th August 2012 www.longdaysjourney.co.uk Box office: 0844 482 9671 (24 hours) Detroit At the other end of the spectrum, this new American play by Lisa D’Amour also deals with damaged, addicted people but in a darkly comic vein, looking at how two very different couples become completely intertwined in each other’s lives purely by being neighbours. Straight-laced Mary and Ben invite the young couple who’ve just moved in next door over for a barbecue, just to be neighbourly. Sharon soon lets slip that she and Kenny are reformed drug addicts- the audience catches on to this quickly as Kenny constantly scratches and sniffs and Sharon speaks in dependency group lingo “If you follow your passions, you’re halfway there!” Mary and Ben accept the new neighbours with politeness and sympathy as Ben has recently been laid off as a loan officer and is trying to make a new start himself, as a financial advisor of sorts. The four all seem strangely eager to make friends, even when Kenny has a dreadful accident with Mary’s picnic table umbrella and Ben doesn’t seem to be able to take action to help: “I’m gonna call the manufacturer right now!” This is a foreshadowing of the destruction to come as we find out Mary and Ben have their own secrets and are longing to be as wild and Detroit

free-spirited as their new friends. The play is very funny; it has many moments where you feel guilty for laughing at the terrible mishaps that befall the characters. The dialogue is well written and memorable: “I hate camping anyway. All those bugs. And rapists,” announces Mary after a failed plan for an expedition with Sharon. Although you feel sympathy for each of them, it is difficult to identify with any one particular person as they are all leading lost and aimless lives. It is ironic that the two drug addicts are the stronger characters here, gradually pulling the neighbours into their chaotic life. It is never clear if they mean to destroy them or can’t help creating casualties wherever they go. Detroit was originally produced by Steppenwolf Theater of Chicago in 2010 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. According to the programme notes, the play - not about the city of Detroit at all - is trying to make a statement about American suburbs becoming wastelands. However, as the play is not set in any particular town, it also feels rootless. The story of two couples becoming involved because of, or despite, being neighbours could be set anywhere. Although directed by Steppenwolf regular Austin Pendleton, the show is cast entirely with British actors. They all fare well with accents but I felt the production lacked a certain truthfulness and grittiness that would have come from an American cast. For me it made all of the actors seem slightly removed from the proceedings. Despite this, Will Adamsdale used terrific physicality to convey Kenny as a literally broken man. Clare Dunne is quirky and nervy as Sharon, with her big eyes and tiny shorts. Stuart McQuarrie as Ben comes across as slightly creepy from the start - we know he is hiding something beneath his surface of respectability. Justine Mitchell shines as Mary. Like her namesake in Long Day’s Journey into Night, she lives in a world of dreams, talks incessantly but doesn’t listen and falls apart in her own substance induced frenzy. A final scene with a new character seems tacked on as the playwright attempts to spell out a message about suburbs that she was perhaps worried wasn’t clear enough in the preceding

scenes. Aside from this, Detroit is a funny, painfully enjoyable play and well worth seeing. The Cottesloe, National Theatre www.nationaltheatre.org.uk Box office: 020 7452 3000 n

WIN TICKETS TO Jersey BOYS! Jersey Boys, the internationally acclaimed hit musical, tells the remarkable rise to stardom of one of the most successful bands in pop music history. Winner of 54 major awards worldwide including the Olivier award for BEST NEW MUSICAL! 1962, New Jersey, New York, when music meant rock ‘n’ roll, violence meant the mob and the only way out was up. Meet four New Jersey boys from the wrong side of the tracks who, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, went on to become rock ‘n’ roll legends selling 100 million records worldwide. Jersey Boys is the electrifying true life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; the Mob, the heartaches, the triumph and the music. Featuring the hits Sherry, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What A Night, Beggin’, Let’s Hang On, Bye Bye Baby and many more. For more information and to book tickets call 0844 482 5151 or visit www.JerseyBoysLondon.com To win a pair of tickets to see the show, simply email damian@theamericanhour.com with 'Jersey Boys' in the subject. Competition closes on 10/08/2012. T&Cs: Tickets valid for Tues-Thurs performances only until 30 September 2012. Subject to availability. No cash alternative. Non transferrable. Additional expenses are the responsibility of the prize winner. Promoter reserves the right to exchange all or part of the prize to that of equal or greater value.

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Top Tens

Flags fly high at WOMAD, photo by Trevor Eales

Art-Side Out: Top Ten Great Ways to Enjoy Culture in the Open Air by Judith Schrut

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ome rain or shine, the Great British Summer has finally arrived, bringing with it a bumper crop of open air music, festivals and other cultural events. In this issue’s ‘Top Ten’ we’re taking it all outdoors so pack your brollies, wellies, sunhats and picnic gear and savour a summer full of arts alfresco. 1. PROMS IN THE PARK The world’s greatest festival of classical music and a beloved British institution since 1895, the BBC Promenade Concerts affectionately known as ‘The Proms’ roll gloriously into town in midJuly. A proud player in London’s 2012 Festival, the Proms take over the grandiose Royal Albert Hall for more than 70 concerts over eight weeks of triumphant musical feasting, ending with the

Last Night of the Proms Celebrations in Hyde Park, courtesy of the BBC, photo by TIm Kavanagh

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legendary Last Night of the Proms. The famous Last Night, with its lashings of fancy dress, balloons, party poppers and traditional flag waving sing-along to ‘Rule Britannia’, and 'Land of Hope and Glory' is always sold out many times over. But there’s no need to miss out on the fun of this important national ritual thanks to Proms in the Park, created in 1996 so that the overwhelming numbers of last night Prom-lovers would not be disappointed. It all happens on 8 September, with four huge open air concerts around the UK: Glasgow, Belfast, Caerphilly Castle in Wales and Hyde Park in London. Each venue hosts its own spectacular show, packed with celebrity artists, choirs, orchestras, firework displays and culminating in a live big screen link up to the Royal Albert Hall for the traditional sing-along finale. This year, Hyde Park has a refreshing line up for its Prom including Kylie Minogue, tenor Alfred Boe, poperatic superstars Il Divo and Bjorn Again, plus the ever-rousing BBC Big Band. If you can’t make it to one of the last night events, you can still watch, wave your flag, pop your poppers and sing along via giant movie screens set up at locations around the country or enjoy the night live on radio or telly from the comfort of your own home, courtesy of the BBC. Proms in the Park are just one of many outdoor classical offerings this summer. You might also enjoy a musical soiree at the Battle Proms in Burghley Park, overlooking a magnificent Elizabethan stately home and preceded by traditional fairgrounds, Napoleonic-era battle re-enactments and a stunning aerial display or opt for a star studded classical spectacular with fireworks set in the magical surroundings of Leeds Castle in Kent. Further information: www.bbc.co.uk/proms/features/proms-in-the-park 2. AROUND THE WORLD WITH WOMAD If you’ve ever been to WOMAD, or World of Music, Arts and Dance, you’ll know what a unique and joyous festival it always is. This

year’s WOMAD, taking place at the end of July, promises to be even more extraordinary. The biggest international festival on the planet is celebrating its 30th anniversary in style as it brings together hundreds of performing artists from dozens of countries and thousands of world music fans to a beautiful open air site deep in the Wiltshire countryside. Topping a very long list of world class musical treats are Robert Plant’s Sensational Space Shifters, described as a heady brew of blues, gospel, Appalachian roots and psychedelia, Grammy-winning Texas-Latin funkers Grupo Fantasma, the haunting and uplifting vocals of Scandinavian Ane Brun, Tokyo’s Ska Paradise Orchestra and the joyous Cuban rhythms of Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club. Traipsing from tent to tent in the fresh outdoors sharpens the appetite and WOMAD is well prepared for this. Not far from its multiple performing stages and beneath the hallmark giant art flags waving majestically in the breeze is the Global Market. Here you can literally ‘eat your way around the world’ as well as browse the huge selection of crafts, clothing and instruments on offer. Although WOMAD’s stage shows are its main draw, there are loads of other imaginative events to enjoy including the Human Library, children’s workshops and a procession. Or treat yourself from a range of therapeutic and self pampering delights at the WOMAD Spa, set in a sumptuously decorated oriental tent. Further information: www.womad.org 3. EAT, DRINK AND MAKE MERRY According to many top chefs and food critics Britain has become a food lover’s paradise and home to some of the world’s best cuisine. If food and cooking are your favourite art forms, Summer 2012 promises specialist food fests galore. For one top taste treat, head for Cornwall and savour the culinary delights of Boscastle’s Food and Arts Festival. Or sample Isle of Man’s unique Queenie Festival, celebrating the delicious Manx Queenie scallop and other


The Real Food Festival on London's Southbank, photo thanks to Philip Lowery

good things from the sea. This year’s Queenie features a free beach party replete with giant seafood BBQ and Beach Olympics, including a unique competitive event, the Mackerel Dash. If you like your food laced with history and tradition, go north for the Durham Food Festival or west to Wales’ Big Cheese Festival, set in the ancient and atmospheric grounds of Caerphilly Castle. If condiments are your thing, taste your way to Sussex’s Chilli Festival UK, East Anglia’s Big Onion Food and Drink Festival or the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. Alternatively, join 300 diners at the Wilderness Festival in rural Oxfordshire to help revive the centuries’ old tradition of long table banquets, with sumptuous three course dinners cooked up by the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Fergus Henderson and Valentine Warner. Or save your appetite for the Real Food Festival, coming to London’s South Bank the last weekend in September. An unabashed three-day celebration of great British food straight from the producer. The weekend will include celebrity chef demos, a sheep show and a mouthwatering range of edible delights, from handmade chocolates and chutneys to artisan cheeses, breads, sausages and a mountain of fruit and veg from over 150 carefully selected sources. Young gourmets should head straight to the Kid Taste Tipi, featuring child friendly goodies such as buttermaking and oyster shucking. Real Food markets also take place every weekend on London’s Southbank, offering the best of British street food and the chance to buy fresh high quality and affordable food and drink direct from a fabulous variety of local producers. Further information: www.realfoodfestival.co.uk/festivals/real-foodharvest-festival-2011 4. ROCK (AND POP) AROUND THE SUMMERTIME CLOCK The mother of all festivals, Glastonbury, takes a rest this year, but with plenty of UK rock and pop festival alternatives to choose from, there’s no need to suffer rock fest or mud fest withdrawal symptoms. Top of an incredible range of choices this summer are Hyde Park Calling (Sound Garden, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Cliff ), the Reading Festival (Foo Fighters, The Cure, Kasabian, Florence and the Machine) and Latitude (Bon Iver, Elbow, Rufus Wainwright). For kids there’s the unique Underage Festival – strictly 13-17 year olds only. If you like

your festival free of charge, try the Overground Live Arts Jam in Peterborough or Tramlines in Sheffield. For a spectacular setting and a touch of elegance choose the Hampton Court Festival (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Caro Emerald, Van Morrison). For stunning scenery and an intimate family friendly atmosphere, book early for the Larmer Tree Festival. In case you were wondering, it’s not unusual for the world’s greatest rock fest and mud bath to take an occasional gap year, mainly to allow the farmland home of Glastonbury to recover, although this time we understand the reason is more about the rising cost and competing demands for portable toilets due to the London Olympics. Further information: www.latitudefestival.co.uk www.hardrockcalling.co.uk www.hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com 5. ROOTS AND SHOOTS If recent music sales figures and sell out concerts are to be believed, folk, blues and acoustic music is enjoying a record breaking rise in popularity thanks to artists like Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, and Bellowhead. Those who like their music rooted in tradition, laced with blue grass, decorated with ankle bells or accompanied by fiddles, mandolins and accordions, can choose from a rich mix of open air folk and acoustic options, from world class extravaganzas like the Cambridge Folk Festival to Morris Dancing, pipe playing or folk fiddling on village greens around the country. For the best of roots and acoustic this summer, as well as a perfect weekend in the heart of rural Oxfordshire, we highly recommend a ticket to the Cornbury Festival. Cornbury, which describes itself as ‘a music festival disguised as a country fayre’, always offers an interesting mix of country, folk, blues and plenty of music that cannot be pigeonholed, plus a tempting choice of edibles and drinkables, posh loos and the marvels of ‘Glamping’ - luxurious camping in yurts, squrts, tipis and podpads. This year you can catch Elvis Costello, Gretchen Peters, brotherly ‘Texican’ trio Los Lonely Boys and Hugh Laurie playing with his Copperbottom Band. Hugh, better known as TV’s Dr House, admits he wasn’t born in 1890s Alabama, has never hitched a ride on a boxcar, eaten grits or sharecropped. Nevetheless no one can deny he plays and sings traditional music of the American South with an enormous amount of love, skill and boogie. Other superb roots and shoots options are the Towersey Festival, the Village Pump Festival or HebCelt Fest, set in the extraordinary wilds of Scotland’s outer Hebrides. We also like the sound of the Southern Fried Festival, promising a nugget of Americana blues, country, Cajun, gospel and swing in rolling Scottish countryside.

Further information: www.cornburyfestival.com www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk www.southernfriedfestival.co.uk 6. ART IN THE AIR For something completely different, join Welsh artist Marc Rees and his creative entourage as they tour Wales in Adain Avion, a recycled DC-9 airplane which has been dewinged and transformed into a giant mobile arts space. As part of the Cultural Olympiad’s Artists taking the Lead project, the plane will be the focus of more than 150 performances, installations, workshops and events at various ‘nesting’ destinations across Wales. Along with plenty of male voice choirs, dance troupes and brass bands, highlights will include a nocturnal Ghost Parade to commemorate the famed Ebbw Vale Steelworks and a procession with Avion along Llandudno’s historic pier and promenade, led by glamorous airplane stewardesses in retro-style uniforms and hundreds of dancing schoolchildren. If you prefer a more conventional arts and craft experience, we recommend the Chiltern Crafts Show, which brings together over 250 UK artists and craftsmen and their jewellery, ceramics, wood, glass, textiles and stoneware to a picturesque open air setting in the Chiltern Hills. Further information: www.adainavion.org www.ichf.co.uk/outdoorcraftsalive 7. BEST IN SHOW Hard to believe that Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, set magically in the heart of one of London’s most beautiful parks and offering first class alfresco entertainment from May to late September, celebrates its 80th birthday this year. Audiences loved last year’s programme, especially the sparkling Gershwin musical, Crazy for You, which won several awards and went on to a triumphant run in the West End. Hoping to repeat its success this year, the Theatre has two unmissable shows playing in repertory, the multiple Tony-awarded musical Ragtime and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, in addition to a season of comedy and jazz. For first time visitors the Theatre can be difficult to find - clearly part of its charm so be sure to leave a little extra time for the search. You’ll know it’s worth the effort when you pass through those semi-hidden gates and enter a secret garden of delights, complete with rambling picnic lawn, BBQs and extensive bar area, famously the longest in Hampton Court Festival in the shadow of Henry VIII

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London, twinkling with fairy lights. Do come prepared to brave any weather as theatre and stage are totally open to the elements. Indeed, weather is part of this very British experience: a total joy on a balmy midsummer’s evening, not quite so charming in a blustery hailstorm, although it has to be said the Theatre does a nice line in multi-coloured plastic ponchos. Further information: www.openairtheatre.org 8. MAGIC OF THE MOVIES We love the simple story of open air cinema’s humble beginnings in 1932 New Jersey, when business magnate and movie fan Richard Hollingshead nailed a screen to a tree in his backyard and a Kodak projector to the hood of his car. He opened the world’s first movie drive-in the following year, proud to welcome the whole family “regardless of how noisy the children are.” Drive-ins, famed for those iconic roller-skating waitresses bringing cheeseburgers, shakes and fries right to your car and boasting a reputation as teenage ‘passion pits’, enjoyed many boom years, peaking in the 1960s and then fading almost to extinction with the coming of home videos and more profitable options like turning drive-in lots into high rise property blocks. Outdoor movies are now enjoying a worldwide comeback and nowhere more than in the UK where alfresco screenings have become increasingly inventive. Who needs walls when you can bring cushions, blankets, picnics and homemade popcorn to an open air screen near you? This summer’s options include Hollywood classics and ‘80’s blockbusters atop three Art takes to the Air, photo by Pablo Otín.

of London’s classiest roofs - newbies and old favourites surrounded by architectural splendour at Somerset House, family friendly classics in a sunken outdoor amphitheatre, horror hits at Brompton cemetery or world class opera and ballet beamed live to giant screens at Manchester’s Exchange Square, Plymouth’s Piazza, London’s Canary Wharf and many other major parks and open spaces around the country. Or escape to Cornwall and enjoy your outdoor movie treat in a gorgeous riverside setting. Cinema Paradiso, part of the imaginative Port Eliot Festival held in July, celebrates the magic of movies with a giant screen season under the stars, organised by a guest curator. Last year’s curator was none other than Martin Scorsese. 38

Finally, for fans of such trivia, the oldest working drive-in is Shankweiler’s in Pennsylvania, (opened 1934), the biggest open air cinema is in Auckland, New Zealand, (101x 43ft screen) and the smallest open air (floating) cinema is on the Cromarty Rose ferry in northern Scotland, with room for two cars and a large sofa. Further information: www.roh.org.uk/about/bp-big-screens www.somersethouse.org.uk/film www.rooftopfilmclub.com 9. GET THEE TO THE GLOBE A visit to Shakespeare’s Globe is a must for any visitor to London, whether you are a serious Shakespearean or a first time ‘groundling’. Founded by the late expat American actor and activist Sam Wanamaker, the Globe is one of the world’s greatest open air theatres and a painstakingly faithful recreation of the original 16th century playhouse which stood a hop, skip and bow away from the current Thameside location and where many of the Bard’s works were performed for the first time. The earliest Globe thrived from 1599 until an unfortunate accident some years later, when a stage cannon misfired into the theatre’s thatched roof mid-performance and the theatre burned to the ground. Today’s Globe is the glorious result of Sam Wanamaker’s decades of tireless fundraising, research and planning battles. Historically accurate materials have been used in the Globe’s painstaking reconstruction, right down to the Elizabethan-style oak beams, white lime washed walls and water reed thatched roof. In fact, the Globe has London’s only permitted thatched roof since the Great Fire of London in 1666 (don’t worry folks, it’s packed with modern fireproofing and cannons are no longer used on stage). Exciting future developments are on the cards too, with an indoor Jacobean Theatre under construction and due to open next year, giving the Globe a second performing space and one which can run all year round. Earlier this year the Globe hosted an unprecedented global feast of Shakespeare, with all 37 of the Bard’s plays presented back to back in 37 different languages by international companies. Now the Globe’s exciting 2012 season has arrived. ‘The Play’s the Thing’ is this year’s theme, with four linked productions including hotly anticipated all male versions of Richard III and Twelfth Night

Paradiso Cinema, Port Eliot Festival, photo by Michael Bowles

Regents Park Open Air Theatre: 80 years young and still looking fresh, photo by David Jensen

playing in repertory and starring the Globe’s former artistic director Mark Rylance along with a sterling cast. Globe seats sell out fast, but hundreds of ‘groundling’ tickets are available on the day for every performance - an astonishing £5 guarantees you a standing spot in front of the stage and the best and most authentic way to see a show. The show goes on regardless of the weather, so a selection of hail, thunderstorms and heavy downpours are always part of any Globe season. But whatever the state of the Heavens, we promise an evening at the Globe will be a magical experience. Further information: www.shakespearesglobe.com 10. CULTURE GOES OLYMPIC Last but not least, and artfully complementing this summer’s London Olympics, comes the Cultural Olympiad - London 2012 Festival. For 12 weeks, from Midsummer’s Eve to the Paralympics finale in early September, you can join in any of 12,000+ performances and events, many delightfully free and alfresco, as part of the biggest cultural celebration in Olympic history. Whether you love dance, music, theatre, fashion, food, art or film, there’s plenty to catch your eye. Opening this festival and its massive bill of treats is West End Live, a free extravaganza in Trafalgar Square, where you’ll have the chance to see all of London’s leading musicals perform hit numbers on open air stages. In mid-July, don’t miss the extraordinary BT River of Music, a free celebration of world music at six locations along the River Thames. Celebrate Asian performance and song at Battersea Park, go African at Jubilee Gardens, European at Trafalgar Square, American at the Tower of London and Oceanic at Greenwich, or challenge yourself to circumnavigate the world music globe in a day by visiting all six stages. This promises to be a very joyous weekend for culture lovers and will feature appearances from such diverse talents as Baaba Mal, Gilberto Gil, Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra and the Scissor Sisters. Amongst other 2012 Festival highlights are 'All the Bells', three solid minutes of quick and loud nationwide bell-ringing to herald the start of the Olympics and the 'Big Dance', a weeklong celebration of all things dance from Morris, mime, ballet and ballroom to clog, tap, and hip hop. Further information: festival.london2012.com This is the latest in our featured series of Top Tens for Americans in Britain. If you’ve got a hot Top Ten tip to share with our readers, contact Judith at judith0777@gmail.com n


American Women’s Clubs News AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUB OF LONDON Recently, I was hiking with eleven ladies in Costa Brava, Spain who were assembled from around the world. It occurred to me that the reason I was included in this interesting group of women is because ten years ago, I chose to join the American Women’s Club of London. Now, I’m the only one in that merry band of expat friends that still lives in our fair city. However, the friendships forged back in London many years ago while we dished up lunch at the Soup Kitchen and hiked in the countryside gives me great pleasure still. Summer is typically quiet in the expat world. Several members of the AWC go to the States to see relatives, a few of our members are “marrying-off ” their children this Summer, some are travelling around Europe taking advantage of the proximity to fabulous locations! Of course, this year, many will be going only as far as Stratford to hap-

Top: AWC members enjoy a trip to Marrakech. Bottom left: AWC Delegates at FIWAL Conference Bottom right: AWC members enjoy lunch at the Glasshouse

pily cheer on the US, England or whomever they choose at the London 2012 Olympics! Whatever, your plans, rest assured the AWC doesn’t close shop over the Summer! We will be playing bridge and mah jongg, taking hikes, sharing lunches, drinks and dinners. There will be ladies who bond when they go to the theatre, make dinner for families staying in Ronald McDonald House, visit art exhibitions or struggle through Spanish Conversation. Some ladies will build friendships while getting toned with the Health and Fitness Fanatics or enjoying scones and Earl Grey at Afternoon Tea. Many members will chat, laugh and share their story at Writing, Photography, Classical Music or Wine Tasting Groups! This Summer in addition to the activities mentioned above, we also invite you to join us as we celebrate living in London! We’ll be going to Royal Ascot, Wimbledon and touring Buckingham Palace. At all of these events, there will be friendships made because someone decided they would take a chance and sign-up, join-in, come-along. Why don’t you? AWC London was launched in 1899 to provide an opportunity for American Expats to build friendships while making a meaningful difference in the community, we still do and we still are. If you are interested in learning more about the American Women’s Club of London call the office at 020 7589 8292, or visit us online at www.awclondon.org. We look forward to welcoming you! Junior League of London This has been an exciting and productive year for the Junior League of London. At our annual general meeting in May, we gathered

to celebrate and reflect on the many contributions our members have made this year. To name just a few highlights of 2011-12:

• Members have volunteered over 20,000 hours of service to deliver on our mission of promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities, with our current focus on poverty • We signed up a record number of children to receive books each month as part of the Dolly's Imagination Library • Members of the League and the public pooled their resources to donate over 1,000 gift baskets to families and individuals in need at Christmas • We held a multi-project volunteering day in March where members, families and friends came together to volunteer across London • And in June, we will help open a new library at Colville Primary School. Interested in getting involved or joining the Junior League? To find out more about membership, log on to www.jll.org.uk and click Join Us. Or come along to our next information session to meet us on 20 June at 7 pm in Central London. To confirm your attendance, please contact us at jrleague@jll.org.uk or on 020 7499 8159. Upon registration, you will receive details of the location. If you can't make the session on the 20th, please join us at one of our future sessions throughout the summer on 12 July, 14 August and 22 August. Additional details are available on our website. 39


NAWC fundraising co-ordinator Xara Conceicao (left) presents a cheque for £1,950 to Laura Ripley from RAFT watched by NAWC president Mary Vaughan

NORTHWOOD AREA WOMEN’S CLUB HELPS MEDICAL RESEARCH The Northwood Area Women’s Club continues to attract women from all corners of the world, said outgoing president Mary Vaughan at our May AGM which included a special presentation of £1,950 to RAFT (Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust) our chosen charity for 2011-2012. Presenting the cheque, Xana Conceicao, NAWC fundraising co-ordinator told Laura Ripley, RAFT’s fundraiser, that the club was delighted to support the work of the medical research charity which is dedicated to improving the treatment and quality of life for people affected by major skin traumas. Thanking club members for having nominated RAFT as their chosen charity, Laura said: “we greatly appreciate your generous donation which will go towards new laboratory materials which are urgently needed for our research.” The money raised came from book fairs, auctions, raffles, Bunco parties, sponsored events and donations made by guest speakers from the sale of their books. In addition to its lively and varied programme of events, outings, speakers and interest groups, fundraising plays a key role in the club’s activities. Each year NAWC nominates a local charity. This coming year the club is supporting the Northwood Live at Home Scheme which provides services for the elderly in the community. NAWC is a multi-national social and cultural non-profit making organisation whose members represent 15 nationalities. General meetings with guest speakers are held the first Thursday of each month (except July and August) at St John’s Church Hall, Northwood. The next meeting is on 6 September at 10am. New members are always welcome. For more information visit www.northwoodareawomensclub.co.uk International Women's Club of Edinburgh IWCE members mostly live in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians. Whatever the length of your stay in the area you will find a warm wel40

come at the club. We currently have members from over 24 nationalities and meet regularly for talks, tours and special interest activities. Please visit our website for full information and do not hesitate to get in touch. Website: www.iwce.co.uk Email: contact@iwce.co.uk KCWC KCWC has 30+ Activity Groups catering to its membership with diverse nationalities and interests. Some of the activities are Open to the Public; however, you need to become a member to attend the Members Only activities. Here is a selection of their news in April and activities in May. If you’d like to become a member, please send an email to membership@kcwc.org.uk or membership1@kcwc.org.uk. Our News: KCWC’s first Evening General Meeting on 11 May, a musical event organised by the Royal College of Music at its Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, was a great success. Guests enjoyed the delicious drinks and canapés before they were treated to music by RCM’s talented and award-winning young musicians including Martino Panizza (harpist), Louise Adler and David Webb (Soprano and Tenor, respectively), and Ksenia Berezina and Yulia Vorontsova (violin and piano, respectively). A silent auction and sale of exclusive luxury items followed the concert. KCWC donated all profits from the auction and sale to its designated charities: KCWC President Mary Narvell giving the opening speech

On an excursion by the Actor’s Church neat Covent Garden in April

On an excursion around the Waterloo Tunnels in May

Independent Age, which combats isolation and poverty amongst older people; and The Haven, a non-medical breast cancer support group. KCWC has many activities that cater to its diverse interest groups. One of these groups is London Walks and Treasures, which enjoy monthly outings to explore this beautiful city - on foot, whatever the weather! In April and May, the group walked in Central London. June General Meeting: A celebration of the Diamond Jubilee Thursday 7 June 9:30 am Royal Automobile Club Guest Speaker: Historian Dr Tracy Borman After the untimely death of King George VI

Guests mingled before the concert, enjoying delicious drinks and canapés


in 1952, there was a breathless talk of the new Elizabethan Age when his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, came to the throne. Like the first Queen Elizabeth, she was just 25 years old, fresh and beautiful, and millions were both thrilled by the romance of it all and equally daunted on Her Majesty’s behalf by a lifetime of duties that lay ahead. Now as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, millions can look back and reflect on how that willowy dark-haired young Princess of the 1950s has become the shrewd great-grandmother of today. Our guest speaker, historian and biographer, Dr Tracy Borman could not be a more appropriate choice for our General Meeting as she has just returned from a special Jubileethemed lecture tour where she represented Historic Royal Palaces on their inaugural Lecture Tour of North America in partnership with the English Speaking Union. Send an email to programmes@kcwc.org.uk to check availability for non-members. Members Only: The Annual June Luncheon Thursday, 7 June Royal Automobile Club Following the June General Meeting. To mark 60 years of The Queen’s reign, the Diamond Jubilee will centre on an extended weekend in June with parades, the traditional street parties, a concert at Buckingham Palace, and a service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's. KCWC’s General Meeting and June Luncheon take place in the midst of the Jubilee revelries so we have planned a celebration all our own! KCWC’S Treblemakers has a message for music lovers: WHO ARE WE? We are KCWC’s own a cappella singing group, performing a broad range of music from Mozart to Lady Gaga! WHAT DO WE DO? We sing at (your!) private and charity functions, donating our profits to KCWC’s chosen charities. We also busk in the Underground! WHAT ELSE DO WE OFFER? You can buy our CD: Treblemakers in the Studio or ask us to create a personalised birthday greeting in four-part harmony for a friend or a loved one. We don’t charge much and remember: all profits to charity! HOW CAN YOU REACH US? Check out our website www.treblemakers.org.uk, stop by our table at the General Meetings or call Cindy Bruckermann on 07780 995 641. KCWC members go to the 9th Althorp literary festival on Friday 15 June KCWC is once again privileged to be invited by Earl Spencer for a very special day at the opening of the 9th Althorp Literary

Picture Gallery where KCWC members will have lunch

Festival to be held at his home in Althorp, Northamptonshire. Members will visit some of the rooms of this exquisitely restored stately mansion, family home of the 9th Earl and his sister Diana, the late Princess of Wales, for five centuries. Luncheon will be served exclusively for our group in the fabulous Picture Gallery for the very first time in the many years of this annual LitFest. Authors include Dr Kate Williams (Young Elizabeth); biographer Helen Rappaport and the former Chancellor to the Exchequer, Alistair Darling. Check availability with Cindy Maceda at events1@kcwc.org.uk. KCWC’S after hours group always welcomes friends and guests who are nonmembers.Check availability with the activity leaders: Lotte Poole - afterhours@kcwc.org.uk Charles Spencer at Althorp

Christina Smith - afterhours1@kcwc.org.uk The After Hours group is dedicated to social gatherings that take place outside the 9 - 6 working day. Friends are welcome to join us. AMAZING VIEWS AND BEST OF BRITISH COOKING When: Thursday 21 June; drinks at 6:30 pm, dinner at 7:30 pm Where: Northbank Restaurant and Bar, Millennium Bridge A spectacular location beneath the Millennium Bridge with a covered terrace providing one of the best al fresco dining places in London. For all KCWC members there will be a free glass of bubbly at the bar before dinner. Northbank’s menu is imaginative Britishness with a specific focus on Cornish ingredients in food and drinks such as West Country ciders and Cornish ales. A chance to catch up with KCWC chums! There will be no general meetings in July and August. our next general meeting is in September. for details, watch this space! KCWC’s Executive Board is changing on 31 July 2012. The new members of the Board will be voted in at the Annual Luncheon on Thursday 7 June. We thank our retiring President, MARY NARVELL, for her excellent service to KCWC over two and a half years. She has been a dedicated leader and a dynamic problem-solver. Passionate about innovation, she brought KCWC to a new level. She did all this with great style and elegance. We wish her a well-earned rest. We thank TRACEY GOOD for her 5 years on the Board as the Club Treasurer. Tracey was the backbone of the Club. She modernised the payment procedures making life much easier for everyone in the Club. We wish her all the best. n 41


Property Focus On Summertown, North Oxford The founder of Summertown which lies about one and a half miles from St Giles and the centre of the City, was James Lambourne who was a horse dealer by trade. In 1820, he bought materials from a stone-pit north of the nearby village of Kidlington for the building of his home. Thus he and his wife became Summertown's first residents. A sign board was painted outside their house, giving his name and occupation and the name of the village, which he insisted should be correctly spelled as "Summertown". Called after what he considered the best season of the year, he said it was the 'pleasantest place in England, in fact in the world'. Hamilton Road

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Scholars Mews

Until this time, the Woodstock and Banbury Roads, and Middle Way were once just three of several rough tracks that led down to the city walls at North Gate and there was a turnpike road all the way to Oxford. Diamond House (or Hall) to the south was the only building of note before the village started. By 1760 it had become a haunt of highwaymen and by 1790 had such a bad reputation that it was closed and replaced by one- room tenements. "The Making of a Regency Village - Origin and Description of Summertown in 1812", written by John Badcock, describes the early days of the village. By 1832, about 500 people were living in Summertown, in a mixture of modest houses along the east side of Banbury Road, with a few larger houses standing in sizeable grounds. These were the homes of successful tradesmen, such as butchers and grocers, whose businesses served the growing needs of the city and university populations. When Badcock wrote, Summertown consisted of a line of neat, cheerful houses along the eastern side of the Banbury Road. In front of each one was a garden about 26 yards long. By 1840, many businessmen had built large villas in Summertown, either for themselves or as an investment and speculators were drawn there

by the cheap building land - plus ca change! Towards the end of the 19th century the houses in the streets between Banbury and Woodstock Roads began to be built, not according to a formal plan, but in random groups. This accounts for their mixed architectural styles. As the city spread northwards from the centre, Summertown was now no longer a separate village, becoming in 1889 a suburb of the City of Oxford. Most of north Oxford came into being as a result of the revolutionary decision by the University to permit college fellows to marry and live in real houses, as opposed to rooms in college. Its development is very much tied in with the history of Oxford University and it encompasses the area between Woodstock and Banbury Road, bounded by The Cherwell River (as The Thames is known here). Large houses were built on farmland either side of Banbury Road and Woodstock Road. Much of the land belonged to the richest Oxford College, St John's, and the houses were originally sold on leases. St John's has since sold the freehold on most of these properties and it is now not unusual for such houses to fetch ÂŁ4 million. Modern Summertown The 1960s brought enormous changes to Summertown, which had until then retained its architectural diversity and village atmosphere. Many of the older houses were demolished, to make way for new office blocks such as Mayfield House and Prama House. Other new amenities such as the library (1960) and the Ferry Sports Centre (1971) arrived. The area of Summertown, lying to the north of Oxford city, is now a vibrant and buzzing area, full of young families who have typically moved out of London to educate their children in the renowned independent schools of The Dragon and Summer Fields. Summer Fields School has had many famous pupils, such as Harold Macmillan, Bernard Darwin, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Ronald Knox, Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee and Victor Pasmore.


Marston Ferry Court Victoria Gardens

Middle Way

Notable residents of Summertown, past and present include: • J.R.R Tolkien, philologist, author of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' • Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse novels. • Desmond Morris, zoologist, ethnologist and popular anthropologist • Tom Ford, television star of Silent Witness In the last years of the 20th century Summertown evolved into the vibrant shopping, business and residential centre that it is today, a prosperous suburb to an historic city. In the last 12 years, Summertown has changed rapidly and now provides almost every facility a resident could want. In South Parade, around the corner from the northern end of the shopping parade, there is a new Arts Centre, housing exhibitions and with an excellent programme of drama and performance. The Summertown Wine Bar offers delicious coffee in addition to specialist wines available by the glass, whilst across the road is the privately owned, rather expensive boutique, Vanilla. Liscious Interiors offers imaginatively restored furniture whilst near to the junction with Banbury Road, there are 3 excellent restaurants and a small, but well-stocked book shop. The main shopping thoroughfare is in Banbury Road itself. The principal 'draw' is a huge M & S Simply Food store whilst a recent addition is a small Sainsbury store, controversially having opened beside Tesco. Apart from Boots the Chemist and various banks and charity shops, together with the ever-present

Costa's and Starbucks, Summertown also offers a French patisserie, a cocktail bar and an assortment of good restaurants including Joe's bistro. The atmosphere in Summertown has grown in sophistication in recent years and a 'cafe society' has developed. A sign of the area's increasing attraction is the opening of a branch of JoJo Maman Bebe and Farrow & Ball, together with the extremely useful shop, COOK, whence one can purchase excellent

party food to pass off as home-made! Anchor House at the northern end of the shopping parade houses BBC Oxford transmitting BBC Oxford radio and broadcasting television regional news. With the prosperity of its residents, Summertown is now an extremely attractive proposition for specialist shops and businesses and it is rare for shop premises to remain empty for any length of time. Due to it’s proximity to the town centre coupled with its quiet leafy streets, Summertown has become a huge draw for families attracted by the quality of life. n For further information about living in Summertown, contact Jacqueline Smith on jsmith@ johndwood.co.uk or 01865 311522. www.johndwood.co.uk

Oakthorpe Road

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American Eye

The audiences are rowdy and fun and it’s so beautiful up there. What essential things would you advise Americans in Britain to be sure not to miss? London of course, but there are many other beautiful cities, especially up North. They should definitely visit the British Museum, one of the world’s greatest, Exeter Cathedral, which is just stunning, and the incredible wilds of Scotland and Wales.

Gretchen Peters Noel Fox. He signed me to my first deal and gave me freedom, telling me “go write songs that you love”.

Judith Scrut speaks to Gretchen Peters ahead of her forthcoming UK Summer Tour

Y

ou were born in New York, grew up in Colorado and now live in Nashville. Who and what have been some of your inspirations from those very different environments? During my New York childhood there was always music in my house. With four older siblings around I was exposed to lots of music before my time - Beatles, Rolling Stones, early Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, the big folk and jazz scenes. That music goes very deep. We then moved to Boulder, Colorado, a place which attracted all kinds of music. Its cross-pollination shaped me hugely and there I fell in love with country music. Nashville, where I’ve lived for 25 years, shaped me in various ways and gave me my career. Dolly Parton, Matraca Berg and Harlan Howard are among many influences, as was my publisher 44

You’ve been coming to the UK for many years now and have found British audiences especially appreciative of your music. Can you tell us a little more about that? The UK has become almost a second home for me. I find audiences there really pay attention. It’s as if there’s no membrane at all between me and my audience. I don’t need to explain myself and my nuances in every song are just absorbed. There’s just kind of a wonderful chemistry. You’re performing at some great UK festivals this summer including Cornbury and Cambridge Folk Festival. What are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to spending time at the festivals, which are always fun. I’ll be performing with my husband Barry Walsh, and bassist Danny Thompson is joining us on some shows. I’m excited to see what he brings to the tour and just generally hanging out with him! What’s top of your favourite things to do here when you’re not performing? On tour we’re always moving really fast so I do a lot of looking out of windows! There’s a great highway stop near the Lake District, Tebay Services. It’s locally owned, with incredible farm shops, good food and spectacular views out back. On a day off in London I like visiting Kensington Gardens - it’s just divine, especially in May and June. I love Brighton - its pebbled beach gives the best free massage! I also love Scotland.

I understand you have a soft spot for Jammy Dodger cookies when you are here. Are there any other guilty pleasures you like to enjoy when visiting the UK? I have some great fans in Cornwall who own a bakery. They come to most of my shows down there and bring us homemade scones and clotted cream - I’d happily give a few years off of my life for those! Another big pleasure is Indian food, which we try to eat as often as we can when we are there. What American comforts do you miss most when touring abroad? I miss single taps in hotel bathrooms and I miss washcloths, although I do appreciate having a tea kettle in every room. And I miss really good American hamburgers! Can you share with our readers some of the themes and inspirations behind your latest album, ‘Hello Cruel World’? There were so many huge events in my life and in the world around me leading up to that album. A lot happened in a very short time. The themes just emerged by themselves, from some subterranean place. The overriding theme on the album is one of survival. Life is difficult - and enduring life is the real heroism. Also, the urgent message to be here on earth now, not to postpone your joy or put it on hold. We’re meant to enjoy each other and celebrate each other. That’s a lesson I’ve learned. Here at American in Britain we like to promote Anglo-American relations - whom would you invite to your fantasy AngloAmerican dinner party? I think eight is the ideal number for a dinner party so, aside from me and Barry, I’d have John Lennon, Jane Austen, Bill Clinton and the great storyteller, Zora Neale Hurston. You need wit, so I’d invite Noel Coward and Dorothy Parker. To cook? Julia Child, of course. n You can see Gretchen Peters’ performing at Cornbury Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Scotland’s Southern Fried Festival and elsewhere around the UK this summer.


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The American Church In London Revd. John A. D’Elia Senior Minister Of The American Church In London

W

elcome to the UK! This is the season when many new expats come to Britain for short or long-term stays. New homes and neighbourhoods, new jobs and schools - this time of transition can be exciting, challenging and even bewildering at times. I moved to London with my wife and young son at the end of 2006, and somewhere along the way this place has become our home. I hope it does for you as well. Welcome! One of my favourite stories in the Bible describes a time when four young men brought a paralysed man to a house where Jesus was teaching, to see if he could heal him. The crowd in the house was so big that they 46

couldn’t get in, and so they climbed on top of the house (with their friend), made a hole in the roof, and lowered their buddy in front of a very surprised Jesus. It’s one of the great acts of chutzpah in the New Testament. That’s one of my favourite Yiddish words, by the way - chutzpah. Sometimes a good Yiddish term is exactly what’s needed to make a point. A few years ago two American judges wrote an article about the growing use of Yiddish words in legal writing. It seems that over the past generation Yiddish has replaced Latin as the language of choice to spice up legal decisions. They cited a 1965 case against the Mafia in New York, where a group of wiseguys were said to be ‘kibbitzing’ before committing a crime. More recently schmoozing, schlocks, klutzes and no-goodniks are showing up to make legal points. In a Georgia court one judge referred to a defendant as a schlemiel. According to this article, which was titled ‘Lawsuit Shmawsuit’, the most popular Yiddish word showing up in legal writing is chutzpah. Chutzpah is a great and useful word. For English users chutzpah describes the kind of non-conformist behaviour that we admire - the gutsiness or audacity that make us smile…most of the time. One writer defined chutzpah as brazen nerve, guts, gall, and what you find at the intersection of presumption and arrogance. You get the idea A lot of things make up the business of the church. One of them is about learning to become more faithful people. That’s what we learn as we serve together. That’s what we’re meant to learn from the stories in the Bible. In our passage today we see how four guys demonstrated their faith by showing a little chutzpah in an encounter with Jesus. The guys in our story take their friend to the door but can’t get in because of the crowds. This where the chutzpah comes in - where their faith takes on some audacity and brazenness and risk. It takes a little chutzpah to start a new life in a new place. If you’ve been Britain for a while and have found places where you can enjoy

John A. D’Elia

fellowship and support - places where you can grow and serve and build friendships then take a chance and share those places with the new arrivals around you. You might have to be bold about it, but it’ll be worth it as you help someone find their way in a new place. Think back on those guys in the Bible story - they literally carried their friend to the place he needed to be. I doubt if you’ll have to go to that much effort! If you’re new to Britain this year then let me encourage you to show a little chutzpah as you get settled, to be brave enough to find yourself some places to meet new friends and find some support as you build a new life here. Churches, synagogues and other places of worship can be a great place to start. In our church we have ways for people of all ages to connect and feel welcomed - and also to serve others. It might a little audacious to walk into a new place and get involved, but that’s what it takes to make a home in a new city. Mostly I want to offer you a warm welcome for your time in Britain. Each year I pray for the new arrivals, that you might have a soft landing and the gift of new friends and a sense of community. As kids are settling into new schools, parents are starting new jobs and all of us are learning how to live in this amazing place, my hope is that you’ll reach out - and that someone will reach out to help you - as you get started. Welcome to the UK! With Blessings, Rev. John D’Elia and your friends at the American Church in London n


Useful Numbers AMERICAN FOODS & PRODUCTS

PANZER’S 13-19 Circus Road, St John’s Wood, London NW8 6PB Telephone: 020 7722 8162/8596 Fax: 020 7586 0209 Email: shop@panzers.co.uk Website: www.panzers.co.uk We deliver groceries and fruit & veg daily to St John’s Wood, Hampstead, The West End, Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge. Phone, fax or email and we’ll send your delivery home the same day. We offer the best selection in London of groceries from the USA, and specialities for seasonal events.

COURIER & POSTAL SERVICES

MAIL BOXES ETC. 123 stores across the UK and Ireland Telephone: 0800 623 123 / or +44 (0) 1608 649230 (for international callers) Email: marketing@mbe.co.uk Website: www.mbe.co.uk Contact: James Simmons At Mail Boxes Etc. we offer a choice of globally trusted couriers from any of our 120+ stores across the UK & Ireland. We'll advise you on the best carrier, from FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT and Parcelforce Worldwide, for every consignment, for urgent documents, gifts, eBay sales, personal belongings and freight. We’re experts in customs know-how and country-specific requirements and we’ll pack, despatch and track your packages to delivery across North America and around the world.

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. ISL Group of Schools Two UK schools: Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8HY 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London W3 8LG Tel: +44 (0)1483 750409/+44 (0) 20 8992 5823 Email: hmulkey@islsurrey.com Website: www.islschools.org Contact: Heather Mulkey The ISL Schools offer an international education with an important addition: mother tongue or modern language training from an early age. Academic research increasingly points to the importance for English as an Additional Language learners of gaining a solid language and literacy foundation in their own language. For English speakers, research supports the value of language learning in overall academic success. Looking towards our students' global future, multiple language facility will become increasingly valuable. ISL London is one of the first schools to offer the IB Diploma. 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 program, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualized 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.

IMMIGRATION Legal Services

FRAGOMEN 4th Floor, Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP

Contact: Charlotte Slocombe Telephone: +44 (0)20 3077 5250 Email: cslocombe@fragomen.com Website: www.fragomen.com As the world's leading provider of immigration legal services and advice, Fragomen has served the immigration needs of clients ranging from individuals to the world’s leading multinational corporations for 60 years. With 36 offices in 15 countries worldwide, Fragomen has the resources and the reach to provide strategic and effective immigration solutions for over 140 countries around the globe. LAW OFFICE OF NITA N. UPADHYE 42 Brook Street, London W1K 5DB Contact: Nita N. Upadhye Telephone: +44 (0) 203 170 5829 Email: nita.upadhye@nnulaw.com Website: www.nnulaw.com Drawing upon ten years of experience in forming winning strategies and achieving results for clients, the Law Office of Nita N. Upadhye offers high-touch, personalised, sophisticated immigration solutions for investors, businesses and private clients. The firm has a special interest in working with startup companies and technology entrepreneurs and advising on maintenance of LPR status and renunciation of U.S. citizenship.

MOVING

DT MOVING 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: london@dtmoving.com Web: www.dtmoving.com Contact: Tim Daniells DT Moving is a long established and awardwinning international moving company. Founded in 1870 as Davies Turner, DT Moving has vast experience in moving Americans to and from the United States and to other worldwide destinations. With a customer satisfaction rating of 96% for 2011, DT Moving offer a quality service at competitive rates. 1st class storage facilities are available.

TAXATION

WESTLETON DRAKE LLP 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF Telephone: +44 (0)20 3178 6041 Fax: +44 (0)20 3178 4083 Email: info@westletondrake.com Website: www.westletondrake.com US and UK tax advisors who specialise in assisting Americans living in the UK, and corporations and partnerships doing business in the US and UK. 47


Your Vote Counts! The 2012 US Elections You didn’t register or vote in the Primaries? Not to worry - you can still vote in the November 2012 General Elections! • All US citizens who want to vote in the 2012 election need to go to www.FVAP.gov to complete and submit a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) if they haven’t yet done so this calendar year. • Anyone may request electronic delivery of his/her ballot and include an email address on his/her application. • Almost all adult US citizens overseas can vote in 2012, even if they have never lived in the US or have been away from the US for a long time Don’t miss out - submit your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) with enough time to meet your state’s election date requirements. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website at www.fvap.gov to download your FPCA and the complete 2012 Voting Assistance Guide with each state’s requirements. US Elections Laws have Changed! States may, but are no longer required, to recognise voter registrations from previous years. To ensure your registration is valid for the November 2012 elections, US citizens residing or travelling abroad are advised to submit an FPCA in compliance with their state’s deadlines. Information is also available on the Embassy’s website under the overseas voting tab at http://london.usembassy. gov/cons_new/acs/scs/voting.html or on the Department of State’s website at http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/ living/overseas_voting/overseas_voting_4754.html. You can also request your FPCA and state instructions by sending an e-mail to londonvote@state.gov. If you do not have internet access, send a written request to: American Embassy, Voting Unit, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ. Provide your name, full UK mailing address, your current or last state of residence in the US along with the number of applications you require.

Countdown to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games The Olympics promise to be an exciting and wonderful time to be in London. The Embassy’s American Citizen Services branch will remain open throughout the Games, and offer extended hours (7:30 am to 7:00 pm) to assist US citizens with emergencies. If you are already resident in London, however, we encourage you to take a few moments now to check the expiration date of your passport – if it is in August or September during the Olympics or Paralympics, please consider renewing early to avoid any possible delays during the Games. For information about passports, including emergency passports, and other citizen services, please check our website at: http://london.usembassy.gov/service.html To see the US Embassy’s London 2012 page, check: http://london.usembassy.gov/olympics/index.html Please stay safe, and ENJOY THE SUMMER!

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American in Britain Summer 2012