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Summer 2014

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Eating Out ........................................................................................................... 2 Travel ..................................................................................................................... 6 Taxing Issues...................................................................................................10 Wealth Management ...................................................................................12 Top Tens ...........................................................................................................15 Legal Advice ....................................................................................................20 UK Sports ..........................................................................................................23 Reader’s Lives .................................................................................................26 American Women’s Clubs News ............................................................28 Hotel Review ...................................................................................................34 Family Days Out ............................................................................................36 Theatre ...............................................................................................................41 Arts & Antiques ............................................................................................44 Useful Numbers..............................................................................................47 Embassy Corner .............................................................................................48

Summer 2014

Free Subscription Offer Inside Serving the American Community in the UK


PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott Tel: 020 8661 0186 Email: PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Damian Porter Tel: 01737 551506 Email: American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB Advisory Panel:


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Eating Out Restaurant Reviews CHRISTOPHER’S 18 Wellington St, London WC2E 7DD Telephone: 020 7240 4222 The London restaurant scene is such a fast moving one, with restaurants arriving in a blaze of publicity only to quietly disappear months later, but one restaurant that continues to buck this transient trend is Christopher’s. Christopher’s has proudly occupied the same stunning venue for over 22 years serving good quality, value for money food, in the heart of Covent Garden. In fact, the building has had a much more colourful history than the restaurant as it has been, amongst other things, a Papier Maché factory; London’s first licensed casino; and even a brothel. In 2013, the building was refurbished to house a bustling Martini Bar on the ground floor, an elegant dining room on the first 2

floor, and an intimate Private Club Room on the lower ground that is available for private hire. On leaving the hustle and bustle of theatre land, you only have to take a few short steps to find yourself in a new world based around the American Art Deco period. The indulgence and opulence associated with this period has been recreated, with the long onyx sharing table, leading to the highly ornate bar which dominates the far end of the room. Along with the sharing table there is a more intimate side where drinkers can share the extensive range of Martini’s, Cocktails or another tipple of choice, and this has, and will in my view remain, a popular venue for those wanting a drink after work, before going to the theatre, or after a hard day’s shopping. Along with drinks, the Martini Bar caters perfectly for those who want a light bite, and the menu moves effortlessly from the basic Nuts or Olives (£4) through to delights such as Popcorn Shrimp with guacomole (£7) and Chilli Beef Skewers with spicy peanut and borage dip (£7), to the more substantial Sharing Platters or Fresh Salads (from £9 to £18). All are served with the same care and attention to detail, which for me, explains perfectly why Christopher’s continues to thrive in such a challenging market. For those wanting a more substantial meal, you climb the spiral staircase, and on doing so leave the art deco period behind, moving into a more contemporarily decorated, large airy dining room, resplendent with well spaced out tables covered by crisp white tablecloths. Here the serious business of eating is undertaken and like all good steak

houses the portions are generous, so I would suggest not having too much bread (although it is good) and abstain as much as possible during the day, to leave enough room for the delights that await. The menu is predominantly American influenced, but there are hints of French and Italian themes with Foie Gras (£14) and a rich and indulgent Risotto (£11 starter £18 as a main). Other notable starters include the King Crab Louie (£14) (which I can’t help thinking has something to do with the head orangutan in the Disney film ‘The Jungle Book’), and the Maryland Crab Cake with red pepper mayo (£14). Christopher’s favourites however, are the mains, with pride of place being the USDA Prime Steak, which all come from the same farm in Kansas, although you can have Scottish or Wagu Beef as well. I chose the 10oz Rib Eye (£32) and although tempted with the option of having it blackened with Cajun spice, decided to let the quality of the meat do the talking, and I wasn’t disappointed. My steak was flavoursome and extremely tender, and cooked exactly as I ordered. My wife opted for the other area of expertise for Christopher’s and chose the Lobster Thermidor (half £22/whole £40) and declared that it was the best she had had. Our only complaint was we had made a rooky mistake and ate too much bread and starter, so struggled to finish, but in the current climate of small and beautifully decorated dishes, what a lovely complaint to have! The range of sides is extensive, but we plumped for the Creamed Spinach (£5), in my view mandatory with steak, and Parmesan Truffle Fries (£6), but the other two that caught our

eye were the Mac & Cheese (£7) and Tobacco Onions (£4). After a lengthy break enjoying the lovely view of the sunset over Waterloo Bridge, we felt suitably emboldened to revisit the menu for dessert. I loved what I read on the menu, and my problem was deciding what to choose. Many a time I have scanned a dessert menu for something I like, and here I could have chosen any of the 11 options as I liked them all! Should I have the Cheesecake, the Brownie, the Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Caramel Tart, or the Key Lime Pie? Such decisions shouldn’t be made lightly, and I finally opted for the Key Lime Pie which was just acidic enough to finish off the meal without being too sharp. The wine selection at Christopher’s is extensive and will compliment every dish selection and every price range, and the wine waiter will happily help you choose a robust white to go with your steak if you so desire, so there is no wine snobbery here! The service is attentive but not obtrusive, and nothing is too much trouble. So to sum up Christopher’s, the service is efficient and attentive, the food good quality and well priced, the decor stylish, and the ambience welcoming, so when you think again, maybe it isn’t so surprising that it has been going strong for over 22 years. Canvas

THE NORTHALL 10 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5AE Telephone: 020 7321 3100 Spring was definitely in the air as we made our way to The Northall restaurant within The Corinthia Hotel on Whitehall, for what promised to be an evening of fine dining. The Corinthia provides a stylish backdrop for the restaurant, housed in a grand Victorian building, with the finest collection of lighting I think I have ever admired. The Northall itself is light and airy with the ambience of a sophisticated country manor. Comfortable, and relaxed, it also provides the perfect spot for a bit of people watching; looking onto the bustling street outside with the River Thames beyond. The Northall is arranged across four distinct areas, offering a private dining room for intimate dinners, and a secluded gallery dining area on the mezzanine level that overlooks the buzz of the main restaurant. What better way to celebrate the season than with a glass or three of champagne to begin one’s meal? Well, not quite three, but is a wonderfully original idea of The Northall’s to offer a trio of Champagnes for you to sample served in three small glasses known as a Champagne Flight. There is the ‘Taste of Brut-trio’ at £17.50, or the ‘Taste of Rose’ at

£22.50. I enjoyed the former, and it provided the perfect accompaniment to my chosen starter Loch Var Smoked Salmon with capers and lemon. The menu showcases the very best of British cuisine with a focus on seasonal produce from artisanal suppliers who provide the restaurant with ingredients from around the British Isles. A nice little feature of the menu is the detailing of the exact location from where the ingredients of that dish were sourced. The restaurant is overseen by Executive Chef Garry Hollihead, and his menu incorporates dishes such as Herdwick Lamb Rump and Barbecued Ribs, the classic Grilled Dover Sole, and Nettle and Artichoke Risotto. There is also a Grill menu for steak lovers offering various cuts of 28-day dry-aged native Angus grass-fed beef. Prices range from £17 to £41 for main courses. My husband enjoyed Grilled Half of Native Lobster to start, sourced from St Ives, Cornwall. Succulent and meaty - I think he would have been happy to have eaten this for the entire duration of the meal! I would have been happy to join him, as it was absolutely delicious. For the main course I opted for Roast Belly of Pork with Sea Scallops, Monmouthshire ham and golden raisin and caper purée. I particularly enjoyed the pairing of the tender pork with the scallops, and the subtle sweetness delivered by the raisin purée. I chose a side of green beans and shallots to accompany the dish. Being a fish lover, my husband selected the Roast Fillet of Lemon Sole Tartare, with a side of triple cut chips. Simple, yet delicious, his “Posh Fish and Chips” did not disappoint. When it comes to desserts I believe myself to be a true connoisseur, although in truth my only qualification is a profound love of all things sweet and especially chocolatey. However, I made my selection and the end result proved to be a real tour de force! Described as Dark Chocolate and Coconut Sphere, Ginger infused Pineapple, Rum and Raisin Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce, I can only say that the explosion of flavours and contrasting textures were heavenly. Not a morsel was spared. My husband chose the Malted Milk Choc Ice, Stout Chocolate Cake, Caramelised Puffed Wheat in an echo to his childhood memories of choc ices and puffed wheat cereal. He raved about the choc-ice, but I have to admit to being completely distracted by my own enjoyment. Desserts are priced at £8. The Northall lived up to my expectations of an evening of fine dining, and in many ways surpassed them. If you hanker after the taste of true British Cuisine, or simply wish to sample what Britain has to offer to the culinary world, then look no further. 3

BIBO 146 Upper Richmond Rd, London SW15 2S146 Telephone: 020 8780 0592 Over the last few years I have found it hard to find many top quality restaurants outside of the radius of central London, so was pleased to hear that there could be a contender that has recently opened in Putney, called Bibo. When I think of Putney I don’t immediately think of an abundance of fine dining restaurants, but instead plump for “It’s the start of the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat race” and was, and still is, a popular commuter area for London. Indeed, in the 17th and 18th Centuries, Londoners used to flock to Putney Heath to enjoy its open spaces and clean air, and the horse racing, hawking and bowling, whilst avoiding the notorious highwaymen. The residents I believe have moved up in the world and the tube journey on the District Line to Putney is also considerably safer! Bibo is situated on Upper Richmond Road (which I am reliably informed has the most estate agent offices in the country), and is not just a restaurant but also a bustling bar which has a large welcoming area where


diners can enjoy aperitifs and order supplementary small plates. These range from Friggitelli (£2.50), lovely mild peppers stuffed with cheese, to the more piquant N’duja Crocchette (£3.50), and for sharing a delightful cured meats platter (£9.50) or my personal favourite Culaccia (£11.50). To accompany these and the rest of your meal, Bibo provides an enormous selection of drinks including numerous cocktails and a jaw dropping selection of Italian wines that can be ordered either by the bottle or the glass. This impressive selection has been brought together by Zeren Wilson and takes some well known Italian favourites and intersperses them with a number of wines from smaller growers. The result is a list that caters for everyone and ranges from £17.50 upwards. Whilst selecting our food we sipped on the chef ’s cocktail which on the day we visited was Fresh Kent Strawberry, Elderflower and Prosecco Fizz. Passing through the bar with its high oak tables flanked by bar stools on a tiled floor which has the feel of many Italian restaurants I have visited in New York, you come to the main restaurant housed on two floors (the ground and a mezzanine at the rear) with a high airy ceiling, white washed exposed brick wall and solid oak tables which transport you from SW15 into a more Soho feel. The menu changes regularly to cater for the fresh produce available each day which I love, as the quality of the produce is guaranteed as it is fresh in every day and is split into 6 Antipasti dishes, 4 Primi (2 portion sizes are available), 5 Secondi and then 5 Dolci, Gelati, Fromaggi. I like to see restaurants focusing on quality and freshness rather than having a large

number of dishes which they do less well. This allows it to focus attention on making each dish special, and I didn’t struggle at all to find many choices I wanted. The Primi dishes are available in either a small (£9) or large (£14) size, and whilst I chose the Tagliarini, Clams and Romana Courgette, my wife started with the English Asparagus Risotto, mascarpone and basil. Overcooked pasta is a personal bugbear of mine but I need not have worried as my tagliarini was al dente, just as I like it, and the risotto was rich and creamy and perfectly offset by the slight crunch from the asparagus. For our mains I chose the Secondi section, eventually plumping for the Slow Roast Pork Belly, carrots, fennel and salsa verde (£16.50) over an equally appealing Salmon, zucchini trifolati, peas and slow braised fennel (£16.50). The pork was succulent and fell apart with the merest touch from my fork, and the crackling was perfectly crisp and well supported by the fennel and rustic salsa verde. The dish missed receiving a perfect mark as, for me there was a touch too much oil, but this is very much personal taste. My wife stayed on the Primi menu (although now upgrading to the larger portion) ordering the Papperardelle, Pork Ragu with lemon and marjoram. Again the wide ribbons of crimped edged pappardelle were perfectly cooked and between the folds nestled generous encampments of pork ragu. For dessert I selected the Chocolate The Grill at The Dorchester Budino, cocoa crumbs, olive oil and sea salt (£6.50) and for this seasoned critic was one of the best desserts I have tasted this year. This is chocolate satin, so smooth that every mouthful felt like a creamy caress. Added to this was the crunch of the cocoa flakes and the salt, wow. My wife opted for 3 scoops of Gelati (£5.50) having coffee, vanilla and salted caramel flavours, all of which were light and refreshing. I liked Bibo, and hope it thrives, but I can’t help wondering whether the Putney residents are ready for a restaurant delivering food at central London prices. I truly hope so.

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Travel Helen Elliott & Jackie Atkins Take A Three Day Tour Through Wales


y childhood memories of Wales are of a PGL Adventure holiday where we took part in several outdoor activities, one of which knocked one of my friend’s front teeth out (!), so it was with some fear and a lot of nostalgia that my friend (not the one who lost her teeth!) and I jumped in the car and headed north from Surrey on the 5 hour journey down the M40 and up the M6 towards Wales, famed for leaks, dragons, mountains, castles, outdoor activities and rain! The scenery once you reach Conwyn Bay is stunning, with majestic mountains all around you, the sea on your right hand side, and castles almost everywhere you look, and my friend Jackie, who hadn’t been to Wales before, was surprised that a), it wasn’t raining, and b), how beautiful the scenery was. We continued our drive to Llandudno, a Victorian seaside town that has retained many of its original features, including a beautiful shopping arcade and a cable


railway to the peak of the Great Orme, one of the many mountains in the area. Other attractions include the Great Orme Ancient Mine, the elegant Llandudno Pier built in 1876, the Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre, and the Llandudno Museum where you can discover Llandudno’s long and fascinating history. We carried on our journey and shortly arrived at the beautiful Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, set on the west of the Pydew mountain, the second ridge south of the Great Orme. The hotel is set in 220 acres of superb gardens and parkland and was originally built in 1250 as an outlying watchtower to Conwy Castle. More recently the hotel was given to the National Trust in 2008 following a complete restoration and conversion by Historical House Hotels. The Hotel itself is teemed in history with portraits lining the dark wooden

staircase that leads you to one of the 20 bedrooms, fireplaces in the 3 drawing rooms, and the library. There is a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout, which was a pleasant surprise in a building of this age – even more so as I had no use for my winceyette pyjamas! The Spa was also a pleasant surprise, recently built in the grounds of the hotel, and has a good size swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, a gym and several treatment rooms with a wide range of treatments available, in a very comfortable and relaxing setting. There are two formal dining rooms in the main House, and Bistro 1620 is set within the grounds and offers informal dining to guests. We enjoyed a three course dinner in the formal dining room that included Pork Belly, Smoked Salmon and fresh local Lamb, all of which were beautifully presented and rich in flavour.

The next morning, following a hearty breakfast, half an hour in the gym, and a vigorous and revitalising back, neck and shoulder massage in the spa, we jumped back into the car, and headed south along the A470 towards Machynlleth, the original capital of Wales. Our destination was Ynyshir Hall, a welcoming and homely hotel, with the quality you would expect from a Relais & Chateaux property – in fact the bathroom was the most stunning of any hotel I have ever stayed in, and it surpassed all my expectations. We stayed in a deluxe room, that was beautifully appointed, with an en suite dressing room, a real flame fire, comfortable chairs and sumptuous beds. We were warmly welcomed by the owner, Joan, and her beautiful St Bernard, Theo, along with the reception staff who couldn’t do enough for us, and made us feel that we were completely at home. Once we had settled into our room, enjoyed a couple of glasses of the complimentary sherry and the delicious white chocolate cookies, we were ready to begin our much anticipated, and eagerly awaited, 13 course dinner. We were shown to the bar where we enjoyed a cold glass of champagne by the log fire, looking out of a spectular glass window, onto a beautiful, colourful rockery, that looked too perfect to be real (but it is!). We then made our way to our table, in the turquoise dining room, adorned with Joan’s husband’s magnificent paintings depicting sheep and the local landscape. We started our banquet with ‘Not French Onion Soup’ which was beautifully

presented, and tasted delicious. The courses kept coming, all equally as impressive as the last, and luckily small enough so that we managed to enjoy and finish, all 13 courses. Although they were all amazing, our favourites included the ‘Mackerel Sweet & Sour’, ‘Duck Liver’, ‘Welsh Wagyu’, ‘Walnut Whip’ and the ‘Goat’s Curd’. At the end of the meal the chef came to our table, and demonstrated making macaroons with dry ice, which was both fascinating and entertaining, and reflected the quality and originality of this venue’s cooking expertise. To say it is fine dining at its best, is almost an understatement, and it is an experience well worth travelling that extra mile, or 300, for!

The hotel is again set in impressive gardens with views of the dramatic mountains all around, and just a few minutes away from the RSPB nature reserve, which we visited. There are nature trails you can take to view various species of birds, a must if you are a budding ornithologist. When we went at Easter we were warned not to get too close to the Canadian Geese, who had nested just by one of the pathways we chose to take, which turned out to be a huge mistake on our part! Having commented how sweet it was that the Canadian Goose was swimming alongside us, it then launched itself in the air and headed for our heads, which fortunately Jackie noticed just as it was within two foot of my head, and before I knew it, she had grabbed my scarf and yelled ‘run’, at which point we too took flight as fast as our legs would take us, screaming our little hearts out, back in the direction we had just taken, with the Canadian Goose running after us at full pelt! I can honestly say I have never been so frightened in all my life, as we didn’t know when or how the episode was going to end, but luckily for us the Canadian Goose decided not to leave its


wooded glades. Within the grounds there is a maze which we spent 10 minutes in, giggling our way around, and well maintained gardens, growing plants and herbs that are then used in the kitchen. Time feels like it has stopped at Llangoed Hall, so if was a perfect ending to a beautiful three day trip from North to South Wales, where we could sit back, relax, and look back on a trip with beautiful scenery, fantastic hospitality, and delicious food, and plan how we would lose the weight we had put on over the past 72 hours!

nest too far behind! Once we had stopped laughing hysterically, we decided it was best to return to the sanctuary of our hotel and enjoy a drink in the sunshine and the beautiful grounds! Don’t let our experience put you off visiting the RSPB, as we did talk to many other visitors before our encounter, and they all raved about the birds they had seen, and many visit it on a regular occasion. Once we had calmed down from the excitement, we bade a sad farewell to our wonderful hosts, and jumped back into the car to head further south to Llangoed Hall, near the Brecon Beacons. Our journey took us just under two hours and we wound our way up, over and around several of the hills and mountains we had seen in the distance. The approach to the Llangoed Hall is truly splendid, and on entering the hallway we felt like we had been transported to

a bygone age, steeped in history and grandeur. We were shown to Room One, an elegant, light, floral room with tall ceilings, canopied beds, an open fire, and uninterrupted views of the Brecon Beacons. There are two drawing rooms, where guests were enjoying afternoon tea, and where we enjoyed an apperitif, and a formal dining room where we enjoyed a three course dinner with exceptional local produce and friendly staff. The dining room was transformed into a light and airy breakfast room that was full of charm and elegance, and was a perfect setting to enjoy a wonderful breakfast. The hotel is set in the Wye Valley, which borders England and Wales, and was declared an Area of Natural Beauty in 1971, with its riverside pathways and

For further information on the hotels: Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, The Royal Welsh Way, Llandudno, North Wales LL30 1RS Telephone: 01492 584466 Website: Ynyshir Hall, Eglwysfach, Machynlleth, Powys SY20 8TA 01654 781209 Llangoed Hall, Llyswen, Brecon, Powys, Wales LD3 0YP Telephone: 01874 754525 Website: 8

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12/03/2014 13:34

Taxing Issues This Quarter’s Tax Advice From Adam Smith, Westleton Drake


ecent headlines about expatriation statistics may lead you to believe that we are in the middle of a mass exodus, with more and more American citizens handing back their blue passports. Whilst the published statistics may tell a small part of the story, it’s important to keep those statistics in context, understand what’s really happening on the ground and also look at the consequences of expatriation, both immediate and longterm. LIES, DAMNED LIES AND…… …Expatriation statistics. Every quarter the Internal Revenue Service publishes a list of those Americans who have relinquished their citizenship. Recently this list has included Tina 10

Turner (who is now a citizen of Switzerland where she has resided for over 15 years) and Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. The records show that in the calendar year 2013, nearly 3,000 US citizens relinquished their citizenship. The headlines will say 2013 is a record breaking year and an increase of over 220% on the figures from 2012. The first quarter of 2014 also shows a continuation of the trend with over 1,000 handing back their citizenship on the most recent list. However, we all know what they say about lies and statistics and there is no exception here. The variations every quarter are vast - for the first quarter of 2012 expatriation totalled 460, with just 45 relinquishing in the last quarter. The 2012 year showed a fall in relinquishments from 2011, which in turn amplified the percentage increase for 2013. It’s also important to keep this number in context – there are an estimated six million US citizens living outside the US and so the 2013 expatriation numbers represent just 0.05% of those Americans living abroad. So these numbers are small, but do they tell the real story? Barely a week passes without me speaking with yet another US citizen who is either seriously considering relinquishing citizenship, or is already in the process of doing so. Information from the embassies also indicate that far more people are expatriating than are on the published list – I found a news article from South Korea that states over 2,000 of its citizens gave up their US passports in 2011, which is more from a single country than appears on the entire 2011 IRS official list. Why so? THE PROCESS There are actually several ways that one can relinquish US citizenship, for example an oath of allegiance to another country, or working for a foreign government as a foreign national, but by far the most common is to “renounce” US citizenship. This is the process where the citizen appears at a US embassy and makes a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States – and thus relinquishes citizenship. Before we get to that point there are some pretty serious tax and immigration issues to consider. I’m not going to attempt to cover the immigration issues (nor am I qualified to); one of the first things I will tell someone thinking about relinquishing is to speak with an immigration attorney, who can help guide them through the process. However, the first thing that needs to be established is that the individual is actually a citizen of another country. One cannot be stateless! The next thing to determine is whether an individual will be a “covered expatriate”. This

term was introduced as part of the changes made to the expatriation rules in the HEART legislation back in 2008 and brings with it some complex tax issues. Generally a covered expatriate is someone whose net worth is more than $2m (easy to exceed when taking into account inflated property prices), or whose average tax liability over the previous five years exceeds $157k (after foreign tax credits and so less likely for long term UK residents), or not compliant with the last five years of tax returns. This last point is a common issue – a large proportion of the expatriation cases that our office deals with are US citizens who have been living abroad for many years, or have never actually lived in the US. Either they got behind in their filings or simply didn’t know what holding the blue passport meant. A citizen must also be compliant with all federal tax obligations, which includes information returns for interests in foreign corporations, partnerships, trusts and general foreign asset reporting on Form 8938. Even if an individual does break the net worth or tax liability limits, there are a couple of get-out-of jail-free cards. If an individual became a citizen of the United States and a citizen of another country at birth, and continues to be a citizen and resident of that other country, then the covered expatriate rules may not apply. There is also an exception for certain minors who became US citizens at birth but renounce before the age of 18½ and have not lived in the US for more than 10 years prior to the expatriation year. But importantly, they still must be compliant with the last 5 years of tax returns. Other planning opportunities may be available to bring someone under the $2m limit, gifting for example, and taking advantage of the $5m+ lifetime gift allowance may be an option. Once the relevant documents have been signed and the renouncement interview has taken place, an individual will receive an official certificate of loss of nationality. It’s then over to the final tax return, which is likely to be a splityear return; resident and taxed on worldwide income up to the date of expatriation and nonresident thereafter. Along with this tax return an individual will need to complete form 8854, which among other things requests a personal balance sheet detailing out net worth. COVERED EXPATRIATES – EXIT TAX AND BEYOND Covered expatriates face a mark-to-market exit tax, which is computed as if they had sold their worldwide assets the day before the expatriation date. Gains and losses are taken into account. The rules are tricky, particularly when you need to consider pension arrangements, deferred compensation schemes, foreign trusts, life

insurance policies – the list goes on. Once a valuation is determined, the first $668,000 (2014 indexed) is knocked off and then the capital gains tax computed. The new 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax will also likely apply as the deemed sale date is the day before expatriation and so when the individual is a US citizen. The tax can be substantial and the IRS does offer a deferral election for payment. The pain can be made worse by the fact the resident country will also likely tax the asset on actual disposal, resulting in double taxation. The rules for covered expatriates don’t stop there. If at any point a US citizen receives a gift from a covered expatriate, known as a “covered gift” or “covered bequest”, then that citizen is subject to paying a tax equal to the higher of the gift or estate tax at the date of receipt. How the individual is supposed to know the donor is a covered expatriate or indeed how the IRS are to police these particular rules is questionable. Similar and more complex rules apply to US and foreign trusts. CONCLUSIONS I initially asked the question why the IRS statistics could be so far out. The reason may

be within the small print on those published lists – they seem to only include US citizens (or long-term residents – green card holders) who are covered expatriates. Many won’t be. The likely reality is that thousands more are expatriating. I would go on to speculate that the vast majority of those are either accidental Americans who have no ties to the US, or citizens who have been living abroad for many years. In my experience most of these individuals owe very little tax to the IRS and have simply grown tired of the ever-increasing compliance burden imposed on them. Adam Smith is a Partner at Westleton Drake who are a specialist provider of US and UK tax services for individuals and businesses. Westleton Drake have offices in London and Geneva. For further information please visit or contact Adam Smith on 020 3178 6041 or email:

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Mark Barrett BDS MS(Texas) 6 Harcourt House, 19a Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PN WWW.MARKBARRETTDENTISTRY.CO.UK E:

T: 0207 580 2500


Wealth Management Investing In US Mutual Funds Or Exchange-Traded Funds Can Damage Your Wealth YOU COULD BE PAYING TWICE AS MUCH UK TAXES BY MISTAKE Historically, US investors have loved investing in mutual funds, closed-end funds, money market funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are many great reasons why these types of investments are so popular, can do so well for investors, and why they often provide an efficient way to gain access to a broad array of asset classes often at a low cost. But if the US investor living in the UK doesn’t take precautions, they could inadvertently pay almost twice as much in taxes (or more)! Since April 6th 2008, all UK residents who are non-domiciled who have lived in the UK for more than 7 of 9 years are either required to pay UK taxes on the growth in their offshore portfolios, or they can choose to file taxes on a remittance basis and pay the annual remittance charge of £30,000 (or £50,000 if you have been resident for more than 10 12

years). In addition to UK taxes, US investors also need to pay US taxes on the growth in their portfolio – wherein lies the problem. Both the US and UK tax authorities have a different set of rules as to whether the growth in a collective investment (mutual fund or ETF) is considered a capital gain, and whether the growth qualifies for the preferential US or UK Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rate. Specifically, the UK tax authority treat gains on offshore and US mutual funds (or ETFs) as an Offshore Investment Gain (OIG) if the offshore or US investment does not have UK Reporting Status. Similarly the US taxes all foreign funds at income tax rates as opposed to the much lower capital gains tax rate (this is an oversimplification, but sufficient for purposes of this article). The UK OIG rate DBOCFBTIJHIBTGPSXFBMUIZJOEJWJEVBMT  nearly twice the highest 28% UK capital gains rate, and US income tax rates can be as high as 39.6%, almost twice the highest 20% US capital gains rate. As only a tiny fraction of US mutual funds report their gains into the UK tax authority and seek UK Reporting Status, the gains on almost all US based funds and ETFs are treated as OIG in the UK and UBYFEBUSBUFTVQUP Now that the stock markets have rebounded from their 2009 lows and some investors have started rebalancing their portfolios, we are seeing a flood of US tax payers who are getting caught by OIG. A SIMPLE TO IMPLEMENT, COST EFFECTIVE, TRANSPARENT AND TAX EFFICIENT SOLUTION MASECO Private Wealth was, we believe, the first wealth manager in the UK to recognise the OIG issue and to find a solution for US taxpayers. The first thing the founders did in late 2007 was to call dozens of US mutual fund companies to explain the new UK tax rules and ascertain who was willing to obtain “UK Reporting Status� – formerly known as UK Distributing Status – which would avoid the OIG problem and treat gains at lower CGT rates. After months of hard work, MASECO carefully selected a broad range of institutional cost effective ‘Best in Class’ funds to apply for Reporting Status and in late 2008 MASECO was able to offer US mutual funds with Reporting Status to US taxpayers living in the UK. This was the first time, and still remains the most effective way for US taxpayers in the UK to build a diversified global portfolio across multiple asset classes that is both US and UK tax efficient. Within months MASECO was awarded the very prestigious PAM award for Innovation in Products and Services based on this very successful product launch.

OTHER PROBLEMS SOLVED BY REPORTING STATUS Other benefits of Reporting Status are that investors are able to take advantage of their annual UK CGT allowance (now £11,000 a year) and losses may also be used to offset against realised capital gains from other investments. Another problem that Reporting Status funds avoid is onerous tax treatment to long-term UK residents’ estate upon death. If you own funds that do not have UK Reporting Status (and you are subject to UK Inheritance Taxes (IHT)*), the assets become subject to both OIG on the gains and IHT on the entire value of the assets. This could mean almost DOUBLE the amount of tax to pay depending on the situation! Finally, US funds with Reporting Status allow you to indirectly own UK securities and are not subject to UK IHT or UK remittance taxes. * If you are non-domiciled and have been living in the UK for 17 of the past 20 years you become subject to UK IHT. A SIMPLE EXAMPLE TO DEMONSTRATE THE TAX SAVINGS Suppose a US taxpayer who is resident in the UK has the following fact pattern: t 5IFZPXOBNJMMJPOJOWFTUFEJOB64 mutual fund/ETF strategy that does not have UK Reporting Status t 5IFZIBWF CFFOMJWJOH JO UIF6, GPS more than seven years t 5IFZBSFGJMJOHUIFJS6,UBYFTPOUIF arising basis t 5IFZBSFJOUIFIJHIFTU6,NBSHJOBM tax bracket. In this example, let’s assume after owning these funds for one year plus one day the QPSUGPMJPJODSFBTFECZUPNJMMJPO and then the funds were sold. The growth on UIFJOWFTUNFOUTXPVMEBNPVOUUP  or roughly £60,000. As the gain is long-term for US purposes, UIFUBYPOUIFHSPXUIJOUIF64JT  (20%) but the tax on the growth is subject UP0*(JOUIF6,BOEJT   PS approximately £27,000. If the US tax payer had made similar investments in UK Reporting Status US mutual fund then they would still owe the TBNF   JO64UBYFT CVUUIFJS UK tax bill would be cut down to only £13,720 (28% after the £11,000 annual CGT allowance) which is just under    5IJT JT B NBTTJWF b  UBY saving! If a married couple made the same investments and they both used their annual UK CGT allowance, the UK taxes would

GBMMUPPOMZb  XIJDIJTMFTTUIBOUIF amount of US tax owed! It is plain to see that by investing tax efficiently and using UK Reporting Status funds, the tax due would be less than half for a higher rate married couple living in the UK who are US taxpayers and filing UK taxes on an arising basis. Of course every situation is different and individuals have currency gains, foreign tax credits and other issues to consider, so it is imperative that Americans in the UK seek professional guidance before embarking on cross border investment management strategies. FINDING US TAX EFFICIENT INVESTMENTS THAT ARE ALSO UK TAX EFFICIENT IS DIFFICULT Another problem for US taxpayers who are resident in the UK could arise when they invest in non-US collective investments (mutual funds or ETFs) known by the IRS as PFICs (Passive Foreign Investment Companies). Some investors have tried side-stepping the offshore investment gains (OIG) issue simply by using UK investments (PFICs). At first glance this would appear to be an elegant solution, but the IRS rules are just as onerous and complex as the UK tax rules and US taxpayers will either end up paying income taxes and tax penalties when the PFIC is sold, or could end up paying tax on income they don’t even receive. There are several danger zones from a tax perspective. First, the IRS taxes gains and income derived from non-US collective investments such as UK and offshore ETFs, at the individual’s highest US tax rate, currently 39.6%. Second, US citizens must file taxes on the gains annually whether they are realised or not. If they fail to do so, the IRS will penalise them and charge interest – up to 100% of the gain when eventually sold! On rare occasions you may find a PFIC that has taken steps to become a US Qualified Electing Fund (QEF), but this is rather expensive to do and requires an investor to IBWFBMJRVJEOFUXPSUIPGBUMFBTUNJMMJPO to make an investment in a QEF. WHY NOT BUY INDIVIDUAL STOCKS AND BONDS Many investors have sought an alternative to mutual funds or ETFs by buying individual stocks and bonds or in some cases have hired assets managers to do this for them in a Separately Managed Account (SMA). SMAs and individual stock/bond portfolios were all the rage in the late 90’s in the US, but in recent years investors have fled these for low cost and tax efficient funds and ETFs. Assets

under management in SMAs are still below their pre-cash 2008 peak (source: Cerulli) compared to low cost funds and ETFs, which have seen massive inflows. The entire SMA industry is now so small in the US that every one of the 15 largest investment management firms manages more money than the entire SMA market combined! When we started MASECO we entertained this option and quickly dismissed it for the following reasons: t Diversification. We all know from Harry Markovitz who won the Nobel Prize in Economics on this subject, that diversification is the only free lunch in investing. Simply put, SMA or individual stock or bond portfolios for individuals cannot come close to the diversification in ETFs or low cost diversified funds and therefore have more risk for the same expected level of return t Poor Performance. The promise of SMA managers to outperform their indices has simply not materialised and many SMAs have closed or been force to merge. In the late 90’s investment managers who had performed well in the past often failed to repeat their strong performance and therefore returns fell below expectations. Similar research is published every few years confirming that strong performing managers usually fail to continue their strong performance t You Need Too Many Securities. It is next to impossible to get adequate global diversification in many important asset classes unless you buy hundreds (or thousands) of stocks. As an example, there are close to 200 countries in the world, so to build a stock portfolio that is globally diversified you would need to own hundreds or thousands in each of these categories:  t-BSHFDPNQBOZTUPDLT  t4NBMMDPNQBOZTUPDLT  t3FBMFTUBUFTUPDLT  t&NFSHJOHNBSLFUTUPDLT  t-PDBMCPOET  t(MPCBMCPOET Properly diversified SMA portfolios needed thousands of securities to build a properly diversified portfolio, which made it VODPNQFUJUJWFJGJOWFTUPSTIBEMFTTUIBO PSNJMMJPOUPJOWFTU t Tax Compliance Costs. The tax compliance costs to figure out your gains and losses in both US dollar and British pounds would go through the roof and your accountant would charge you to itemise every position

on your (UK) tax return and figure out your correct income from dividends and interest in both currencies t The Biggest and Best Don’t Have SMAs. None of the biggest and very few of the best managers have SMAs for retail clients. It is simply too expensive for them, and most found that their funds had better risk/reward attributes than their less diversified SMAs. OTHER COMMON INVESTMENT ISSUES US TAX PAYERS FACE IN THE UK Most individual investors find it hard to keep track of all the tax law changes and the different investment options available in the market today. Working with an experienced and skilled wealth manager can help optimise your investment situation. Some items your advisor needs to be monitoring are: t Exchange Rate Fluctuations. If the pound falls against a dollar investment, UIFUBYDPOTFRVFODFTDBOCFIFGUZo That’s what happened in 2008 to anyone who bought US (non-reporting) money market funds, a singularly inefficient vehicle for UK-based US investors t Timing Of Dividend Payments Versus Exchange Rate. The advisor must keep track of the exchange rate on the date dividends are received from stocks, distributions from funds, and interest from bonds and give you both US dollar and British pound reporting. This can be particularly tricky for funds that are automatically re-invested t Average Cost On All Collective Investments. On April 6th 2008, the rules on how you calculate the cost and gains of your investments also changed. The new rule called “share pooling� means you need to track the average cost of an investment – in British pounds! Thus, managers need to constantly re-calculate the cost of shares if they are owned in multiple accounts or averaged into a single account. If the same security is purchased on multiple occasions over a period of time, at different prices (typically through dividend re-investment or through re-balancing), accounting becomes complicated when a portion of the position is sold. One must now take the average cost basis and sell the correct portions from each purchase date t Watching how the US custodian reports gains and losses. If possible, convince the custodian to mark changes on average cost basis. Some may resist changing from the path of least resistance – first in, first out. 13

MASECO AND OUR SERVICES FOR US TAX PAYERS IN THE UK We believe that US registered UK Reporting Status funds are efficient investing vehicles for many Americans living in the UK, or trustees with UK and US tax issues. The US funds with UK Reporting Status MASECO has selected to use for our clients are cost-effective, tax efficient, diversified, transparent and typically perform in line or better than their benchmarks. Not only do we make sure these funds are tax efficient, but also help investors build portfolios that are designed to either preserve or grow their wealth. We also arrange for the safe custody of clients assets across multiple jurisdictions and can provide financial planning services for US taxpayers living in the UK. MASECO is also one of the fastest growing wealth management firms in the UK and are expert in working and helping US taxpayers living in the UK with their complex wealth management needs. DISCLAIMERS AND RISK WARNINGS Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment can go down as well as up. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than

you originally invested. MASECO is not a tax advisor or specialist and strongly advises investors, to seek independent tax advice prior to engaging in any investment that has tax implications. These investments may not be suitable for all investors and so a careful assessment of a personal situation and individual needs is of paramount importance. US Mutual Funds come under the heading of Non Mainstream Pooled Investments (NMPIs). Some US registered mutual funds are not regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are unregulated collective investment schemes (UCIS). Many of the protections provided by the UK regulatory system may not apply to investments in particular NMPIs. This may include access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Service. Prior to investing in US mutual funds, US citizens should seek advice from an FCA regulated financial advisor to ensure that these types of funds are appropriate. NMPIs may not be freely marketed to the general public in the UK.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Josh Matthews is an expert on US and UK investment and financial matters and specialises in helping American tax-payers living in the UK manage and preserve their wealth. He started his wealth management career with Salomon Smith Barney in New York in 1998 and in 2001 transferred to London and started the US Expat team at Citi-Smith Barney following the merger with Citibank. In 2008 on the heels of major UK tax law changes, Josh co-founded MASECO Private Wealth with other colleagues from Citibank. Josh is an internationally recognised speaker who has spoken at notable conferences in New York, Singapore and London and routinely contributes to industry forums and roundtable discussions as a subject matter expert. Josh is also regularly featured and writes for magazine and newspapers. To learn more about specific issues facing US taxpayers living in the UK either email Josh directly at or visit MASECO Private Wealth’s website at

NOTE: This article is subject to MASECO’s understanding of current legislation, which is subject to change.

For more information please contact MASECO on +44 (0) 20 7043 0455

Top Tens Summer of Culture: Sizzling Seasonal Treats by Judith Schrut


ome rain or shine, you’ll love the great British summertime, bringing you green parks and fragrant gardens, strawberries and cream, and more festivals, shows and events than you can shake an ice lolly stick at. Let us help you make the most of those glorious long days and late, light nights, with our Top Ten summer arts preview. 1. BEST IN SHOW Magically set in the heart of London’s most beautiful Royal Park, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has been putting on awardwinning outdoor entertainment for more than 80 years. For first time visitors the Theatre can be notoriously difficult to find– its semihidden entrance only adds to its considerable charms – so do leave a little extra time for the search. Or, come early, and enjoy a barbecue or picnic on the Theatre’s rambling lawns or an alfresco drink under the glittering fairy lights of its bar, famously the longest in London. 2014’s season has a triple treat of American classics, opening with Henry Miller’s All My Sons, followed by a return of last year’s triumphant and unmissable To Kill A Mockingbird, and an exuberant new version of Porgy and Bess, the Gershwins’ powerful musical of love and betrayal, featuring an

Night falls on Regents Park Open Air Theatre, photo by David Jensen

outstanding American and British cast. The Theatre also hosts popular comedy, music and big screen film nights. Do come prepared for any weather since the Theatre is completely open to the elements. Indeed, changing weather is part of this very British experience: a total joy on a balmy midsummer’s evening, not quite so charming in an electrical hailstorm! Like many devoted fans we’ve been through both and still adore this Theatre, although suncream, hats, plastic seat coverings and warm waterproofs are essential must-brings for the best in show. We’re told most events do go ahead, but in the event that yours doesn't, or is abandoned due to bad weather, tickets can be exchanged for any future performance. For further information visit: 2. SCREEN SENSATIONS Only a few years ago punters were busy placing bets on the demise of the silver screen, predicting audiences would soon stop going to the cinema altogether. How wrong they were! Movie-going firmly remains one of the world’s most popular pastimes, with big screens getting bigger (Sydney’s IMAX currently holds the world record at 30m high by 36m wide), and innovative screenings popping up on rooftops, floating lagoons, cemeteries and beaches. This summer, Britain’s big screen fans are spoilt for choice. You can watch a favourite film under the stars in Somerset House’s

splendid neoclassical courtyard, celebrating its 10th summer cinema season. With London’s largest screen and full surround sound, the current programme includes Marilyn Monroe’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and big-hearted movie musical Hairspray, plus special anniversary activities and events.

West Side Story at the Royal Albert Hall

For free, fabulous and family friendly viewings, head to The Scoop near Tower Bridge, or to Brighton’s Beachfront Cinema, the world’s first solar and diesel powered ‘Green Screen’. BP Screens host free screenings of live opera, ballet and major sports events like Wimbledon and the Grand Prix at 22 locations around the UK. For more grown up fun, check out the very cool Hot Tub Cinema in East London or Cult Screens’ movie classics, showing in gardens, ex-prison yards and other imaginative settings. But our top pick of the flicks goes to that best beloved of movie musicals, West Side 15

Hot Tub Cinema, photo copyright Todd Pacey

Story, playing as you’ve never seen it before to full live orchestra and in brilliant highdefinition print at London’s magnificent Royal Albert Hall. Inspired by Shakespeare’s timeless romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, and set against the explosive backdrop of 1950’s gangland New York, West Side Story boasts a multi-award winning combo of Jerome Robbins’ breathtaking choreography, Leonard Bernstein’s electrifying score and a starry cast led by the gorgeous young Natalie Wood. We were fascinated to learn that it might have been very different, with Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn originally offered lead roles in a film about East Side Catholics and Jews. For further information visit: 3. GET THEE TO THE GLOBE William Shakespeare, the world’s favourite playwright and Britain’s most famous son, would have been 450 years old this year. Birthday celebrations commenced in April with a grand parade, fireworks and giant birthday cake pulled by horsedrawn carriage through the streets of the Bard’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon and a massive free party at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. A visit to the Globe is a must for any American in London, whether you are a serious Shakespearean or a first time ‘groundling’. Founded by late expatriate American actor and activist Sam Wanamaker, the Globe is one of the world’s greatest open air theatres and an utterly faithful recreation of the original 16th century playhouse where many of Will’s works played for the first time. The original Globe stood a short distance away, thriving until 1613 when a stage cannon misfired into the theatre’s thatched roof during a performance of Henry VIII. Within one hour the theatre burned to the ground. Astonishingly, there were no serious casualties, although one theatre-goer’s breeches caught fire, but they were swiftly put out with a swash of ale. Today’s Globe is the glorious result of Sam Wanamaker’s decades of tireless fundraising, research and planning battles. Historically, 16

accurate materials make up the Globe’s meticulous reconstruction, right down to lime-washed walls, oak beams and water reed thatched roof. It has, in fact, London’s only permitted thatched roof since the 1666 Great Fire of London– but have no fear: it’s packed with modern fireproofing and real cannons are no longer allowed on stage! Human conflict is this season’s theme, running through linked productions from April to October including Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, The Comedy of Errors and Titus Andronicus. This year also saw the opening of the splendid Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, an indoor Jacobean-style theatre adjacent to the Globe and which enables shows and concerts all year round. Called ‘a jewelbox of a theatre’, the Playhouse is an intimate space beneath an ornate painted ceiling, framed by oak and lit entirely by candles.

Love Bites: Antony (Clive Wood) and Cleopatra (Eve Best) at Shakespeare's Globe, photo by Manuel Harlan, courtesy Globe Press Office

Globe seats sell out early, but hundreds of ‘groundling’ tickets are available on the day for every performance. For an inflationbusting £5, you’re guaranteed a standing spot in the stage pit, just like indigent theatregoers of Shakespeare’s day– although their tickets cost just one penny.

Flags fly high at WOMAD, photo by Suzie Blake

There are loads of other great ways to celebrate Shakespeare in his 450th birthday year, but our ducat’s on the hotly anticipated world-premiere stage version of Shakespeare in Love, bursting into life this July at London’s Noel Coward Theatre. With an outstanding cast of actors, musicians and an award-winning stage dog, this romantic comedy will sweep you back to Shakespeare’s London, teeming with vibrant colours, characters, music and life. For further information visit: 4. 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 the best yet. The biggest international festival on the planet, WOMAD brings together hundreds of performing artists from dozens of countries and thousands of world music fans to a beautiful open air site tucked in the Wiltshire countryside. Topping an incredible list of world class musicians are Youssou N’Dour and Bassekou Kouyate, two of the brightest stars on Africa’s exciting music scene, mighty multi-talent Nitin Sawney, and Balkan brasser Boran Bregovic with his rousing Weddings and Funerals Orchestra. The diversity of North American musicians are strongly represented, from New York’s Chicha Libre with their energetic mix of Peruvian chicha rhythms, to New Orleans’s Hot8 Brass, Grammy-winning big band Snarky Puppy and Canadian old time masters Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys.

Jazz FM's Love Supreme Festival, photo credit DSY Media

A Great Summer Night's Jazz, TW12 Jazz Festival, photo by Annabelle Narey

Traipsing from tent to tent in the fresh country air 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 truly eat your way around the world from a mouthwatering range of international food as well as browse the huge selection of crafts, clothing, instruments and worthy causes on display. Although WOMAD’s music is its main draw, there are loads of other imaginative events to enjoy at this famously family friendly festival, including the Human Library, Wellbeing, Music and Dance Workshops and a show-stopping Children’s Parade. There’s also a choice of self-pampering treats like the unique WOMAD Spa, set in a sumptuously decorated oriental tent, and La-di-La-Loos, the ultimate in festival lavs. And don’t miss one of our favourite WOMAD wonders, the Taste the World cookery stage, where top performing artists prepare food from their homeland whilst chatting about their lives, music and culture with charismatic Taste the World host Roger de Wolf. Audience members are invited to taste the completed dish and it’s all served up with a side order of spontaneous music. For further information visit: 5. JAZZ DELIGHTS Summer and jazz are great natural partners, and this coming season you’ll find jazz jewels for all tastes and tempos as Britain continues an unstoppable rise to the top of the jazz league of nations.

Last year’s inaugural Jazz FM Love Supreme Festival was a runaway success ,so we’re delighted to welcome it back this July in even bigger and better form. With a green and gorgeous country house setting near Brighton, Love Supreme’s exhilarating line-up includes Jamie Cullum, Laura Mvula, Gregory Porter and Imelda May. We were also thrilled that last summer’s first TW12 Jazz Festival, a friendly one day music extravaganza in Hampton Hill Playhouse organised by local jazz musicians Janet McCunn and Terence Collie, was a sell-out smash and hopes to repeat the success this year on 3 August. TW12 showcases a range of jazz styles, an intimate local feel, and musical treats like guitarist John Etheridge and the Gwilym Simcock Trio, plus good food, drink and a beautiful location near the Thames to boot. Best of the jazz’n blues rest include old timers Brecon Jazz and great local offerings like Herts Jazz Festival and Stompin’ on the Quomps. And be sure to grab a ticket while you can for BluesFest, the UK’s biggest blues festival. It returns to the Royal Albert Hall in October, headlined by Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Gregory Porter and Sheryl Crow. For further information visit:

6. PRIDE OF THE PROMS The world’s biggest festival of classical music and a beloved British institution since 1895, the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts – better known as ‘The Proms’ – roll into London town in mid-July. The Proms take over the fabulous Royal Albert Hall for 92 concerts and nine weeks of glorious musical feasting, ending with the legendary Last Night of the Proms. Seats are affordably-priced, with 1400 ‘promming’ (standing) tickets available for all concerts at an incredible £5. Every single Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 with more concerts than ever also available on television and online. This year’s Proms are an embarrassment of riches as conductors, musicians and ensembles from around the globe offer musical treats from the baroque to the brazen and everything in between. Highlights include a War Horse Prom marking the centenary of World War I and featuring life size puppets from the internationally acclaimed production, an Americana Prom, Daniel Barenboim’s extraordinary West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and the ever popular John Wilson Orchestra doing their bit for show biz with a full staging of Kiss Me Kate. There are several Late Night Proms where you can experience the splendour of the Royal Albert Hall fresh from the glow of late sundown with a choice of short, sharp concerts showcasing top talents like Rufus Wainwright, Laura Mvula and Clare Teal, who’s hosting a roof-raising Duke Ellington/ Count Basie-style Battle of the Bands. The famous Last Night, with its lashings of fancy dress, balloons, party poppers and traditional flag waving sing-alongs

The Magic of Music, BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, courtesy BBC Press Office


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 national ritual thanks to Proms in the Park, created so that the overwhelming numbers of last night Prom-lovers would not be disappointed. It all happens on 13 September, with Glasgow, Belfast, Wales and London’s Hyde Park each hosting an open air extravaganza of 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. If you can’t make it to a Last Night event, you can still wave your flag, pop your poppers and sing along via giant screens set up around the country, or enjoy the night live on radio or telly in the comfort of your own home, courtesy of the BBC. For further information visit: 7. EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY Many top chefs, food critics and discerning eaters would agree that Britain’s become a food lover’s paradise and host to some of the world’s best cuisine. If food and cooking are your favourite art forms, Summer 2014 promises a bumper crop of foodie events for all tastes. If you like your food laced with history and tradition, go west for Corfe Castle Food and Drink Festival set in romantic castle ruins with spectacular country views or south to Hastings Old Town for its popular Seafood and Wine Festival. Gorge on local oysters, crab and whelks washed down with champagne at Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, UK’s biggest seafood celebration. Increase that summer heat at Oxfordshire’s Chilli Festival or pump up your heart, blood and anti-vampire profile at Isle of Wight’s Garlic Festival. Cheese fetishists can sample 4000 kinds of cheese at Nantwich Cheese Festival. A rapturous range of Real Food stalls will be popping up all summer on London’s Southbank, offering the best in fresh street food, artisan breads, cheeses, chocolates and charcuterie. Eat your heart out at BOB’s Lobster Caravan serving its renowned lobster rolls and tuna tacos washed down with Prosecco or visit Look Ma No Hands Bicycle Café for two-wheeled tips and the finest coffee and cake in town. Food also takes centre stage at wondrous Port Eliot Festival on the magnificent grounds of Port Eliot House in Cornwall, one of Britain’s most scenic, historic and foodie-favoured counties. Port Eliot is a uniquely creative and laid-back festival of words, music, imagination, fashion, flowers and fun, with a reputation for phenomenal 18

Wren’s stunning riverside masterpiece, the Old Royal Naval College. It features four nights of superb cross-genre music including GoldFrapp, Australian Pink Floyd Show, top tenor Russell Watson and local boy Jools Hollands with his rollicking Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. For further information visit:

Marvellous Munchies at the Port Eliot Festival, photo by Fiona Campbell

food. Over the Festival weekend, local chefs and foodie legends give talks and demonstrations, celebrating all aspects of food from planting and growing to prepping and eating. For further information visit: 8. FESTIVAL FEVER No doubt about it, summertime equals festival time in the UK. With more than 400 happening across the summer, from ultra-famous (and ever sold out) big hitters like Glastonbury and Glyndebourne and small gems like Belladrum Tartan Heart, Port Eliot and St Albans International Organ Festival, to eccentric treats like Green Gathering, Three Wishes Faery Fest and Bloodstock, there’s truly a fest for every fancy. If it’s a lovely family friendly festival you’re after, as well as a perfect weekend in the heart of rural Oxfordshire, we highly recommend the Cornbury Festival. Cornbury is a homespun melting pot where music lovers share pies and a glass of champagne with rockers, crooners, Morris dancers, farmers, fashionistas, chefs and little old ladies who make exceptional cakes. It offers an easygoing mix of pop, rock, blues and plenty of music that cannot be pigeonholed, plus a tempting range of edibles and drinkables, posh loos and the marvels of Glamping – luxurious camping in yurts, squrts, tipis and podpads. Headliners include 1970s rockers Simple Minds and 10CC, country darling Kacey Musgraves and the legendary Gipsy Kings, celebrating their 25th anniversary with this exclusive UK performance. And sure to stir up those hot August nights is Greenwich Music Time, London’s newest music festival set in Sir Christopher

9. WALK YOUR SOCKS OFF Writer Peter Ackroyd famously said, “London is made for walking…a city of small streets and sudden vistas, of unexpected alleys and hidden courtyards. It cannot be seen from a bus or car”. We couldn’t agree more, so why not walk your socks (or sturdiest sandals) off this summer with one of the capital’s imaginative range of guided walks? City Guides organise dozens of good value walks in London’s historic City area, all starting from the City information centre near St Paul’s Cathedral. Popular ones include the City Highlights tour and a Charles Dickens Walk. The Discover Medical London tour gets you up front and personal with the astonishing people and places that have made London a world capital of medicine, from physicians and pharmacologists to anatomists, lobotomists and body snatchers. Inmidtown run free lunch and other daily walks. We loved the idea of walking through 2000 years of history on their Romans to Rock’n roll tour or Bites and Bolts, led by a vampire-costumed guide. Greencitywalks and City Gardens Walks lead environmentally-friendly tours of gardens, churchyards, secret green spots and other horticultural delights whilst Footprints of London offer specialist literary walks. Many historic churches run fascinating crypt-to-belfry tours. Try the one at lovely St Brides Church, with its many American connections such as Benjamin Franklin and Virginia’s first settlers. Slightly pricier, but unrivalled for quality and range (and kids go free), are awardwinning London Walks. Interesting options include Knights, Nuns and Notoriety, Bloody Flaming Poxy London, The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and Harry Potter Locations, or just turn up for the ‘Tour du Jour’. Their Haunted London, Ghosts and Jack the Ripper tours are always popular and even come in an intriguing Spanish version called Jack El Destripador. For further information visit:

Step this way, Summertime on the Southbank

10. SOUTHBANK SUMMER OF LOVE There’s a whole lotta love going down on London’s South Bank this summer. The endlessly innovative Southbank Centre invites you to love neighbours, family, friends and strangers, as it hosts a gargantuan summerlong Festival of Love. Hundreds of artists, communities and partners will come together for an exciting programme of creative events, performances, pop ups and themed weekends celebrating seven kinds of love that make the world go round.

Highlights include a multi-sensory Tunnel of Love and giant play slides, a Festival village, temple and sandy beach, screenings of love films with live music, and a marathon reading of sonnets. You can take part in the Museum of Broken Relationships or learn to flirt at workshops with a qualified flirtologist. Boogie lovers have a chance to dance at bi-weekly live band evenings of cool swing, hot jive and scorching rock’n roll, and award-winning ZooNation Company presents Groove on Down the Road, a lively take on that classic tale of friendship and love, the Wizard of Oz.

The Festival culminates in a Big Wedding Weekend to which couples, gay or straight, young or old, are invited to marry or renew love vows in mass ceremonies on the Royal Festival Hall stage followed by bubbly, music, dance and food in the romantic riverside setting. It promises to be a wedding like no other, so if you’d like to be one of 160 lucky couples, head to the Festival website for a Get Married Booking Form. If you’re exhausted by all that Love or prefer something ‘udderly’ different, it’s a short walk Thames-side to the Udderbelly Festival and London Wonderground, bringing you a big upside down purple cow and a comfortably-priced summer full of circus, comedy, cabaret and family shows plus sideshows, bars and food gardens. For further information visit: 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, don’t be shy! We welcome your feedback at:


Legal Advice Sandra Davis Of Mishcon de Reya Offers Legal Advice On Divorce


ivorce rates in the US and England are fairly similar; between 40% and 50% of marriages in both countries end in divorce. Marriage breakdown is seldom straightforward, but for transatlantic economic migrants, a complicating factor arises: where should they divorce, their country of origin or their country of residence? FINANCIAL OUTCOMES In transatlantic cases, the US and England's respective divorces regimes are frequently more favourable to one spouse than to the other, so the question of where the divorce should take place can assume significant importance. In the US, financial claims are either determined on the basis of "equitable distribution" or "community property". Most States have equitable distribution 20

laws. This means that property acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouse who acquired it. On divorce, marital property will be divided between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner. Separate property (anything generated prior to the marriage or received by gift or inherited during it) is not susceptible to division. Although equal division is presumed fair, the court may determine that an unequal division is more appropriate. There is no set rule to determine who receives what or how much. The court may look at, amongst other things, the relative contributions made by each spouse, the value of one spouse staying at home to raise the children, and each spouses' earning potential to arrive at a fair outcome. In some equitable distribution States, professional licences (for example to practice law, architecture, medicine, dentistry etc.) are considered marital property. A capital value is attributed to the licence and added to the other marital assets for distribution. This can significantly prejudice the spouse with the professional licence if most, or all, of the marital assets are transferred to the other party in order to achieve an equitable distribution. Nine States (including California) have a community property regime. Under community regimes spouses are deemed to equally own all income earned and assets acquired during the marriage, irrespective of who earned the income or who bought the assets. Spouses are also equally liable to debts. So, on divorce, all community property and income is shared equally and all community debts are similarly divided. If the community assets and income are modest, but one spouse has significant pre-acquired assets, this can leave one party to the marriage in a position of real need following divorce. English law falls somewhere between equitable distribution and community property. Typically marital assets are shared broadly equally between the spouses on divorce. However, if the division of marital assets is insufficient to meet the needs of the parties, the court can order the transfer of non-marital assets (whether pre-acquired, gifted or inherited) by one spouse to the other. Where one spouse has given up a career to raise the couple's children, the court can also order the transfer of assets as compensation for the relationship generated disadvantage that (s)he would otherwise suffer. Pre-nuptial agreements are available in both the US and England allowing couples to opt out of the regime applicable to them. In the US these agreements are governed by the Federal Unified Marital Property Act and may be impossible to set aside if they are properly drafted and executed. Under English

law, however, pre-nuptial agreements have not been given statutory legitimacy. Instead, the court will consider them as just one of the circumstances to be borne in mind and afford them greater or lesser weight depending on the fairness of their terms. JURISDICTION Whether it is possible to issue proceedings in England or in the US will depend on the relevant court having jurisdiction over the marriage and its dissolution. Divorce in the US is governed by State rather than Federal law. Each State has its own residence requirements governing whether its courts have jurisdiction to deal with divorce and associated proceedings. For example, under New York law, if both parties are resident in the State at the time proceedings are issued and the cause of the breakdown of the marriage occurred in the State, there is no stipulated period for prior residence. Otherwise, State law requires one of the parties to the marriage to have been resident there for a year before proceedings are issued if: the marriage took place there, or if the couple resided there at some point in their marriage, or if the cause of the breakdown of the marriage occurred there. There is a final "catch all" provision that allows divorce proceedings to be issued by anyone who has been resident in the State for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action. Meanwhile, Californian State law only requires that to obtain a divorce, one of the parties to the marriage must be resident in the State for six months, and in the county in which the proceedings are issued for three months, before the divorce petition is filed. Where the parties were married or where the cause of the marriage breakdown took place are both irrelevant. Under English law, various routes are available to resident, non-domiciled, individuals who wish to issue divorce proceedings. The court will assume jurisdiction over a divorce if, at the time the petition is filed, both spouses are habitually resident in England, or both spouses were last habitually resident, and one still resides in England, or the Respondent is habitually resident in England. Alternatively, if the Respondent is resident elsewhere, the court will have jurisdiction if the Petitioner is habitually resident in England on the date that the petition is filed and has also been resident in England for at least the preceding year. LEGAL ADVICE Navigating this legal minefield inevitably means taking advice from a specialist lawyer,

preferably at an early stage. This will mean that an informed decision can be taken as to the best jurisdiction in which to commence proceedings and prior compliance with the relevant residence requirements can be ensured. Careful thought should also be given to the US tax consequences of the transfer of assets or payment of maintenance on divorce, whether in relation to US or English income and assets.

Sandra Davis, Partner, Head of Family, Mishcon de Reya Sandra is a Partner and Head of the Firm’s Family department, with over 30 years' experience of family law practice with Mishcon de Reya, specialising in complex high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth cases, often with an international element and involving complex tax and trust issues, substantial business assets and partnerships; disputes concerning children (particularly leave to remove and abduction) and pre- and post-nuptial settlements. Her clients are frequently in the media spotlight but also include entrepreneurs and financiers. Career highlights have included representation of the Princess of Wales, Jerry Hall, Thierry Henry and Tamara Mellon and involvement in leading cases on thirdparty financing of financial settlements and jurisdiction. Sandra is a member of the Firm’s management board. She is also a member of Resolution, the International Bar Association and a Fellow of the International Academy

of Matrimonial Lawyers. In Chambers 2013, Sandra was mentioned as being "well versed in both complex financial issues and child abduction cases" with Legal 500 2013 considering her "an excellent lawyer to have on your side". Sandra is a frequent broadcaster and chairperson, organiser and speaker at conferences on family law issues, and is on The Times Law Panel. Most recently, Sandra has been listed as a Family Law expert in the 2013 London Super Lawyers directory and has been named as one of the Top 100 Lawyers and one of the Top 50 women by the directory. She has also been included in the Citywealth Leaders List 2013. Spear's Index of the Top 50 Family Lawyers ranked Sandra in the top ten and at their 2013 Wealth Management Awards, she was recognised for her "Outstanding Contribution to the High Net Worth World". Email: Telephone: +44 (0)207 440 7014


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UK Sports Our Quarterly Overview Of UK Sports


he domestic soccer season came to an exciting end in May and now the World Cup finals in Brazil will occupy our attention in June and July. The cricket season is under way and the Wimbledon tennis championship will start in June. These are the major sporting events we review, but there are some other sports to mention as well.

SOCCER – PREMIERSHIP AND FA CUP Throughout the last two issues of American in Britain, we have followed an amazing race for the Premiership title involving Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. The title went to the last match of the season when Manchester City secured their second title in three years by two points from Liverpool. All four teams mentioned led the Premiership at one time or another. Arsenal led for more weeks than the others, but a bad run early in the New Year left them fighting for fourth place with Everton. Chelsea had the title in their grasp, but an astonishing home defeat to bottom of the table Sunderland, manager Jose Mouriniho’s first home league defeat in 77 matches, cost them dearly, and they finished third. At the very end, Liverpool had the title in their own hands, but a home defeat to Chelsea and an astonishing away draw at Crystal Palace after leading 3-0 with twenty minutes to play ended their control of the title. Manchester City had a very difficult away match at Everton in the last few games but, unlike their rivals, they secured a very important 3-2 victory, a result that also cost Everton the chance to catch Arsenal for fourth place and entry into next season’s European Champions League competition. It was a brilliant season full of excitement and shock results, and we can only hope for the same again in the 2014/15 season. Everton and Tottenham Hotspur finished fifth and sixth respectively and qualified for next season’s Europa Cup, but Manchester United failed to qualify for any European football next season. The disastrous handover from Sir Alex Ferguson to fellow Glaswegian David Moyes of Everton, left the club in dissaray; no trophies and no European football. It just shows how important the manager of a club is, and Arsenal should take heed. Arsene Wenger has signed a new three year contract at the end of which he will have managed the club for around twenty years, just short of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford. Arsenal’s succession planning needs to be a whole lot better than Manchester United’s when the time comes!! Manchester United have now gone for their first foreign manager, Louis van Gaal, who is currently managing the Dutch team in the World Cup finals. Will this break with tradition prove successful? Will this Dutchman, who allegedly strikes a fine line between brilliance and barminess, find a winning formula after twenty six seasons of Glaswegian control? Time will tell, but it is yet one more fascinating item to watch next season. After nine years without a trophy, Arsenal won the FA Cup in the final against Hull City, which was as exciting as the race for the Premiership. Arsenal were red hot favourites but contrived to concede two goals in the opening eight minutes! A stunning Santi Cazorla free kick in the first half and a scambled equaliser from centre back

Koscielny in the second, took the match into extra time when Aaron Ramsey scored a sublime winner with eleven minutes left. Even then, Hull had chances to equalise, but in the end Arsenal gave their manager his eighth major trophy in his time at the club. Whilst congratulating all the winners and successful teams, we should spare a thought for all the supporters of the teams that were relegated from the Premiership - Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City. It is worth noting that both Fulham and Cardiff had new owners and one has to wonder if this had any bearing on the clubs’ fortunes. Cardiff City, especially, always played in blue and were known as ‘the bluebirds’. Their new owner believes that in his culture red is the colour of success so the team changed to play in red - well that did not work!! Management changes are also a feature of struggling clubs; Fulham had three this season and Cardiff two. West Ham stuck with their manager, big Sam Alardyce, and survived. Hull stuck with Steve Bruce, survived by three points and got to the FA Cup final; and as losing cup finalists to a team already in the European Champions League, they will be in the Europa Cup next season. Having said that, Crystal Palace changed manager very early in the season and were subsequently very successful, as were Sunderland who looked doomed for relegation until Gus Poyet arrived and pulled off a minor miracle in keeping the team in the Premiership. West Bromwich Albion survived by three points under their second manager who was promptly sacked!! So, next season will see Leicester City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers return to the Premiership. QPR’s promotion comes after another astonishing match in their Play-Off final against Derby County. Down to ten men for the last thirty minutes, drawing 0-0 and defending like mad, a break away goal in the last minute sent them back up, one season after they were relegated. SOCCER – WORLD CUP At the time of writing, England have concluded their farewell home international friendly with a 3-0 victory over Peru at Wembley, but followed that with a disappointing 2-2 draw in a friendly against Ecuador at the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium in Miami. One further friendly will be played at the same stadium against Honduras before the team fly to their World Cup base in Rio de Janeiro. England’s opening World Cup match in the Group stage will be against Italy in Manaus on June 14. We then meet Uruguay in Sao Paulo on June 19. This will probably be our most difficult Group match with Uruguay fielding two of the best strikers in the tournament, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani. Uruguay also have a long tradition of employing the ‘dark arts’ of professional football - otherwise known as 23

cheating!! England end their Group stage with a match against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on June 24. Can England qualify in one of the two top Group positions for the knock out stage? Regrettably, your writer still believes that the conditions of heat and humidity and the technical skills and ball retention skills of our three opponents will be too much for our team - but I hope I am proved wrong. England’s squad of twenty three players is an interesting one, with a good combination of experienced players and exciting youngsters, and many Premiership teams have been successful with that mix of talent. However, the weather conditions of heat and humidity could be a problem for the likes of 35 year old midfielder Frank Lampard and 33 year old midfielder and captain Steven Gerrard. The midfield players put in huge shifts these days and we may have to rely on some of the youngsters in that position, like 22 year old Jack Wilshere, 20 year olds Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and 19 year old Raheem Sterling. England again look to be relying on Wayne Rooney to reproduce his goal scoring talent for the team but he has yet to score a single goal in a World Cup final tournament! If his form fails again at this event, will manager Roy Hodgson have the nerve to replace him? He has said he


will, but ….! Maybe Mr Hodgson should reflect on the only time England won the World Cup. In 1966, manager Alf Ramsay dropped England’s famous and prolific goal scorer, Jimmy Greaves, from the final against Germany and replaced him with a less gifted player in Roger Hunt. But Hunt was given a tactical role to play against Germany and Ramsay’s incredible decision paid off. Anyway, good luck England - prove this writer wrong!! Before signing off on soccer, we would like to congratulate the England Under 17 team for winning the European Under-17 Championship. In the final against Holland in Malta the team even showed the senior team how to win a penalty shoot-out, winning 4-1 after the match ended 1-1. Well done lads. CRICKET After the disastrous winter in Australia, England set off to Bangladesh for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. Nothing changed, and despite one win in the Group stage against Sri Lanka, the eventual winners of the World Cup, defeats against South Africa, New Zealand and, above all, qualifiers Holland, put the England team on the early flight back to England. The defeat against Holland was beyond belief and it probably cost Twenty20 coach Ashley Giles any chance he had of becoming England’s full time Head Coach which went to Peter Moores. Moores was England’s coach for a short time a few years ago, but dear old Kevin Pietersen, then the England captain for an equally short time, demonstrated his usual egotistical personality and both were removed from office!! At least Moores now has a calmer captain in Alistair Cook. The rebuild of the England team continues. Sri Lanka are the current touring team and they have already defeated England in their Twenty20 match. The One Day Internationals (50 overs a side) produced a bit more excitement and encouragement for England with a close 2-3 defeat, although much controversy surrounded Sri Lanka’s victory in the deciding match when their bowler, Senanayake, ran out England’s

Jos Buttler at the bowlers end when he advanced down the wicket before the ball was bowled. Legal it was, but that has never been in the spirit of the game and the Sri Lankan captain, Angelo Mathews, should have called Buttler back. Two full five day Test matches now follow, and the ODI controversy should add plenty of spice to those matches!! India then arrive to play Twenty20, ODI and a full five Test match series against England. These will be a good test of the progress of England’s newest young players like Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Chris Jordan who was brought over from Barbados (with England qualification), given a scholarship at Dulwich College and signed by Surrey County Cricket Club. His elevation to the England set up could prove to be a very good bit of scouting! TENNIS The Wimbledon Tennis Championship, aka ‘The Championships’, will take place between 23 June and 6 July. There are champions and there are contenders, and the Mens’ championship still looks to be dominated by Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer, but there are signs that the contenders are becoming a bigger threat to their dominance. Stan ‘the Man’ Wawrinka won the Australian Open in January, and Berdych, Raonic, Monfils, Kolschreiber, Ferrer and Gulbis continue to knock on the door. However, the top four still seem to have that bit extra. It is hard to envisage, subject to the draw, anything but a Djokovic v Nadal or Murray final. Murray, of course, is defending the title he won last year. Will this be an inspiration or will it bring too much added pressure? His continuing rehabilitation from last years’ back surgery may also play a part. Just keep an eye on Gulbis; always had the game but now he seems more focused on his tennis than other off court distractions!! The Womens’ championship, however, could be much more open if the results from the current French Open championship are anything to go by. Four of the top five seeded women were eliminated in the first week leaving Halep, the number four seed, and Sharapova as the highest seeds going into the second week. Last year Bartoli defeated Lisicki in the Ladies final at Wimbledon, and it could well be that another new name will appear on the Wimbledon Ladies honours board this year. Keep a particular eye out for twenty year old Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, a semi-finalist in both the Australian and French Opens this year, and twenty year old Garbine Muguruza from Spain, a quarter finalist at the French and the victor over Serena Williams in the second round of that tournament. These two look like the real deal and the future of the WTA.

GOLF Within a week of splitting from his fiancée, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. It is hard to understand how such a massive personal and emotional event could be so inspiring! Poor Caroline, however, had a totally different response; she lost in the first round of the French Open tennis tournament! Perhaps fate will reverse the fallout from this lost engagement and McIlroy will fail to make the cut in the US Open whilst Wozniacki wins Wimbledon!! ATHLETICS We have had Denise Lewis and Jessica EnnisHill, both Olympic Gold medal winners in the womens heptathlon in recent years, and now we have Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Katarina has just won the World Combined Events Challenge in Gotzis, an event considered to be the most prestigious multi-events competition outside of the major championships. She secured her best ever score of 6,682 points, a score that would have won her the Gold medal in the World Championships in Moscow last year. Jessica Ennis-Hill will be back after she has had her baby, but she now has another Brit to contend with.

Another young British athlete who is hitting the headlines is seventeen year old Morgan Lake. Morgan also wants to follow in Jessica Ennis-Hill’s footsteps in the heptathlon, but recently broke a seventeen year old junior high jump record with a height of 1.93 metres which was just 3 centimetres below the British Senior record. She also became the youngest ever Multistar winner, by four years, in the heptathlon in her debut appearance in Florence with a score of 5,896 points. It looks like Britain is going to be contending for Olympic and World Gold medals in the heptathlon for many years to come. RUGBY UNION We could not complete our Summer 2014 issue without a word about England’s ex flyhalf, Jonny Wilkinson, who has now retired from the game. Wilkinson will always be remembered for the last gasp dropped goal that won England the World Cup final in 2003, but he achieved much, much more than just that one game and one moment of immortal magic. Despite many injuries he played ninety one internationals for England between 1998 and 2011 scoring 1,246 points. Wilkinson was revered around the world for his world class rugby, yet he remained a

modest and quietly spoken man who always said that he neither sought nor enjoyed the limelight. To him, the team’s performance was more important than his own, but the performance of most teams in which he played would more often than not reflect his personal performance whether it be with his immaculate kicking or his brilliant passing that set up many trys for his teamates. It was fitting that Wilkinson should end his career leading his French club, Toulon, to their second consecutive victory in the Heineken Cup against Saracens by 23 points to 6, and followed that up in his last game by winning the French Top-14 final against Castres. Wilkinson has been a real role model for young people. Clean shaven, short back and sides haircut, a non-smoker, modest, quietly spoken - he did not need to be noticed by outlandish appearances or outrageous behaviour. His annihilating tackling of opponents, his meticulous preparation for his goal kicks, the vision and execution of his passing, these were the attributes that made him the most famous and best loved rugby player of all time. He will be sorely missed on the field of play but, hopefully, a media career will follow and his influence, both on and off the field.


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Reader’s Lives This Issue We Focus On Rick Furno Who Has Lived In The UK For 22 Years And Now Runs His Own Business Where in the US are you originally from? I’m originally from the great “Rust Belt” of the US, Erie, Pennsylvania. Born and raised literally on the shores of Lake Erie directly across from Canada, so I consider myself an honorary Canadian, even if Canadians don’t see me that way! I lived 26 years of my life there and still consider it ‘Home’, so I go back as often as I can. I mean, where else in the world can you find delicacies like “pepperoni balls” and “ox roast sandwiches” (just Google them) and walk along 14 miles of sandy beaches on a beautiful fresh water sea. I love Erie, but honestly, I could never live there again. How long have you lived in the UK and what brought you over here? I’ve lived in the UK for 22 years. 26

Originally I came to do a course in teaching English as a foreign language just after I received my MA in Applied Anthropology from Boston University. I was going to work my way around the world teaching English and writing a book. At the time, Eastern Europe was opening up and there was a need for English teachers so I had every intention of heading in that direction after I got my qualification. Well, things happened and I found a job at an American university in London as an administrator through someone who knew someone who knew someone. It really did happen that way! I never left and here and I am still here two decades later. What did your role in the US Embassy in London involve? I was the Global Employment Advisor for 7 years at the Embassy and by far it was THE best job I had ever had. I was what you might call a careers counsellor for the diplomats’ “family members”, aka, spouses and partners. But it involved a lot more that just career counselling, writing CVs, doing mock interviews, etc. I actively worked to find employment connections for family members on the local economy through my sizable number of professional contacts that I had amassed through years of working and doing business in London. Through the State Department, which ran the entire programme, I was able to travel to Scandinavia every once in a while and assist family members in the US embassies there as well. It was a wonderful, very helpful programme for State Department staff and their families who were grateful for my assistance, but unfortunately in late 2011 it was cut from the London Embassy budget and I was made redundant.

What have you found most challenging living here? That’s easy. Customer service. Or rather, the difference in what constitutes “good” customer service. In the US, customer service is “good” if the representative is helpful in someway, gets your problem solved, or goes out of his/her way to do something for you. If Plan A doesn’t work, they will find a Plan B for you. And if that doesn’t work, they will go on to Plan C. And if it’s all done quickly and with a smile and a friendly tone, that falls into the category of “good” customer service. In the UK, “good” customer service has its roots in the class system, or what I like to call the “master/servant” relationship. Customer service reps are there to serve you, but they’re not there to solve your problems and they’re certainly not there to be friendly to you. Afterall, they are “serving” you and that’s all that matters. For those of you familiar with “Little Britain” you need only refer to the “computer-says-no” lady, a brilliant and cleverly crafted take on the typical British service industry representative who cannot think further than what her computer tells her to say and do. It’s very challenging for me, even after all these years, to know that customer service reps have no Plan B in place in case the original plan falls through. If the computer says “no” in the UK, you’re not going to get any further with the customer service rep. What made you decide to run your own business? I found myself, like many people, jobless. After the Embassy job, I did a bit of consulting work, mostly cross-cultural training which I love, and still do, but on a very limited basis now. A friend of mine, Bruno, who is French and is a fantastic pastry chef was finding success in London with his bakes at street markets and through wholesaling them to restaurants. He had won all of these culinary awards from the BBC Good Food Show and from the Guild of Fine Foods and was featured in a couple of magazines already. Since I was in grad school, I had always had this dream of managing a coffee shop, you know, one of those cool, hip places all the cool people like to hang out in. So when I found myself unemployed, and with a bit of money to invest, I approached him about opening up a “bricks and mortar” coffee shop/patisserie to showcase his work which, by the way, includes a lot of American bakery items as well as French. (His peanut butter and chocolate cream pie is to die for and is one of our top sellers). We pulled our resources together and in September of last year we opened Bruno’s French Bakes and Coffee in Rochester (Kent)

in a 17th century building on the High Street, and I am fulfilling my grad school dream of owning a coffee shop. How cool and hip it is, well, that’s for others to decide. It has been called “quirky� by many of our customers though, so I think I’m at least on my way to being cool and hip. How easy was it to set up your business and how did you do it? It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life! How did I do it? I don’t think I’ve “done� it yet, actually. I look at opening a business as a work in progress. A very, very long work in progress. It’s ongoing. I’m always having to do something different, or rethink something, or change directions at the last minute. Every day is a new challenge and I always feel like I’m still setting up the business even though it’s been running since September 2013. The most difficult part of setting up a business is dealing with the bureaucracy of the local council. They say they’re there to help you, but they’re not. They’re secretly there to make your life hell

and I’m sure they go home at night laughing and planning how they’re going to screw up everything for you the following week. Dealing with landlords is not fun either, but we’ve lucked out in that we have a very straight forward, business-like landlord. The thing that I’m most grateful for though is that we had enough of our own money to start the business, and we didn’t have to rely on banks for loans because, of course, they’re still not lending to small businesses as readily as they once were. We started and remain debt free. Do you have any advice for fellow readers? First, if you decide to open a business that entails buying or renting property, get a very good solicitor and listen to him/her. Property law is very different in the UK and a good solicitor will guide you through the maze and will ask the questions that you never thought of asking. Yes, they’re terribly expensive, but worth every penny if they can help you avoid problems down the line. Second, although I’ve dissed my local

council above, they do offer a lot of guidance and have an awful lot of resources at their disposal. Just don’t take no for an answer when dealing with them and go above their head if need be to get what you need – see my comments above on customer service in the UK. Also, join organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses who also offer invaluable advice and guidance. I’ve used FSB for everything from insurance to employment issues to networking opportunities. Well worth the joining fee. And last, and most importantly, talk to others who have been successful in the same type of business that you would like to start. They know the questions that you should be asking. I was lucky again in that Bruno especially had a lot of contacts in the hospitality industry that we could go to for advice. We have both built up our network of contacts through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and rely on them to put us in touch with those in the know. Twitter, especially, is invaluable for getting you and your product known and out-there.

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American Women’s Clubs News AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUB OF LONDON Summer in London is a bittersweet time. Days are long, people are happier, friendlier and less inclined to scowl, but it is also a time for goodbyes as assignments come to an end, and families find their way back across the pond or on to other foreign lands. Some years it seems like one can spend May to July attending goodbye luncheons, teas and dinners. Friendships are often just a few years old, yet are meaningful and the loss is deeply felt. As an expat one comes together in a different way, perhaps with a more open heart and mind. Friendships are formed with people outside your normal social sphere, you get to see your yourself through a different set of eyes. 28

Life as an expat also allows opportunities for a very full calendar experimenting with different activities, classes and travel in a way many do not engage in “everyday” life back in the US. It forges a strong bond among those who choose to embrace the entire experience and an appreciation that sharing the experience makes it even more meaningful. Summer offers a plethora of opportunities to share with friends, old and new; club sponsored, and those you arrange yourself with a smaller group of acquaintances who are sure to soon be fast friends! Some of the sporting highlights of the summer “season” include, Royal Ascot, www. – no better excuse for a new hat! The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship, June 23 - July 6, a must see while in London even if you aren’t a tennis player – www. The Henley Royal Regatta

is the premier international rowing event with competitors from around the world. The race runs from July 2 - 6. There is special rail service during the race and it is a short walk from the station to the river – There are many sailing races and exhibitions throughout the summer at the Isle of Wight and the Solent. It is a nice drive down to the coast, or doable via train and a taxi from the station – The Taste of London Festival is a culinary extravaganza at Regent’s Park, June 18-22. There are tastes from all the world over represented and showcased. After all, London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world! Check out ticket options and the list of vendors at Regent’s Park is also the home of the Open Air Theatre, and the Zoo Lates Nights every Friday evening for the

18+ crowd in June and July from 6-10 pm at London Zoo – Musical opportunities abound during the summer in London and the surrounding area. The PROMS, Promenade Concerts at Royal Albert Hall, run from July 18 through September 13. You can watch on BBC, in Hyde Park, or in person at Royal Albert Hall – for tickets and information. Concerts at Kenwood House, Somerset House and Hampton Court offer varied acts and styles of music. Of course there are big name musicians at the O2, Wembley Stadium, and Hyde Park, not to mention the many music festivals throughout the surrounding towns. Tickets are available online, but keep on the look-out as the biggest names sell out quickly. Time Out London is a great source to keep yourself in the loop. All these opportunities can be overwhelming, and crowded, so schedule some time for more intimate AWC events as well. Many of our weekly activities continue to meet throughout the summer months. Monday Morning Coffee, MMC, will continue to meet in various venues all throughout London to offer a different flavour each and every week. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the Weekly Running Club meets at 10:30 am at the Hyde Park Corner entrance to the park for a walk, jog or run, depending on your interest and fitness level - all levels welcome. Every Tuesday, excluding the fourth Tuesday of the month, Stitching meets at various member’s homes from 10:00 – noon to work on personal projects, chat and have a cup of tea or coffee. This is an eclectic group – from women who have been stitching or crafting for years to those who’ve just decided to give it a go. Every Tuesday evening and Friday morning one of our most popular activities, Mah Jong, meets at the AWC offices. The first Friday of the month is teaching day so come by at 10:30 and give it a test drive! Our most universal activity is Thursday afternoon drinks. During the summer months we meet at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen at

the south-east end of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. On nice afternoons, starting at around 4pm look for us at the picnic tables on the patio along the lake. We are usually easy to spot as after a pint or two the American volume is turned up! We try to remember a sign or small American flag but if you don’t see it practice your “spotting a fellow American” skills and you’ll most likely find us. Intrepid drinkers that we are, should it be well and truly raining you’ll find us inside, but if just a drizzle we’ll most likely be under umbrellas on the patio! Ronald McDonald House dinner preparation and Baking Brigade continue to serve hearty and tasty meals to the residents of the RMD house two to three times per month. Bumps to Jumps, Day and Evening Book Club and Writing Group will also continue throughout the summer. Check our calendar on the AWC website at for dates and times. There is no better time to get out of the city and enjoy the English countryside than the summer. Our once monthly hike in June was on Wednesday, June 4 to the Haselmere Circular. This beautiful route was through mainly National Trust countryside. The woods were mixed with blackberries, bluebells, heathlands of bracken, gorse, heather and bilberry. The rhododendrons flower through late spring. There are views from Black Down, which is the highest point in both Sussex and the South Downs National Park. Our monthly meetings are the fourth Tuesday of every month. On Tuesday, June 24 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LF, nearest Tube station is Knightsbridge, author, Clive Aslet, will be discussing his book “The American Country Home”. Aslet will explore the grandeur of a bygone era of wealth and privilege. He draws on the rich and amusing writings of contemporaries of the time to evoke the lives the buildings served as well as the architectural shapes they took. The July monthly meeting, July 22 at 10am, will also

be held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club. The AWC is honoured to host the Countess Of Carnarvon. The Countess will discuss Lady Almina and the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle. It will be a fascinating exploration of the life and history of the real Downton Abbey. The August meeting will be Tuesday, August 26. New Member Coffees meet at 10am at the AWC Offices, 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ, on the third Tuesday of every month throughout the summer. Once you have joined the AWC our Facebook page is a wonderful way to check out last minute offerings and share travel tips, recommendations and all sorts of helpful hints. The AWC is active all summer, we hope you can join us! THE CHILTERNS AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUB The Chilterns American Women’s Club recently held our Annual May Tea Party at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club. This fun event was attended by approximately 70 members and guests. It even includes a friendly table decorating competition amongst our different activity chairs. The May Tea Party is also the time for our member’s only raffle. Thanks to our generous donors we raised £584 at our Tea Party raffle. This money will be donated to the National Epilepsy Society and Horizon Sports Club. This May, several CAWC members and their partners set sail on the River Thames, raising an additional £118 for our charities. Boarding from the dockside of CAWC President Pamela Houghton’s home in Wargrave, the 60-strong group wined and dined their way on to a glorious evening of dancing and gambling in the elegant, button velvet and mahogany and oak panelled saloon. Passengers were also able to enjoy the stunning views from the top deck as the paddle steamer New Orleans cruised downstream, ending in the historic town of Henley-on-Thames, home to the Queen’s famous Royal Regatta since 1839.

KCWC The Kensington and Chelsea Women Group held their annual lunch on Thursday 5th of June at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. The Guest Speaker of this General Meeting was Jung Chang, Author of Wild Swans and Mao, The Unknown Story and her last book Empress Dowager Cixi. 150 members and guests attended this lovely lunch to listen to the fascinating story of Jung Chang, followed by the silent auction in aid of the 2 charities, which KCWC has supported for the last 3 years – The Haven and Independent Age. In June, we will be holding our BBQ luncheon at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, our general meeting home and also host to the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Tour Masters this July. We will be honoured by special guests from the Ladies European Tour Golfers. The ‘LET’ Golfers are generously volunteering their time to join us at the Luncheon. This will be a great opportunity to meet many members of the European Solheim Cup team that will play the US LPGA in September 2015 in St. Leon-Rot, Germany. Our last events before the summer break will include a day out at Royal Ascot, The Boodles at Stoke Park, and the last day hike of the season. After these events, we will break for the summer (except our Moms & Tots group which meets all year round). In the fall, we will return to our regular activities which include; Day Hikes followed by a pub lunch, Stitch and Chat meetings, Tennis, Golf, and so much more. This year, we will also be holding a Handbag Auction to raise money for FAWCO’s Target programme, Free the Girls ( This coming Club year, our fundraising will benefit the National Epilepsy Society and Horizon Sports Club. Our primary fundraising event is our Annual Charity Christmas Bazaar. We are already actively planning this year’s Bazaar, which will be held at The Bellhouse Hotel in Beaconsfield on 16 November 2014. CAWC is an active group of over 120 North American and International women who call this area home, either temporarily or permanently. Our club offers the opportunity to network through meetings, social activities, outings, and charitable events. We are a great resource to newcomers and returning members alike. A very important part of the club is to giveback to the community. We are proud to have raised over £230,000 for local charities for almost 30 years with our Annual Christmas Bazaar and look to do much more in the future! For more information visit us at: 30

Kathleen Herman, the President of the year handed over her KCWC hat to Anna Groot, who will step up to be the President for 2015. Kathleen’s year as President will be a memorable one, she instigated the change of our brand new website, which will give members and potential members easy access to all our 33 activities. On-line payments make life easier for all the volunteers involved in this 850-stronghold members club. Anna Groot, a Dutch national, who has been on the board for 2 years, was the activity leader liaison and will from the 1st of August step up to steer the Club. The next General Meeting will be held at the Royal Geographical Society on Thursday

11th September at 9.30 am. The meeting is mainly a social one for all the members and their guests after a well-deserved summer break from a very busy year. A SUCCESSFUL SPRING FOR JUNIOR LEAGUE OF LONDON Spring 2014 has been a busy and exciting time for the Junior League of London (JLL)! In February, JLL implemented the Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), its first ever poverty awareness campaign. Participants in LBDI were asked to wear one black dress for five days, in order to illustrate the effects poverty can have on your access to resources, your confidence and your employment opportunities. Following the campaign, participants donated dresses and other business wear to Smart Works, a charity that helps women on low incomes prepare for job interviews, by providing them with professional attire and career development advice. During the clothing collection, almost 1000 items were donated by JLL members. In April, JLL hosted a Masquerade Charity Ball at The Underglobe, situated underneath London’s iconic Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The event was a glamorous evening of fun and fundraising. Through ticket sales, raffle, the auction and donations, JLL raised vital funds to support its work in the London community. JLL also held its 3rd Annual All Service Day. With volunteers working alongside charity partners around London, JLL members, their friends and their families rolled up their sleeves for tasks such as

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organising and mending clothes, sorting books, and collecting canned goods. In fact, on All Service Day, JLL volunteers collected over 320kg of food at Waitrose in Chelsea for the Kensington Chelsea Food Bank. The food collected on All Service Day will feed approximately 40 people for three days. In May, the JLL celebrated its Annual General Meeting at the Royal Overseas League. JLL activated more than 35 members of our Spring New Member Class, recognised our Volunteer of the Year (Tracy Firmino), Leader of the Year (Julie Bennett), Committee of the Year (Strategic Review Committee) and Sustainer of the Year (Jen Clarke). JLL is looking forward to celebrating our 30th Anniversary during the 2014-2015 League year and continuing to promote voluntary service, develop the potential of women and improve the London community. To learn more about the Junior League of London, visit our website: For information regarding our Autumn New Member Information Session, contact our office at 020 7499 8159 or email: Save the Date – Our Boutique de Noel Christmas Fair will be held on 12 and 13 November 2014! AMERICAN WOMEN RAISE OVER £6,700 FOR HOMELESS YOUNG PEOPLE Local charity Transform Housing & Support has received a donation of over £6,700 from the American Women of Surrey. The money donated by the club on 10 June will help Transform’s work with homeless and vulnerable young people in Woking. Transform Housing & Support was selected as one of four charities supported by the American Women of Surrey in 2013/14. The club raised money for each charity with raffles and personal donations from its members, and through events such as their annual Gift Fayre in November. They also donated Christmas gifts to many of the young people supported by the charity. Part of the money raised by the club will provide furniture and other essential items for Transform clients when they move on from the service. The donation will also support activities for homeless young people such as exercise classes, art and crafts, gardening and other social occasions. The American Women of Surrey have recently chosen to support Transform’s work in Woking for a second year. Funds raised during 2014/15 will help homeless young people to access education, employment and training opportunities. Transform provides housing and support 32

Kate Stephen and Nikki Howard from Momentum, Gea Eelman and Crosby Burke from AWS, Naomi Moore and Jenny Moore from B@titude, Rebecca Quinn from AWS, Lynette Farley from Transform Housing & Support, Cathy Marland and Cindy Bye from AWS

for hundreds of people each year across Surrey who are affected by homelessness, mental health issues, learning disabilities, or drug and alcohol misuse. In Woking the charity provides homes for 65 people, including two specialist housing projects for young people. Andy Richardson, Deputy Manager at Transform Housing & Support, said: “The American Women of Surrey have been extremely generous in supporting our work with homeless young people in Woking. Transform is very grateful to the club for the warmth and generosity they have shown our clients. Their contribution to our project at Christmas time was invaluable and will not be forgotten by staff and clients alike. We are really looking forward to working with them again in 2014/15.

Club members have been very kind; donating their time and money for our work with vulnerable people. Their support has really boosted our clients and helped us to continue the valuable work we do. Thank you very much to all members of the American Women of Surrey!” The American Women of Surrey was founded in 1975 and now has more than 400 members. Since it began the club has raised over half a million pounds for Surrey charities, with many more additional gifts in kind donated. For more details please visit For more information: Contact Lynette Farley, Fundraising and Communications Officer, telephone: 01372 387125 or email:

Transform Housing & Support representative Lynette Farley and American Women of Surrey members Rebecca Quinn and Cathy Marland

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Hotel Review Summer Lodge, Evershot, Dorset


ummer Lodge is a five star, Grade II listed property, boutique country house hotel, with 24 luxury bedrooms and suites, all individually designed, with luxury linens, curtains and bathroom products. The bathrooms have stand-alone baths and fabulous showers and the beds are incredibly comfortable, and on both afternoons we came back to find candles lit in the bathrooms which was a lovely touch that I have never seen before in a hotel, and even though I didn’t need a second bath of the day, it looked so enticing I had one! 34

The staff at Summer Lodge couldn’t do enough for us. I stayed one night with my husband, and the second night with a close friend who was getting married the next day, and there was no problem with us changing from a double to a twin room, ice buckets and glasses were delivered to rooms on more than one occasion, a magazine for one of the wedding guest’s who was upset she couldn’t find a particular one that isn’t always easy to acquire was found hanging from our bedroom door the next morning, and phones were charged for us as chargers had been left at home. This level of service made us feel so at home that it almost felt like we were staying with close family, and everything was done by the staff with absolute charm and a warm smile, that made it hard to leave when we eventually had to! The twin room I stayed in on the second night also had a lovely terrace, which had

the weather been nice, would have made it even more difficult to leave! The trouble is, the hotel is so comfortable and welcoming it is hard to drag yourself away to tour the beautiful Dorset countryside! The gardens surrounding Summer Lodge’s buildings are absolutely stunning and perfectly kept. Luckily we were there late spring where the colours and varieties of flowers were amazing and there were several seating areas where guests can enjoy the sunshine whilst reading a paper or magazine, or just taking in the beautiful view. When we were there unfortunately the weather wasn’t great, but we did take time once it had stopped raining to sit in the garden and wish that it was our garden at home! There is an indoor pool that is large enough to swim in, sun-loungers, a Jacuzzi and sauna, a small gym, and treatment rooms offering an array of body and

beauty treatments, including massages, holistic treatments, facials and pregnancy treatments. My friend who was getting married had a manicure which she said was really well done and very relaxing, and she was told if she smudged them that she could go back and they would fix them again (luckily this didn’t happen!). There is also an outdoor tennis court, that unfortunately we couldn’t take advantage of due to the rain. The living areas of the hotel are also very comfortable. We sat in the lounge area one evening with a glass of champagne and delicious canapes, whilst admiring the tall ceilings and general ambience of the room, before enjoying a six course tasting menu that was beautifully presented and extremely tasty. Again, the staff in the restaurant were really friendly and professional without being obtrusive. Breakfast is taken in the conservatory, and is one of the best hotel breakfast selections I have ever seen. Along with the usual English breakfast choices, there was a Toasted Jam and Peanut Butter Sandwich that I just had to try and was delicious, and the next morning I chose the Pancakes with Crispy Bacon which was perfect. There is also a selection of yoghurts, perfectly cut fruit salad, breads, cold meats and fish, and cereals. The view of the gardens as previously mentioned makes it a perfect place to enjoy the first meal of the day, and we spent much longer than usual at the table watching at least 9 varieties of birds enjoying the bird food table that the hotel has supplied. Pets are also welcome at Summer Lodge, which is unusual for a five star hotel, and will only set you back £20 per night. There is a choice of bed size for your canine companion, home-made biscuits, a ‘dog in the room’ door hanger, ‘woof ’ towels to dry your four legged friend, and food and water bowls with a floor mat. Summer Lodge is part of the luxury Relais & Chateaux group, and deservedly so, as demonstrated by the incredible amounts of awards they have won that can be viewed on their website. Of course such luxury doesn’t come cheap, but there are three for two night offers, and best rate guarantees, and every now and then we all deserve to treat ourselves, and at Summer Lodge you won’t be disappointed. For further information on Summer Lodge please visit 9 Fore Street, Evershot, Dorset, DT2 0JR Telephone: 01935 482000 35

Family Days Out THORPE PARK RESORT For readers with children who are thrill seekers (my own, aged 8 and 11 certainly fit this description), Thorpe Park provides a brilliant day out. With over 30 thrilling rides, attractions and live events to enjoy, and conveniently located just 10 miles from Greater London, this theme park has something for everyone, especially catering for those with a touch of the adrenalin junkie about them! On the day of our visit we arrived early, just as the park opened. Parking is thankfully easy, with a car park large enough to accommodate even the busiest bank holiday. On receiving the park map, we discussed our plan of action and planned to fill our day with rides, rollercoasters and stomach churning fun! The sun was shining, and the kids were very excited. 36

Thorpe Park

There are many big rides at this resort to experience, most of which we managed to cover, but I will mention a few of the highlights. Our first rollercoaster of the day was Colossus; one of Europe’s fastest and tallest rollercoasters, with enough twists and turns to get the adrenalin pumping. This set the pace for the day ahead! It is worth mentioning that, as you would expect on any high velocity ride, there are height restrictions, but these are clearly marked at the ride entrance as well as at other points around the park. Our 8 year old didn’t quite make the grade on this one – but there were other rides nearby to keep him and my wife happy whilst we waited in the queue. I am a huge fan of water rides, and there are five here, including the super-soaking, Tidal Wave. We got drenched on this ride, and then again on the walkway exit (the kids then wanted to keep turning back into the tsunami as other riders hit the water!). If you visit on a cold day, you may want to pack a waterproof mac. The Rumba Rapids is an old favourite of mine, and is always exciting as you spin in a raft around a man-made river, hitting the rapids at points and getting sprayed in the process. Logger’s Leap – another favourite, is a traditional log flume, and in my opinion, one of the best in the UK. Storm Surge was a big hit with the kids. A spinning life raft takes you on a 64ft spiralling descent, as you try to keep out (or in if you are 11 years old) the line

of water cannon fire! My wife (and eldest son) braved her only big ride, Stealth, without me! This ride is an imposing sight which is visible from all around the park, with it’s iconic 200ft arch of steel. It propels you from 0 to 80 mph in 2 seconds. I think I heard her screams all the way round, and the photo was definitely one for the family scrapbook! My favourite ride was The Swarm. The UK’s first winged rollercoaster spins 180 degrees and plunges 127ft into a series of near misses. The Swarm bursts through a billboard, narrowly missing the wing of a real jumbo and skims past a flaming fire truck. Riders fly at speeds of almost 100km/h and G forces of up to 4.5, sat either side of the track. We loved it; I cannot wait to go back on it - backwards next time! We didn’t make SAW – The Ride, as my eldest son was a little too young. It is the world’s first horror movie themed rollercoaster, and as keen as I was to find out what lay in store, I didn’t want to brave it alone! Neptune’s Beach is a sandy beach with a huge paddling pool, fountains and slides – perfect for the summer and a great option if you need to take a break while the kids cool down. The park feels large, but is easy to navigate. Huge electronic billboards helpfully tell you the lastest queuing times for the most popular rides to help you get the most from your day. There are also various options to avoid the

Churchill War Rooms

inevitable queues, including fast track passes which you can purchase on the day and a new ‘Reserve n’ Ride’ system which is being trialled on various dates over the summer (see the website for more details). There are lots of options for food and drink, and of course, plenty of gift shops for treats and memorabilia. A brand new Angry Birds Land and 4D experience will be open by the time you are reading this; definitely one for the whole family to enjoy together. There is also a new onsite hotel, Thorpe Shark Hotel, for those travelling from further afield. This is a guaranteed fun family day out, and a real treat for the kids. Our kids were absolutely raving about it, and spent the whole day asking when we could come back. My wife and I were impressed too, having not been to the park for over 15 years. The park is well-kept and maintained, and set in attractive landscaped grounds, making it a really great environment to enjoy the aforementioned thrills. Needless to say, you will return from your day completely exhausted, but full of memories. The nearest train station is Staines – 32 minutes from London Waterloo, and a shuttle link between the station and the resort runs every 12-15 minutes. Standard Day passes are from £24.99 online (on the day passes are £48); Annual passes and Fasttrack tickets can be purchased. For further information visit:

CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS I haven’t been to the Churchill War Rooms, located in the heart of Westminster, for a long time, so was looking forward to my return with the kids, and now they learn about the Second World War at school, their knowledge is probably better than mine at that age! The Churchill War Rooms were the secret underground headquarters where Winston Churchill and his team masterminded the course of the Second World War whilst bombs were raining down on London. Visitors can see where the staff lived and worked, and understand how the decisions made here changed the course of history. It provides a revealing insight into the real Churchill and his role in British history. New items on display in the War Rooms include personal correspondence discussing the fate of the War Rooms, a private admissions ticket from the days when visitors had to request special entry to view the site, and a poster from 1984 advertising the exciting forthcoming opening of the Cabinet War Rooms to the public. The complex of historic rooms and tunnels have been left as they were in 1945, and there is a distinctive atmosphere about the place that evokes a real feeling of stepping back in time. The Cabinet Room, Map Room and the room from where Churchill delivered four of his wartime speeches, are all here to marvel over and inspect. The exemplary way in which the stories are presented, the attention to detail, and the personal memories provided by the audio

guides all enable you to really get a sense of what it was like to be there at the time. Within the War Rooms, the Churchill Museum is housed. It is one of the best museums I have ever visited. It comprises an impressive range of multimedia displays and rare significant historical items, all relevant to the life of Churchill. The Lifeline is a 15 metre long interactive ‘lifeline’ where you can slide your finger along the strips at the edge to open documents, photos and film clips. We were all looking at the Lifeline for a long time, and there was still so much we missed. It was fascinating for kids and adults alike, with many interactive exhibits. The museum expertly showcases Churchill’s life, from his younger years, to his wilderness years and his time as a war leader. It was also interesting to watch the footage of his funeral, and see the Union Jack Flag which was draped over Churchill’s coffin as his body lay in state in Westminster Hall. More personal items, such as letters from his wife, Clementine, are also there to read, and which provide an alternative insight into Churchill the family man. The kids loved his ‘Siren suit’ - they preferred to call it his ‘onesie’which he designed himself and famously wore throughout the war years to retain a measure of comfort during the long working hours. We should also make special mention of the Transatlantic Telephone Room, where Churchill conducted his top-secret conversations with Roosevelt. It was disguised as a toilet! Be sure to pick up one of the excellent audio guides (they also have ones for kids), which explain each step of the experience, setting the scene and providing further details should you wish to find out more, at each point of interest. What makes these audio guides so interesting is the sound bites from people who actually lived and worked in the rooms during the war, and the memories they describe. This year, the Churchill War Rooms celebrated their 30th anniversary of the public opening, and it is not hard to see why this popular attraction attracts thousands of visitors each year. The Churchill War Rooms are part of the Imperial War Museum’s family of five museums that also includes HMS Belfast, IWM London, IWM Duxford and IWM North. On the very same day, we managed to squeeze in a visit to HMS Belfast (as follows), although we could easily have spent the best part of a day at both of these attractions, as there is so much to take in and explore. Open Daily: 9.30am – 6pm. Last admission 5pm. (Closed 24 – 26 December). Admission: £17.50 Adults; £14.00 Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); Children (under 16) Free; Special rates for groups of 15 or more. For further information visit: 37

HMS BELFAST Of course I have always noticed HMS Belfast, moored on the south side of The Thames; indeed you could hardly miss it, being such an imposing sight as you wander down the banks of the Thames towards Tower Bridge, but, I have never been on board! Everyone I have spoken to has enjoyed their visit, so along with the kids, we were set to discover the fascinating story of this impressive warship, and find out what life would have been like on board. Ironically, as I write this, it is the D-Day 70th Anniversary. On 6 June, 1944, HMS Belfast reportedly fired the first shots on D-Day, the most significant campaign fought by the western Allies during the Second World War. She is a symbolic reminder of the events, which led to victory in Europe on 8 May, 1945. HMS Belfast is the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship, with a history that extends to the Arctic convoys, D-Day, the Cold War, Korea and beyond. Moored between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast tells the story of life on board and explores how war affects and impacts on the morale, resilience and determination of a ship’s community. It was fascinating to take in the ship’s nine decks and see what life was like for the 950-strong crew who served on her. We enjoyed the Gun Turret Experience, which offers a real insight into what fighting at sea would have been like. Overlooking the back of the ships, or Quarterdeck, is one of HMS’s Triple Gun Turrets. Lights, audio, projections and movement, recreates the experience, highlighting the hectic and cramped conditions that would have seen twenty-six men in this confined space at any one time. HMS Belfast could once be controlled from the Operations Room, the nerve centre and brain of the entire ship. We could imagine what this would have been like as the Operations Room features interactive displays and games that appeal to kids and adults alike! The Operations Room's rotating radar screens have been recreated for the first time since the ship was operational, giving a sense of the movement and urgency of the room, and there are two large touch screen interactive games based on the real-life Pony Express exercise of 1961 which involved 60 warships, 20,000 naval personnel and 6,000 US, British and Australian troops off North Borneo in the South China Sea. Within the main exhibition decks, ‘Life on Board’ is a fascinating overview of what the men on board would have experienced. From sleeping (in hammocks) to the tuck shop, dining rooms, surgery, and dentist, it’s all there. My favourite was the punishment 38

HMS Belfast

cells. You could be sent there for all sorts of misdemeanors, including falling asleep on duty. You can climb inside and sit on the hard bench that served as a bed to really imagine how it might feel to be locked in such a confined space, at sea, with no natural light. The audio guide features the voice of one such seaman who tells the amusing story of his confinement. A visit to the kitchens is also a must. I pitied the poor kitchen staff who would have had to peel all those onions! Again, be sure to pick up an audio guide and discover what it was like to eat, sleep and work on board during D-Day; from the heat of the boiler room, to the cramped conditions of the gun turrets and the thrilling heights of the flag deck. Like the Churchill War Rooms they are extremely informative and really help to enhance the experience; it’s like having your own personal guide. There are a number of free family activities (included in general admission price) to enjoy over the summer months. These include ‘Cracking Codes’ where you can intercept messages; map hazards on a sea chart; make up your own secret code; and ‘Tattoo T-Shirts’ where children can design their very own t-shirt, inspired by traditional Navy tattoos, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Also running to the end of the year is a D-Day Family Trail. If you prefer to be guided around the ship by a real expert, private tours are available to book. Our own children found it a fascinating place, and enjoyed the opportunity to clamber over the deck, climb the steep stairs, descend into the depths of the boiler room and

experience the gun turrets! We all learned a lot, and there is plenty to see, making this a great attraction for the entire family. It may be the only time I get to sit in the Captain’s chair, but I very much enjoyed it whilst I was there! Open Daily: Winter 2013–14 1 November – 28 February, 10am – 5pm. (Closed 24 – 26 December) Summer 2014 1 March – 31 October, 10am – 6pm. Last entry an hour before closing. Admission*: £15.50 Adults; £12.40 Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled); Children (under 16) Free; Special rates for groups of 15 plus. * Please note entry prices include a voluntary donation, making a valuable contribution to the care and conservation of this historic site. For further information visit: 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 (there are 80 million lego bricks in total around the park!). Some of it is slightly hidden away so that it surprises you as you catch a glimpse of it in the shrubbery. 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 Daleks 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. The Star Wars Experience recreates scenes from the Star Wars films and have been recreated to an exceptionally high standard. New for this year is Pirate Shores, featuring 100s of new lego models. Pirate Shores also houses Pirate Falls Treasure Quest log flume ride, an exciting LEGOtastic voyage. Guided by Scallywag the Parrot, riders join Captain Goodbrick on an explosive quest for Captain Blackheart’s hidden treasure. There is also the Jolly Rocker Pirate Ship ride and Pirate Goldwash. Also new this year in Spring Castaway Camp, is an all new Pirate adventure play area and a new themed family restaurant ‘Pirate Shores Burger Kitchen’. 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! (Plastic ponchos can be bought for £3.50 each, and are a definite must in my opinion!). A more sedate ride, and one that is good for just after lunch, is Atlantis Submarine Voyage, where you climb aboard the submarine and are taken through an underwater world of sharks, stingrays and colourful fish. 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 through Lego Safari 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, whilst The Dragon is the larger rollercoaster, but was enjoyed by Eloisa 6, and Clementine 7, so much that we did it twice! 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 the M3 and M4, and is only about a 40 minute drive from Central London. Legoland is open until Monday 3 November 2014 (it is closed on selected midweek days in April, May, September, October and November) and tickets can be bought in advance online, from £35.10 for adults, from £31.05 for children (free for under three’s) and from £132.30 for families (2 adults + 2 children). For more information on Legoland and the Legoland Hotel, please visit: or call 0845 373 2640.



GO APE For the Tarzan lovers amongst you, look no further than Go Ape! A tree top adventure where you climb, balance and swing your way across a tree top assault course several metres above the ground! Children seem to enjoy this much more than the parents (!), but if you are fearless and not too afraid of heights, then it is a great morning or afternoon family adventure. When you arrive at Go Ape, you are given strict safety instructions which are expertly delivered, then fitted with your harness, and given comprehensive training on how to attach yourself to the wires and what to do when you eventually zip wire back to the ground! I have to say the safety of the adventurers is very well managed by the team at Go Ape, and you are given practice runs before you climb the first rope ladder to the first of five courses. There is a minimum age limit for the tree top adventure of 10 years, and children under 18 need to accompanied by an adult. Along the courses you will walk on wire tight ropes, swing from plank to plank, climb ladders, jump from platforms to rope nets that you then need to climb, and swing from hoop to hoop to get the next challenge. At the end of each course is a zip wire, which is my favourite part of the course, and what

Go Ape

kept me going from challenge to challenge, although the first time you throw yourself off the platform, you may find you are there for a few minutes before taking the ‘leap of faith’! Go Ape isn’t for the feint-hearted, and the highest point of the course is 14.7 metres, but it is an adrenaline, muscle stretching exercise, that will have you chatting about it all the way home. Younger children, aged 6 upwards, can tackle Tree Top Junior, which is a course on a lower level, and children are attached by their harness from the start, whereas on the larger courses you are responsible for

harnessing and unharnessing yourself at each twist and turn. The junior circuit is just one continuous circuit that lasts an hour, so children can go round and round to their hearts content, and does include a smaller zip wire. Gorillas (aged 18 plus) are charged £30, whilst Baboons (aged 10 – 17) are charged £24. The Junior Course costs £17 per person. There are several Go Ape courses around the country, we went to Tilgate Park in Crawley, so to find your nearest course, or for further information, please visit www.

Theatre Some Reviews Of London’s Theatre by Lydia Parker THE PAJAMA GAME AT THE SHAFTSBURY THEATRE The Pajama Game is enjoying a sparkling new revival at the Shaftsbury Theatre, having transferred from The Chichester Festival Theatre. Although the original 1954 Broadway production was famous for the daring dance numbers by Bob Fosse, in this production the dancing also shines, thanks to choreographer Stephen Mears. Director, Richard Eyre, was inspired to direct The Pajama Game as it was the first musical he had ever heard- his sister owned the record when he was a child and played

Joanna Riding and Michael Xavier in The Pajama Game. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

it incessantly. The music, by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, is indeed lovely, especially the numbers sung by leading man Michael Xavier, who plays Sid Sorokin, an ambitious superintendent in the Sleep Tite Pajamas Factory. Sid’s plans for success are upset when he meets the union’s Grievance Committee Head, Babe, and falls head over heels in love with her. Joanna Riding, who bears a striking resemblance to Roz from the American TV show Frasier, plays Babe as a tough cookie, a woman who is strong enough to fight for her fellow workers but can still go weak at the knees at the sight of the handsome Sid. The two actors seem to really enjoy performing together and have a nice chemistry between them. The story of a strike at a pajama factory over seven and half cents per hour pay rise is an unusual subject for an American musical written in the fifties, especially when one of the union leaders is a woman. Most of the story is quite light hearted and never gets too serious, even when Babe cannot reconcile her attraction to Sid, who is against the strike, with her support for the union members. A few double entendres and a sexy scene where Sid keeps trying to seduce Babe while her father is out of the house, remind us that the fifties in America was not a time of innocence. The ensemble work well together, despite some over acting by a couple of minor characters. The show is nearly stolen by Peter Polycarpou as the “time study expert” Hines, who is hilarious in the number “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again” with Sid’s secretary Mabel, played by the glorious Claire Machin. As she tries to convince him not to get into jealous rages over blonde and leggy Gladys, his faithful girlfriend, Mabel sets up more and more impossible situations for him to keep

his cool and trust her. It just gets funnier as it goes along and they are both a delight to watch. Alexis Owen-Hobbs was also a standout as the ditsy Gladys, who manages to end up in situations where she has to have a dance number. The show picks up pace in the second act and becomes a real Broadway musical with all the energetic dance numbers and charming songs that one would expect. This is a treat for the whole family. Shaftesbury Theatre Box office 020 7379 5399 THE BAKERSFIELD MIST AT THE DUCHESS THEATRE Working class America is also at the centre of a new play by Stephen Sachs, The Bakersfield Mist, starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid. Ex-bartender Maude invites Lionel, ex-curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and now an expert at identifying art for a private foundation, to her trailer park home in California. She is sure that the three dollar monstrosity she bought as a joke for her friend Roberta’s birthday is actually a Jackson Pollock. Although he is not allowed to tell her how much this particular painting would be worth if it is authentic, she cajoles him into saying a painting like it would be worth five to ten million dollars. Once Maude finally brings out the huge painting to show him, Lionel can tell within “first blink” that it is not a Pollock as it has “No artistic soul…no sense of risk, no danger.” Maude is not only disappointed but does not believe him. She is absolutely sure that it is authentic and needs him to sign the 41

paper saying it is. She tries in every way to convince him, even offering sexual favours, which he roundly rejects. The money is not important, however, she just needs to know the truth and to prove that she is right. She senses something from the painting and has done her own research into Pollock, about his anger, passion and feeling of being an outsider. She relates to the painting in her own way and needs to know that the connection she feels is to a great artist. No matter what she feels, and what surprising forensic proof she can provide that the painting is indeed by Pollock, Lionel will not budge. His reputation is on the line – if he admits to being wrong then his whole life will have been a lie. As he says “mine will be the opinion that matters”, clearly because he is a British public school educated professor at Princeton while she is a woman who lives by her street smarts and furnishes her house with found objects, including a lot of art usually seen in cheap motels. He confesses at the end, however, that his first assumptions about her were wrong, which makes one wonder if his “instinctive repulsion” towards the painting

was mixed in with his initial reaction to Maude. This is a play not only about perception but about class. Although Maude’s story would be a good one, Lionel has chosen not to accept it for whatever reason. He thinks the art world will not accept her. She swears too much for his liking and when he arrives she offers him weiner dogs, to which he turns his nose up. He happily talks down to her the whole time, only letting down his guard when she gets him blindingly drunk on Jack Daniels. They both reveal something about their past and Lionel even goes into a long monologue about Jackson Pollock’s method of painting, with all its sexual connotations. It is clear Lionel is a man who can only admire artists but never be one himself. Both are filled with regrets about their lives but cannot find a way to understand each other. Kathleen Turner gives a masterclass in actingshe doesn’t have an untruthful moment, not an easy feat in a big theatre. She never overplays a moment. As Maude, she is a powerful force to be reckoned with, a woman who knows herself but doesn’t always like what she sees.

Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid in Bakersfield Mist. Photo by Simon Annand.


Ian McDiarmad is also excellent as Lionel but indulges in a bit of overacting as the play progresses and he becomes drunker. It is just a different style of acting but it jars occasionally with Kathleen Turner’s incredible candour. The play has so much quoteable dialogue. When Lionel first arrives, Maude offers him a drink to “take the edge off.” He replies he’d rather “Keep the edge on.” Later, Lionel describes a Pollock as “Jack Kerouac on canvas.” The play zips along for the first forty five minutes but begins to lag a bit when they both take turns revealing their past. This could just be the structure of the play, which doesn’t hold a lot of surprises. It is refreshing to see a new play, however, which is so thought provoking and asks important questions about life and art. At only eighty minutes it packs a punch and leaves you trying to answer the difficult questions it proposes. Catch it while you can. Duchess Theatre Box office 0845 505 8500

Win a pair of top price tickets to The Scottsboro Boys! Following a sold out run at the Young Vic, the critically acclaimed The Scottsboro Boys transfers to the Garrick Theatre for a strictly limited season. Step right up and jump on board for this sensational musical which brings to life the extraordinary true story of nine young men, in a case that changed history forever. Winner of the Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award 2013 and nominated for 6 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, this is also the final collaboration of legendary composing duo Kander and Ebb (CHICAGO, CABARET) and is directed and choreographed by five-time TONY Award-winner Susan Stroman (THE PRODUCERS). Don’t miss this all-singing, all-dancing, exhilarating and bold new musical, and experience the show that everyone is talking about.

To win a pair of top price tickets to The Scottsboro Boys email by 30th September and put THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS in the email subject. Garrick Theatre 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH STRICTLY LIMITED SEASON | 20 WEEKS ONLY FROM 4 OCTOBER 2014 Box office: 0844 412 4662 Visit for more information. Terms and Conditions: Subject to availability. Prize is as stated and cannot be transferred or exchanged. No cash alternative will be offered. Prize is valid for all Mon-Thurs performances from 6-23 October 2014. The winner will be notified by email.

Arts & Antiques Trinkets & Treasures At The Decorative Fair By Abby Cronin


hat old familiar English proverb ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ is as relevant today as it ever was. It doesn’t matter if your ‘castle’ is a modest flat or a stately home; it just takes a bit of imagination to make your home into a mini-‘castle’. If you don’t know where to shop for unusual and unique furnishings, you are bound to be inspired when you visit the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair, with its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Since 1985, the Fair has led the way as the antiques fair for interior decoration. It was the first in the UK to offer a ‘look’ for decorating. The ‘look’ can be found in the way expert dealers at the Fair


Looking Down into the Gallery exhibit - photo by Abby Cronin

On-Reflection Mirrors– Spring Decorative Fair

display their stock in natural ‘roomsets’. So, if your home is Victorian, Edwardian, a 1920s number or a chic new modern flat, don’t worry. A diversity of specialists is there to help you find furnishings and accessories to achieve exactly the ‘look’ you want. Gone are period deadlines ending in the 1970s. If you want a ‘country house’ look - popular in the mid1980s - or have a growing interest in painted French and Scandinavian furniture, you will find it and so much more at this Fair. Today an appreciation of ‘new antiques’ – such as Art Deco and mid-twentieth century design classics from the 1950s and 1960s – has driven demand from younger buyers, who have a growing interest in industrial furniture and accessories as well as architectural salvage. The Decorative Fair has kept pace with the needs of its customers. Several stands specialise in Modern and Post-War design, contemporary works of art and, to add a bit of glitz, there are professional dealers selling antique, costume and modern jewellery. The Fair is held three times yearly in the Marquee in Battersea Park. Design schemes range across all period styles. There are traditional English wood furniture, oriental artefacts, kitchenalia and Art Deco furnishings. Lighting from 18th century chandeliers to modernist 1960s fixtures as well as mirrors and textiles for decoration and upholstery are easily found. Discover distinctive wall ornaments and a wide selection of architectural salvage to enhance your garden. A unique statue for your mantelpiece or a special retro toy for your grandchild is waiting patiently to be taken home. This is a Fair where getting to know dealers is a bonus. They are welcoming, knowledgeable, and passionate about their

collection. Relax and listen. Mirrors are especially popular, functional and decorative. So be sure to stop at On-Reflection Mirrors, a stunning stall with a superb collection of antique mirrors. Alison, the owner, is one of the Fair’s regulars. When I met Alison at the Spring Fair, she told me. “I’ve always been attracted to pictures and frames and admired the quality of the workmanship in the frames and fifteen years ago it was fairly easy to find some beautifully made, but not too expensive, so I started to build the business. My husband quickly became involved and was keen to grow the business – which was lucky as we began to buy bigger mirrors which I could not lift! He would help with our buying trips and we started going to the big trade fairs in France and Italy and, after a few years, bought our first large van to transport our purchases.

On-Reflection Mirrors– Spring Decorative Fair

20th century furniture and accessories, Fiona McDonald’s stand is unmissable. Her extensive inventory of high-end furniture, lights, mirrors and accessories is exceptional. Carefully chosen, all of her stock has a simple elegance and timeless quality. You can transform a room by adding just one of her pieces. Pictured is a partial view of her stand furnished with stunning examples of her modernist stock. She also has a Contemporary Collection of high quality handmade furniture with a bespoke option. As she explains: “We work closely with our clients from design to delivery”. Her two Italian 1960s chairs shown here have been reupholstered in vibrant orange velvet. McDonald set up business in 1997 after working as an illustrator. When I asked how she chose her specialist area, she explained: ‘It's hard to describe what I buy as it changes all the time, but the common thread is something well designed and well made which I can see working in people's homes’. She offers a chic modern collection and her philosophy can be summed up very simply: ‘At the moment mid-century Italian design is captivating me.’ And it’s easy to see why. An example pictured here is of the wingback armchair sitting prominently in her stand. It was inspired by 1950s Italian design and handmade in England with a solid beech frame and a hand sprung seat. A wingback sofa is also available. Sandy Stanley’s collection of 1970s British gold jewellery goes back many years. She told me that she has loved this period of jewellery design before it became really popular. “My passion to deal started 20 years ago and for ten years I had a little shop in Kensington Church Street. I have always specialised in

Fiona McDonald – Room-Set & Chairs -Decorative Fair

Whilst I learnt how to restore the frames, Alan learnt how to cut and fit glass, polish scratches and repair the structure of the mirrors and we still do a lot of the work ourselves. It’s amazing how much the back of the mirror can tell you about the piece!” “We have now handled over three and a half thousand mirrors since we started and it is by doing just this that you learn a lot about your subject. The advent of the Internet has helped us become one of the leading mirror specialists

in the UK and our website is our shop window on the world. We also have a showroom on the Somerset/Dorset border which people can visit by appointment. Mirrors are still our passion and we get a huge thrill when we find something special but it is getting harder to find good pieces – they are definitely getting rarer.” Alison’s expert advice is worth noting: “Many of the most beautiful mirrors came out of large French houses and, although at first glance may seem far too decorative or glitzy for the modern home, it is possible to mix and match ancient and modern together and come up with a highly imaginative and very personal result. Don’t be frightened to put a 19th century mirror with 21st century furniture – it can work really well. Of course, if you really fall in love with a particular mirror, then it’s just a case of rearranging the room around it!” If you are looking for some special mid-

Sandy Stanley at her Stand Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair 45

both to expert management and the expertise of dealers who excel in offering an infinite array of trinkets and treasures. This is where interior designers know they can find exactly what their clients want. Year after year the Decorative Fair has grown in popularity and continues to attract collectors from home and abroad. Be sure to put the dates of the Fair in your diaries. You can take free transport from Sloane Square to the Battersea Marquee. Relax in the restaurant or café. Parking is free. The foyer theme for the Autumn Fair, 30 September – 3 October 2014, will focus on the Circus and Fairground. Be sure to be there.

Selection of Sandy Stanley’s 1970s gold jewellery to view: Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

British jewellery and in particular I have dealt with the most wonderful jewellers including Andrew Grima, Alan Gard, Gerda Flockinger, Wendy Ramshaw, David Thomas and Charles De Temple.” A range of collectors from British to Italians and Americans all seem to share a love of good design and seek to buy something a bit different at a reasonable price from her. “I have customers who are barristers, artists and people who collect a particular designer. Over the past ten years prices have been fairly reasonable so it was possible to get a lot for your money. Now it is becoming more


difficult as the prices have gone up and there is a limited supply of really good pieces.” If you are a devotee of modern jewellery, don’t miss Sandy’s stall. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She is always delighted to tell you about her collection and the details of any of the many tempting pieces you fancy. Stanley is also one of the Fair’s regulars. She is pictured here in her stall. You can also view distinctive designs on her website. No two pieces are alike. Some are glitzy, some more restrained. Each one is in pristine condition. The success of the Decorative Fair is due to

Useful Websites: On-Reflection Mirrors: Fiona McDonald- Sandy Stanley- The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair: Images Courtesy Press:

Contact: Abby Cronin Website:


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It’s an election year in the United States, so make sure your vote is counted. Register to Vote! Even if you have voted by absentee ballot in the past, you must complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to vote in the 2014 elections. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all US states and territories. It allows you to register to vote and to request absentee ballots for all regular, primary, run-off, and special elections for federal offices (President, US Senate, and US House of Representatives) during the course of the year it is submitted in. You can complete the FPCA online at The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. It will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. Receiving Your Ballot: Request Electronic Delivery! States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office (President, US Senate or US House of Representatives) and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. No matter which state you vote in, we encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically. Be sure to include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. ou can now also confirm your registration and ballot delivery online for most states at Researching the Candidates and Issues: Check out the www.fvap.links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain via numerous websites such as Project Smart Voter. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the Internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts. FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter. Other Options for Returning Your Completed Ballot: If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest embassy or consulate. They must be in either postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic US postage, and must also be addressed to the relevant local election officials. Embassy London will accept forms and ballots Monday through Friday, from 08:00 until 17:00. Please enter at the US citizen entrance and the material will be scanned by security and placed in the box for mailing by Embassy mail. Only ballots and voting forms can be accepted, no other US mail or messages for Embassy employees. Transit time from the Embassy back to the United States is approximately 10 working days. Alternatively, sufficient local postage can be attached to your forms and ballots and sent by International Air Mail through UK mail. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Post’s Special Consular Services via e-mail at



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American in Britain Summer 2014  

This issue features theatre reviews of The Pajama Game, and Bakersfield Mist; restaurant reviews of Christopher's, Bibo in Putney and The No...