Serving the American Community in the UK
THIS ISSUE’S FEATURES INCLUDE: UK Sports • Travel • Tax Issues • Eating Out • Wealth Management A Letter From Scotland • Theatre • American Women’s Clubs News Arts & Antiques • Take Five • Hotel Review • Embassy Corner
American In Britain
2 Eating Out 6 Travel 10 Hotel Review
14 Tax Issues 16 Wealth Management 19 A Letter From Scotland 22 Take Five 27 UK Sports
31 American Womenâ€™s Clubs News 36 Theatre 41 Arts & Antiques 45 Days Out With The Family
48 Useful Numbers IBC Embassy Corner
PUBLISHER: Helen Elliott, Tel: 020 8661 0186, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Director: Damian Porter, Tel: 01737 551506, Email: email@example.com American in Britain, PO Box 921, Sutton SM1 2WB www.theamericanhour.com
Cover Image: US Secretary of State John Kerry poses with US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun and his wife, Brooke, after they welcomed him to the Winfield House - the US Ambassador's Residence in London, UK on September 18, 2015, for a reception marking the start of London Fashion Week. Photo courtesy of US State Department.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Origination and Printing by Gemini Group
Smith & Wollensky Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT Telephone: 020 7321 6007
When you think of Steakhouses one name is synonymous, that of Smith & Wollensky’s. This US steakhouse, having triumphantly expanded across the US with 10 restaurants, has now taken its expansion further afield, choosing London as its first restaurant outside the US. As is fitting with the brand which provides elegant dining rooms in intimate or iconic locations, its newest arrival in London is no exception, choosing as its location the monumental art deco styled Adelphi Building, situated between the Strand and the Thames. The Adelphi Building forms part of the London Skyline as you cross Waterloo Bridge, and residents have included JM Barrie (author of Peter Pan), George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Hardy, all notable in their fields, as are Smith & Wollensky in theirs. I first came across Smith & Wollensky’s name during my frequent trips to New York with work in the 1980’s, and I always wondered who Mr Smith and Mr Wollensky were, so I felt a slight touch of astonishment when I found out that despite the names Charlie Smith and Ralph Wollensky being used in the opening announcements, they were in fact surnames pulled randomly from a Manhattan phone directory by the real founder Alan Stillman, and the Christian names of his dogs! One thing that hasn’t changed is the style, quality and service that were present then, and the attention to detail. As you slip from the hustle and bustle of the Strand with its theatres and shops, into John Adam Street, you seem to not only leave the crowds, you also seem to step back in time, 2
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and that feeling is perfectly captured by the Martin Brudnizki designed interior. The ceilings are high and the space extensive (15,000 square feet), but with clever touches. The art deco features are shown off well giving a feeling of intimacy as well as space, and this maximises the natural light. On entering, my wife and I made our way past well-spaced out tables and booths to the bar, where we relaxed with a cocktail whilst perusing the menu, which oddly almost took me back to those old days, as it appeared to have changed little. I suppose Smith & Wollensky are following that well known adage‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’, as all the old favourites I remembered were still there. After a light and almost meringue like ‘Perfect Lady’ cocktail, we were shown to our booth by a waiter dressed in a pristine white jacket, where we knuckled down to the serious job of choosing our dinner. The starter choice is extensive and is mainly dominated by seafood with Salmon (£9), Yellow Fin Tuna (£14) or King Scallops with pea purée and bacon (£18), and we selected the Signature Jumbo Lump Crab Cake (£15) and the Crispy Salt and Pepper Squid with Mango Chilli Salsa (£9). In the UK crab cakes usually have more potato than crab, but this is Smith & Wollensky’s, and was almost entirely crab which was well seasoned and oozing freshness. The Salt and Pepper Squid for me needed a little more taste, but were good, and maybe my real gripe was that there wasn’t enough salsa which I loved, with its mix of sweetness and spice. If you really want a feast then you should look no further than the two sharing platters which consist of a tower of Lobster, Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Jumbo Shrimp, Cumbrae Oysters and Amandes Clams paired with Classic Cocktail Sauce, Cognac Mustard Sauce, Ginger Sauce and Sherry Migonette
priced at £75 for the Charlie Smith, or £110 for the Ralph Wollensky. The mains are unashamedly dominated by steak, (well it is a steakhouse!), but you can have fish, lobster, chicken and lamb, but frankly having that isn’t why you would come here. You come here for the steak which is butchered and dry aged on-site, and is hand-cut in their in-house butchery. The meat is predominately USDA Prime steaks which are a rarity in the world of steakhouses and are chosen from the top 2%, and are hand selected for the rich even marbling. All of this is enhanced through a careful dry-ageing process lasting 28 days which intensifies the flavour and tenderness. To cap this off, these ‘Rolls Royce’ of steaks are chargrilled to perfection and are ably supported by some special accompaniments. I went for the signature Bone-In Rib Eye 24oz (£55), as I just love the highly marbled, beefy taste and truly believe that it is the tastiest cut. My wife had a 12oz premium Scottish Fillet Mignon (£40), which you can also have as an 8oz, with an added gorgonzola crust (£4). Both were succulent inside and nicely crisp on the outside. Other cuts are the 14oz Sirloin (£36) or a 21oz NY Cut Bone-in Sirloin (£52), and because of the in-house butchery there are many specials throughout the week to look out for. To perfectly complement the steaks we had some Steakhouse Fries and also selected from the classic selection (for 2) the Creamed Spinach (£9), a must have with a steak, the Onion Rings (£9) and Truffled Mac ‘n’ Cheese (£10). From my previous visits all those years ago, I remembered not to eat too much before coming here and I advise you to do the same, as the portions are American size not UK, hence I was raring to go when the dessert menu arrived and
EATING OUT was not disappointed. Smith & Wollensky do not do things by halves and have their own pastry chef who prepares the desserts daily on site, and it shows. I opted for the Gigantic Chocolate Cake (£15) which truly lives up to its name and is gigantic with a capital G. This can be shared between probably 4 people and consists of moist chocolate layer cake brushed with Baileys Irish Cream, chocolate mousse and covered with chocolate ganache. I am a chocoholic and this is my kind of pudding, as the cake is light and the mousse suitably gooey, and my kids loved the doggy bag I brought back for them with this in it, as even having left room this is not a dessert one person can eat alone. My wife had the Apple Tarte Fine (£8) which she declared as being one of the finest desserts she had eaten, with the light puff pastry layered with frangipan and apples coated in a salted caramel sauce. Smith & Wollensky’s dining room is split over two levels each with a separate bar which can cater for any type of private party, and if your group is smaller they also have 3 additional private dining rooms for those special occasions. Smith & Wollensky offers a timeless, vibrant, yet relaxed atmosphere that envelopes guests in gracious hospitality. It takes many of the features of the Adelphi Building and its art deco style and marries them with the distinctive Smith & Wollensky brand, the result of which is a dining experience that offers simple refinement in the grand tradition, and I for one am glad that they chose London for their first foray out of America. However, I am not sure if my waistband agrees with me!
535 Kings Road, London SW10 0SZ Telephone: 020 7351 7788 As the youngest child in my family I can truly understand how it feels to have achieved
something only to be told that your older sibling did the same, and not only that, but obviously did it before you as they are older. I can imagine that those in charge at Masala Grill have a similar feeling about its ‘older sibling’, namely the restaurant that used to occupy 535 Kings Road, in the heart of Chelsea, before them. I am not going to succumb to mentioning its predecessor, as I think that Masala Grill’s achievements are such that they stand alone, and they are a great addition to Chelsea life. Masala Grill comes from the same group who own Amaya,Veeraswamy and Masala Zone, and is located between Sloane Square and Fulham Broadway tube stations, on the Kings Road, and they provide top quality Indian food in an eclectic setting. As you leave the hustle and bustle of the Kings Road you step into the informal and calming atmosphere that is Masala Grill. The reception area is warm and full of rich colours, with a lovely centre piece - a flower covered water bowl (I am advised this is good Feng Shui), and this area felt less like a restaurant and more like a front room of a house. On descending into the restaurant the warm décor continues with rich tapestries and Indian statues adorning the walls, all of which I believe have either been sourced from the owner’s own homes or Indian markets, and the space is surprising. The dining room is split into 3 distinct parts; one a separate dining room for approximately 35 which is revealed by pulling back some mirrored shutters; the second a warm dining room filled with well spaced out tables; and the third, the tables surrounding a Ficus tree in a conservatory adorned by festival ribboning of vibrant reds and pinks. We were seated in the conservatory, where, whilst sipping a perfectly mixed cocktail, perused the menu. Accompanying our predinner drinks we nibbled on some popadoms
accompanied by a delightful trio of chutneys, of which two were spicy and the third a sweet mango chutney. Following these we decided to pep up our taste buds before the main courses with some Pani Puri (£5.50) and one of the signature dishes the Chicken Sixer (£7.50). The Pani Puri were crisp whole wheat puffs which we carefully filled with a refreshing splash of sauce and then were eaten whole - a street food classic. The Chicken Sixer was named after cricket lovers in the South of India, and the succulent chicken surrounded by a crisp coating provided just the right amount of heat to stimulate your taste buds, and this was served with a rich and spicy tomato chutney. What I love about Masala Grill is that it dares you to be brave and choose things you may not have thought of, and I truly urge you to go with it as you will not regret it. As a starter I would usually look to Lamb Seekh Kebab ( £9.50), which although true to its Punjabi regional roots, and very tasty, is not a patch on the vegetarian dishes. Many of those I tried I would probably never have chosen, and that would have meant me missing out on treats such as the Dahi Puri (£6), a variation on the Pani Puri, and fills the crispy puffs with a mixture of refreshing yoghurt and tangy pomegranate where the flavours simply burst in your mouth and stimulate all of your senses - a must have. Another Punjab region inspired dish is the Vegetable Samosa Chaat (£6.50), which again is a must have, and unlike most Samosa’s is made from ‘proper’ pastry which is light and wholesome, and is served warm with yoghurt and tamarind. Having already gone ‘off piste’ with my selections, and being rewarded with some delicious delights, I was determined to maintain this adventurous spirt for the main course, and looking again at the menu I realised how far Indian food in the UK has come. In the not too distant past, Indian food was thought of as something to do after a few beers in the pub in a gaudily decorated restaurant. Oh how different it is now. Masala Grill offer a 4 pronged attack for the main courses. Prong one are delightful Biryanis with a Chicken (£14) or a Vegetable (£13) option. Prong two, Thalis where those who really cannot decide what to have can have a tasting menu on a tray. The vegetarian option (£16) includes Paneer Makhanwalla, Daal and cauliflower and peas whereas the nonvegetarian option (£18) have a wide variety of curries both of which will help on your next visit (yes I guarantee you will return), where you may prefer to select one dish. Prong 3 is the grill section where the choice is extensive. I tried the Dehli Chicken Tikka (£12.50) a novel twist on the usual Chicken Tikka where, instead of breast meat, chicken thighs were used, and the subtle blend of Kashmiri red chillies, ginger and garlic take this dish to a different level. Other notable choices include King Sized Prawns (£23), and Raan Khyberi (£21) which is a slow cooked leg of Lamb served with Star Anise and caramelised onions. My choice and my wife’s came from Prong 4 - the Curries. My wife chose the Butter Chicken (£13.50), which gets www.americaninbritain.co.uk
its name from the smoothness of the chicken rather than any use of butter in the dish and I, retaining that adventurous streak, chose the Punja Rara Gosht (£15). Accompanying this we had one rice (£2.75), a Sag Aloo (£4.25) and a Roti for my wife (£3), and in my current carefree attitude, a Cheese and Green Chillie Naan (£4). The Butter Chicken lived up to its name and was luxurious and rich with just enough heat to complement rather than overpower. My Punja Rara Gosht was another eye opener as the slow cooked lamb hit the spot with the spice adding to the taste rather than dominating it. The green chilli and cheese naan to me was fine without the cheese, which I felt only added an unnecessary additional flavour, but the actual naan is light and frankly doesn’t need any additions. It almost feels odd to say it at an Indian restaurant, but it is worth looking, and ordering, from the dessert menu. The Gulab Jamun with salted caramel ice cream (£5.50) is worth a look, as is the Chocolate and Caramel Fondant (£7.50), which Reese’s Cup chocolate lovers will enjoy. Masala Grill also do a Sunday buffet (£26 a head), and I for one will return for this, as from what I have currently tasted, this will enable me to try widen my horizons even further. Masala Grill is a quality restaurant in its own right and offers exceptional Indian food at sensible prices, and I for one am eternally grateful for them giving me more confidence in my choices, because some of the choices I made here will be my selections for years to come.
Lanes of London 140 Park Lane, London, W1K 7AA Telephone: 020 7647 5664
After a tiring afternoon shopping on Oxford Street
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with my wife, I was more than ready to enjoy a relaxing evening in the hands of the friendly staff at Lanes of London. This stylish, yet casual restaurant, is located at the end of Park Lane, overlooking Marble Arch and Hyde Park, and is a perfect location for a post Oxford Street recharge. Lanes of London is housed in a beautiful late Edwardian mansion block, and is part of the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane. As you enter through the bar area there is an air of sophistication about the place, with its decor of marble, aged brass, traditional leaded glazing and oak detailing. The atmosphere is both warm and welcoming, providing much needed calm from the busy streets outside. We relaxed with a cocktail in a snug and comfy booth whilst watching the world go by on Park Lane. The cocktail list is extensive; and they offer a range of classic cocktails as well as some creative options. The ones we chose were stylishly presented and delivered well on taste. The menu is locally sourced British produce with a focus on rare-breed and seasonal ingredients. At the helm is the newly appointed executive chef, Emmanuel Garde. His menu changes seasonally, and is reasonably priced considering the Mayfair location. Starters, ranging in price from £6 to £12, include Mackerel, Duck, Cut Meat and New Season Charred Asparagus. I opted for the Crab with beet sea, avocado and crispy filo. The portion was small, but delicious, and made for a nice appetiser to the main course. My wife savoured her Home Cured Salmon with watercress and pine nuts. I often suffer from that common restaurant affliction known as‘food envy’, so before choosing my main course I scouted the room to check out my fellow diners’ choices. With a selection including Burger, Steak, Cornish Lamb, Sea Bass and Vegetarian Options, ranging from £12-£20,
I was very tempted by the look of the Lamb but decided to opt instead for one of the waiter’s recommendations; Roast Hake with clams and samphire barley. My wife had the Corn Fed chicken with cilantro purée and chorizo demi glace. Luckily ‘food envy’ was not an issue, apart from my wife’s double dipped sweet potato fries, which I was invited to ‘share’! The main courses were also accompanied by our chosen side orders of new season buttered vegetables, and the most delicious whipped potatoes I have eaten in a long time. All side orders are priced at £4. At Lanes the drinks list is extensive; including boutique beers, an excellent choice of aforementioned cocktails, and a good selection of wines (from £22 a bottle). We opted for a bottle of white Italian ‘Gavi’- dry and fresh, with a fruity and aromatic acidity, making it a good option to complement our chicken and fish main courses. The dessert menu is small (both physically - being printed on a postcard, and in its selection), but very appealing. On the waiter’s recommendation I went for the Eaton Moss (a deconstructed Eton Mess), and my wife devoured the Choc Torte, which she declared to be delicious. The Eaton Moss, with its meringue slithers, ice cream and fruit purée was unlike any other dessert I have had - I enjoyed the flavour and the creative spin. To be honest it was a difficult choice, as the Ginger Cake, Jammy Dodgers and Cheesecake (all £6) had been calling to me, but if chocolate is your thing, you cannot go wrong with the chocolate torte served with buttermilk ice cream. The service here is friendly and laid back making it a cosy retreat. I hear that the Afternoon Tea is also very good, and a worthwhile consideration to squeeze into a busy day of shopping, or the perfect antidote to Winter Wonderland in nearby Hyde Park, as we approach the madness of the Christmas build up.
2B Worship Street, London, EC2A 2AH Telephone: 020 3815 6696 There is always a buzz in our household if you mention going out for Pizza, but even more so now we have reviewed PizzaBuzz, a new pizza restaurant situated about 5 minutes from Liverpool Street, Old Street and Moorgate stations. Located in Worship Street, this modern restaurant offers a dine-in or take-out experience, and allows diners to create their own pizza from scratch, or you can pick one from the Signature Selection, including the Honor pizza, which is named after the owners daughter. On entering PizzaBuzz, we were greeted by a very long counter, with a huge variety of ingredients from which we chose our toppings, and several staff who were willing to help us create our pizza of choice. The first member of staff on the day we went was Italian, and he kneaded our dough (made from flour and
spelt) and then spun it and threw it in the air as all good pizza makers do, before passing it along to his colleague who then put the sauce of our choice, oil, and the cheese of our choice on the base. The choices of pizza base include Rossa (crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and oregano), Margherita (crushed tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan), Verde (pine nut basil pesto, mozzarella and parmesan) and Bianca (mozzarella, parmesan, rosemary leaves and white sauce), all costing from £4.25-£5.95. The pizza was then passed along to their next colleague for what they call Step 2, where we add our proteins at £1.50 a portion, and these include pancetta, chicken, nduja, tuna, spicy sausage and pepperoni, before Step 3 which is the choice of extra cheese at £1.95 a portion, and then culminating with Steps 4 and 5, where we added vegetables (£1 each), and then finally the herbs we wished to garnish our pizza with (50p each). Our pizza then moved along the line, and whilst we ordered our drinks, (you can also order salads at this point), the pizza
was taken away to be placed in the huge pizza ovens, and within 2 minutes was served to us and was absolutely perfect, and I have to say, completely delicious - not a crumb was left by the time we had finished! We chose to dine in when we visited, and along with our pizzas tried the Burratas (large, creamy mozzarella balls), served with a choice of rocket and lemon, beetroot and mint, Parma ham and chilli flakes or tomato and basil. We had never tried one of these before, but will definitely be ordering them again. To drink we chose Gladiator Spelt Beer, which I was reliably told our readers would have heard of, and to finish our meal we chose the chocolate ice cream (made from goat’s milk) and the rose ice cream (made from cow’s milk). These are only £1.95 and are great value for money. PizzaBuzz is a pizza experience like no other, and one we will definitely return for, and will be enjoyed by friends, families, and colleagues alike, and I am sure we will soon be seeing more of them popping up around the country - hopefully in Sutton!
The Cotswolds & Sudbury House Hotel
In the last week of August, when all we saw was rain, rain and more rain, my friend Jackie and I headed to the beautiful Cotswolds, situated in the South West of England, stretching through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Bath and North Somerset, Warwickshire and Wiltshire, and although the weather was awful, nothing dampened our spirits or our enjoyment of our two night trip. The Cotswolds is the largest of the UKs 47 ‘Acres of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, covering 790sq miles, and is the second largest landscape in England after the Lake District National Park. It is built on a history famed for its cotton and stone, which can still be seen today in the beautiful buildings and houses throughout The 6
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Cotswolds, many in picture postcard towns and villages. We started our trip, with a drive that took just under 2 hours from Surrey, by heading to Sudbury House Hotel, a hotel with 49 recently refurbished and well-appointed modern bedrooms, with comfortable beds, large televisions and en- suite bathrooms, and extremely friendly and efficient staff. Once we’d settled into our room we then jumped back into the car and drove 20 minutes to the highlight of our trip, The Cotswold Wild Life Park, which is a must for families, friends or couples. Situated just outside Burford, The Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to a large variety of animals all roaming around in large pens with hardly a
cage in sight. On the drive up to the entrance we passed an open pen housing Emus, and once in the Park followed a path that led us to giant tortoises, rhinos, giraffes, camels, lions, zebras, red pandas, lemurs, meerkats and monkeys. We then headed to the petting farm where pigs, piglets, donkeys, rabbits, goats, guinea pigs and miniature ponies could be stroked and petted, and followed this by entering the Fruit Bat House and Reptile House which housed several species of snakes, lizards, frogs and two alligators. The highlight of our visit however, was seeing one week old rhino, Ian, who was so cute we could have sat watching him for hours! Children can try their hand at brass rubbing from just £3, and there is a train that will
Delicious Afternoon Tea
Sudbury House Hotel
take visitors around the park. There is also a restaurant serving family friendly meals and a coffee kiosk selling teas, coffees and cakes, and a large gift shop for souvenirs. Entrance fees to The Cotswolds Wild Life Park are £15 for adults, £10 for children aged 3-16, and free to children under 3. After an exciting afternoon with the animals, we headed back to Sudbury House Hotel, where we enjoyed a delicious Afternoon Tea, with sandwiches, chocolate cake, walnut cake, special profiteroles and freshly made scones which were light in texture and served with the traditional clotted cream and strawberry jam. This was served in Restaurant 56, and had it been a sunny day, could have been taken on the terrace overlooking the beautifully manicured lawn. The next morning, following an enjoyable buffet style breakfast in the hotel’s Magnolia restaurant, that included fruits, yoghurts, cereals, toast, croissants, as well as sausages, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and eggs of your choice, we got back into the www.theamericanhour.com
car and drove 15 minutes to Burford where I spent a small fortune (!), followed by a stop in Stow-on-the-Wold, a slightly larger town with numerous shops, coffee shops and restaurants, and then on to Lower Slaughter where we left the car and walked to Upper Slaughter, which took about 20 minutes. This is definitely worth doing, as you get to see Upper Slaughter Manor, a private residence which is simply breath taking, and a great example of Cotswold Architecture, and you can reward yourself with a drink on the lawn at The Lord of the Manor Hotel in Upper Slaughter. After a thoroughly enjoyable day of driving from town to town and meandering through the various shops in each town, we were then invited to Restaurant 56 for a three course dinner, with matching wines. The restaurant is different in style to the main hotel which is very modern, as it is based in a Grade II listed Georgian entrance, and has just been refurbished in keeping with its history. Executive Head Chef, Andrew Scott, creates
very attractive fine dining dishes using locally sourced produce with additional refined twists. Diners can choose from the Tasting Menu, or the À La Carte menu sample dishes of which include: Dressed Torbay and Soft Shell Crab, Mooli and Ginger, Passion Fruit £16, Ravioli of Smoked Haddock and Quail Egg, Monk’s Beard and Salty Fingers, Chowder Sauce £13, Maple Cured Smoked Bacon, Scottish Lagoustines, Granny Smith and Celeriac £15, Pigeon Carpaccio, White Truffle Custard, Madeira Jelly, Salt Baked Jerusalem Artichokes £13, and “Roast Chicken”, Sage and Onion Crumb, Pickled Cipollini Onions £12, for starters. Sample main dishes include: Roasted Medallion of Monkfish, Curried Red Lentils, Cauliflower Fondant, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce £26, Pan Fried Fillet of Brill, Linguine, Brown Shrimp, Charred Leeks, Shellfish Bisque Sauce £27, Fillet and Crispy belly of Kelmsco8 Pork, Spiced Date, Salt Baked Turnip, Cider Sauce £26, and Chump and Shoulder of New Season Lamb, Yuzu, Goats Cheese, Roasted www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Mill Lower Slaughter, www.cotswolds.com
Courgette and Artichoke £27. Diners can also choose from a Selection of Cheeses from the British Isles, Homemade Wafers and Biscuits, Quince Jelly and Plum Chutney, or for those with a sweeter tooth: 56 Artisan Chocolate Plate, Michel Cluizel, Duffy, Original Beans £10, Vanilla Custard and Apple Slice, Bramley Apple Sorbet £9.50, Warm Popcorn Cake, Salted Peanut Mousse, Popcorn Ice Cream, Banana £9, and Yoghurt and Cherry Cannelloni, Pistachio Flapjack, Morello Cherry Sorbet £9.50. The waiting staff were, like all the staff at the hotel, very attentive and informed, but not intrusive, and the dishes were beautifully presented. For readers who are spirits enthusiasts, (the alcoholic spirit rather than the ethereal one!), then a destination to visit is The Cotswolds Distillery, set in five acres of beautiful Cotswolds countryside. Even though it is just over a year old, it has already been cited as one of the top distillery tours by The Telegraph. It’s easy to understand why as the entire experience is designed with the visitor in mind. The tours begin in the working distillery with a discussion of the custom-made stills and the distilling process. The Cotswolds team uses traditional handmalting techniques, starting with organic barley sourced from an estate less than 20 miles away. They use custom stills and fermenters capable of producing over 100,000 bottles of Cotswold Single Malt Whisky annually. The challenge with whisky distilling, however, is that it takes at least four years to age in casks, so in the interim, the distillers have been making gins and other liqueurs in limited edition bottlings. The tour continues in the shop and cosy tasting room which features comfortable chairs and settees arranged around a stone fireplace. The well-stocked bar has whiskies from around the world including Balcones Texas Single Malt and Deacon Seat American Single Malt, but the focus is on the distillery’s own spirits. Not to be missed are the walnut and honey liqueur and the camomile and hops gin. Tours are given twice daily, April through October, and once a day the rest of the year. Tours fill quickly and must be booked in advance. 8
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It is worth getting on the newsletter distribution list for notification about interesting events like a recent summer supper which featured five gin-inspired courses with paired cocktails, including a memorable beetroot, homemade cheese and hazelnut salad with a watercress gin garden cocktail. They also recently hosted a book signing and gin-tasting with Ian Buxton, author of ‘10 Gins to Try Before You Die’. The distillery is on the edge of Shipston-onStour near Banbury; it is hard to find and satnav connections are sporadic, but have patience and watch for road signs.
“The Cotswolds is the largest of the UKs 47 ‘Acres of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, covering 790sq miles, and is the second largest landscape in England after the Lake District National Park.” For history enthusiasts, a trip to The Old Prison is worth putting on your itinerary, and is free to visit. A history of The Cotswolds is housed in this building, along with a history of the prison itself and the agricultural history of the area. There is also a coffee shop which sells a few local products made from local ingredients. We rounded off our trip with the best fish and chips I have had, in a corner café/restaurant in Bourton on the Water, a beautiful town, known
as The Venice of the Cotswolds, which is also home to a Model Railway Village and a Car Museum, before heading back up the M40 and around the M25 home. I cannot recommend highly enough a trip to The Cotswolds, be it for a day, long weekend or holiday, as there is something for everyone. I have personally been four times, and will be returning in the not too distant future. For further information on Sudbury House Hotel, please visit www.sudburyhouse.co.uk Restaurant 56 – www.restaurant56.co.uk Cotswold Wildlife Park – www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk Cotswold Distillery www.cotswoldsdistillery.com
Cotswold Distillery, www.cotswolds.com
Stow on the Wold, www.cotswolds.com
Riverside Christmas Parties at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel Pull out all the stops with a stunning riverside location for your Christmas party and get planning! The spectacular views of the marina and its glittering array of super-yachts, make The Chelsea Harbour Hotel the perfect choice to revel in style and sophistication. With Christmas parties from 50 to 500 guests hosted in grand party rooms, plus 158 suites to stay the night after your celebrations! For further information or Christmas bookings, please call: +44 (0) 20 7300 8401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XG
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Coworth Park, Ascot, Surrey
The Dorchester is a brand known throughout the world and is synonymous with quality and class, and its ‘country retreat’ Coworth Park doesn’t disappoint. Coworth Park is situated just outside of Ascot in prime equestrian country, and the main mansion house was built in 1776. Its past is also closely linked to equestrianism and many notable people have graced its doors on a trip to the racing at Ascot. Indeed one of its more notable owners was Lord Derby, who when president of the Jockey club was caught by a steward feeding his horse just before a race. He was challenged and responded by saying it was just a sugar lump and to prove it ate one himself. This was followed up by saying ‘Keep the creature on a tight rein until a furlong out, then let him have his head, he’ll do the rest’. His Lordship added, almost as an afterthought: ‘If you hear anything coming up behind you, don’t worry and don’t turn round, it will only be me! From this colourful past, the current owners have retained all of the charm of the exterior with an ultra modern interior. As you leave the leafy lanes of Ascot and Sunningdale and turn up the drive into the 240 acre estate, 15 minutes from Heathrow and under an hour from London, you start to capture the grandeur of the place. To the right immaculate polo fields, and in the centre the Palladian styled Manor House flanked initially by a formal garden where patrons can relax, followed by a country one where random paths crisscross the wild flowers and grasses that sway in the breeze. This is country living at its finest. On entering the Manor House you are immediately struck with the contrast of old and new, with the apple computers and a modern tree sculpture juxtaposed with the Georgian exterior, and the formal garden that could easily have been designed by Capability Brown, but these contrasts for some reason work perfectly as they are bound by a common theme, quality. This quality also extends to the staff. Nothing is too much trouble and the balance between friendly and professional is just right, so you
feel not only welcome, but also special. The 70 rooms are split into those in the renovated Stables and those in the main house. The Mansion House rooms and suites have extensive views out of the high Georgian windows over the gardens towards the polo fields, and no two rooms are alike, being a combination of traditional and contemporary. For those who love traditional, the rooms are well proportioned with high ceilings, and some have ornate four poster beds taking the form of trees which brings the countryside into the room, and sofas you can sink into. It is also worth mentioning at this point that this is the most comfortable bed I have slept in, and it was truly a wrench to drag myself up the next morning. On the contemporary side those who like modern will not be disappointed as the rooms have free wi-fi and shiny, sleek flatscreen Bang & Olufsen televisions (including a tile one in the bathroom), and a coffee maker even George Clooney would approve of! In the stables the décor is crisper, with modern furnishings and simple pastoral colour schemes which subtly hark back to their original use with the use of leather, and wooden floors, and the artwork all with an equestrian theme. As a country retreat there are many outdoor pursuits to occupy guests - tennis, croquet and horse riding being just a few. You can even borrow bicycles and wend your way around the estate, but do ask the hotel for routes as it is easy to get lost. For those who like to be active but prefer not to be at the mercy of the variable English weather, there is the space age eco spa built partially above and partially below ground. Here you can take a swim in the pool, work out in the gym, or my personal favourite, take a relaxing treatment. The contemporary design of the building again brings the outside in, and the inside out, with every area of the spa flooded with natural light, and although ultra-modern, still retains a comforting warmth. As with everything else, food and drink lovers are well looked after with a number of
restaurants and bars catering for every type of taste, all under the watchful eye of executive chef, Simon Whitley. The Bar at Coworth Park offers a refined location to enjoy a pre-dinner drink before moving into one of the two main restaurants for dinner. Restaurant Coworth Park, which is the fine dining offering, showcases a modern outlook on British classics in a truly elegant setting. If you prefer something a little more relaxed, then a short walk from the main house, located in the Stables complex, is The Barn. Here you can enjoy brasserie styled food served from an open kitchen. The menus are constantly changing to take advantage of the fresh local produce but some favourites are constant. Starters include the Ham Hock Terrine with pickled vegetables and cider dressing which is meaty and light at the same time, and the Spiced Parsnip Soup was warm and inviting with just enough curry oil to give it body. Mains include burgers and fish and chips along with a lasagne of wild mushrooms, onion, parmesan and gruyere cream. For those feeling more healthy, The Spatisserie on the ground floor of the Spa follows a more healthy menu with light snacks, fruit smoothies, and for those who have been good, a glass of champagne against stunning views of the hotel grounds. You may think with all this luxury that Coworth Park is the sole retreat of couples, but you could not be further from the truth as it is very children friendly. Couples are pampered, but Coworth Park manages to marry that with an extensive programme for families where the parents can relax in luxury knowing that their children are well looked after. Along with special rates for adjoining bedrooms for families, Coworth Park has a converted 4 bedroom house with 7 different rooms equipped to keep children of all ages entertained. The rooms include a role play area with a giant kitchen, shop, train set and work bench; the quiet room with lots of books and a dolls house; and the messy room where you can bake cakes and
cookies. The upstairs area includes a teen den exclusively for children 8 years old and above, complete with a library of films and computer games for older kids, and outdoor activities such as treasure hunts organised by their friendly kids club supervisors. If that isn’t enough, then the theme parks of Legoland and Thorpe Park are also nearby. Coworth Park is a delightful blend of styles and charm all supported by exceptional service from their staff and that eclectic mix is equally evident in its clientele. It offers as much to those couples wishing to have a romantic time as to parents looking for a break with their families, and both coexist in harmony and all in a relaxed luxurious way. For further information please visit: www.dorchestercollection.com
Coworth Park is offering a 3-night package valid 24th – 27th December, the night of the 23rd December is to be offered complimentary if the 3-night Christmas package is booked by 31st October 2015. Rate: Stay at Coworth Park on the 3-night Christmas package from £475 per person for two guests sharing a room. Price includes: Christmas Eve – Thursday 24th December * Bottle of champagne on ice in the room on arrival * Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Drawing Room * 5pm Children’s Story Time by the fireplace * Cinema/Games Room in the Garden Room * Three-course dinner in either Restaurant Coworth Park or the Barn (drinks charged as taken) * Transfers to Sunningdale Parish for Midnight Mass * Hot chocolate or a hot toddy and cheese in the Drawing Room upon return with entertainment by Coworth Park’s pianist Christmas Day – Friday 25th December * Gifts delivered by Father Christmas at 11.00am in the lobby * Breakfast served in Restaurant Coworth Park * Pre-lunch drinks with entertainment in the Drawing Room * Festive four course lunch served in the Barn or Festive five course lunch served in Restaurant Coworth Park* (*£45.00 supplement per person) * Queen’s speech showing in the Drawing Room * Cinema/Games Room in the Garden Room * Open house buffet dinner in the Mansion House Boxing Day – Saturday 26th December * Brunch served in Restaurant Coworth Park and the Oak Room * Chocolate Masterclass in the Oval Room at 11.00am or 1.00pm * Wine Masterclass in the Oval Room at 3.00pm or 4.30pm * Falconry Display and Segway Racing * Cinema/Games Room in the Garden Room * Champagne Afternoon Tea * Three-course dinner in either Restaurant Coworth Park or the Barn (drinks charged as taken) Sunday 27th December * Breakfast in Restaurant Coworth Park Reservation details: +44 (0) 1344 876 600 www.dorchestercollection.com
American In Britain
TAX ISSUES Expat Tax: Common Myths About US Tax Filing Requirements In general, US citizens and permanent resident visa holders (expatriates) are required to file a US income tax return, FBAR reports and possibly state income tax returns if they meet the filing requirements. There is common misinformation regarding these US filing requirements so we are identifying the common myths regarding expats and US tax filings. 1. Individuals living outside of the US and filing tax returns with the foreign government are not obligated to file annual US tax returns. This is incorrect. The US requires its citizens and permanent residents to file annual tax returns irrespective of where they live or earn income as long as they meet the filing requirements. This is true for expats that have never lived in the US or moved from the US when they were young. 2. My foreign accountant, foreign financial advisor, or other trusted advisor has specifically advised me that a US tax return was not required, or that only certain income was subject to reporting in the US. This may be correct if you do not meet the filing requirements. However, it is best to consult with an advisor specialising in US reporting requirements. 3. Since my foreign sourced income is below the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE), a US tax return does not need to be filed. This is incorrect. The FEIE allows expats working aboard to exclude up to $99,200 in gross income from their 2014 ($100,800 for 2015) taxes but a US tax return must be filed to claim this benefit. 4. Only my US Sourced Income needs to be reported on my US tax return. This is incorrect. The IRS taxes expats on their worldwide income. So regardless of where you work, you must report your income as if you worked within the US. However, certain rules and benefits are available to expats, such as the FEIE and Foreign Tax Credit (FTC). US citizens and residents are taxed on their worldwide income. To minimise double taxation, the US provides expats with benefits such as the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) and the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC). For 2014, the FEIE allows US citizens and residents working abroad to exclude up to $99,200 from their taxable income (note that the FEIE will increase to $100,800 in 2015). Expats can exclude only earned income, which includes salary, wages, bonuses, and in many cases self-employment income. Social Security, investment income, and pension income typically do not qualify for the exclusion. The FTC would allow your resident country income taxes to offset your US tax liability and often results in no US tax liability as long as the foreign income tax rates 14
American In Britain
are higher than the US income tax rates. The rules are complex and tests must be met before you can claim the exclusion, and you have to take into consideration which taxes and income qualify for the FTC. Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, is used to calculate your FEIE and your housing exclusion or deduction. In order to qualify, you must meet the tax home test and meet either the bona fide residence test or meet the physical presence test. The Form inquires about aspects of your stay abroad, such as your visa status, to help determine the nature and length of your stay for purposes of determining bona fide resident status. For instance, if you were a permanent resident of the other country there is no issue, but if you only held a year-by-year visa, or visa for a particular purpose, the chances of being considered a bona fide resident of that country can be reduced. If that is the case, you may want to look to the physical presence test instead. This test requires that your principal place of work is outside of the US for 330 days within a 12-month period, which does not necessarily need to be a calendar year. Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit, is used to calculate your FTC available to offset your US tax liability. This form can be used in combination with the Form 2555 or exclusively. In order to claim the FTC, the taxes must be paid or accrued by the taxpayer during the tax year. The FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is required to be filed if you have a financial interest in, or signature authority over, a foreign financial accounts that, in the aggregate, exceed $10,000 USD at any time during the calendar year. The IRS Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets may be required in addition to the Form 114. A Form 8938 is required to be filed if you have an interest in specified foreign financial assets and the value of those assets is more than the following applicable 2014 reporting thresholds:
“There is common misinformation regarding these US filing requirements so we are identifying the common myths regarding expats and US tax filings.” Non US based Pension Plans and Deferred Compensation Plans may need to be reported on the FBAR and Form 8938 if the balance held in your name meets the above filing thresholds. If you have now realised that you are delinquent on your US income tax returns or FBAR reports, there are ways to get current with your filing obligations. The IRS currently has several disclosure programmes available. The most common programme is the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedure, which requires the filing of 3 years of US tax returns and 6 years of FBAR filings. The Streamlined Program is a vehicle for Americans living abroad who have honestly overlooked their filing obligations and not under audit from the IRS. If you have correctly filed your US income tax returns but were not aware of your FBAR filing
Taxpayers living in the US – Filing Status
Anytime in 2014
Married Filing Jointly
Married Filing Separately
Taxpayers living abroad – Filing Status
Anytime in 2014
Married Filing Jointly
Married Filing Separately
TAX ISSUES requirements, 6 years of FBAR filings can be filed under the Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures as long as you are not under audit by the IRS. Under these programmes, the IRS will not impose penalties, but tax and interest will still be due, if applicable. If you are unable to pay your tax, you may be eligible to enter into an Installment Agreement or other programmes offered by the IRS. CIRCULAR 230 DISCLAIMER: Pursuant to US Treasury regulations, any federal tax advice contained in this article is not intended or written to be used and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. This notice is required by IRS Circular 230, which regulates written communications about federal tax matters between tax advisors
and their clients. To the extent the preceding correspondence and/or any attachment is a written tax advice communication, it is not a full “covered opinion”. Accordingly, this advice is not intended and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the IRS.
expat tax preparation for Americans abroad. Due to the complexity of US tax reporting for expats and its highly fact-specific nature, please consult an H&R Block Expat Tax Advisor at www.hrblock.com/expats for advice on your specific tax situation.
Nancy Paustian, H&R Block Expat Tax Services. Nancy leads the expat team specialising in tax preparation for clients living in Europe. She is a CPA with over 20 years’ experience in tax accounting, compliance, planning, research and management experience in public accounting and private industry. A seasoned tax professional, she has experience in coordinating IRS tax audits, foreign tax audits and various state tax audits. H&R Block Expat Tax Services is a highly specialised team of tax attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents whose singular focus is
FREE TAX SEMINAR Monday 8th February 2016
This seminar will cover tax issues that affect expatriates living and working in the UK, and will highlight issues that expatriates need to know about in order to keep their finances in check. Topics that will be covered include Federal and State Tax Return Preparation and Filing, FBAR filing (reports of foreign bank and financial accounts) and bringing expats into IRS compliance. This seminar is hosted by Roland Sabates, a tax attorney and Director of Operations for H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services business. Roland has a wealth of experience in international tax preparation and helping clients navigate through their unique tax situations that exist as a US expat. His area of specialisation is resolving international tax issues for individuals and small business owners, such as FBAR and foreign information reporting, IRS voluntary disclosure programme participation, and US taxation of foreign trusts and retirement arrangements. To register for this free seminar that is taking place at 12.30pm at The 2016 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition, Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London please email email@example.com
WEALTH MANAGEMENT Planning For Inheritance Tax As An American In The UK Many people don’t like to think about what will happen in the event of their death. For US persons living in the UK, the subject of inheritance tax is one that can be very important due to the large differential in the nil rate inheritance tax bands available in the UK as compared to the US. A lack of understanding about how inheritance tax works can end up costing loved ones hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. However, proper planning can help minimise the amount of inheritance tax payable and help ensure that loved ones are left with an estate that will provide for their needs after death. Proper strategies will largely depend on whether an individual is deemed to be UK domicile or non-UK domicile at the time of death.
What Is Inheritance Tax? Inheritance tax is a levy that is assessed by the government based on the net value of an estate. In its simplest definition, the net value of an estate is based on the fair market value of all assets on the date of death less any debts. Includable assets are most often, among others: • Cash in the bank • Investments • Any personal property • Any real property or businesses owned • Cars • Life insurance policy pay-outs. In the UK, everyone is currently allowed a net estate valued up to £325,000 before any inheritance tax is assessed. This is called the nil-rate band. Any estate valued above this threshold is subject to tax at 40% (or 36% if at least 10% of the residual assets are left to a HMRC qualified charity). Generally, at death, any assets left to a spouse or civil partner, are exempt from inheritance tax as long as they are considered to be UK-domicile (it is possible to make an election to be treated as UK-domicile, if appropriate). This means that together a couple can currently pass on up to £650,000 before being subject to UK inheritance tax.
Increased UK Inheritance Tax Thresholds During the summer 2015 Budget, the Chancellor announced that between April 2017 and 2020 an additional nil rate band of £175,000 will be phased in when a main residence is passed on to an immediate family member (defined as children, step16
American In Britain
children and grandchildren). So, in 2020, the nil rate band will total £1 million for couples with a main residence that will be passed on to children or grandchildren before UK inheritance tax will be payable. This additional allowance will be phased out on properties worth £2 million or more. Individuals will lose £1 of the allowance for every £2 that the fair market value of the property exceeds £2 million. So, the allowance would be fully phased out when a property is worth in excess of £2,350,000. During an individual’s lifetime, the UK allows gifts to be made to individuals free of tax, if it meets certain conditions. This is known as a potentially exempt transfer, or PET. A gift will be free of inheritance tax as long as the individual giving the gift does not die within seven years of giving. If the individual who makes the gift does die within seven years then part or all of the gift will be added back to the taxable estate. There are some exceptions to the potentially exempt transfer. Individuals are allowed to gift up to £3,000 each tax year. Contributions to charities and political parties are also excluded as are gifts in consideration of marriage up to a certain amount. Additionally, if regular gifts are made out of income (as opposed to capital) and this does not affect the lifestyle of the individual who is making a gift, this may also be exempt.
Domiciled Versus NonDomiciled For UK Inheritance Tax Purposes Many Americans living in the UK are considered to be non-domiciled for UK inheritance tax purposes. Currently, a nondomiciled individual becomes deemed domicile for inheritance tax purposes when they have been resident in the UK for 17 out of the last 20 years. It is important to note that following the summer 2015 Budget announcement this threshold will change to 15 out of the last 20 years in April 2017. When an individual is deemed domicile for UK inheritance tax purposes, the UK will generally apply its inheritance tax rules on an individual’s worldwide assets. Until an American meets the UK deemed domicile rules, it is likely that they will be considered non-domiciled in the UK and will remain domiciled in the US for inheritance tax purposes. There are a number of important considerations when this is the case. First, while an American remains non-domiciled the
UK inheritance tax threshold and associated rules remain relevant for any assets that are held inside the UK. Assets held outside of the UK generally remain outside of the UK inheritance tax net. While a US person remains domiciled in the US, they are generally subject to the US inheritance tax rules on their worldwide assets. A US domiciliary resident for gift and estate tax purposes enjoys a lifetime allowance of $5.43 million (2015, adjusted annually). During an individual’s lifetime, money can generally pass freely between two US citizen spouses without any limitations applying (if one spouse is not a US citizen, lifetime transfers to the non-citizen spouse is currently limited to $147,000 per year before reducing the US citizen’s lifetime allowance). Any gifts to individuals other than a spouse in excess of the annual gifting allowance ($14,000 in 2015) will reduce the individual’s lifetime allowance that will be applied to their residual estate value at death.
How Planning For Becoming Deemed Domicile In The UK For Inheritance Tax Purposes Can Help Once over the threshold for being considered deemed domicile in the UK for inheritance tax purposes, one would generally continue to fall under the UK domiciliary resident rules if either of the following apply: • Had a permanent home in the UK at any time in the three years before death • Was resident in the UK for at least 17 of the 20 income tax years up to death. As noted earlier, these rules will change in April 2017, and an individual will reach deemed domicile status earlier and will subsequently also need to have left the UK for a longer period of time before their UK deemed domicile status will cease. Given the modest thresholds present in the UK for inheritance tax, in the lead up to becoming deemed domicile, it becomes especially important to review the planning opportunities available. One option open to non-domiciled individuals prior to becoming deemed domicile in the UK is the ability to fund an excluded property trust for assets that are held outside of the UK. Generally any assets held within this type of trust, while remaining offshore, will be excluded from UK inheritance tax even after becoming deemed domicile. For some this could be a way to equalise the differential between
WEALTH MANAGEMENT the US and the UK inheritance tax bands. A simplified example is probably the easiest way to illustrate potential savings: Let us assume an individual with a total estate worth $6 million held in the US. To keep round numbers, let us also assume the UK threshold of ÂŁ325,000 equates to $500,000. Therefore $5.5 million of assets would potentially be subject to a 40% inheritance tax once the individual becomes deemed domicile in the UK. Under UK rules, the $6 million estate will pay inheritance tax of $2.2 million. Under US rules, the $6 million estate will pay $228,000 in inheritance tax. If this individual funds an excluded property trust with $4.93 million ($5.43 million US lifetime allowance less the $500,000 UK nil rate band), then the estate tax bill as a UK domicile individual will now be equal to what the US estate tax bill would have otherwise been ($228,000). That results in a potential inheritance tax savings of nearly $2 million! The opportunity to fund an excluded property trust ceases when the deemed domicile threshold has been crossed. So, what else can be done? Developing a lifetime gifting strategy remains a viable option provided the requisite seven years has been outlived, to be considered an exempt transfer. For some people a strategy of passing on wealth during their lifetime may be a very effective way to meet long-term priorities and objectives. It is essential to work with an adviser to put together an appropriate and individual strategy as everyone has differing needs and requirements. Additionally, an adviser can help
determine the best way to go about implementing the lifetime transfer of wealth. What will remain of utmost importance, is understanding precisely when the rules will begin to apply and take any relevant action appropriately.
Risk Warnings And Important Information The above article does not take into account the specific goals or requirements of individuals and is not to be construed as advice. You should carefully consider the suitability of any strategies along with your financial situation prior to making any decisions on an appropriate strategy. MASECO LLP trading as MASECO Private Wealth is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. MASECO Private Wealth is not a tax specialist. Andrea Solana is Head of Advanced Planning at MASECO Private Wealth where she helps to provide financial planning and wealth structuring advisory services to US expatriates in the UK and British nationals in the US. Andrea spent the first 9 years of her career with a well-known Washington DC based international tax and global wealth management firm where she gained considerable experience advising high net worth individuals with multi-jurisdictional
financial interests to design and implement strategies for tax-efficient and risk-managed asset growth. She has written numerous white papers regarding fundamental financial planning and investment strategies for US connected individuals, and has previously been a speaker on financial planning topics at numerous places including both The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Andrea graduated from University of Virginiaâ€™s McIntire School of Commerce with a degree in Finance and Management and completed her MBA at Imperial College, London. Andrea holds her UK Investment Advice Diploma and US Series 65 license.
The 2016 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition Monday 8th February 2016 from 10.00am - 5.00pm Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE
FREE SEMINAR PROGRAMME 10.30am - Understanding Third Culture Kids
The experience of international mobility presents advantages and disadvantages for children whose routines, friendships, schools, and linguistic and cultural environments are disrupted because of the career path of a parent. With a better understanding of what these benefits and challenges are, parents and professionals working with expatriate families can help children negotiate the complexities of international relocation. This session will draw on research to offer insights into Third Culture Kids and provide a forum for discussing strategies that can help children and their families embrace the exciting positive and life-changing advantages that can be gained while growing up abroad. Hosted by Mary Langford whose own international journey began at the age of two, and who has worked with international schools and families as an educator, researcher, writer, speaker, independent consultant and trainer for over 35 years. She is currently Director of Admissions for Dwight London School and Director of Langford International Education Consultancy Ltd which is providing support in 21 mother-tongue languages to students in international schools worldwide.
11.15am - Dual Career and the Importance of Creating a Powerful Network
Understanding the importance of networking is essential to succeed in any business. The rules and styles can be unique to the UK and can pose a challenge to dual career families as they relocated. Join FOCUS who will share effective networking advice and tips to help overcome these challenges and will uncover how to take full advantage of any networking situation in the UK.
12.15pm - Tax Seminar
This seminar will cover tax issues that affect expatriates living and working in the UK, and will highlight issues that expatriates need to know about in order to keep their finances in check. Topics that will be covered include Federal and State Tax Return Preparation and Filing, FBAR filing (reports of foreign bank and financial accounts) and bringing expats into IRS compliance. This seminar is hosted by Roland Sabates, a tax attorney and Director of Operations for H&R Block’s Expat Tax Services business. Roland has a wealth of experience in international tax preparation and helping clients navigate through their unique tax situations that exist as a US expat. His area of specialisation is resolving international tax issues for individuals and small business owners, such as FBAR and foreign information reporting, IRS voluntary disclosure programme participation, and US taxation of foreign trusts and retirement arrangements.
1.15pm - UK Immigration Update & Compliance
Ferguson Snell will present an overview on the effects of the recent policy changes, the results of the recent MAC survey on Tier 2 migration and skilled labour shortages, as well as the possibility of a skills levy on sponsor organisations and the effects of increased costs in bringing migrant workers to the UK, including the NHS surcharges for Tier 2 ICT assignees. We will also cover compliance and due diligence in running an efficient corporate immigration programme in today’s competitive market.
2.15pm - Building a Strategic Vision of Global Mobility for Your Organisation
This session will explore that challenge from a new paradigm; how would the focus and priorities of a mobility leader change if that role was truly in the C-suite? As much as any enterprise process, effective cross-border deployment relies on working across functional silos. Mobility leaders orchestrate across HR specialties in talent, reward and business HR as well as Finance, Accounting, Payroll and Tax, all in support of business strategy. This session aims at developing an enterprise approach that considers all the priorities and stakeholders in this complex and strategically critical endeavour. Presented by Deloitte LLP.
3.15pm - Key Trends In Global Mobility
Andy Piacentini will explore some key emerging themes from research within the RES Forum and their membership of 750 mobility professionals. The presentation will focus on policy, workforce planning, talent and the future of the mobility function. Hosted by Andy Piacentini, Standard Life & RES Forum.
4.15pm - Documenting Expatriate Reward
Juliet Carp, employment law specialist at Dorsey & Whitney (Europe) LLP, and author of “Drafting Employment Documents for Expatriates” will explore tips and traps associated with documenting expatriate reward. With a focus on risk reduction, discussion will cover areas such as retaining discretion; links to policy documents; variable remuneration; documenting high value benefits such as housing, schooling, pension and share plans; and approaches to tax equalisation.
If you would like to register for any or all of these free seminars, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the times of the seminars you would like to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!
A LETTER FROM SCOTLAND
Forth (Rail) Bridge (Photo: Clive Willcocks)
A Letter from Scotland by Yvonne Willcocks
Just down the road from where we live in Dunfermline, Fife, we can look south across the fields and see the Forth (Rail) Bridge, one of the best-known bridges in the world and a trademark for Scotland. Next to it is the Forth Road Bridge, and now, three tall pylons which, in 2016, will become the “Queensferry Crossing”, making a unique trio of great bridges linking the south of Scotland to the north. The estuary of the River Forth almost cuts Scotland in half, and for centuries travellers had to pay for a ferry-ride across the treacherous currents of the river, or take the long road around via Stirling. Back in the 11th century, Scotland’s saintly Queen Margaret took pity on the pilgrims from Edinburgh and the south by ensuring that they travelled free across the ferry to reach Dunfermline and then go on to St. Andrews. Thus the villages at either side of the crossing became known as South and North Queensferry. To the northeast a similar problem existed with the estuary of the River Tay, but it was not until the fever of rail travel and transportation spread across the country in the late 1800’s that architecture and engineering developed enough to build bridges over these rivers. The Tay Bridge at Dundee was constructed by Thomas Bouch in 1879, but during a wild storm the bridge www.theamericanhour.com
and the passenger train that was travelling over it – plunged into the water with the loss of 75 lives. Bouch was already working on designing a bridge across the River Forth but this was immediately cancelled. A sturdier design was designed by Fowler and Baker, and the construction was managed by a remarkable man who deserves to be better known – Sir William Arrol (1839-1913). When we first heard this unusual name, it struck a memory chord. Our daughters had had a school friend in London of the same name! But more about that later. Starting in 1882, the Forth (Rail) Bridge that Arrol constructed used a new cantilever principle with three massive diamond-shaped frameworks, linked by lighter connecting sections, supporting the dual railtracks 150 ft (45m) above the river at high tide. Health and safety precautions were not in force at the time and memorials were recently erected at both ends of the bridge to the 73 men who lost their lives during its construction. The bridge was completed in 1890 and the opening featured the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) hammering home a ‘Golden Rivet’. Nowadays, luxury steam-train holidays recreate Victorian rail travel, and it is a great
sight during the summer to see a gleaming, smoking, locomotive, blowing its whistle and stopping on the bridge to give the passengers a photo opportunity. 2015 is the 125th Anniversary of the Forth (Rail) Bridge and it is now celebrating its successful application to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining Scotland’s five other sites; the island of St Kilda, the Antonine Wall (the northernmost extent of the Roman Empire), Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, and the 18th century cotton mill village at New Lanark. With all this attention, the bridge has become a venue for charity events such as abseiling down to the ground, walking in swimming costumes from one end to the other, and the long-standing event of swimming under the bridge – known as “Loony-Dooking” - on New Year’s Day! Plans are in hand to construct a ‘Forth Bridge Experience Centre’under the northern end of the bridge, connected by lift to a viewing platform at the top of its north bastion, 340 ft (104m) high. For even more adventurous visitors, there will be a walkway from the southern end of the bridge and a scary climb up to the top of the cantilever, and later on this may even be extended all the way across to the northern platform. www.americaninbritain.co.uk
William Arrol was born in 1839 in Houston, Renfrewshire, near Glasgow (not Texas!). His father was a spinner, and William started work at a cotton mill when he was nine years old! At thirteen he trained as a blacksmith and later learned mechanics and hydraulics at night school. At 29 he started his own business making boilers in Glasgow and went on to build the Dalmarnock Ironworks in 1871. He built two bridges over the River Clyde, and also the reconstructed Tay Bridge in 1882, the same year in which he secured the contract for building the Forth Rail Bridge. Arrol’s fame as a bridge-builder led to him joining the construction team that built Tower Bridge over the Thames in 1886, and he went on to build the Nile Bridge in Cairo and the Hawksbury Bridge in Australia. In 1890 he was knighted, and from 1895 to 1906 he was the Member of Parliament for South Ayrshire. The massive Titan Crane, now a Glasgow icon, was built in 1907, and the Arrol Gantry was constructed for Harland & Wolff in Belfast to build the Atlantic super-liners including RMS Titanic. Coming back to the Scottish bridges, there had long been talk about a bridge for road traffic over the River Forth, but it was not until the late 1950’s that planning and construction went ahead and it was finally opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1964. We arrived in Scotland in 2004 and frequently use the bridge to get to
Edinburgh and other destinations to the south. But by this time there were technical worries about its suspension systems as tests on the thousands of steel wires ‘bundled’ inside the massive tubes showed signs of corrosion. Although there was no immediate danger, planning for a ‘Replacement Crossing’ for cars and trucks was rapidly initiated. However, the existing road bridge will continue to be used for buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians. There was a big debate on ‘over’ or ‘under’ solutions to cross the River Forth, but finally it was decided not to use a tunnel but a ‘cablestayed bridge’. Following the selection of contractors, construction started in 2011, and the project is due to be completed by the end of 2016, on time, and under budget! The four-lane motorway will be supported by cables from three slender towers reaching nearly 700 feet above the water level. These towers are already nearly at their full height and with their attendant cranes they make a fascinating sight when floodlit at night. The approach roads at either end are nearing completion and the land supports are already in place. We are looking forward to the grand opening, and less traffic problems! When we got in touch with our daughters’ school friend about Sir William Arrol, we found out that, in addition to his success at bridgebuilding, he was a pioneer in another industry. She mentioned that he was the Chairman and
founding partner in the Arrol-Johnston Car Company, which produced the first automobiles manufactured in Britain and which operated from 1896 to 1931. Their first car was a sixseater ‘dogcart’, a wooden-bodied car with a 10 horsepower engine. The design of later models was improved and they were sold throughout Britain and exported very successfully. On a trip to Canada last year we were delighted to find an Arrol-Johnston car in an automobile museum in Ontario. Some models have been polished up for vintage car parades and even used for weddings. Arrol, one more name to add to the roll of entrepreneurs from north of the Border. INFORMATION – Forth (Rail) Bridge Built by Sir William Arrol & Co. 1882-1890 Length 8,296 ft. Height above highwater 361 ft. Depth below high-water level 91 ft. 200 train movements per day Clearance for ships 150 ft. Steel used – 54,000 tons. Rivets – 7 million INFORMATION – Forth Road Bridge Opened by Queen Elizabeth II Constructed 1958-1964 Total cost £19.5 million Length 2.5 km Height above mean water level 150m Depth below high-water level 32m INFORMATION – Queensferry Crossing Construction started Autumn 2011 Due to be opened during 2016 Estimated cost £1.35bn - £1.4bn Length 1.7miles (2.7km) Height above highwater 207m (683ft) Structural concrete, 150,000 tonnes Structural steel, 30,000 tonnes
Forth Road Bridge (Photo: Clive Willcocks)
Arrol-Johnstone Touring Car (Photo: First Choice Wedding Cars)
Floodlit view of Queensferry Crossing under construction. (Photo: Transport Scotland)
Sir William Arrol
Queensferry Crossing under construction. (Photo: Clive Willcocks)
American In Britain
Loony Dooking for charity on Hogmanay
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Great British Icons by Judith Schrut
Iconic: There are 15 Great British Icons in this photo. Can you name them all? Photo, Judith Schrut
Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, you can’t miss ‘em. They’re instantly recognisable, much used, and, most of all, peculiarly British. From familiar sights like Big Ben, the London Eye or Stonehenge, to pastimes like cricket, rugby or rambling, and cultural traits like irony, eccentricity, queuing and the stiff upper lip, you’d be forgiven for thinking Great Britain is a nation of icons. Let us share some of our favourites with you.
1. The Cup Of Tea Iconic edibles and drinkables may come and go; fish and chips, haggis, Newky Brown and sticky toffee pudding all have their place. But to the British, only a Cup of Tea is forever. “If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you,” said Prime Minister William Gladstone, and Queen Victoria’s first words on ascending the throne were reputed to be “bring me a cup of tea and The Times!” A ‘cuppa’ is the supreme cure-all, offered in all times and circumstances. You’ll find modern life here full of tea moments, from a groggy morning’s wake up drink, to that strong, sugary cup served with buttered toast to new mothers in maternity wards across the land. Want to meet your neighbours? Ask them in for a cup of tea. 22
American In Britain
Want to get on with work colleagues? Offer to make the afternoon brew. After a brisk autumn walk there’s nothing nicer than curling up in front of a log fire with a hot steaming mug of tea and a sweet biscuit, and in times of crisis a cup of tea will make everything all right. “Nice cuppa tea?” is as common a social greeting as “How are you?” Each day Brits get through 165 million cuppas— that’s 60.2 billion cups of tea per year— 98% with milk, 30% with sugar and 95% made from tea bags, with PG Tips the nation’s favourite brand. The average Brit makes his or her first cup of tea at 7½ years of age. Traditional afternoon tea served with a‘round’ of finger sandwiches, warm scones, clotted cream and a fat chunk of cake has long been top of must-dos for visitors to Britain and an immensely enjoyable special treat for the rest of us. And it’s no secret that we Americans have a particular soft spot and seemingly infinite belly space for English cream teas. But for a long time tea was a beverage reserved for the rich— not surprising when a pound of tea might cost a worker’s annual wage. High prices meant tea was often adulterated with brick dust and other nasty stuff; in fact, some tea contained no tea at all. By the late 18th century the price of tea went down and its popularity shot up. The Victorian Duchess of Bedford, desperate for a pick-me-up
Kensington Palace Tea Party, photo credit Laurence Looi/ HRP/NTI
There’s nothing like a Nice Cuppa Tea....
TAKE FIVE between lunch and dinner, usually gets credit for inventing the ritual of afternoon tea. Experts and amateurs perpetually argue over how to make that perfect brew, with especially hot debate focused on whether milk should go in the cup first or last. The British Standards Institute advises brewing loose tea in a pot, leaving to infuse six minutes for maximum flavour, adding milk to the cup before tea, while the UK Tea and Infusion Association insists tea first, as did George Orwell, declaring tea a main stay of civilization in his essay ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’. Essentially, it boils down to one simple fact: there is nothing more British than a cup of tea. Further information: www.tea.co.uk www.afternoontea.co.uk
2. The Queen And All Things Royal Cadbury’s, Marks & Spencer, the Women’s Institute, the BBC, the NHS– it’s easy to make a list of cherished British brands. But only one can crown that list. Companies, celebrities and the value of the pound may rise and fall; it may drizzle or it may pour, but whatever the weather, it’s Brand Queen who long reigns over us. Mother, grandmother and great-gran, animal lover and skilled equestrian, respectable wearer of hats, handbags and sturdy shoes, Queen Elizabeth II is an enduring symbol of stability, tradition, steadfastness: iconic traits a citizen of any nation would be proud to hold up to the world. For more than 63 years, the longest reigning monarch in British history, her steady gaze has beamed down from every stamp, bank note and coin of the realm. The Royal Mail delivers our letters. The Royal Mint makes our money. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs collects our taxes and Her Majesty’s Government spends them. HM Ships patrol our waters and HM Her Majesty the Queen, Buckingham Palace, December 2011, photo copyright John Swannell/ Royal Household/Camera Press
Prison Service tends our criminals. There’s a Royal Society for this and for that, and 800 tradesmen proudly hold a Royal Warrant of Appointment, the prestigious hallmark declaring an officially approved supplier of goods to the Queen. From traditional brewers, chimney sweeps, silversmiths and jam-makers to modernists like green fuel providers, tamperproof envelope makers and horse exercisers, holders of royal appointments, like the Brits, are a diverse and eccentric lot. The national calendar abounds with royal occasions: the daily Changing of the Guard, the annual Trooping of the Colour, the Queen’s Speech, the Queen’s Official Birthday. Every royal engagement, wedding, divorce, scandal or fashion statement is bound to make headlines somewhere. Were you, Dear Reader, amongst the million well-wishers who lined the royal route when Prince William wed Kate in 2011, or one of 24 million Brits and 60 million Americans who tuned in to view it all on TV? And could you resist joining a teary-eyed nation, smiling Queen and jigging Duke of Edinburgh as they marvelled at the 1000-boat flotilla sailing down the Thames during the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations? Things Royal consistently top visitors’ lists of must-sees, and each year’s a record-breaking one for Britain’s palaces, parks and landmarks with a noble imprint. Millions flock daily to royal hotspots like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and Westminster Abbey, with the latter playing host to royal weddings, funerals and the crowning of every monarch since 1066. Culture vultures can satisfy imperial cravings at venues like the Royal Albert Hall, Royal National Theatre and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Although rendezvous with royalty can be pricey, there are plenty of free options too. Favourite free entry sites include the Royal
Maritime Museum, Royal Air Force Museum and Royal Armoury. You can view the astonishing history of royals in portraits at the National Portrait Gallery or see Her Majesty’s wigs and gowns in action at the Royal Courts of Justice. For free, green and healthy, explore one of the Royal Parks, like Regents Park, with its splendid boating lake, Open Air Theatre, London Zoo, playgrounds and Queen Mary Rose Garden. And if you’re still mad on majesty, a fast train from London can whisk you to Windsor Castle, Hever Castle, childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn, or Hampton Court Palace, residence of King Henry VIII of the Six-Wives fame, where costumed guides bring 500 years of royal history to life and you can have great fun getting lost in the magnificent garden maze. Further information: www.royal.gov.uk www.royalparks.org.uk www.hrp.org.uk
3. The Pub Ask your best British friend the quickest route into UK life and you’re unlikely to be told to hop a black cab to Buckingham Palace, go on a Harry Potter tour, or ride the London Eye at sunset. Nope, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll be told, “go down the Pub.” Four hundred years ago, writer Samuel Pepys described the pub as the heart of England, and today this rings just as true. Pubs - and the ale, lager and cider within - are about as ancient and quintessentially British as anything could be. In days gone by, pubs were the community’s meeting place, with family visits the norm and beer regularly served to children - safer than water which was often contaminated. In King Henry VIII’s reign, his household at Hampton Court Palace consumed 600,000 gallons of beer yearly, that’s more than 13,000 pints each day.
Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, London 2012, photo credit PO Phot Terry Seward/Ministry of Defence
So, if you want to know what Britain is really about, you need to pop into a pub. Over threequarters of the adult population do so, with over one-third visiting their‘local’at least once a week. But let’s be clear: the pub is not just about beer. It’s where the natives meet and talk, exchange news and gossip, argue and debate, celebrate and commiserate, where strangers are welcome and where buying a round of drinks may bring you friends for life. Visit any of Britain’s 48,000 pubs and you’re likely to find more than a good pint and a packet of crisps (that’s 20-ounces and a bag of potato chips, to you and me). Numerous pubs also have live music, theatre, quiz or comedy nights, darts, pool, table games, karaoke, movies, beer festivals and more. You can enjoy a pun with your pint at The Nobody Inn, near Exeter, The Sir Loin of Beef, Portsmouth or The Hung, Drawn and Quartered near Tower of London’s famed execution spot. Or hook-up with history at legendary pubs like The Fighting Cocks, St Albans or Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham, reputedly the UK’s oldest. In London, look out for Ye Old Mitre Tavern, an ancient hidden gem where a young Queen Elizabeth I danced round a cherry tree, the Prospect of Whitby, famed for its clientele of sailors and smugglers as well as Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys, and the ornately Victorian Dog and Duck, favoured by George Orwell and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The Mayflower, Rotherhithe, was a stopping point for our Pilgrim forefathers on their way to the New World, the Ten Bells hosted the infamous Jack the Ripper, and it was over a drink at The Eagle, Cambridge, that Crick and Watson announced their discovery of DNA.You can even experience pub life without leaving your armchair, with pubs a plenty appearing in classic British movies like The Long Good Friday, American Werewolf in London and Hitchcock’s Frenzy. British pubs changed forever with the legal ban on indoor smoking in 2007. Pub landlords raged loudly at the time, but in reality the ban brought many pubs a lease of life and a new golden age. Gone - or going fast - are ageold traditions like salty, stodgy, deep-fried pub grub, nicotine-stained walls and early closing times. In their place you’ll find a joyful explosion of small local breweries and specialist quality beers, artisan ciders and non-alcoholic tipples, and the advent of the ‘gastropub’ has led to seriously much better food. Now, if you’re a pub novice there are a few basics you should know. Firstly, don’t expect waiter service for your drinks. Instead it’s the norm for one person to buy drinks at the bar and carry them back to the table. And that bar may be the only place in Britain where anything is sold or served without the formation of a queue, although you may notice that skilled bar staff possess a silent tracking technique telling them who’s next. 24
American In Britain
The Ale House Door by Henry Singleton, c1790
American in Britain goes down the pub, The Beckford Arms, Wiltshire, Photo copyright Geoffrey Davies
Secondly, British beers are nothing like their American cousins. There are a huge range of beer styles, each with different tastes, qualities and strengths, the main ones being pale ale, bitter, brown ale and stout. Bitter is the most popular: rich, dark and served at room temprature. Lager is lighter and served cold. Finally, when tasting beer take advice from native experts – don’t sip it, swig it. Chug at least a full mouthful to wash the flavour over your taste buds and experience its full glory before swallowing. And don’t be afraid to sample those old-fashioned beers which come in wooden barrels and need to be hand-pumped but be wary: some British beers are as strong as wine. Further information: www.camra.org.uk www.pubs.com
4. The Garden How many gentle flowers grow, in an English Country Garden? The Dutch may have their windmills, tulips and canals; the French their lavender fields and vineyards; the Norwegians their fjords and forests. The British love their Gardens. This national passion for plants has become a metaphor for home, security, freedom, serenity; an antidote to the manmade world; a celebration of senses and the imagination, where climate meets culture and art meets the outdoors. There is perhaps no better symbol for a country where so much conversation revolves around the weather, where a deep relationship with nature has long been feted by
poets, playwrights, philosophers and kings, and recited in the most familiar of nursery rhymes. Perhaps Sir Thomas More summed it up best when he said, “The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.” The garden has held a special place in British hearts as far back as Roman times. Medieval monasteries were famed for kitchen herb gardens, the Plantagenets had their Red Rose and White Rose and the Tudors their knot gardens, while explorers of the time ventured into the world and brought back plants, herbs, bushes and trees. Henry VIII and Shakespeare were both renowned gardeners. The Georgians followed with dramatic landscapes, while the Victorians gloried in gardens with massed flower beds, exotic colours, complex designs and the invention of the public park. The modern era has brought ‘garden cities’ like Letchworth and Welwyn, wartime Victory Gardens, allotments, bluebell woods and wildflower walks, organic gardening and everyday back garden pride. Every town, village and suburb has its Garden Centre, many with elaborate tea rooms, play trails, animal farms and sophisticated shopping. The Chelsea Flower Show, National Garden Competition and Shed of the Year are flourishing annual events. Nowadays there seems an insatiable national appetite for gardening on TV and other media. The Great British Garden Revival, Big Allotment Challenge and Show Me Your Garden are amongst the recent telly crop and Gardeners World has been a hugely popular show for almost 50 years. Gardeners Question Time has been pitting BBC radio listeners against celebrity gardeners from village halls around the UK weekly since 1947. There are hundreds of dedicated magazines, websites and blogs like Deadheading, Gravel Garden Joy and Wild About Agapanthus. If you’d like to share in the nation’s horticultural hysteria, there are many wonderful gardens around the country open to view. We Our Gardens, Hulme Community Arts, Photo, Judith Schrut
Gardener at work in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, photo courtesy of HRP
highly recommend Sissinghurst, Hidcote Manor, Beth Chatto Gardens, Great Dixter and Trebah. And in this nation of gardeners, you may just find some of the loveliest gardens in your own neighbourhood. Further information: www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk www.nationaltrust.org.uk
5. The Spitfire– The Little Fighter That Won The Second World War** There’s no shortage of iconic British vehicles, from the black cab, bright red double-decker bus and Mini, to the Rolls-Royce, Brompton fold-up pushbike and Triumph motorcycle. But perhaps nothing captures the spirit of Britain as a symbol of the very best in superb design, solid engineering and sheer fighting spirit as.....the Spitfire. In 1940, as all of Europe fell to the Nazis, only the Royal Air Force stood against a seaborne invasion of Britain by Hitler. The RAF only had about 650 fighters left. Against them was ranged the huge might of the German air force – 2,800 fighters and bombers. If the Germans destroyed the RAF’s airfields in Southeast England and pushed British air cover away from the coast, then they could safely land their troops and invade. It was, as Sir Winston Churchill put it, the“darkest hour”. The RAF relied on two fighter aircraft, the Spitfire and the Hurricane. The Hawker Hurricane was a powerful warhorse: solid, quick, and reliable. The Supermarine Spitfire was altogether different, based on an elegant, efficient racing design that had won many international trophies. Both aircraft were fitted with the superlative Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, but the Spitfire outclassed the Hurricane in raw speed and manoeuvrability - and crucially the Spitfire also outclassed all the German fighters. www.theamericanhour.com
Pilots liked the Hurricane. They loved the Spitfire. It was a beautiful airplane to look at and to fly. To the Germans, it was death from above. As the Battle of Britain raged through the summer of 1940 in the skies above south-eastern England, the Germans lost over 2,000 aircraft, the bombers helpless against the Hurricanes and the German escort fighters – who had little flying time over England – falling in their hundreds to the swifter Spitfires. When Hermann Goering, head of the Luftwaffe asked German fighter ace Adolf Galland what more could be done, Galland replied, “Give me a squadron of Spitfires.” Goering was not amused. In September 1940, the Germans, with their air force repulsed and battered, had to cancel their waiting invasion force, never to be redeployed. Of the 3,000 Allied pilots who fought the Battle of Britain, 544 died. Many more were wounded. Their average age? Just twenty. Together with their planes, they saved us all from a Nazi-dominated world. As Churchill said: “Never before in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” And owed to the Spitfire. There are still plenty of Spitfires flying – the ones that are left are loved, renovated, repaired
and renewed. They can be spotted flown by enthusiasts, dancing in the skies over eastern England as they did 75 years ago and will always feature in air shows or in a flypast for a Royal Wedding and the Queen’s birthday. If you want to experience them close up you can see them at the Imperial War Museum in London and Duxford and the RAF Museum in Hendon, North London. Just remember, it’s not only a fighter. It’s an icon. Further information: www.rafmuseum.org.uk www.iwm.org.uk www.spitfiremuseum.org.uk **With grateful thanks to Ivor Benjamin for his splendid contribution. Take Five is our quarterly feature bringing the best of British to Americans in Britain. Have you learned to make a proper cup of tea? Do you have an allotment or an adored English country garden? Can you recommend a favourite pub to our readers? We’d love to hear about your special relationship with British icons: email Judith at email@example.com.
The Mighty Spitfire, photo courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford
American In Britain
UK SPORTS What a summer of sport we have had with many success stories for British sportsmen and women, and now we have a Rugby World Cup and, of course, the start of our soccer season.
Cricket We have them back! The ‘Ashes’, lost to Australia in a devastating 5-0 whitewash on our last tour of Australia, are back where they belong. Australia came as big favourites to retain the trophy. As we previewed in our last issue, England had undergone a major change in management personnel and structure and were developing a young team. Australia, on the other hand, had had a very successful tour of the West Indies with a very experienced team, although that experience was gained with an ageing team –“Dad’s Army”according to one ex-Aussie now coaching in England!! The five match Test series was, in truth, not a nail biter like the great series of 2005, when every match went to the wire. Each match was comfortably, won by one side or the other with England prevailing 3-2. England won the first Test by 169 runs, Australia won the second by 405 runs, England the third
and fourth by 8 wickets and an innings and 78 runs respectively, and Australia won the fifth by an innings and 46 runs. A strange sequence of results. The Test series was followed by five One Day Internationals (50 overs apiece) in which Australia are world champions. We reviewed England’s dismal performance in the world championship in an earlier issue when we did not qualify from the Group stage and beat only Scotland, as did every other team in the Group. Australia were again hot favourites and raced to a 2-0 lead, but England fought back well and levelled at 2-2 before Australia won the deciding match by 8 wickets. Unfortunately, our women’s team did not retain their version of an ‘Ashes’ series, losing 12 points to 4. The women play three T20 (20 overs apiece) and three ODI matches with one Test match. The T20’s and ODI’s are played for two points and the Test match for four. England secured only one ODI and one T20 victory. Nevertheless, our women’s team has had terrific success over recent years and they will undoubtedly remain a major force in women’s cricket.
Athletics World Championships Great Britain recorded their best ever medal results in the World Championships in Beijing with four gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Mo Farah won both the 10,000 and 5,000 metres, Jessica Ennis-Hill the Heptathlon and Greg Rutherford the Long Jump. Shara Proctor won silver in the Women’s Long Jump and the Women’s and Men’s 4x400 metres relay teams both took bronze. Mo Farah set a record third consecutive ‘global double’ holding now two world and one Olympic gold medals in both the 10,000 and 5,000 metres, and he must be regarded as our finest athlete of all time. Jessica Ennis-Hill repeated her gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics after a last minute decision to go to Beijing having barely competed over the past two seasons due to injury and pregnancy. She has followed in the footsteps of Britain’s mother-of-two, Jo Pavey, who won European gold at the age of 40 last summer. These mums are an inspiration to everybody. Greg Rutherford also repeated his London 2012
Olympic gold medal performance with another stunning victory in the Men’s Long Jump. Shara Proctor was actually leading in the Women’s Long Jump with just one round to go before America’s Tianna Bartoletta deprived her of the gold medal. The women’s 4x400 metres relay team of Ohuruogu, Onuora, Child and Bundy-Davies ran a brilliant race to secure the bronze medal, as did the men’s team of Yousif, Williams, Dunn and Rooney. Rooney ran a tremendous last leg to catch Javon Francis of Jamaica right on the line to secure third place. As to the future, keep a close eye on our young women sprinters. Nineteen year old Dina Asher-Smith broke the British 100 metres record this summer (to add to her 200 metres record) and became the first Brit to run under 11 seconds; and she and her team mates in the 4x100 metres relay team Henry, Philip and Jodie Williams just might become serious challengers to the USA, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Only a lack of fluency with the baton changes prevented a serious challenge for third place but even so the girls set a new national record. The GB women’s squad is indeed full of talent with Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke in the 800 metres, Laura Muir in the 1,500 metres, Lorraine Ugen in the long jump and Sophie Hitchon in the women’s hammer.
Swimming World Championships Team GBs swimmers set a record medal haul with five gold, one silver and three bronze medals in Kazan. Adam Peaty led the way with three golds and became the first British swimmer to do so in a single world championship. He is the world number one in both the 50 and 100 metre breaststroke, two events he won, and he added his third medal in the 4x100 metre mixed medley relay event. James Guy won the 200 metre freestyle gold, silver in the 400 metre freestyle and a further gold in the 4x200 metre freestyle relay team. Bronze medals were won by Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Ross Murdoch and Jazz Carlin. Much praise has gone to Bill Furniss, the new head coach, and Chris Spice, the new national performance director. Their “cruel to be kind” methods seem to be working!!
Tennis Another Wimbledon and victories again for Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams. Djokovic was, once again, just a bit too good for Federer whom he beat 7-6 6-7 6-4 6-3 in the final, a score closely to be repeated in the US Open final when he won 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4. Djokovic claims that marriage and fatherhood has improved his tennis. Federer with two sets of twins, and in that he still outperforms Djokovic, also believes the same, and at 34 years of age and still ranked number 2 in the world, who can doubt the reasons for these two players motivation and abilities. Andy Murray is looking to improve his game having married his long-term girlfriend, 28
American In Britain
Kim Sears; what next? Serena marched on with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Spain’s Garbine Muguruza who was playing in her first Grand Slam final. Although, like the Men’s singles, Serena was a firm favourite for the Ladies’ final, the women’s game is a bit less predictable with a whole host of new young players beginning to make their mark, a number of them from the USA. As an example of this, the eight women who contested this year’s quarter finals were all different to those who contested the quarter finals in 2014! One gleam of hope for America was that Reilly Opelka won the Boys singles title. Britain’s focus now turns to the Davis Cup, the semi-final for which will be held in Glasgow against Australia. Once again this will be predominantly Andy Murray vs the opposition, although occasionally an exceptional match from James Ward in a singles rubber has been a deciding factor in winning a match. We all hope that a fervent Scottish crowd will spur Team GB and Andy on to a Davis Cup final, something we never dreamt possible until Murray agreed to play in the team! Before leaving tennis, we would like to mention the exploits of Britain’s Johanna Konta. Prior to the US Open she was ranked world number 96 but she won two $100,000 tournaments in Canada and won through the US Open qualifier to reach the main draw. This created a winning streak of 13 matches. She then won her first round match 6-3 6-0 before defeating both world number 9, and Wimbledon finalist, Muguruza and then world number 18, Petkovic. This put her into the fourth round and second week at the US Open when she was narrowly defeated by world number 5, Petra Kivitova. Jo showed great ability, mental concentration and determination and looks to be our best woman player at the present time. It is interesting to note that at the age of 24 the LTA reduced Jo’s financial support. Being made more financially dependent on prize money and the organisation of her own coaching and tournament scheduling might just have given her the need for greater match success. Whatever the reason it was great to watch her US Open matches on TV and she almost became the last Brit standing in the championship; Andy Murray went out in the same round on the same day but an hour or so later!!
Golf After coming through a tough three man play off with Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Australia’s Marc Leishman, America’s Zach Johnson won the 144th Open Championship at St. Andrews. In doing so he also became only the sixth player to win at both Augusta and St. Andrews, those iconic and hallowed venues of golf, in the same year. It was a tremendous championship with five players finishing within one shot of each other. Apart from the three in the play off, who finished on 15 under par, America’s Jordan Speith and Jason Day of Australia (who went on to win the PGA title)
finished on 14 under par. It was exciting stuff and special congratulations always go to the winner of such close fought matches, whatever the sport, when that extra determination, concentration and will to win has to come to the fore. The Ryder Cup does not take place this year but two other team tournaments do. The Walker Cup is the equivalent to the Ryder Cup for amateurs, except that America play against Great Britain and Ireland rather than Europe. It resulted in another defeat for the USA in Britain, GB and Ireland winning by a massive 16.5 points to 9.5. Devon’s 21 year old Jimmy Mullen won four matches out of four and Cormac Sharvin won three out of three. The last two players to equal Mullen’s achievement were Luke Donald and Paul Casey and they went on to become world numbers 1 and 3 as professionals. Paul Dunne, who became the first amateur to lead the Open Championship going in to the last round, scored 1.5 points but had the honour of getting the winning half point to secure the Cup. The Americans are back this month, albeit in Germany, when their ladies set out to try to win the Solheim Cup from the European ladies whose record against the USA is almost as good as that of Europe’s Ryder Cup team. This is one occasion when the UK becomes true Europeans. If Britain ever left the European Union it would be an essential part of any agreement that GB would remain part of the Ryder and Solheim Cup teams.
Cycling This is a sport rarely covered in ‘UK Sports’ but our congratulations go to Chris Froome who became the first Briton to win the Tour de France twice. At the Arc de Triomphe, Froome gave his victory speech to the crowd and those watching on television and, in referring to the hallowed yellow jersey, “le maillot jaune”, he said it was “special, very special” and “I understand its history, good and bad, and I will always respect it, never dishonour it. And I will always be proud to have won it”. The words of a true champion.
Soccer Well, another soccer season is under way. The transfer market closed on 1 September. Last season’s Premiership runners up, Manchester City, spent another small fortune, around £154 million, closely followed by Manchester United (fourth last season) with £115 million. Chelsea, last season’s champions, spent a modest £72 million, and Arsenal who finished third got completely lost and bought only a goalkeeper (although a very good one) for £13 million. Arsenal were the only club in all of europe’s premier divisions not to buy one outfield player; their fans are not convinced.The remaining Premiership clubs all spent somewhere between £10 million and £50 million. It is very early days with clubs having played just five games at the time of writing, but it looks like Manchester City bought best having won all five matches. Manchester United and Arsenal have 10 points each from a possible 15 but wait a minute, which team has 11 points?
UK SPORTS They spent only £15 million and lost their star player Estaban Cambiasso - it’s Leicester City who avoided relegation last season by the skin of their teeth, sacked their manager following unruly player behaviour on their pre-season tour of Thailand (what a surprise!!) but then recruited Claudio Ranieri, once of Chelsea, as their new manager. And where are Chelsea, last season’s champions, we hear you ask? Well, believe it or not, they are 17th, one place above the relegation zone and with three defeats and one draw in the locker. What has happened to their manager, the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho? Has he upset his players? Well, he did have a very public spat with his medical team and failed to buy two main targets, Paul Pogba from Juventus and John Stones from Everton. Is his magnetic attraction failing? We will have to wait and see. Having said all that, Chelsea were the only team to win their opening Group stage match in the European Champions Cup beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv 4-0 at home. Manchester City lost 1-2 at home to Juventus, Manchester United lost 1-2 away to PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal, who rested their new star goalkeeper (who had played five league games!!) lost 1-2 to Dinamo Zagreb. So what does that all say about the transfer action? In the European Champions League, Manchester United have a tough Group with PSV, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg. Manchester
City also have hard opposition with Juventus, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach. Arsenal have been drawn with old enemies Bayern Munich and Olympiacos and Zagreb. Chelsea have the easiest Group with Maccabi, FC Porto and Dynamo Kiev. In the Europa Cup, Liverpool have drawn Rubin Kazan, Bordeaux and Sion. Tottenham Hotspur will play Anderlecht, Monaco and Qarabag – we have never heard of the last team and have no idea which country they come from but the other two will be difficult opponents. With two matches to play, England have already qualified for next summer’s European Championship finals, winning all their qualifying games to date. This has kept the England manager, Roy Hodgson, in his job for a bit longer so well done Roy and the team. To confuse players, managers, officials and fans even more, the International Football Association has once again changed the offside rules. A goal can now be disallowed and a player penalised even he has not touched the ball. Interference with play has been the primary cause of this rule change. Our own governing body, the Football Association, has also introduced new rules governing simulation and the touch line behaviour of managers. A three match ban could be imposed if video evidence shows a player deliberately feigning injury and deceiving the referee – about time; but when will the FA act to penalise foul language and
disrespectful gestures made to match officials? Long overdue!
Rugby Union World Cup The much anticipated Rugby World Cup is upon us. England will be playing Australia, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay in their Group and it is a tough one. Stuart Lancaster was appointed coach after our dreadful world cup in 2011 and England have improved under his leadership but will they be good enough to beat teams like Australia, New Zealand (the holders), South Africa, France or even our own Wales and Ireland. It is going to be very tough but hopefully home advantage and support will be worth a few extra points in each game. England won the world cup in 2003 in Australia against the home nation in the final with Jonny Wilkinson’s amazing drop goal in the last minutes of extra time. Do we have another star in the current squad? Possibly in Jonathon Joseph, whose pace and agility at Centre make England look a special side. If he plays as well as he did in the Six Nations championship he could well be a match winner. So, good luck to captain Chris Robshaw and the team. So, a great and successful summer for Britain over a number of different sports. In our winter issue we will review the Rugby World Cup and progress in soccer. Have a great Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
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AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
AMERICAN WOMEN’S CLUBS NEWS
CAWC - June BBQ
Summertime has meant travel and holidays for many of our members, but our Board has been at work planning for the upcoming club year. We are a group of over 100 international women in the Chilterns area and we have a number of ongoing groups such as Bunco, Book Club, Moms & Tots, Tennis, Golf, and Saturday Sociables. We had a busy end of the year with our annual BBQ, a Pub Quiz with partners, and a day out at Royal Ascot. We will be celebrating our 65 years of community involvement in this area at our October meeting, which will include some looking back at our contributions and events as well as looking forward to our continued involvement through our Christmas Bazaar. If you would like more information about CAWC, please check our website at cawc.co.uk.
The Chilterns American Women’s Club Announce Local Charities To Benefit From 2015 Annual Christmas Bazaar
Save the date now for one of the region’s most popular and convenient charity fundraising events! The Chilterns American Women’s
Christmas hampers www.theamericanhour.com
CAWC Annual Christmas Bazaar 2014
Club (CAWC) has set the date for its popular Christmas Bazaar that raises funds for charity. The 2015 CAWC BAZAAR will take place on Sunday, November 8, 2015 from 10am to 4pm at the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross (formerly the Bellhouse Hotel) HP9 2XE. This year’s recipient charities will be the Chalfont St. Peter-based Epilepsy Society and The Pepper Foundation, which is based in Tring, Herts, but focuses on helping terminally ill children and their families receive specialist paediatric palliative care at home in both Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Aside from more than 60 specialist gift and craft stalls, CAWC will be undertaking its traditional Christmas Hamper & Gift Baskets sale and again have its Lone Star Café – offering its renowned homemade chilli, while another popular stall - the Cake & Baked Goodies Bar – will also be in operation. This year a special charity raffle also sees some amazing prizes from leading businesses and organisations and event sponsors including Santa Fe Relocation, the Crowne Plaza, Value Retail, Pelugi, Oxygen, Stoke Park, Patisserie Valerie, Starbucks and Buckinghamshire Golf Club. There will also be a special exclusive shopping trip to Bicester Village as a Grand Prize. Please note there will be a special two-minute period of silence taking place as this year’s event falls on Remembrance Sunday. Last year CAWC raised more than £14,000 for chosen charities through sales at the Christmas Bazaar. In the history of the CAWC Bazaar more than £244,000 has been raised for charity. Pam Houghton, Chair of the CAWC, comments: “We are delighted to select The Pepper Foundation along side our long-time charity, the
Epilepsy Society, as co-designated benefactors of our 2015 fundraising campaign. Both charities do incredible work and provide immeasurable support for the communities they serve.” Pam Showalter, Chair of the CAWC Bazaar 2015 comments: “This will be the 28th year that the CAWC has held this popular event and we look forward to once again having some spectacular seasonal gift baskets and presents for sale. The best advice for gift shoppers is to come early. Last year we had sold out before the end of the event.” For details about the event please visit www.cawc.co.uk
The colours have begun to change and the weather has that certain autumn chill. The sun rises later each day and it seems to get darker and darker each night. Our first instinct is to pull the covers up, sleep a little longer and wish for those warm sunny summer days again. But don’t! Autumn can be a fantastic time of year to be outside visiting gardens, tasting and cooking with the new seasons vegetables, taking in some of London’s great Museums, travelling to some far away land, or volunteering at a local charity close to home. It’s all what you make of it! The AWC can help you settle in, answer all of those crazy questions, help you transition into the London area, and all the while making some wonderful friendships along the way! This autumn and winter season the AWC has some incredible activities to offer. Join us as we weave our way through the Buckingham Palace Gardens. We will explore the changing character of the garden in art form from the 16th to the early 20th century. Whether a sanctuary, a place for scientific study, a haven for the solitary thinker or a space for pure www.americaninbritain.co.uk
American Women’s Club of London 68 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3LQ firstname.lastname@example.org www.awclondon.org 020 7589 8292
The New Covent Garden Flower Market
enjoyment and delight, gardens are where man and nature meet. The exhibition includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Maria Sibylla Merian and Carl Fabergé, and some of the earliest and rarest surviving depictions of gardens and plants. It’s on Monday, 5 October starting at 1.30pm. If you love flowers but seek a little more action and chaos, then join us for a unique opportunity to visit the colourful and bustling New Covent Garden Flower Market! We will meet the characterful vendors and see the vast array of flowers available in London. We will each make a festive seasonal arrangement with the designers from Floral Angels to take home. This is an excellent opportunity to kick off the winter season and enjoy a fun and creative morning! It’s on 24 November. Maybe you are into gastro experiences and want to join us for a“Food, Glorious Food”event - ‘A Taste of Autumn Cookery & Sightseeing Day in the Cotswolds’. On Thursday, 1 October, we kick off the autumn with a gorgeous foodie day out in the Cotswolds! We will start our trip with a visit to the original Daylesford Organic for coffee and shopping in the wonderful farm shop, before an autumnal themed cooking demonstration followed by lunch. In the afternoon, we will step
Temples in Cambodia 32
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back in time and visit the fascinating Chastleton House, a Jacobean country house owned by the same family for over 400 years and remains virtually unchanged. Finally, tea in the 12th Century St Mary’s Church nearby will complete our special day. Speaking of food, if you are adventurous and want to seek out a fabulous trip to experience fantastic food and great sights then you might be interested in the Vietnam and Cambodia trip in late October. From Buddhist temples to Communist monuments, sailing through limestone outcrops to cruising along narrow delta canals, Southeast Asia has it all! Add to this a tempting mix of Asian and French cuisine and Angkor, one of the world’s most spectacular ancient temple complexes, and you have an unforgettable holiday. Discover Vietnam and Cambodia with the AWC on this private tailor made journey from Hanoi and Saigon to Siem Reap. If you want to stay closer to home and would like to support a charity, come and help out at the Ronald McDonald House. This AWC supported charity enables families to maintain a degree of normal life while their child is undergoing medical treatment in partnered specialist children’s hospitals across the UK. We specifically support the Guy’s and St Thomas’ House in London by cooking dinners twice a month for families staying at the house. We hold New Member Welcome Coffees that are open to everyone, and are very helpful if you are new to London or thinking about joining the club. Come by the AWC offices at 68 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LQ at 10:30am on the third Tuesday of each month. Check out our website at www.awclondon.org or email the office to learn more about the club, take part in these activities and meetings, or learn more about upcoming things. No matter how you look at it, the AWC is a great resource and a wonderful way to make some new friendships! Start something new this autumn!
The Junior League of London (JLL) is kicking off its 2015-2016 year and we have an exciting year ahead. This autumn, we have a number of programmes and events our members are busy working on. A few we’d like to highlight include: • JLL’s 36th annual Boutique de Noel, our annual Christmas fair, will take place on Wednesday, 2 December 2015, at Chelsea Old Town Hall. We have made some exciting changes for this year (including the venue!) and hope you will join us for a celebratory evening soirée to ring in the holiday season. The crowd favourites will still be there including live and silent auctions, live music and a small, select range of premier vendors. Tickets are on sale now via Eventbrite (please see link on our website) and will also be available on the night. We hope to see you there! • Our Holiday Hampers committee is already preparing for this holiday season. Each year, we source, assemble and provide customised hampers filled with gifts, food, toiletries and other essentials for some of London’s most vulnerable populations during the holiday season. There are a number of ways to get involved, so please visit our website for more information. We are also looking for space to assemble this year’s hampers. Does your company have unused space (5,000 sq. ft.) that could potentially be used? Please contact the JLL if so. • Looking ahead to early 2016, our members will be gearing up for the third annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI). LBDI is a poverty-awareness campaign during which members fundraise and wear one black dress for five days, coinciding with London Fashion Week, 22-26 February 2016, to illustrate how poverty can limit access to resources, confidence and employment opportunities. Following the campaign, participants will donate their 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. Keep an eye out for updates on the JLL website. If you have thought of volunteering, getting involved with your local community or trying something new, then the Junior League of
AMERICAN WOMENâ€™S CLUBS NEWS
London (JLL) may just be the organisation for you. Visit our website to stay up to date and learn more about what we do at www.jll.org.uk/ join-us/ or contact the office at 020 7250 8104 or email@example.com.
and are enriched with dynamic and prestigious speakers. We have something for everyone. Founded 34 years ago in 1981, ABWS had 32 original members. These enterprising women bonded together to establish this club as a group for encouragement and support, to provide both information and social opportunities for American women and their families residing in the Berkshire and Surrey areas. Since then, AWBS has evolved into an International Womenâ€™s Club, with 200 - 300 members, representing a wide range of nationalities. One does not have to reside in Berkshire or Surrey to join. All are welcome to join AWBS and participate in our activities. For more information: www.awbs.org.uk
AWBS is an organisation of expatriates, international, and British women who want to truly enjoy and fully experience what England and Europe have to offer. AWBS offers amazing opportunities to travel, do charity work, attend lectures, and participate in over 25 activities, all of which are organised by our members who volunteer their time and talents. Meetings occur monthly
kcwc - After Six in the City guests in the ‘Sunken Garden’ at Kensington Palace “Private Tour” of the Kings State Apartments
kcwc - “Treble Makers” singers at the June Annual General Meeting and Luncheon at Hurlingham Club, London
kcwc kcwc is an organisation of international and British women who want to enjoy everything London has to offer. It is an activity based Club where members can join in activities organised by fellow members who follow their passion and volunteer their time and skills to organise over 30 activities, from history and culture, art and design, tours and travel, special events, sports, languages, hobbies, book and lecture groups, to just having fun with like minded women who enjoy living in London. All members, especially working women, can enjoy evening activities including theatre, music and opera appreciation, life-styling, wine tasting, ‘After Six in the City’, and evening speakers. Each month from September to June there are General Meetings held at wonderful London locations with prestigious speakers, followed by an optional lunch at a local hotel or restaurant afterwards. The next General Meeting is on Thursday 8 October 2015, 9.30am-12.30pm at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR (closest tube: South 34
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Kensington or High St Kensington). The October Guest Speaker is Francelle Bradford White, Author of Andree’s War: How One Young Woman Outwitted the Nazis. From the fall of Paris in WW2 to its liberation, this is the real life story of 19 year old Andree Griotteray’s work as an underground intelligence courier during the war as told by her daughter, our speaker. The guest fee is £10, redeemable against membership if joining on the day. The November General Meeting is on Thursday 5 November, 9.30am-12.30pm, at The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL (closest tube: Chancery Lane). Our Guest Speaker is Felicity Aston, Call of the White: Eight Women from the Commonwealth Ski to the South Pole. The guest fee is £10, redeemable against membership if joining on the day. Save the date: Special ‘Christmas Bazaar’ and Music General Meeting on Thursday, 3 December at the Royal Geographical Social. kcwc also welcomes guests at their monthly Happy Hours and Coffee Mornings held at fabulous London venues, where non-members can come along for an informal chat over a
coffee or drink and enjoy the company of other international women in London. The next Coffee Morning is on Tuesday, 13 October at 10am at Valentina Café, 145 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3LB (closest tube: Notting Hill Gate). The next Happy Hour is on Monday, 19 October at 5pm at The Beaumont Hotel, 8 Balderton St, Mayfair, W1K 6TF (closest tube: Bond St). There is no need to pre-register to attend these events, and the cost is your own tab. Please visit www.kcwc.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about kcwc. kcwc visit to Charles Spencer’s home at the Althorp Literary Festival, Northamptonshire
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Hounslow Harriers in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical. Photo credit Ellie Kurttz.
Review of London’s Theatre Productions by Lydia Parker
Bend It Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre Bend It Like Beckham The Musical is an adaptation by Gurinder Chadha of her wildly successful, award winning 2002 film. The actress who played Jess in the film, Parminder Nagra, went on to find some fame on American TV in ER, but was overshadowed by her co-star Keira Knightley who became an overnight international sensation. The star of this musical version, Natalie Drew, who plays Jess, deserves to follow the path of Miss Knightly instead. She is a charming, sympathetic presence who holds the play together with her warmth and sincerity. For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, Bend It Like Beckham tells the story of Jesminder Bhamra, an eighteen year-old girl from a Sikh family in Southall, London, who desperately wants to play football. Her parents have let her knock a ball around in the park with boys but now that she is a young lady, they think she should focus on learning to cook and finding a husband. When she is scouted by Jules, a 36
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young white girl, to play for the Hounslow Harriers, she is thrilled to be asked to join the team. An attraction develops between Jess and the handsome coach Joe, who had to give up playing after a serious knee injury. Unfortunately for Jess, her sister Pinky’s wedding takes precedence over everything, her father discourages her as he is afraid of her facing the same prejudice he did as a budding cricket player, and her mother just wants her to make dhal. Meanwhile, the ambitious Jules is also faced with discouragement from her own mother, the flirty Paula, who can’t understand why she isn’t chasing boys instead of hanging out with Jess all the time, little realising that Jules is actually in love with Joe. It is interesting that in this updated version Paula suspects Jules and Jess of being lesbians, but the writers didn’t want to take the step of actually going so far as to make one of the girls in love with the other. It is never easy to represent a sport on stage, but the choreographer, Aletta Collins, does a wonderful job with making the players always dance in a style suggestive of football. In one of the
final numbers this style is combined beautifully with the Indian dancing of the wedding party, melding together the two sides of Jess’ life. Although I didn’t come out humming any tunes, the music by Howard Goodall was often lovely and tried to incorporate traditional Indian themes into the score. I would have liked a less Western/West End sound throughout, personally, for a musical about a Sikh family. The addition of heritage singers, Shahid Khan and Rekha Sawhney, was a nice touch and it actually felt like they were underused. The lyrics by Charles Hart were clever and a couple of the songs were moving, particularly People Like Us in Act Two, when Mr Bhamra sings about his disappointment in life because of the discrimination he faced in the UK as an immigrant. Issues like racism and feminism make this more than just a highly enjoyable musical; they make it relevant to today’s audience. Aside from a stellar performance from Miss Drew, as Jess, there was strong support from the rest of the cast. Jamie Campbell Bower, known to fans of the Twilight and Harry Potter films, proves he is more than a pretty face as the sensitive and
THEATRE supportive Joe, and has a fine singing voice to boot. The two mothers, played by Natasha Jayetileke and Sophie-Louise Dann, were nicely contrasted, both wanting the best for their daughters while not understanding them at all. Tony Jayawardena was outstanding as Mr Bhamra, providing real depth of feeling and a gorgeous voice as well as wonderful comic timing. In the performance I saw, two of the leads were played by understudies: Kayleigh McKnight as Jules and Sejal Keshwala as Pinky. It is never an easy job being an understudy and both did admirably, but I especially liked the hilarious portrayal of Pinky by Miss Keshwala. Constantly chewing gum and snogging her fiancé Teetu, played by Raj Bajaj with the constant goofy grin of a man madly in love, Pinky was a typical London girl, comfortable in a sari or a miniskirt. Jamal Andreas also deserves mention as Jess’ closeted gay best friend who helps her at every turn to achieve her dreams. Gurinder Chadha, who has also directed the films Bride and Prejudice, Bhaji on the Beach and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, is to be commended for directing her first play so successfully. It is a wonderful story, beautifully staged with an appealing cast. The hugely appreciative audience at the performance we saw were a mixture of people of all races, nationalities and ages. This is indeed a musical for everyone, even if you don’t like football and have never heard of David Beckham. Box Office: 0843 316 1082
McQueen at the Theatre Royal Haymarket Alexander McQueen, the fashion designer, committed suicide in 2010, just over a week after his beloved mother died of cancer. He hung himself with his favourite brown belt after taking a cocktail of drugs. This play, which opens with McQueen alone on stage with a brown belt, has been written to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death by showing a night, possibly the last, in the life of Alexander McQueen. He is visited by a quirky American woman, Dahlia, who breaks into his studio to steal a dress. This visually stunning piece is a work of fantasy, imagining Lee (his real name) showing his favourite places in London to this gamine like stranger while explaining what fashion means to him. Aside from an interesting scene with Isabella Blow, an appearance by a Savile Row tailor and an interview with a journalist, the play consists of Lee rambling on to Dahlia while magically transporting her to different locations. The scenes are tied together by dancers dressed like fashion mannequins, moving to music from McQueen’s fashion shows, including Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax. The whole play is inspired by themes from McQueen’s shows, but unless you have read your programme notes or are a dedicated fashionista, you could be just as confused as I was. There is no particular story, nothing
significant really happens and the highlight of the evening is when McQueen builds a dress on Dahlia out of seemingly raw materials, without cutting or measuring. Aside from that dress, a golden wing-like coat and another feathery dress in the initial scene, we see very little of what made Alexander McQueen an artist- his clothes. It is like doing a play about Monet or Rembrandt and forgetting to show us their paintings. The script, by James Phillips, is intelligent, at times poetic and occasionally funny, but sometimes feels a little self-conscious and pretentious. I have seen his “magic realism” monologues, City Stories and actually preferred some of them, as although they have a similar rambling quality, a monologue, even a long one, is a better form for his style of writing. This play lacked any structure and at two hours it was quite long. The characterisation of McQueen had little light and shade and although Stephen Wight is an excellent actor who did his best to capture his mannerisms and also physically resembled him, he just came off as a grump who sometimes loses his temper and shouts a lot. Tracey-Ann Oberman was wonderful as Isabella Blow. An examination of McQueen and his mother would also have been interesting. As it was, I felt this play did not do justice to a man who was a creative genius, but whilst it may not have been excellent for me, others may disagree. Box Office: 0207 930 8800
Stephen Wright as Lee with Dancers in McQueen. Photo credit Specular.
Cherelle Skeete (Katya) & Royce Pierreson (Belyaev). Photo credit Tristram Kenton.
Three Days In The Country at the Lyttleton, National Theatre This adaptation of A Month in the Country by Turgenev, has been shortened to three days by playwright Patrick Marber, and although it is a very British version of the play, it is a complete delight. Much like the plays of Chekhov, which came forty years later, this is a story of spoiled landed gentry in tsarist Russia, caught up in their own problems while blissfully unaware of the socialist movement which is brewing in Moscow. Natalya, the bored wife of burly estate owner Arkady, is still being wooed after twenty years by Rakitin, her husband’s best friend. She, meanwhile, only has eyes for her son’s handsome new tutor, Belyaev, who has also caught the attention of her young ward (and illegitimate half- sister) Vera. The tutor is thrilled to be working in such a fine house and learning proper manners, such as when to take a lady’s arm, from Natalya. He is gentle and kind to Kolya, his young student, who is ignored by his selfish parents. Meanwhile, the very wealthy but far too old neighbour Bolshintsov, is eager to propose to seventeen year old Vera and has made the local doctor, Shpigelsky, his go-between. Even the servants are having relationship problems as young Matvey finds his engagement to Katya broken off as she too is enamoured of Belyaev. Hearts are broken, 38
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dangerous liaisons occur and secrets are revealed. Or not. Although the plot sounds light hearted, it actually has serious undertones as Belyaev is a man who has risen from a life of poverty, (his father was a fraudster), but through education now has a chance to better himself. Instead of trying to worm his way into this wealthy family, he really wants to join the movement to free the serfs and use his intelligence to help his fellow man. As much as he admires Natalya, he also despises her comfortable wealth and knows he would never ultimately be accepted by her kind. The dialogue is given a very contemporary feel by Marber, without losing the intentions of Turgenev. Some of the best lines go to the doctor, the self-confessed “maestro of misdiagnosis” played with comic brilliance by Mark Gatiss. When he decides to propose to the snuff-taking Lizaveta he gives her a long list of his flaws, not by way of an apology, but as a warning of what to expect when she accepts his hand in marriage. Lizaveta, beautifully played by Debra Gillett, asks if she may take notes and makes it clear that her giving up snuff and alcohol are definitely not options and should be crossed off his list. The scene is made more hilarious as the doctor tries to retain his dignity when his back suddenly goes, hobbling around on all fours. Gatiss provides the perfect combination of comedy and tragedy as we see his cynicism hides his despair.
John Simm is wonderful as the equally cynical and lonely Rakitin. He has been hanging for seven years on a promising moment of passion with Natalya, who strings him along with professions of fondness and love, while she only desires his friendship. He is magnificent in his frustration and anger at his own inability to stay away from her. Royce Pierreson was strikingly goodlooking, charismatic and interesting, making it believable that three women would be so in love with him, to the point of ruining their lives. Unfortunately, I did not feel the same about the central character of Natalya, as played by Amanda Drew. She played languorous boredom and pent up passion very well but I couldn’t see what was so enticing or even likeable about her that not only her husband, but his best friend and the tutor would be so drawn to her. Perhaps it was this detached and reserved portrayal of Natalya that made the play seem so very English. As a British comedy with a healthy dose of pathos, much in the style of Alan Ayckbourn, it works well and is very entertaining and sharp. As a Russian play of uncontrolled passions and heightened emotions, it is less successful. So, does one take it as Turgenev or Marber? If Three Days in the Country is viewed as Marber inspired by Turgenev, it is a highly enjoyable and a not to be missed evening at the theatre. Box Office: 020 7452 3000
American In Britain
Arts & Antiques
M.C. Escher, Bond of Union, 1956, Lithograph, 25.3 x 33.9 cm
ARTS & ANTIQUES
When We Look—What Do We See? The Amazing World of M.C. Escher By Abby Cronin
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972), was known for creating some of the most memorable graphic images of the 20th century. Although his work is less well known today, he is best remembered for iconic record jackets and posters which hung on the walls of hippies in the 1960s. It is somewhat odd that despite his artistic reputation, the only Escher print owned in Britain today is the mesmerising Day and Night, 1938, in the Hunterian collection at Glasgow University. Today, we are most fortunate to be able to examine Escher’s compelling visions in a retrospective exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery where the show has moved after closing at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. At the Dulwich you will find a showcase of nearly 100 of his greatest drawings and prints. A master of illusion and paradox, M.C. Escher’s prints evoke multiple levels of time, space and perception. He evolved a unique visual language. Escher was born in the small provincial town Leeuwarden, Holland. He grew up with several www.theamericanhour.com
M.C. Escher, Circle Limit III, 1959, Woodcut
siblings in a comfortable family environment. In his teens he developed a distinct talent for learning printing techniques and graphic skills despite some unhappy years at secondary school where his grades were poor. Although he suffered a bout of ill health in 1918 he continued to produce prints. When he enrolled in the School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem in 1919, his tutor Samuel Mesquita immediately recognised his talent for graphic work. Working with Mesquita enabled Escher to abandon his study of architecture and concentrate on training as a graphic artist. After mastering woodcut printing skills, he went on to learn the precision techniques required to make prints of perfectly executed images in the form of engravings, lithographs, copper plates and linocuts. Travels to Italy, Switzerland and Spain exposed Escher to the marvels of architecture and stimulated a profound appreciation for an interpretation of natural landscapes. When he visited Granada and saw the remarkable tilings in the Moorish Alhambra palace, he became fascinated with their symmetry, order and the regular division of planes. The technique of dividing planes was to feature in his designs throughout his fifty-year career. His “so-called ‘tessellations’….are arrangements of closed shapes that completely cover the plane without overlapping and without leaving gaps…[He] delighted in replacing the abstract patterns of Moorish tiles with recognisable figures...”(1) His tessellations attracted interest from mathematicians and scientists – especially the Cambridge mathematician Roland Penrose who published an article entitled “Impossible Objects: A Special Type of Visual Illusion”.(2) And the noted art historian Gombrich cited
M.C. Escher, Day and Night, 1938, Woodcut in black and grey 42
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Escher’s art for its groundbreaking study of the psychology of visual perception in Art and Illusion, 1960. A great deal of the literature about Escher’s art is organised and classified in descriptive categories. Within the categories the techniques used are discussed. An early work, his first woodcut, Eight Heads, 1922, clearly illustrates his tessellation technique. Eight Heads consists of repeating the central motif once in its entirety and several times partially. The pattern seamlessly interlocks in every direction and suggests a continuous closed loop.(3) When gazing at Eight Heads, viewers need to take time in order to appreciate the idea that eternity and infinity are revealed in a continuous integrated pattern. Day and Night, 1938, is another woodblock printed in black and white made from two blocks. Described as an iconic representation of the Dutch landscape, this exceptionally brilliant image is a complex aerial view of grey rectangular fields which develop upwards into silhouettes of white and black birds. White and black birds fly up from the flat land between two rivers. They evolve from shadows and fly towards the sunrise. The day and night landscapes are mirror images of each other. Gazing at Escher’s extraordinary lithograph Hand with Reflecting Mirror (Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror), 1935, reveals what has been described as an ‘Escherian double take’ -- an optical illusion – a tension inherent in representing three dimensions on a twodimensional surface. At first glance the depth and perspective in this lithograph seem to hide behind eyes staring straight at the viewer. Here, Escher is seated in his living room in Rome, where the family lived at the time. The portrait is inside a sphere, which rests on his right hand; the sphere
is so close to the viewer that it may feel that the viewer is looking at his own hand. Escher wrote of this image “His head, or to be more precise the point between his eyes, comes into the absolute centre. Whichever way he turns he remains at the centre.”(4) A mirror, and everything it reflects, is the subject of this print. Here space is distorted by a convex reflective surface. The famous lithograph Drawing Hands, 1948, is described as one of Escher’s most celebrated and economically paradoxical works. (5) Here we see the right hand sketching the cuff on a left hand while the left hand is simultaneously sketching the cuff on the right hand. The hands sit on a piece of flat sketch paper but the hands take on a three-dimensional perspective. Comments about this lithograph suggest that these ‘drawing hands’ represent a purely mental and imaginative concept because the set of hands is performing the physically impossible. Relativity, 1953, weaves different perspectives together; it expresses confusion – even dizziness. How can we interpret this print? One viewer has read Escher’s Relativity as an image that evokes the confused and unhappy school days he spent in his adolescent years. What is inside; what is outside? By combining different vantage points in a single work, Escher captures a visual and psychological experience within spatial settings and interiors. Movement within this space is impossible; spaces continuously run into one another. In the catalogue the interpretation of this print explains that the print “seems to show a man walking up a staircase. But a closer inspection quickly leads to a dizzying sensation produced by so many different perspectives combined in one image. Each man walking up a staircase would appear to be paired with another on the
Arts & Antiques underside of the staircase, in a different world. Unexpected perspectives are hidden between all the different stairways. Space and motion merge in a fluid visual symbiosis.”(6) Several prints in the exhibition draw on similar architecturally precise interiors which express levels of visual confusion. They are mesmerising. The diversity of Escher’s subjects is intriguing. Take, for example, Bond of Union, 1956, a woodcut. Two spirals merge and portray a woman’s head on the left and a man’s on the right. Here the spirals unite both in an endless band with foreheads intertwined - a double unity. It represents a double image of himself and his wife. Spheres float and magnify the space that surrounds these hollow heads. In Circle Limits III, 1959, another woodcut, we find a dense spatial circular design in which all the fish swim in one string. There are diminutive fish progressing in the opposite direction. They swim behind each other following a curving path at an equal rate within the limit of the circle. Here Escher demonstrates yet again his mastery of geometry. Recognition of Escher’s art began to emerge the 1930s while he was living with his family in Switzerland. One of his core themes, the idea of a “metamorphosis”, is that a shape or object could be shown to turn into something completely
different. This is clearly seen in his landscape prints and in many other works. However, it was not until the 1950s that his work was admired worldwide. His popularity was boosted when two articles in the American magazines Time and Life appeared. In 1954, he had his first one-man exhibition in the Whyte Gallery in Washington, D.C. However, it is worth noting that although he was a contemporary of Magritte and Dali, he kept his distance from the contemporary art world and did not regard his work as surrealist. A close friend, J.L. Locher, described Escher’s work as one with an absurdist sense of humour. They are picture-puzzles which play games with elements and contain cherished memories. His “picture-thoughts” exhibit systematic principles of construction that appear to have very little to do with aesthetic laws. (7) But they are realised with craftsman-like passion. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to view previously unseen archive material on loan from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Hague, The Netherlands. Escher’s work will be displayed chronologically and stretch across his fifty- year career. Be sure to catch this exceptional exhibition. The show is appropriately described as a oneman movement. So, put the dates in your diary:
The Amazing World of M. C. Escher -14 October 2015 – 17 January 2016. You will not be disappointed. The Amazing World of M. C. Escher 14 October 2015 – 17 January 2016. Dulwich Picture Gallery Gallery Road, London SE21 7AD www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk Images: Courtesy of the Dulwich Picture Gallery All M.C. Escher works © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com Notes: 1. M.C. Escher. Publisher- Taschen p.19 2. Elliott, P. chapter on ‘Escher and Britain’ in Exhibition catalogue: The Amazing World of M.C.Escher. Publisher: National Gallery of Scotland in Association with the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The Hague. 2015 3. Exhibition catalogue p 41-43 4. Exhibition catalogue p. 65 5. Exhibition catalogue p.104 6. Exhibition catalogue p.118 7. Locher, J.L. The Magic World of Escher, Thames & Hudson 2000 p 19 Get in Touch: Abby Cronin – firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.abbycronin.co.uk
M.C. Escher, Drawing Hands, 1948, Lithograph, 28.2 x 33.2 cm, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
M.C. Escher, Relativity, 1953, Lithograph www.theamericanhour.com
M.C. Escher, Hand with a Reflecting Sphere, 1935 www.americaninbritain.co.uk
American In Britain
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY
DAYS OUT WITH THE FAMILY
Houses Of Parliament
Houses Of Parliament
Houses Of Parliament
A Visit To The Houses Of Parliament The Palace of Westminster is situated on the River Thames by Westminster Bridge and is an essential sightseeing experience for anybody living in, or visiting, London. It has been the home of British democracy since the Civil War that resulted in the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649, following Oliver Cromwell’s overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a democratically elected, albeit of restricted franchise, chamber to determine the laws of the land. Originally built by William II between 1097 and 1099, the building’s original role as a Royal residence ended in 1512, when a fire gutted the private chambers of the king. Henry VIII moved out and it became a centre for law and governance. Many high profile treason trials took place in the Palace of Westminster, including the trial of Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. All were executed in 1606. Charles I, whilst still king was tried and condemned there as “a tyrant, traitor and murderer”, although no court had any legal authority over him. Another fire in 1834 created the opportunity to rebuild the Palace of Westminster. Sir Charles Barry worked alongside Augustus Pugin to create today’s perpendicular gothic building www.theamericanhour.com
containing 1,100 rooms around two courtyards. It covers eight acres with a 266 river frontage and adjoins the famous Big Ben clock tower. Tours of the Palace of Westminster can either be taken in parties with guides or individually with audio tours. Headsets come for under twelves or adults, and provide excellent information on the history and architecture of the Palace. The audio tour gives you the opportunity to explore at your own pace. Each section of the tour is numbered and you move from location to location whilst listening to information relevant to each stage of the tour. At each stage, you have the option to listen to specific additional information of your choice, such as the attempt by Charles I to arrest four members of the then Parliament, which led to the convention that still holds good today that no monarch is allowed to enter the House of Commons where today’s elected Members of Parliament sit. The tour starts in Westminster Hall and progresses to St. Stephen’s Hall, the Peers Lobby (used by members of the House of Lords), the Norman Porch, Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Prince’s Chamber, the House of Lords (where the monarch gives the annual State Opening of Parliament outlining the government’s legislative programme at the start of the parliamentary year), the Central Lobby and the House of Commons. There is so much history to savour on the tour.
Houses Of Parliament
There are fabulous paintings depicting great events and personalities from British history. Certain statues, including Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Clement Atlee are situated inside the Palace, whilst that of Oliver Cromwell is situated outside in Cromwell Green. There is no better place to explore and learn about Britain’s history than the Houses of Parliament. Do not rush the tour; take a long time and absorb all the information that is available to you. For further information visit: www.parliament.uk/visiting/ www.americaninbritain.co.uk
Hever Castle, Dining Hall
Hever Castle, Gardens
Hever Castle, Tudor Garden Chess
Hever Golf Express 46
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Whether enamoured by the history and character the Tudor castle has to offer, or just looking for an entertaining day out with the kids, Hever Castle really is a rewarding day out for all ages and family members. Situated in Edenbridge, Kent, the astonishing grounds encompass an immersing journey through time and an adventure for all. With a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities to keep the whole family absorbed, there is no need for any apprehension over Britain’s temperamental weather conditions or the kids becoming uninterested. With not only the traditional (yet unavoidably amusing) 100 year old yew maze, the castle offers an alternative way to ‘get lost’ for a few hours, with an imaginative water maze. Other activities that are sure to pass hours by with delight and laughter, including the children’s adventure playground and (for the more energetic individuals) the Castle’s jousting, archery and shield painting facilities, not to mention the trails and tours that take place throughout the year. For a more passive source of amusement, or perhaps the older family members, the miniature model houses located through the Hever Castle shop, are fascinating to view. This collection, which takes about half an hours captivation, consists of an assortment of distinctive 1/12 scale model houses, reflecting the architectural features from Tudor to Victorian times. Moreover, the magnificent gardens of the castle, formed around 1904-1908, are exquisite to view whilst having a relaxing stroll through at any time of the year, as is the gorgeous boating lake, which can also be strolled along, through the wildlife-inhabited lakeside. For the history lovers, Hever Castle is the perfect place to become engrossed in the Tudor past. Being the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, the double moated castle contains an array of Tudor paintings and books engraved by Anne Boleyn herself. The 700 years of history the castle holds and its enchanting story, can be unfolded throughout the many impressive rooms and the tales of its various owners and inhabitants. Overall, for a day of escapism and laughter as Hever Castle
well as a journey through another time period, Hever Castle is definitely well worth a visit for families with kids of all ages. The tickets can be purchased both online and on entry, though it saves money to do so online. Although perhaps considered slightly pricey, seeing as there is plenty to do at the castle to fill up an entire day and the desires of all individuals, I believe it is well worth the cost for such a charming break from reality. Family ticket* on entry (castle and gardens): £42.50 Family ticket* online (castle and gardens): £39.95 Family ticket* on entry (gardens only): £37 Family ticket* online (gardens only): £34.80 *2 adults/2 children or 1 adult/3 children, not applicable to groups.
Hever Golf Express Just a stone’s throw from Hever Castle, is what I think is my favourite golf course in the UK – Hever Golf Club. With its lovely tudor style club house, its attractive outdoor terrace and great bar menu, it is definitely a course that I love playing, as did my step-children James and Emily, when we took them to try out Hever’s new Express Golf Course, aimed at introducing children and adults alike, to a game I have become obsessed with over this past year! For just £5, visitors are given a club, several balls and a score card, and instructions on where to find the first hole! The tee isn’t the usual white, yellow or red, but blue, and can be found half way up the fairway. The flag you are then aiming for is blue, and the hole is about 10 times bigger than the usual size. The course itself is stunning, and even though the course is for beginners, there is still the challenge of hitting the ball over water, hence the few extra you are given at the beginning of the game! We all had a thoroughly enjoyable 9 holes, and hopefully have introduced James and Emily to another sport they can continue to pursue over the next few years. For further information visit: www.hever.co.uk
You are cordially invited to
Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition on
Monday 8th February 2016 10.00am - 5.00pm at
Hotel Russell, 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE
This event is FREE TO ATTEND
Come along and meet our exhibitors who have products and services that support expatriates and their families. There are also free seminars running throughout the day. You will need to pre-register for the seminars as places are limited so please email email@example.com For further information on this event please call Helen Elliott on 020 8661 0186
USEFUL NUMBERS Computer Services
Online PC 11 Queens Way, NW4 2TN London Contact: Yaron Samuel Telephone: 07973190201 / 02031918116 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.onlinepc.biz COMPUTERS AND HOME TECH SUPPORT, REPAIRS AND SALES. Whatever the needs, we can help. Virus removal and protection, Broadband setup, Wifi Signal boost, Laptop repairs, SKY TV support, Home Entertainment systems – Sonos, Spotify, Netflix. We specialise on PC and Mac. Give us a call. We are here to help!
EDUCATION - Schools
ACS International Schools Heywood, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL Telephone: 01932 869721 Email: email@example.com Website: www.acs-england.co.uk Contact: Fergus Rose Three superb locations close to London, ACS provides a stable environment, high educational standards and a happy social life for relocated youngsters. American SAT/ACT Tuition 207 Regent Street, 3rd Floor London W1B 3HH Contact: Elizabeth von Nardroff Email: Elizabeth@AmericanSATtuition.com Telephone +44 (0)20 7692 0766 Website: www.AmericanSATtuition.com Twitter: @elivonna American SAT/ACT Tuition is a small, independent company based in the London, UK area. Our focus is on the needs of American, British and International students applying to US Colleges/Universities or Prep Schools. We offer SAT/ACT/PSAT/SSAT advice, tutoring and bespoke online courses, as well as help with applications, admissions advice, and interview technique coaching. Our specialists are knowledgeable, experienced, and we love what we do! Plus we’ve shown results - past students now attend Yale, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, and other top US Universities. DWIGHT SCHOOL LONDON 6 Friern Barnet Lane, London, N11 3LX Contact: Alison Miley Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: + 44(0)20 8920 0600 Website: www.dwightlondon.org Twitter: @DwightSchoolUK Dwight School London, formerly known as The North London International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and is one of the first schools in the UK to offer the full IB Programme. 48
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EIFA 36 Portland Place, London W1B 1LS Contact: Sabine Dehon, Head of School Email: email@example.com Telephone: 020 7637 5351 Website: www.ecole-ifa.com Located in London’s prestigious Marylebone, EIFA is an independent, co-educational school offering international and bilingual education for children aged 3 to 18. EIFA will be the first school in the UK to offer the subjects of the IB Diploma Programme half in French and in English. TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic programme, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualised attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.
MACKRELL TURNER GARRETT Savoy Hill House, Savoy Hill, London WC2R 0BU Contact: Nigel Rowley, Managing Partner Telephone: 0207 240 0521 Email: Nigel.Rowley@mackrell.com Website: www.mackrell.com Mackrell Turner Garrett is an international, full service law firm based in London. we provide an extensive range of legal advice and services for individuals, partnerships and companies. As founders of Mackrell International, one of the largest international organisations of independent law firms in the world, we are able to procure immediate international legal advice for our clients and access to any jurisdiction worldwide.
DT MOVING 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London CR4 4HR Tel: 020 7622 4393 Email: email@example.com Web: www.dtmoving.com Contact: Tim Daniells DT Moving is a long established and awardwinning* international moving company.
Founded in 1870, we have vast experience in moving Americans to and from the United States and to other worldwide destinations. With a customer satisfaction rating of 96% throughout 2014, we offer a quality service at competitive rates. First class storage facilities are available. *Awarded nine global relocation awards since 2010. FOX INTERNATIONAL 10 Somerset Road, Cwmbran, NP44 1QX Telephone: 01633 488100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.fox-moving.com Contact: Stephen Denning Fox International is one of the UK’s largest removal companies, offering a full range of moving and storage service to Americans throughout the UK, Europe and Worldwide.
AdvancedAmericanTax.com Telephone: +44 (0)7554 905 143 Website: www.AdvancedAmericanTax.com Email: Derren@HTJosephCPA.com Our international tax team has over 80 years experience and we are fully qualified and licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We are 3 independent but allied offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and now Singapore. Our team is united in our drive to serve the US Tax needs of our clients. WESTLETON DRAKE LLP 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF Telephone: +44 (0)20 3178 6041 Fax: +44 (0)20 3178 4083 Email: email@example.com Website: www.westletondrake.com US and UK tax advisors who specialise in assisting Americans living in the UK, and corporations and partnerships doing business in the US and UK.
MASECO Private Wealth Burleigh House, 357 Strand, London WC2R 0HS Telephone: +44 (0)20 7043 0455 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.masecoprivatewealth.com MASECO Private Wealth gives peace of mind by providing expert guidance to US families on how to simplify their cross-border wealth management needs. We serve and care for Americans living at home or abroad through the planning and implementation of rational, practical and tax efficient wealth management strategies.
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EMBASSY CORNER Keep Your Passport Current
Don’t Get Scammed
What’s the surest way for a US citizen to ruin a vacation or important business trip? If you want to find out the hard way, try showing up at the airport or some other border crossing with an expired passport. Then brace yourself as the counter agent or immigration officer explains that your expensive trip is a total loss. Even if your passport is good for a few months longer, you may still not be allowed to travel, since many countries - including France and other members of the European Schengen Zone - may turn you away unless your passport is good for at least six more months. (Check the US Department of State’s website at travel.state.gov for latest information on entry requirements for your destination). Now is the time to check the expiration dates on your and your family’s US passports, and to get new passports if they are expiring soon. You can renew any time. For many adults who are visiting or living in the United Kingdom, renewing a US passport can be done by mail, without having to personally appear at the US Embassy in London or our consulates in Edinburgh or Belfast. Visit the Embassy’s website at london.usembassy.gov and click on “US Citizen Services” to see if you qualify for mail-in service. There you’ll also find complete information about applying for a passport, including forms, fees, payment procedures, and instructions for how to request an appointment if a personal appearance is required.
An email arrives in your inbox with incredible news: you’ve won a lottery that you never even knew existed. Or your assistance is needed to help a wealthy businessperson complete an international transaction, for which you’ll be paid handsomely. Or an internet friend of yours – someone you’ve never met in-person – is sick or in trouble with the law, and you need to send money right away to fix the problem. If anything like this is happening to you, chances are you have encountered an international financial scam. Every month the US Embassy in London hears from dozens of American citizens who have fallen prey to schemes like these. To avoid becoming a victim, never send money to someone you have not met in-person without first verifying their identity, and avoid disclosing personal details to strangers over the phone or online. And remember, as it is often said, if something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. More tips on detecting and avoiding international scams are available on the US Department of State’s website at: www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/ english/emergencies/scams.html
Next Edition: The US Presidential primary season gets under way in a few months, and every vote counts. In the next edition of Embassy Corner, we’ll tell US citizens all about how to cast a ballot from overseas.
EMBASSY INFORMATION American Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE www.london.usembasy.gov Switchboard: (020) 7499-9000 Business Hours: 8:30am- 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Closed on American Holidays. An officer is available via the switchboard all day, everyday for a life-or-death emergency involving a US citizen. Passports: 8:30-11:00am Monday-Friday and 2:00-4:00pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. IRS: 9:00am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Notary Services: By appointment only http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/notary.html Federal Benefits Unit: 8:30am-1:00pm Monday-Friday Travel Advisories: www.travel.state.gov
American In Britain
Published on Sep 30, 2015
The Autumn 2015 issue features theatre reviews of Bend It Like Beckham, McQueen and Three Days In The Country; restaurant reviews of Smith &...