Archive of ‘An American in Sussex’ category

The Great Storm Remembered – 30 Years On

I slept very well the night of 15th October 1987. I attribute that to the exhaustion of being a young mother with a six year old and an 18 month old.

Morning came and when I tried unsuccessfully to turn on the lights, I realised we’d had a power cut. Living on the outskirts of the West Sussex village of Storrington, we were used to periodic outages. It wasn’t until my husband John opened the door to take the dog for a walk that we knew this wasn’t a normal power cut. This was serious. Trees and branches were strewn across our lane. A large oak had come down on our neighbours’ driveway – just missing their house. Overhead electricity and telephone cables had snapped, their loose ends hanging. (more…)

Spike Milligan and me

As a twenty-something, I came to England from the U.S., hoping to get a job with a work permit. One night an English friend took me to see Spike’s one-man show at the Mermaid. I hadn’t a clue who he was but went along. My friend laughed uproariously during the entire show but as I was a fairly new arrival to these shores, I’m ashamed to admit that most of the jokes went over my head.

My friend then dragged me backstage so he could say hello to one of the crew. There I spotted Spike, all alone, plucking out ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ on a guitar. Naturally, I started to sing it. ‘Oh, you like jazz,’ he said, suddenly noticing me. ‘Maybe we could go out some time.’ (more…)

American Rant – Expatriate’s Blues

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this country. I’m here by choice. What’s more, I’m one of you: a citizen. But over the years some Brits have said some very annoying things to me. I’ve decided it was time to stop ‘keeping a stiff upper lip’ and instead tell all.

Did you know, for instance, that there are about 250,000 Americans living here in the UK? I imagine many of them have had similar experiences to mine. I’ve decided to appoint myself their unofficial spokesperson and the following ‘rant’ is in order to perpetuate our ‘special relationship’. (more…)

I Once Met…Margot Fonteyn

I walked to the gate for my flight from Miami to London, holding the hand of my two-and-a-half year old daughter. It was late winter of 1984 and I’d been visiting my parents who’d retired and moved from New York to Miami Beach. My three-week-long welcome escape from the English chill and damp was over and it was time to fly back to my husband and home in West Sussex. (more…)

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