The Florida Page – February 2012

HEREWITH two changes that affect your expat life in Florida.

1) GROAN … blame this on the European Union. As if we weren’t paying outrageously high fares to the UK, new 2012 EU green taxes will add about $45 per person on return UK-USA flights. This Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) means airlines which exceed their allowance of carbon dioxide production must pay. This Brussels-backed carbon trading levy was unsuccessfully challenged by a coalition of American airlines in the European Court of Justice. So this new expense to airlines of $1bn annually will be passed on to us passengers. Zero surprise.

2) Like most expats, I expect you transfer funds to and from the UK? Then these new regulations, effective January 23, 2012, affect you. The new Banks Secrecy Act (BSA) now requires all companies transferring funds for US residents to become registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) in the USA. This means only companies who are registered as such can transfer your funds. So chances are any UK-based foreign exchange broker you use (except for Moneycorp) does not have this license, does not comply and therefore can’t service your UK-USA currency needs. UK-based Moneycorp (407) 352-5890 which opened its USA office in Florida several years ago, already registered as an MSB at that time – a smart anticipatory decision by Laura McLoughlin who heads up their Orlando office. This means they can help expat Brits in all 50 states with any matter from receiving pensions or sending money back to the UK. To announce this to UJ readers (and their handy edge over competitors!) see their ad in this issue.

FLORIDA is always a magnet for British celebrity visitors, many of whom have a Miami holiday home here like Sir Richard Branson and Sir Michael Caine, but it’s delightful when they don’t show off. Adele, British superstar of the moment topping the American charts, had dinner January 9 at Max’s Grille in Boca Raton. When the waiter asked if she was the singer of Someone Like You, she denied it. But on leaving she scrawled on the check “Yes it was me” and autographed it. Hope he got a rockstar respectable tip too. We don’t want to perpetuate the cheap Brits aboard reputation.

BRITISH CLASSIC CAR SHOW: Got an e-type Jag or an Aston Martin? Neither do I. But you can ogle these triumphs of British engineering, plus vintage Rolls Royce’s, MG’s, Triumphs, Mini Coopers, Jensens, Morris Minors and other magic motors at this annual show. A successful, popular event, British car-lovers attend from across Florida. I go every year. Free entrance. Sunday, February 19, at Royal Palm Plaza in Boca. from 11am to 4pm. To enter your classic British car in the judged competition, call Susan Micelli (954) 461-5361 Info

INSTEAD OF a Tommy Cooper joke this month here with another great Brit: After his retirement decades ago, Sir Winston Churchill cruised the Mediterranean on an Italian cruise ship. Asked why the former First Lord of the Admiralty would choose an Italian ship he said. “There are three things I like about an Italian cruise ship,” said Churchill. “First, their cuisine is unsurpassed.” “Second, their service is superb.” “And then, in emergencies, there is none of this nonsense about women and children first.”

UK-USA LANUAGE IRKS: The pronunciation of coupon. On a recent NBC Today show segment the female host correctly pronounced it Koopon. The woman interviewed about her extreme couponing habits pronounced it Kewpon and declared “We in the Midwest usually say Kewpon. “The host – a college-educated journalist – knowing which is correct, said nothing. This annoyed me. At that stage, she should have taken the opportunity to tell viewers, “Actually there is only way to say it, because it comes from the French word Couper, meaning to cut.” But she didn’t. Culturally, correcting somebody is seen as rude by Americans. But if you never educate nobody here learns and American children grow up talking about kewpons.

SCOTTISH FESTIVALS … always a great day out. Dust off your sporrans, wear something tartan and go to one of these:
1) JACKSONVILLE AREA the NorthEast Florida Games Saturday, February 25. See their ad this issue.
2) FT LAUDERDALE (west). Don’t miss the 29th Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Saturday, March 3. See ad this issue

FT MYERS: British rock legends the MOODY BLUES perform March 12, at Barbara Mann Centre Ft Myers. See promoter’s website www.livenation for tickets.

FT LAUDERDALE RUGBY Club has long been one of the most successful in Florida. They just started a coed youth programme for kids ages 8-14, plus a tackle rugby program for boys ages 11-14 some evenings at Northeast High School in Ft. Lauderdale. Details on or call the club Eric at (954) 445-4241.

YUMMY CORNER. A Great find. If you’re near a British shop, like the exceptionally well-stocked British Marketplace in Davie (see ad this issue) Costco now has imported English cheddar. Matured 15 months, rugged and nutty the unforgettable taste is direct from England’s Ford Farm. You’ll find it in a blue wrapper under brandname Coastal. No surprise that it won the 2011 International Cheese Awards … the Oscars of fromage. Costco please send me a chunk for writing this.

FT LAUDERDALE: BILLY ELLIOT the Musical from February 29 to March 11 at the Broward Center. Called the Musical of the Decade by Time Magazine. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising passion that inspires his family and his whole community. The show is brought to life by a phenomenal cast of 45, a Tony Award-winning creative team and music by Sir Elton John, who wrote what the New York Post calls “His best score yet!” I saw this show when it debuted in London and found it superb. But it’s extremely and regionally British, so am curious as to how producers here will make the thick Geordie dialect and expressions, with Thatcher-bashing political references of the time, understandable to American audiences. I hope they don’t rework it and pander too much. Note: The Broward British Chamber has arranged a group trip March 10 for local Brits. Call Roy (954) 942-7330 to join them.

COLUMN SUBMISSIONS: Just opened a British business in the last 3 months? Email details for possible publication here to Your name, city, and a daytime phone necessary.

The opinions in this column are Patricia Kawaja’s and not necessarily shared by Union Jack Publishing.



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The Union Jack has been published monthly since April 1982. Our readership now exceeds 220,000 throughout the USA. We serve a devoted readership comprised primarily of British expatriates, ranging from recent immigrants to war brides who relocated to the States a half-century ago, as well as a growing number of American Anglophiles. All of our readers, whether aged 25 or 75, share a common desire to maintain strong ties to Britain and the British community in America.

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