“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

East End...to East Side

During our fabulous weekend in New York, we stayed on the ritzy East Side and yet, and yet, what do we see as we're walking down the street? A Barking Dog sign! Oh, no! Where are we again? Is this the East Side or the East End? This Barking Dog is a restaurant attached to a hotel, and probably a lot nicer than the pub in Barking, but nevertheless...
We also saw a Baker Street Pub with a charming Sherlock Holmes sign, but were running late and did not take a photo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Start spreading the news...

Our New York events are finally upon us, and we can't wait! We hope anyone in the area will join us—it'd be so wonderful to meet some of our cyber-friends! Here are the details:

Friday March 26, 7:30 pm

Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Triangle (Broadway & 66)
Professional actors take on all your favorite characters from A Yank Back to England in a theatrical interpretation of one expat’s rediscovery of his former homeland. Plus, don't miss a chance to win one of three fish & chip dinners for two at the ChipShop!
If you come early, pop into the cafe on the 4th floor and say hi to the old Prodigal Wife, who will be there with the little one.

Sunday March 28, 2-4 pm
Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant
14 East 47th Street (between Madison and 5th)
The Daughters of the British Empire invite you to a afternoon of nibbles, drinkies, and humour with the entire Prodigal Clan—and a raffle! Tickets are $30, with all profits benefiting the Victoria Home. For more info & reservations, call Vicki Downey (646) 220 2309 or email Vickilou67@aol.com

Hope to see some of you this weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bubble, bubble without trouble

Stuck with leftover St. Patrick's Day cabbage and spud? Here's my home version of another cornerstone of English cuisine: Bubble and Squeak. So easy, not a real recipe really. I cook up some bacon and fry up the chopped, leftover spuds and greens in the rendered fat. I let everything brown for a few minutes without touching, then stir up and brown the other sides. That's it! It all goes down very well with everyone, even Kate, though we keep her away from the Guiness...just kidding, Prodigal Wife is not a Guiness fan either.

Monday, March 15, 2010

On the battlements

Walking across a castle tower, we peeked out from the battlements, watching the Arun river as it curved around the shadow of the castle before snaking out into the countryside beyond. About a hundred feet below us, we saw a graveled driveway that led to a private entrance to the castle. As if on cue, a raffishly muddied Land Rover pulled up and young blond children, a pretty blonde woman, and a tousle-haired fellow in a check shirt and crumpled corduroy trousers piled out. They all looked like models from an L.L Bean catalog. But as no photographer appeared, we concluded they might well be the current lord, his lady, and heirs apparent. We walked back inside, descended another staircase past more family portraits, and tried to look for a family resemblance. We found none, but we did find Jessie and Lew patiently waiting for us.
“Gasping for a cuppa tea, son,” said Lew.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Broadcast muse

Trying to repeat the success of my BBC America interview (which sent my little tome flying off the ether-shelves!), we thought we'd put together some "B-roll" before reaching out to some media outlets. Here is what we came up with--what do you think?
It's only 60 seconds, please check it out and let us know!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One sherry too many

“Is Mum alright, Dad?”
“Don’t wake her, for Gawd’s sake!” Lew’s face registered fear. “She’ll start doing a ‘knees up’ or get all funny. Either way, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“A knees up?” Frances whispered. I explained it was an East London dance that is only difficult to do if very drunk, which is the only time it is ever performed. A “knees up” requires the linkage of arms, the stomping of feet, and high-kicking legs in order to get the required “knees up” while singing “Knees Up Mother Brown.”
The image of my drunken aunts performing like inebriated Rockettes, trampling on each other’s feet, was not far from my mind.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunset in Windsor

Kate and I love to feed the Queen's swans whenever we're in England; once in a while we get a fabulous sunset too, as we did in Windsor.
For other beautiful skies, visit Skywatch.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Troubles at immigration

We've received lots of notes/comments saying how wonderful the old Prodigal Wife is, taking everything in stride, smiling, smoothing things over... I thought it was time to set the record straight: Prodigal Wife has her moments too. Specifically, she has trouble with bureaucrats and their silly rules, as you'll see in this encounter with an officious official at Heathrow. (Must be the six months she spent in the Soviet Union.)