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By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

I took my first trip to London with my wife and I never felt like we were far from home or from living history.

In Uber rides, the music of Justin Timberlake, the Pointer Sisters and numerous other American artists provided the soundtrack for our visit.

Walking around the city and descending into the tube, advertisements for American products such as Pepsi and movies such as “The Fall Guy” and “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” adorned the sides of hackney cars, the iconic red double-decker buses and the walls of the tube.

The cars on the tube were much narrower than I expected, as people sitting across from me tapped my feet without standing or stretching. 

For a country that drives on the left, I was mystified by the “keep right” signs. If they drive on the left, why do they walk on the right?

London has its fair share of “must visits,” such as the Tower of London, Big Ben and Parliament and the Churchill War Rooms. An imposing and impressive testament to the history of the city and the country, the Tower of London forms a small metropolis with its enormous towers and stories of prisoners. Graffiti on the walls bears the name and religious convictions of those confined to the tower and in some cases tortured or killed.

Big Ben was larger and more elaborate than I imagined. It reminded me of an earlier visit to Mount Rushmore, where I found the size and pageantry of the four former presidents magnificent and moving.

The Churchill War Rooms provided a close up view of the remarkable fortitude and foresight of the celebrated prime minister. At the age of 65, Churchill spent considerable time underground.

When he learned that the facility was vulnerable to a direct hit from a German bomb, he complained in a letter displayed on the wall of the memorial that Patrick Duff, who was permanent secretary of the Office of Works, had “sold him a pup.”

The government added concrete and, after a nearby bomb shook the bunker, Churchill lamented that the bomb didn’t strike close enough to test the reinforcements.

Veterans of the shelter, many of whom rarely saw sunlight underground, shared stories about going under sunlamps to increase their vitamin D, about Churchill’s need for quiet, and about their secret life.

The arms of one of Churchill’s chairs in the cabinet room bears the marks of his fingers digging into the wood, as he listened to testimony, prepared action plans and reacted to news.

Throughout his tenure during the war, Churchill traveled extensively, visiting everywhere from the United States, to Cairo to Moscow, rallying support for the war and visiting foreign leaders and dignitaries, sometimes for more than a month. The Prime Minister, who was almost 71 when the war ended, traveled over 100,000 miles during those tumultuous years. Observers shared parts of his routine, which included two baths a day and three meals per day.

Churchill, who was involved in everything from planning the war effort to offering advice about military technology, pointed out that the government named a tank after him “when they found out it was no damn good!”

Aside from our historical visits, we enjoyed listening to, and watching, people. Like so many other big cities, London attracts guests from around the world, as French, Spanish and German blended with Japanese, Chinese and Arabic languages.

We enjoyed the hospitality of numerous Brits. A beefeater at the Tower of London, which was hit by a few stray bombs, suggested the site wasn’t a target during World War II because it had no strategic value.

Or, perhaps, the Germans and their killer leader “liked the Tower” and didn’t want it or the crown jewels, destroyed.

On the lighter side, we experienced a range of London weather while on a short boat trip on the Thames, as sunlight gave way to dark clouds and wind turned some umbrellas inside out.

The tour guide on the boat offered one of the more unexpected linguistic differences. He described how certain buildings were converted from commercial properties into apartments.

“Wait, what did he just say?” I asked my wife, chuckling.

“What do you mean?”

“I think he’s talking about warehouses and he said, ‘Where asses.’”

Later, when he described a queen’s residence, he also suggested this was one of the queen’s favorite ‘asses.’

Yes, we had a “eck” of a time in London and would be more than “appy” to visit again.

England’s vote to leave the European Union last month will impact the world. Stock photo

By Wenhao Ma

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union three weeks ago has caused mortgage rates to decline in United States, and North Shore financial advisors and real estate agents see Brexit’s impending global changes as good and bad.

A North Shore real estate agent said following Brexit, U.S. mortgage rates have greatly decreased

The value of British pound dropped rapidly after England’s vote on Thursday, June 23, and was significantly lower than the U.S. dollar next Monday. With the change of value in currencies, offshore money has started to flood into the United States, which leads to a drop in mortgage interest rates, according to James Retz, associate real estate broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cold Spring Harbor.

“It’s only been a few days since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union,” he said. “[But] several lenders here have posted lower interest rates for long-term fixed rate mortgages.”

Up until Thursday, June 30, the average 30-year fixed rate had fallen under 3.6 percent and the 15-year fixed rate was more than 2.7 percent.

Retz ruled out the possibility of domestic factors causing low rates.

“I am not aware of anything that has happened in the USA to make the rates drop,” he said. “Until Britain’s vote to leave the European Union a few days ago, mortgage rates were static.”

Besides mortgage rates, Brexit hasn’t yet had much impact on Long Island’s economy. But experts do a predict small influence on local tourism.

“There will be a small negative effect on students and tourists visiting Long Island as the dollar has strengthened against the pound,” Panos Mourdoukoutas, professor of economics from Long Island University, said. “But it will benefit Long Islanders visiting the U.K.”

Mark Snyder, owner of Mark J. Snyder Financial Services Inc., shared that opinion.

“Locally, Brexit will likely mean less foreign tourists coming here since it’s forcing a rise in the dollar’s value, but might make for good international travel deals,” he said. Snyder is not certain of Brexit’s long-term impact on international or local economies.

Mourdoukoutas didn’t sound optimistic on the future of Brexit. “In the long term, Brexit could lead to the break up of EU,” he said. “That’s bad news for the global economy, including China.”

Michael Sceiford, financial advisor at Edward Jones’ Port Jefferson office, thinks otherwise.

“The U.K. is about 4 percent of the world economy and it doesn’t leave the EU immediately,” he said. “So we believe the economic impact is likely to be much less than the market reaction suggests.”

Sceiford believes that it may take three or more years before Britain actually departs. According to an article he submitted, this extended time can give financial markets a chance to absorb the new reality and give investors time to ponder their long-term strategy.

“The Brexit may not be a positive development for the global economy, but we’ve gotten past bigger events in the past, including wars and other political crises,” the financial advisor said. “As the British themselves famously posted on their walls during World War II, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’”

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Memorial Window in St. Peter’s Church, Rowley, England. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

On our recent trip to Scotland and England, my wife and I visited the church in the village of Rowley that was the start of my Carlton family odyssey.

We knew that the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers was dismissed from the Anglican Church at Rowley for his non-conformist views. We also knew that Edward Carleton, his wife Ellen and son John were one of 60 Yorkshire, England, farm families, led by Ezekiel Rogers, who landed at Salem, Mass., in 1639 and settled at what they initially called Roger’s Plantation.

After the first season the name was changed to Rowley.

What we didn’t know was that on July 4, 1994, “Descendants, Friends, and Citizens of Rowley, Massachusetts,” dedicated a memorial window in the church in Rowley, England, “In memory of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and company who planted the seed of a new church and community in Rowley, Massachusetts in 1639 A.D.”

We discovered this when we were listening to a BBC television show called “Who Do You Think You Are?”

In one episode, broadcast in 2008, Jodie Kidd, an English fashion model and television personality, discovered that she descended from one of the families that came to America with Rev. Ezekiel Rogers in 1639.

The program showed the memorial window in Rowley, England, and we vowed to go to Rowley on our next visit to England.

In 2007, we had visited Beeford, the village where Edward Carleton was born. This year, traveling southeast from Glasgow, Scotland, we stopped in Rowley on the morning of June 24.

We had contacted the Rev. Canon Angela Bailey, rector of Saint Peter’s Anglican Church in Rowley, and she arranged to have a church historian meet us at the church. We met historian Mervyn Cross and had a tour of the 14th century church.

The church is attractive both inside and out, and we were thrilled to see the stained glass window featuring Pastor Ezekiel Rogers, the ship that carried them to America, a representation of a few of the people who came with him, the Rowley Church in Yorkshire, England, and the present First Congregational Church in Rowley, Mass.

We were moved by the renewed and enthusiastic relationship between the two churches and the two Rowley communities that came together to heal the division that had separated them almost four centuries earlier.

My Carlton ancestors, one of whom dropped the “e” in the family name, eventually moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and then to Maine where they remained until my maternal grandfather, Guy Carlton, after marrying Margaret King, moved from Maine to Port Jefferson in 1909 to work as a carpenter building the Belle Terre Club. My mother, Blanche Carlton, is the second of their four children born in Port Jefferson.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.