Andy Taylor in his kitchen. Portland, Oregon

I grew up in a village called Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire, which is pretty much in the geographical middle of England. And there were about 3,000 people and, I guess, looking back now, it was an idyllic childhood.
— Andy Taylor

Gavin Mahaley & Andy Taylor

Gavin Mahaley & Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor grew up in the village of Barton-under-Needwood, which is a village of about 3,000 in Staffordshire, England. He describes his childhood in the village as an idyllic one, one where he father was the local doctor, where all the schooling happened in the village, where there was a cricket club and soccer, where the children walked to school and came home for lunch every day, and where his father would always join the family at 3:45 for tea as well as make them a proper English breakfast most Sundays. 

Andy is the middle of three brothers. 



Growing up in Barton-under-Needwood, Andy vividly recalls the hours of rugby, cricket and soccer he would play with his friends in his parents' garden. Sport, it seems, is an important piece of Andy’s memories of home. So when we asked who his childhood heroes where, he told us:

Sports people. Yes, so, Darby County was my soccer team growing up, so I can probably name all of the players from the 1971-72 team if I gave myself a bit of time. And Cricket, my dad loved cricket. I cannot remember ever not being interested in cricket. And any of the England cricket players were my hero and, probably until I was about 15, my dream was to be an England cricket player.


Andy was taught to value family, and fairness and has rich memories of cramming all the friends into the Triumph Herald for a birthday party as well as the many family trips to Scotland and Wales. In fact, his parents where keen on seeing as much of their country as possible, which led to many rainy picnics in the car, but also gave Andy a greater experience of his country.

I remember when people started going to Spain for vacations, and stuff like that, when it was cheaper to fly, and they said, ‘why would you want to go to Spain? There’s places in Britain we’ve not seen.’

Portland, Oregon

Andy has lived mostly in the Portland, Oregon since 1994 and goes back to visit his family in England every year.

Do you consider yourself to be an immigrant?

That’s an interesting question. I saw that written down. I guess, generally, I don’t really. No.

I’ve been here a long time and just loved it here. ’94 I first came. I came to work with and IT contract — I do IT work. I came to do a contract. I did a year and a half here then. So, to give you a bit of background, when I left university, I went to Australia. The standard British thing to do — go to Australia. It is like England without the weather and with more dangerous insects.

So, after I did that, I ought I’ll go back to England, I’ll get some IT skills and I’ll come back to Australia for a while. I never thought that I would permanently leave England — I always thought I’d go back to England, but anyway, that was kind of my plan I had in my mind. So then I was working in England four or five years later and it just became the right time to think about a move and in ’93, I started looking. And the Australian economy had tanked at that point. There were no jobs and there was no Internet and it was just the weekly magazine where are all the jobs were in the International section. And I remember seeing — it said “Pacific Northwest. Portland, Oregon” — and there was a beautiful picture of Mount Hood and the blue sky and it said “banking” and the technical skills that I do. I knew the Oregon Trail; that was the only Oregon thing I knew. I didn’t really know where Oregon was. So, I went and bought a guidebook and read about Oregon and thought, that sounds pretty good. I’ll go out there for a year, and so I applied for the contract and they hired — it was USBank — and they brought over about 12 British guys, in the end for a big project they were doing.

So I came over and did a year and a half here and I had made that break from the homeland and I was off and running and had my world in two suitcases, and so, after 18 months here, I thought, wow, I’ll go to Australia now that the economy is better. So then I left here and went to Australia for two years. Worked in Australia for 2 years, I had a girlfriend from Portland who came to Australia with me a little later on. We came back to Portland, where we broke up about 6 weeks after we got back. But I really just enjoyed Portland and the area — everything— so I just thought I’d stay here for now and see what happens.

I do feel now that Portland is more my home.

Even though Portland has become his new home, Andy doesn’t have any trouble going back to his village. In fact, he says it feels quite comfortable and he still has many friends there and might bump into the occasional teacher while out for a walk. And really, if he was told he couldn’t stay in the United States anymore, he would be fine to return to England, but he recognizes that his children are in school here and have friends here, which would make that hard.

But the kids have lived in England for a few years too, so they know what to expect. Andy and Sarah rented out their house in Portland and went back to the England for 3 years so that the children could get to know their grandparents:

I wanted the kids to have opportunities to get to know the grandparents while they were relatively active and able and everything else before they got set into school. So they both started school in England and we’ve got nice pictures of them in their little school uniforms. And they came back and they both had really crisp, clear little English accents. That was pretty cute.

On Being English

As we do in the United States, Andy grew up learning about the things that made/make his country great. 

He remembered learning about the great battles in British history--learning how the English defeated the Spanish and the French, learning about Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar, and learning about the Duke of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo.

We were always taught a lot about how we brought civilization to the world. We talked a lot about the British influence and I remember learning about that and they didn’t tell us about Freedom, particularly. Exporting democracy to India and around the globe and cricket, we took cricket with us and afternoon tea and how civilized we are.

But being English is something more than that too, something that lingers after our conversations end. Many feel that it an infectious politeness — and that is the stereotype, right? That the British as incredibly polite and self-sacrificing? But Andy says they are just more reserved and simply do not want to impose or appear rude. But not being rude really is the largest part of being polite.