Cordial Cards   #Christmas #cards #celebration #message #post #ChristmasWindows #season

This must be the most busiest time of year for the post. Red and green Christmas cards dropped into post-boxes and post-offices, all ready to be distributed near or far. Some with long annual messages, some with short friendly catch-ups, some just a name and some just a corporate slogan.  
Pretty pictures, holy pictures, poems and phrases; charity collections, carol singers and chestnut roasters. Everyone is coming out into the streets, spreading cheer, goodwill and celebration, each in their own way.

Christmas lights and Christmas windows beaming bright and bringing smiles.

Wherever you are in the world this is the season that brings people closer together more than any other annual, worldwide event. 

Yes, there can be difficulties and yes there may be difficulties. Get an address and write a card and make a start at the end of the year.
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The latest – my ebook and novella coming now, coming soon!#free #novella #Hastings #London #AleisterStratton #mystery #ebook #book

Be one of the first 1000 to download a free, pre-release ebook: 

http://www.aleisterstratton.com

A launch and a landing – my new novella ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ is now available as a free, pre-release ebook.

Released worldwide as both an ebook and a paperback book on 5th September, 2016.
It is, however, possible to buy a proper printed pre-release, signed book right now through my email: kate@katebarnwell.com or publisher at http://www.grosvenorartistmanagement.com

This means you receive the book (something to hold and own) before the rest of the world; it is signed and it comes with a hessian bookmark: £4.99 plus p&p.
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Bear With Us #Paddington #bear #story #London #trains #statue

Paddington station in West London is currently and has been for years, under a considerable amount of construction and re-generation. Yet it is not, and never shall be, without its beloved statue of a bronze bear; a statue no other station can boast of, Paddington Bear.  
A lonely singled-out bear in a Christmas shop window of 1956 was bought by Michael Bond for his wife and became the inspiration for his story book, published in 1958

‘A Bear Called Paddington’

Paddington loves marmalade and is so very frightfully polite, yes sir; he later acquired a pair of red Wellington boots and was adopted by a London family, the Browns.

What a lovely little face, floppy hat, big paws and shaggy coat and with such charming manners. He’s looking out at all the trains pulling in under the vast Victorian iron archways, staring bemused at a 21st century generation of preoccupied lives; the frantic crowds, busying this way and that; he’s just waiting longingly for a hello and how’d you do.  

Many London children were evacuated from Paddington station to the country during World War II. With labels around their necks and a small suitcase of meagre possessions, they were transported safely away from the city to new homes; this too was the inspiration for Paddington’s own label.

‘Please Look After This Bear. Thank You.’

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Look Out! #photo #quotes #unique #art #painting #frames #poet #artist #London #JohnLewis

Good morning, good afternoon, good night…

I’ve just passed by these quotes, set inside picture frames, for sale in a well-known London department store:

“Every picture shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love.” 

Alfred Sisley (French Impressionist painter of en plein air-landscapes).

Every touch of the brush, from the layering of colours to the speck of a pigment, is essential in defining and beautifying the final, individual piece.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” 

Henry David Thoreau (American author, poet and philosopher).

Everyone interprets ‘some-thing’ either similarly or differently, but first you must look and then you will see; first you will hear and then you must listen.

Each of these words is ever so slightly different from the one to which it comes close to.

Get ready for your close up and frame your Uniqueness.

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Act on your words #OrsonWelles #writing #acting #books #poetry


Writing is one thing, saying something in your writing is another.  
Who speaks to you? And in what way?  

Plays, poems, books, films, television, theatre and musicals; each have the ability to influence, inspire and infiltrate our lives – in their own way, at different stages throughout, maybe once or many times over.

Actor Orson Welles once said to a British friend “we have now acted in theatres, on radio, in films and on live television – they can’t think of anything else, can they?”

A new generation will always bring forth a new adaption of literature, and along the way make a new discovery for themselves and others, which means, furthermore, that ‘old’ books and ‘old’ plays and ‘old’ poems are always kept new. Of course new work is produced as well and that’s where we stand as writers today, creating and evolving…

‘A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’


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Epiphany  #epiphany #poetry #Shakespeare #January #quotes #TwelfthNight 

To have an epiphany is to experience a sudden and striking realisation, which would then lead on to extraordinary revelations, like those experienced by Archimedes (mathematics, invention) Issac Newton, (gravity, mechanics, physics) Albert Einstein (theoretical physics) Charles Darwin (Creation & natural selection).  
Please note these are all examples of The Sciences, The Arts are not represented as examples of ‘epiphanies.’ I suggest everyone choose their own…eg. The Sunflowers (painting) by Vincent Van Gogh or A Christmas Carol (book) by Charles Dickens or Bright Star (poem) by John Keats etc. These are wonderful realisations; what they reveal is what you choose to seek and take from them; no formulas, no theories, no statistics, just pure, emotive, personal satisfaction.

In the Christian calendar the 6th of January, the 12th day of Christmas; Twelfth Night is Epiphany: the visit and adoration of the Magi and their realisation of the Virgin Mary’s incarnation and the revelation that Christ is the son of God. (phew!)

Fast forward to the 17th century

On the 6th January 1601 the comedy play ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare was entered in the Stationer’s Register.

It’s the beginning of the year, we need some comedy, especially as one realises that the resolutions, so resolutely written, are now starting to dwindle and the still-winter months lie ahead.

The Magi ended their journey to see the new-born babe.

Shakespeare wrote a love song to be sung by the clown Feste to Sir Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek (great names!)

‘Trip no further, pretty sweeting;

Journeys end in lovers meeting,

Every wise man’s son doth know…’

From Twelfth Night ‘Sweet-and Twenty’

So it seems we are surrounded by wise men, adoration, revelation, realisation, journeys, love and poetry.

‘What’s to come is still unsure:

In delay there lies no plenty;

Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twenty!’

Shakespeare’s quotes and poetry still widely endure; their greatness, their humility, their magnificence, their grace, their morals… and their beauty.  

They search the soul for the same secret qualities; allow yourself to realise it; no equation or theory required.

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A Rosette to a Rossetti #poetry #poets #London

The Rossetti family of 19th century, central London, became a distinguished bunch of people, dedicated to their talents of Art and Literature.  

The family house in Bloomsbury was filled with the old master influences of Petrarch and Dante Aligheri, as well as the visiting presence of Italian scholars, artists and revolutionaries.

Let’s be briefly introduced… 

Father of the family, Gabriele Rossetti was a poet and political exile from Vasto, Abruzzo, Italy.

Mother of the family was Frances Polidori, the sister of John William who was friend and physician to Lord Byron. John was also an enthusiastic writer; the first to create the idea of a blood-sucking-vampire, whose gentlemanly breeding, manners, and sophistication were based on Byron.

Son, William and daughter, Maria both became writers.

Son, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (and William too) was co-founder of the artistic group, The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; he was an influential artist and poet.

And finally Christina Rossetti, the youngest child, was an intelligent and creative poet; with a mix of her own troubles and experiences, she channelled her ideas into poetry and prose.  

Today I wish to announce that it is she, Christina, who shall wear the rosette for writing some of the most beautiful, imaginative and evocative lines in the English language. She followed in the steps of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning as the main female poet of her time (1860s) and was highly regarded and much appreciated by the critics of this male-dominated society.

At some point in your life, in some way and maybe without realising it, you will come across a Rossetti.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in silver gold and grapes,

In leaves and in silver fleur-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.

Second and final verse from ‘A Birthday’ by Christina Rossetti.

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Cafe au lait, au lait! #art #travel #quotes

The most famous French cafe on the tip of the Mediterranean, Les Templiers (Knights of the Realm) in the Catalan fishing village of Collioure. Home to sun-seeking artists extraordinaire of the early 1900s including Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Dufy – inspired by the light, the warmth, the sweet wines, the traditional music, the scents of jasmine, caught by the nose and a sea-salt aroma, touched by the tongue.

The bar is adorned in artwork, donated by generations of artists who could not pay for drinks.

Scottish artist and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret escaped the smoggy atmosphere of London, to visit Collioure in the spring of 1924…

“We think it is one of the most wonderful places we have ever seen.”


Prennez le petit dejeuner, chocolat chaud, assiette de fromage
…soak up the ambiance, the distinctive style and the air-borne inspiration, drink in the magic of many artistic worlds.

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Give us a Smile! #WallaceCollection #painting #art #smile

‘Time to lift the corners of your lips,
Turn them into a smile just for a little while.’

This grand painting is in the permanent, never to be borrowed, home of The Wallace Collection in Manchester Square, London. It is called The Laughing Cavalier, painted by Baroque Dutch genius of the Golden Age, Frans Hals in 1624. A man who was exempt at catching the fleeting moment of his sitter, his character, his individual beauty and his unique expression. The luscious clothes, collar and hat, whatever attribute suitable, would define and distinguish each fine noblemen.
The term ‘Laughing‘ was only given when the painting was catalogued for the first display exhibition at The Bethnal Green Museum, 1872-75 and has stuck ever since.
It is considered one of those ‘enigmatic smiles‘ leaving a touch of everlasting mystery; it can be quite beguiling, given a long pensive pause, or sometimes it feels like an arrogant smirk, perhaps he possesses a ‘cavalier attitude.’
If he laughed he may disturb the fantastic wispy moustache so stylistically brushed, drawing attention to those lovely pink lips.
It is a polished, preserved and perfected portrait.

This large reproduction is on the exterior of Hertford House/ The Wallace Collection and greets me as I walk north to the district of Marylebone. It is a reminder that a little smile lightens your face, catches attention and transforms your outlook…he will always make me smile.
It is also a good reason to slow down, pace yourself, to think quietly, then brighten your day and raise all prospects with a smile.
A shapely smile is a free creation of your own: a poetical pout!

Famous faces & Casanova’s kisses #Soho

When this clock in London’s Soho district strikes the hour, a fabulous thing happens…
The Italian seducer extraordinaire, Casanova kisses Theresa Cornelys, a soprano and impresario who hosted lavish parties at her home in Soho Square; she winks at us; a bearded Karl Marx takes a sip of a coca cola whilst reading his book, Das Kapitas.
Lots of famous painted faces are gathered in this group from all warps of life and all centuries, from John Logie Baird (inventor of the television) to Percy Shelley, William Blake, Dylan Thomas to Mozart and Canaletto. The flamboyant mural is as theatrical, vibrant and as coloured as Soho herself; a thriving, creative district welcoming and supporting all sorts into its narrow streets and cobbled paths. Come join the fun!