Um – brella – come rain or shine #rain #sun #tradition #London #history #umbrella

Let me share a quote with you that seems appropriate in the current ‘crazy’ weather climate, affecting a vast number of people across the globe.

Here it is, direct from the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival, a sometimes quite rainy area of land inhabited by Scots: 

“I like to imagine the guy who invented the umbrella was going to call it ‘brella’ but he hesitated.” 

Um, firstly I think it’s rather presumptive to assume it was a man, but let’s think of the ‘he’ collectively.

The name umbrella evolved from the Latin umbella – a flat-topped rounded flower and the term umbra, meaning shadow or shade. In Italian, Latin’s closest modern-day language, the term for shade is ombra and for umbrella, ombrella.

While we play with names and definitions here are a few more of notable interest:

Un Parasol (French and Spanish) protects against the sun, para means stop or shield and sol is sun.

Un Parapluie (French) is an umbrella, para (shield against) pluie (rain). 

A Parachute (English, French) – para (shield from) a fall.

The oldest reference to a collapsible umbrella is 21AD in Ancient China. Then we follow the umbrella, in all its forms, through the traditions and customs of dynasties such as Ancient India, Siam, the Middle East, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, the Aztecs and Europe.

In The Middle Ages (of Britain) a cloak, not an  umbrella, was often the desired clothing against rainstorms.

In 1768 a Paris magazine stated:

‘Those who do not wish to be mistaken for vulgar people much prefer to take the risk of being soaked rather than be regarded as one who goes on foot; an umbrella is a sure sign of someone who does not own his own carriage.’

It would not be long before umbrellas became a fashionable item; an accessory not only to shelter from the rain but to avoid the heat of the scorching sun (the sunbeams being particularly piercing in India, for example). 

By the 1750s the British people had got over their natural shyness and promoted the umbrella’s general use.

One such character, Jonas Hanway, founder of the Magdalen Hospital, dared the reproach and ridicule – the staring, laughing, jeering, hooting, heckling and bullying – of hackney taxi-cabs, of carrying an umbrella in London, everyday for 30 years, dying, nice and dry, in 1786.

There is a small street in London’s Fitzrovia, leading from Oxford Street winding itself to Tottenham Court Road, called Hanway Street, reputed to be named after our man. His popularisation of the umbrella was more successful than his attempt to introduce stilts into London, keen to avoid the muck and grime of the 18th century streets. 

Clearly he likes the theme of ‘avoidance.’ 

Ironically Umbrellas are the most ‘left’ items in taxi-cabs. 

They are sometimes extremely annoying but desperately useful articles, not everybody wants to ‘sing in the rain’ or have ‘raindrops keep falling on their head’…
Global National Umbrella Day is 10th February.

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The Last Bank Holiday of the Year, August 2017.  #holiday #Hastings #beach #festival #music #Boyzone #weekend

What better way to spend the bank holiday weekend than down on a British beach, with summery British weather & a wild mix of British people all having a thoroughly good time. Everyone entertained by Hastings Old Town, spending their English pound and speaking in their English tongue, turning pink and trying new things. Watching and observing, or taking part and letting go.

The weekend started with a big Boyzone concert on Hastings Pier. Ronan Keating and fellow Irish lyrical lads were singing till late, out at sea, under an orange moon and far from the madding crowd. Girls were ecstatically happy, the boyfriends were less-than pleased.

Safe parties on the beach, picnics, swimming, sailing, church-bells, wrapped fish and chips to individual tapas, it can be original or fancy, working classy to posh and arty.

Everyone is welcome.

By next week this pebbly beach will be a desert, not from stones to sand but from lots of people to very few. But it won’t be long before we can fish out and dish out a new festival, The Seafood and Wine Weekend, in 3 weeks, for example: the celebration of British wine and seafood; a feasting festival, with plenty of live music and tipsy-ness.

Wherever you are in Britain, I hope you’re taking full advantage of the last, long bank holiday of the year. It is still summer, despite an early crop of apples, signifying a shift into autumn.

Hastings is merely a stone’s throw away from London… lots of things have happened since 1066…

http://www.katebarnwell.com

Sweet-talking #sweets #spangles #retro #adverts #British #taste #tradition #RobertOpie #America

This photo shows the Magazine Advertisement for ‘Spangles’ – part of ‘The Robert Opie Occasion Series Collection of British Nostalgia and Advertising Memorabilia’ (bit of a mouthful). It celebrates the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the final lifting of sweet rationing in 1953.
Spangles were a brand of fruit-flavoured, translucent, boiled sweets of a rounded square shape with a circular imprint (sounds delicious) and made by Mars Ltd in the UK, from 1950 to 1984.

Their arrival on the confectionary scene came at a time of sweet rationing. Sweets were bought using tokens or points from a ration book. The humble Spangle required 1 point while other sweets and chocolate were 2 points. Naturally the popularity of Spangles soared, alongside smart and effective advertising – using American cowboy actor, William Boyd to front the eating-sweets-campaign.

At first the sweets were not individually wrapped, later they were covered in wax paper. Each packet held a traditional assortment: strawberry, pineapple, blackcurrant, orange etc to single varieties such as, Barley sugar, liquorice and tangerine. Grown-up English single varieties appeared too: mint humbug, pear-drop and aniseed. A mouthwatering delight to serve generations of sweet-lovers for over a 30 years.

Spangles are, as I write, the only sweet known to feature in a national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ of the United States of America. Of the course the two are unrelated, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner‘ poem was written in 1814, but America, like many other countries, does have a bit of a sugary-sweet problem. They sing about it all the time…


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A pea-green boat, a runcible spoon & a lot of nonsense #EdwardLear #poetry #limericks #London #May #nonsense #morals

Poet, Edward Lear, was born in London of Danish ancestry on 12th May, 1812. 
His ‘Book of Nonsense’ was published anonymously in 1846 and holds his most famous poem ‘The Owl & The Pussy-cat’ as well as over 100 limericks.

From the age of six he suffered from epilepsy and asthma. Despite being a sufferer he was still able to write creatively with a unique humour and to decorate his rhymes with fanciful illustrations.

His favourite nonsense word which was his own ‘sweet’ (‘they took some honey and plenty of money’) creation was ‘runcible spoon’ from ‘The Owl & The Pussy-cat.’  The word runcible appeared many times in his writing, defining different objects.

runcible cat’ 

runcible hat’

runcible goose’

As I tap away, scribing this tidy little blog, my iPad already dislikes the word, runcible, stating firmly ‘No replacement found.’ 

Moral 1: don’t let computers say to you, ‘wrong word, stupid.’ How are we to produce anything new, weird and beyond the ordinary?

Moral 2: don’t let being a sufferer stop you from branching out beyond the ordinary and making something work for you.

Since the 1920s dictionaries have come to define the term ‘runcible spoon’ as a fork-like utensil with two broad prongs and one sharp curved prong. 

A grapefruit spoon? A pickles or hors d’oeuvres spoon? Whatever your social habits, Edward Lear created spectacular vernacular.

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Lyrical Writer http://www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk

Old Books & Old Ways #AnimalFarm #GeorgeOrwell #books TheBookkeeper #Hastings #GrahamGreene #authors #writers #papers

It was a fine day for strolling, and a finer day for finding. 

Tucked down Kings Road in St Leonard’s on Sea, minutes from Warrior Square, the planted green gardens, fronting the English Channel with a statue of Queen Victoria, whose name became the late 19th century adjective to many houses of this area (‘Victorian’) lies the second-hand bookshop: The Bookkeeper.

With one look, I was hooked and reeled in. The book, sitting attractively in the window, ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell; a classic read and this particular book holding as much of a tale on the surface as the story inside. 

ANIMAL FARM, cheap edition, GEORGE ORWELL. 3s. 6d (3shillings and 6pence)

‘The publishers will be glad to send you from time to time descriptive lists of the new books which they publish. If you would care to receive these lists please send… your name and address on a postcard…’ (yes, do you remember postcards?)

This edition (see below) was published in 1950 by Secker & Warburg of Bloomsbury, London WC1.  

‘Animal Farm’ was first published in August 1945. By January 1950, George Orwell aka Eric Blair would be dead at the age of 47.

Cheap Edition was a term used during the War era of publishing, and sometime after, when book-paper was used sparingly and economically, although it must be said, between the fingers the quality is of a good standard.

‘Animal Farm’ is referred to as ‘A Fairy Story’ and as ‘a good-natured satire upon dictatorship.’

Being the sixth edition of the story, means the publishers invite you to ‘see back of jacket for Press opinions.’

Graham Greene, in 1945 aged 41, is literary correspondent to The Evening Standard, and takes second billing of 7 Press reviews. He states: “If Mr Walt Disney is looking for a real subject, here it is: it has all the necessary humour, and it has, too, the subdued lyrical quality he can sometimes express so well. But it is perhaps a little too real for him? There is no appeasement here.”

And finally, ‘To Mother from Michael, June 1951.’ 

This, too, is why we have books. To place names and dates and sometimes a message on a page that secretly says, I found, I bought, I give, I care, I love, I read and I get lost in another world. Old books, their ways and what they say.


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Kate Barnwell, Lyrical Writer for The Hastings Independent Press: http://www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk

May-Day Merry-making #May #bankholiday #green #tradition #Spring #festivals #flowers #Hastings

This year May Day falls on the First of May, not since 2005 have the two come together so poetically. If you are a Morris-man or woman you will have been up since dawn, dancing and rejoicing, celebrating the release of Spring.
In Hastings Old Town, the capital of the East Sussex culture scene, we have gathered flowers, greens and specially-made wreaths to adorn our streets (Hawthorn blossom is called ‘May‘ because it will be picked at this time of year) and long, colourful ribbons to dress the houses, shops, pubs, cafes and churches.

 Bells, bangles, bikers, green men, green women, drummers, fiddlers, singers and sweepers, one and all prepare for the Jack in the Green parade, winding its green garlanded way around the old streets and on to Hastings Pier for more dancing and revelling.  

Everyone will be ‘a-maying‘ from sunrise to sunset. A Spring holiday of feasting (on local organic bread), drinking (on the local pub’s homemade beer) & cheering the most spectacular May Parade. 

Hooray! This is Hastings, no battles here. It’s alive with ‘ye olde world’ tradition and armfuls of green hugs. Come be merry-made…

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A Cup of of Camomile #quotes #Shakespeare #gardens #herbs #Spring #playwright #camomile

An English garden, or any of a temperate climate, through the seasons, holds a spell. It feeds the soul and mind in beauty, peace and rest and the body in herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. Please note I’m mostly concerned with Spring and Summer.

Many herbs and plants have made their way into Shakespeare’s plays…their use in medicines (Romeo&Juliet), in metaphors (Hamlet, Henry IV) & in magic (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Shakespeare loved to garden. He would have been familiar with, and fully aware of the significance and importance of herbs. Their values, qualities and differences would have played on his imagination and are naturally and subtly woven (weaved) into his work with great effect.

“… though the camomile, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears.” Henry IV

In herb gardens lie stories, tales and morals, and healing properties: prevention and cure.

Herbs and spices for sprinkling, wit and wisdom for thinking.


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Twitching #birds #calendar #Spring #song #March #wildlife #blog

Hello. This is not a tweet it’s…

my 200th Blog Post! and it’s dedicated to the poets and composers of the sky: Birds.

Take a look at these British Birds – poster babes or calendar chicks. After Winter, comes Spring and its time to start bird-watching. Here’s a lovely line-up of some of our favourites. Listen out for each unique tune…

Pay special attention in towns and cities, above the roar of traffic sing many a songbird. It’s a busy season: new buds, new grubs, new greens, new shrubs…keep ears and eyes open and support our wildlife. 
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Firstly… The 1st of March 2017 #daffodils, #leeks, #StDavid, #Lent, #AshWednesday, #Wales, #history #tradition

Today, the 1st March 2017 marks many points of calendar interest.

Firstly, March 1st is St David’s day, the patron saint of Wales. He is remembered by the wearing of a daffodil. However for many centuries the leek was regarded as the national emblem. But Why? 

Well glad you asked. St David is supposed to have won a great battle and ordered his soldiers to wear leeks as distinguishing marks.

The daffodil, or Lent lily, is probably related to the lily of France, for Welsh soldiers are believed to have brought it home after fighting the French battles of Henry V.

Also Welsh for leek = cennin and for daffodil = cennin Pedr … extremely close in spelling and sound.
Secondly March 1st of 2017 is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Some people may still follow the custom of ‘giving up certain foods’ during the Lent period.

Lent comes from the Saxon word ‘lencten‘ because the days of Spring are now ‘lengthening‘. The days are getting longer, we have more natural light!

The ‘Ash‘ refers to the ash from the palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday. At church Lent starts with the marking of a cross with a finger dipped in ashes on the forehead of those attending.

It is important to remind ourselves, whether we partake or not, of the historical and religious connections of these named-day diary events…“Just in case you come tête-à-tête with a daffy!”


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Love is on the cards, St Valentines Day #Valentines #hearts #poetry #love #cards #february

St Valentine (died Rome, 14th February 273AD) is widely associated with romance and devotion; many legends surround this saint and martyr. 

Mid-February is also the time birds begin to pair up. Look out for their springtime busy-ness. They are the natural sign and symbol of a new season, breaking away from winter, spreading their wings and preparing for new beginnings.

For the humans amongst us how about a little love poetry to delight and soothe the senses and to remind us that everyone, somewhere, needs love in their life. To find it can be hard, to give it, well a wonderful gift.

Tobias Menzies reads ‘In Fields’ by Kate Barnwell

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Play your cards right, it’s one day, however anti-materialistic you feel: ‘show some love, you ain’t so tough…’


Cliffhangers #books #cliffs #EastSussex #NationalTrust #reading #adventures #cliffhangers

Are you on the edge of your seat with a good book?

May I recommend: The Case of Aleister Stratton‘ by K.G.V. Barnwell 

http://www.aleisterstratton.com

http://www.katebarnwell.com

Also available worldwide on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com

The photo below shows The Seven Sisters of East Sussex, the white Chalk cliffs of the Sussex Downs. The landscape, seascape and cliffs-scape are all protected and proud sculptures of British culture. The crumbly bright white cliffs are chunky slabs of cheese sandwiched between two beautiful blues: the shimmering sea and the celestial sky.

All the people look so small, even those long reflections on the rocks below, bottom right.

You make recognise this view from a National Trust calendar or from the film ‘Atonement

Best to find your cliffhanger in a book and view these cliffs from a safe spot.

Happy reading, happy adventures.

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A celebration for every nation! #NewYear #2017 #celebration #fun #friends #resolutions

Welcome in the New Year 2017 with cheer and optimism.

Make jolly and mend.

Make resolutions and friends.

Recover and recharge.

Feel fortunate and accentuate the positives.

Wherever in the world you roam.

“Cheers! Chin, chin! Salute! Bottoms up! Sante!”

Happy-day & Good-night…

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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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For ‘the few’ a few words #remembrance #poppy #silence #war #WWI #November #Armistice

The 11th November is Armistice Day, pausing for a two minutes silence at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month. 
12-13th of November is Remembrance Weekend with special attention on the Sunday for full commemorative services across the country and across the world whether they take place in church, mosque, temple, abbey, at a memorial or at home.  

The Poppy is the symbol of a lost life at war.

Everyone has love, loved; loss, lost. Reflection and memories require time and attention and Emotion can sometimes be indefinable (poetry can help express what we struggle to find in simple words).

Whatever the conflict, feelings are universal.

Emotion has no boundary or divide; it instinctively unite us, wherever in the world you stand.

http://www.katebarnwell.com 

American Ezine Review for ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ #review #novella #mystery #murder #online #ezine #AleisterStratton

Please tap the link below to read the latest review of my book ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’
Direct from the American online magazine (ezine) One Roof Publishing.

http://wp.me/p1IcOU-TE

Signed copies of ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ by K.G.V. Barnwell available from: 

http://www.aleisterstratton.com

http://www.grosvenorartistmanagement.com

http://www.katebarnwell.com

Or, the big buyers

http://www.amazon.co.uk and it’s American friend http://www.amazon.com

Good books in High places#travel #books #Spain #locations #photos #England #reading #foreign #mystery #worldwide

Taking a break from my world in soft, autumnal southern England and going to another world of granite, forested, undulating lands in southern Spain
Flying to foreign parts of foreign tongue and on the way reading a good fictional tale of English origin, ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ by K.G.V.Barnwell.

It’s wonderful to be able to travel and to photograph your own book in some new, remote and distinctive locations. 

This photo was shot on a lonely, high castle cliff of a Pueblo Blanco in southern Spain, with the Mediterranean Sea & rock of Gibraltar to the South, the vast plains of Spain to the North, granite hills and farmlands to the West and to the East, cork, olives and oaks trees clinging to the cliffs. 

Quiet and solitary, with eagles and vultures circling above, the perfect setting for a dark mystery.

Wherever next?
Follow my blogs http://www.katebarnwell.com 

Buy the mystery http://www.aleisterstratton.com ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’


Big News! #book #news #novella #cult #mystery #imagination #September #bookshops #London #Hastings #online #eBook

A cult mystery novella – released worldwide September 2016.

‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ by K.G.V. Barnwell

An unusual name: Aleister Stratton; a mysterious quest for information; a chance discovery; the past and present merging. What caused this seemingly inexplicable death?

Imagine one morning you wake up and believe you have committed a murder.

At what point did the unconscious take over the mind and how much control can the conscious regain? What we do by day is one thing, how we pass the night is another.

How safe are we from the complexities of our mind?


“Stylish and beautifully written, combining elegance and gripping intensity; eye-catching and oft slyly satirical prose.”

~

“An intriguing and compulsively good read.”
~

Available NOW – signed copies from: 

http://www.katebarnwell.com

http://www.grosvenorartistmanagement.com

See the original website http://www.aleisterstratton.com

Available as a book and ebook from Waterstones Bookshops ~ Amazon Worldwide ~ Ingrams.

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Hare & Hawthorn have it! #books #bookshops #poetry #story #Hastings #local #AleisterStratton #EastSussex #history #hare

It is with great pleasure I now happily announce that my two poetry books, Poems & Lyrics, and Ever Truly Yours and my short story novella: The Case of Aleister Stratton (special, signed pre-release copies) are now available to buy in a lovely, local bookshop and bindery in Hastings Old Town, ‘Hare & Hawthorn.’ A unique little shop with beautifully bound new and old classic books, illustrated paper, mugs and pens all chosen and selected to the owner’s taste. This special, individual shop is found down one of the many twisted alleyways in one of the oldest towns in Great Britain.

Hastings of East Sussex, known as the 1066 county, celebrates its 950th anniversary in October, 2016. It is wonderful to be part of its fabric of history.

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Check out… ‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ http://www.aleisterstratton.com

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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