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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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

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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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

A…Attention! #London #facts #travel #TheQueen #British #soldiers #summer #holiday #vacation #Wimbledon #AndyMurray

Anyone taking a holiday excursion, a summer vacation, a trip, a journey, or a city break to London, may wish to swat up on soldier (Guard) uniforms to impress fellow travel companions. It’s a little research that goes beyond the average guide book; it may even surprise the fore-said friends of your exceptional ability to record such interesting and diverse British facts. Let’s hope they pay attention instead or telling you to button up.

How about some of these as additional London facts.

1. There is always a flag flying above Buckingham Palace, but it is only the Royal Standard that indicates the Queen is in residence.

2. All swans in the Royal Parks are owned by the Queen.

3. Yesterday, The Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2016 (grass court) saw Scottish-born Andy Murray, cap and shorts, take the trophy for a second time.  If he had chosen to be a soldier he would be number 3 in the line-up. Buttons in threes. No plume.

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Street Party #TheQueen #celebrations #London #birthday #RoyalOccasion #Euro2016 #anthems #flags

This weekend The Mall, opposite Buckingham Palace, in London will be lined with a long table. A table for 10,000 guests representing the 600 charities of which The Queen of England is patron. It is known as The Patrons’ Lunch and a lot of sandwiches will be made and many an English afternoon tea will be poured. It is the chance to chit chat and celebrate.
The lunch is in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, the oldest monarch, and the longest reigning monarch the British nation has ever had. Three cheers! Two toasts (for two birthdays the natural birthday in April and the official birthday of June) and One mighty wave of the flag.

This weekend also marks the start of the Euro 2016 football games in France.

Therefore lots of flags are flying, anthems are being sung, hope and expectation is in the air, the sun is close by and the atmosphere is warm. Security is, and will always be, tight and rigid but all nations never felt more proud or in need of uniting under a patriotic banner of pride.

Let the games begin and the tea party commence. Milk and sugar?

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A Real Lady’s Marmalade  #breakfast #marmalade #Seville #poetry #January

Hip, hip hooray Seville oranges have just hit the shelves.
After growing through the winter in open orchards stretching across the Andalusian landscape in southern Spain, dotting their green trees with perfect round orange baubles, this citrus fruit has now been picked, selected and packed and transported from such sunny climes to dress the tables of North Europe, (that’s us in Britain). 
Not wholly as themselves, of course, do they delight us, but as Seville orange marmalade – who would have thought that a bitter, blotted, ugly little orange could be made into something sweet, sticky and oozy and gushingly adored by the British for their morning toast? Toast, butter, marmalade and Tea.

So it is as it is, and we must therefore toast this remarkable specimen for being turned into a delectable jammy item; from chunky, thick-cut peel to fine, fancy fronds suspended in jelly. Everyone has a favourite marmalade; there’s Robertson’s Family jar to Oxford’s Preserves to Tiptree’s classic to Fortnum and Mason’s with whiskey. Which shall grace your breakfast table? How about homemade? Remember to use preserving sugar, lemon juice, watch the boiling and have packets of patience…

And now, a fun poem featuring marmalade: the sweetest jam of January.

“Excuse me

Your Majesty

For taking of

The liberty

But marmalade is tasty, if

It’s very

Thickly

Spread.”


The Queen said

“Oh!”

And went to 

His Majesty:


“Talking of the butter for

The Royal slice of bread,

Many people 

Think that

Marmalade

Is nicer

Would you like to try a little

Marmalade 

Instead?”

From ‘The King’s Breakfast’ by A.A. Milne, (1882-1956) 

The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh


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Flag This UP!

“It takes a great deal of history to make a little tradition, a great deal of tradition to make a little taste, and a great deal of taste to make a little art.”

Henry James quoted by Edith Wharton, July 1920

HistoryTraditionTasteArt 

Put each of these ‘grand, satisfying, weighty, credible, and evocative words’ into your life. They are guaranteed to make you feel confident, strong, passionate, grounded and fulfilled.

The centre of The Union Jack reads:

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pens…

Shame on him who thinks badly…