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

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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

St Patrick’s Day  #StPatrick #Ireland #saint #March #mission #shamrock

The 17th March 2017 – 17.03.17 or, as styled in America, 03.17.17. Its all the same day.

St Patrick’s Day and the most important in the Irish calendar. 
Patrick is “the voice of the Irish.”

He is remembered by the wearing of a shamrock, for St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity:

“The shamrock is one leaf in three parts, as God is one God with three parts: Father, Son and Spirit.”

Patrick fled to France and entered a monastery where he prepared to be a missionary.

After many years work he returned to Ireland and devoted his long life to the Christian mission. He died on 17th March 461 AD.

Every Saint has a story.


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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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The Long run of Winter  #WinterSolstice #winter #dark #light #December #short #Christmas #climate #festive #calendar 

Today, 21st December, is the shortest day of the year in the U.K. – known on the calendar year as The Winter Solstice.

In Hastings, East Sussex the sun will rise wearily at 07.58 and set quickly at 15.53.  

If it is a grey day (& it is) it’ll seem exceptionally short, and the light will be poor and bland, if it is sunny (maybe tomorrow) make the most of the rays as a lack of sunshine, especially around the Christmas period, can make you feel very low. 

On the positive side, the shortest day of the year will now give way to a gradual lengthening of days. This means that the cloudy, misty, oppressive days will become longer ones, so even more reason to grab the sun when it rises and shines. 

A short pre-Christmas day is best spent enjoying the colour of the festive lights, fiddling with wrapping paper and sticky, pretty bits of string, reaching for a spicy, warm mulled wine and filling the house with scents of cinnamon & orange and roast potatoes. There are lovely ways to spend this seasonal month and many pleasures to gain from living the cycle of a temperate climate, even in those darker days.
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Highlighting the Highlife in Hastings  #Hastings #Battle #1066 #celebration #October #fireworks #bonfires #parades

From the 8th to 16th October 2016 the Old Town of Hastings, East Sussex is celebrating & commemorating the great Battle of Hastings that took place 950 years ago exactly on 14th October 1066.  

There will be two enormous parades:

1. Come dressed as an Anglo-Saxon or a Norman warrior and join the fight for a feisty procession. Friendly weapons of the 11th century variety allowed.

2. Fire breathers, bonfire societies, and drummers join forces to light the East Cliff beacon and rumble through the old town wielding burning torchlights, culminating in a gigantic 🔥Bonfire on the beach, and a spectacular 💥 Fireworks display above the black skies of the English Channel (perhaps even visible from France over 20 miles away).

Also…. 1,066 people will be taking on the 17 mile foot race following the 1066 country walk from Pevensey (where King William landed) to Battle (site of his famous victory).

This 950th anniversary will be an eye-popping (sorry King Harold) momentous occasion – its been sitting in the calendar waiting to explode onto the scene for many-a-year. 

Now we’re warming up because here it comes and Hastings Old Town (the most extraordinary place in the world) has it completely covered. 

Prepare to be amazed at what a town can do!

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


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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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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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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In England – now! #England #Spring #blossom #seasons #poets #writers #weather

‘Seasons change winter to spring’ (so they sang in the film, Moulin Rouge).
Spring leading to summer warms the spirit and the pen, and becomes an inspirational and contemplative period for poets and writers, thinkers and dreamers, wanderers, followers and gatherers.

In May the world’s spin passes The Great Britain of temperate climate, through a gloriously green, flowery, abundant and prospectively fruitful season.  

Whether the weather brings sunny rapture or cloudy repulsion, there remains a gay, optimistic, signal of hope for this early part of the year.

From, Robert Browning, 1845

‘And after April, when May follows,

And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallow!

Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge

Leans to the field and scatters on the clover

Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent spray’s edge- ‘


To, A. E. Housman, 1890, whose diaries cover two areas of interest, “the variety of the seasons – mainly Spring and Autumn – the weather, and the dates at which flowers come into bloom.”

“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough…

About the woodlands I will go 

To see the cherry hung with snow.”

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White Apple blossoms framed by the dotted blue of forget-me-nots, in England – now!


First Class Quotations #Shakespeare #quotes #theatre #plays #stamps #StGeorge #Passover

The 23rd April is a very busy date. 

Firstly we must commemorate Mr William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon who died on 23rd April 1616, 400 years ago today.  

Shakespeare was also born on the 23rd April 1564.

The 23rd April happens to be St George’s Day; St George is the patron saint of England, often depicted slaying a dragon to rescue the fair maiden.

 “Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sighs” from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

This quote seems to tie the two together perfectly.

Royal Mail has issued 10 Shakespeare quotes as 1st class stamps. You could have issued a 100 stamps going by the popularity and love of a Shakespeare line:

“To thine own self be true…” A quote for this day of all days, and everyday thereafter.

‘The fair and the mighty, such characters enthral

Indulge all our senses, give rowdy applause

To rousing great speeches, the lines well rehearsed

The sonnets and quotes, perfect prose of sweet verse…’

From The Bard by K.Barnwell

Today is also The First Day of Passover (Pesach = Hebrew ‘to pass over’) – the freedom of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery by the Pharaohs (rulers over the kingdom of Egypt, considered half man, half god, but not King).  

Only unleavened bread called Matzo is eaten. The festival lasts 15 days.
A Great weekend to come…

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April awakens #April #poetry #Browning #Spring #travel

‘O to be in England

Now that April’s there,

And whoever wakes in England

Sees, some morning unaware,

That the lowest boughs and brushwood sheaf

Round the elm-tree bold are in tiny leaf,

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

In England – now!’

First verse of ‘Home-thoughts, from abroad’ by Robert Browning.

This poem was probably written at home in England in April 1845 when Browning was recalling his second tour of Italy

I am currently in South-West France, recalling and reviewing Spring photographs of England. This photo was taken not far from the Marylebone church in which Browning married Elizabeth Barrett in 1846: 170 years ago.  

The tree is a pink-cupped magnolia blossoming against a cobalt-blue sky.

This world is waking up from its winter slumber. Time to spring into action.

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London plays host to golden daffodils #London #parks #poetry #flowers #daffodils

Here is a delightful photo of bright and breezy daffodil heads bringing colour to the Royal Parks of London.
In the UK one can witness daffodils as early as December (East Sussex) and as late as late May (Perthshire, Scotland).

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 more golden daffodils were planted in Green Park and here they are in their floral glory.  

William Wordsworth wrote in 1804 a classic poet’s dedication to this supremely beautiful spring flower, with its open trumpet, framed frilly petals and long firm stem.  Ahh silence is golden.

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ was inspired by the daffodils on The Lakes in Grasmere which William’s sister Dorothy had described in her journal of April 1802. It must also be recognised that many of the lines were hers. “I never saw daffodils so beautiful,” wrote Dorothy.

Here is a snippet:

‘… all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils’

‘… they stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.’

‘… a poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company.’

‘… they flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude ‘

(Wordsworth noted “the two best lines in it are by Dorothy”)

‘And then my heart with pleasure fills 

And dances with the daffodils.’

Every spring they rise again, a fitting metaphor for the symbol of Easter.

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Kind quotes in constant print (from Shelley to Keats) #Romanticism #JohnKeats #Shelley #poetry #OnThisDay

In kindness, and in sympathy Percy Shelley remembers in poetry, the most fitting and appropriate art form, his fellow Romantic poet, John Keats, who died in Rome, 23rd February 1821.

‘He is a presence to be felt and known

In darkness and in light, from herb and stone…’

‘He is a portion of the loveliness

Which once he made more lovely…’ 

From, ‘Adonais, An Elegy on the Death of John Keats’

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (written June 1821)

John Keats reading at his home in Hampstead, with a portrait of William Shakespeare watching o’er him…

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Devotion and Emotion #Spain #France #poetry #poets #OnThisDay #pilgrimage

Spanish poet from Seville, Antonio Machado, died in Collioure, the little fishing village in southern France on 22nd February 1939.  
As a boy and without financial support, he and his young brother were driven to write and to act to make money. Later as a supporter of the loyalist cause, and living in Madrid at the outbreak of The Spanish Civil War, he was subsequently forced into exile. He and his family joined thousands of refugees on a long, perilous journey on foot over the Pyrenees. One month later he passed away, aged 63.

No, my soul is not asleep.

It’s awake, wide awake.

It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,

it’s eyes wide open

far-off things, and listens

at the shores of the great silence.

From ‘Is my soul asleep?’ by Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly.

A his grave is a site of pilgrimage for the Spanish, French and Catalan communities. All year this man, this poet, is visited and adored; his resting place is a shrine of devotion, emotion, and poetry…

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Women of the World #women #world #India #life #experience #adventure #english

India has an incalculable number of personalities; it is a vast, self sufficient continent and the enormity of all its offerings can be overwhelming.

Each state has its own dialect, then they converse in the united language of Hindi; on the world stage and amongst travellers the tongue is, most thankfully, English

And so I find myself, in the depths of Goa’s abundance and spiritual wealth, one friend, one ‘Woman of The World.’  I think of her now (see photo) as I return home to Britain and remember clearly her perfect English, her smile and her story. 

Her name is Natasha, dressed in a purple patterned sari, with bangles and necklace. She was married at 15, it was an arranged custom. She has 4 children: 3 girls and one boy, her eldest is 20. She loves her family, and does not wish her daughter to be married at such a young age. She wants her to study, to learn about life and to experience her youth.

Natasha is from ‘out-of-state’ and has a shop in the Goan market selling many Indian items.

I may never see her again, she shared some of her life with me, as I did with her. It was a brief yet significant encounter. We could well have been the same age, with greatly contrasting lives, but we are both ‘Women of The World’ and subjects of our country.

Travel is more than just a sun-bed and a sun-seeking attitude, it is an explosion of new and wonderful personal adventures…mind, body and soul

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Feeling Fruitful #India #travel #life #experience #world #market

Namaste: Good day to all,

Where in the world are you?

It’s always a feast and a friendly fight to experience shopping, Indian-style in the depths of a Market in Goa, picking up the bare necessities…

4 tomatoes

2 sticks of cucumber

2 coloured peppers

2 baby aubergines 

2 red onions

Slice of pumpkin

A line of finger bananas (the King Louis of ‘The Jungle Book’ variety)

Large papaya & 4 limes

A Bunch of coriander & a bunch of mint

1 queen pineapple

Best price…

200 rupees = £2.10

Living extremely well, for extremely little, extremely easily in the extremes of India.

The brilliant capacity of the capable human being to be able to gradually and calmly adapt to new circumstances is, the very essence of travel.  

This is the continent of sensory overload and sensational awakenings…burning tandoors; coconut carts; piles of sweet red onions; light, warm embracing breezes of holy incense and night jasmine; swirling white egrits like spirits of the jungle; silky, pink sunsets.

Seeing is believing, so believe.

Uplifting, Enchanting and Enlightening

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January Joy comes flowing in #January #poetry #England #NewYear #quotes

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Continued from yesterday…

Poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, ‘I Stood on a Tower’ (1865)

‘Seas at my feet were flowing,

Waves on the shingle pouring,

Old year roaring and blowing,

And New Year blowing and roaring.’

Tennyson wrote to his lifelong friend and poetry editor, Francis Turner Palgrave:

“What a season! The wind is roaring here like thunder and all my holly trees are rolling. Indeed, we have had whole weeks of wind.” 

Here we are in January 2016, 150 years later, a new wind whips up the waves, stirs a restless sea and rustles the senses.

‘The gulls to the sky, went soaring

The waves, heavily churned, came falling

Whipped to the tip, spilt on the beach

A hundred horizons for us to seek

Today, tomorrow as the days flow

Bathe thousands of places for us to go

At home, for rest, we safely stay, until

The leaning winds send us far away

And just like birds, who leave awhile

We’ll each return to our worlds and smile.’

KB, 2015/16
Take the first week of January calmly: ‘J‘ for Jolly, for Joy, for enJoyment.
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