Famous last words – literally #famous #quotes #words #death #laughter #jokes

‘Famous last words.’  
This phrase, sometimes spoken with a rather sinister or sarcastic overtone, refers to the utterance of often wrong or inappropriate final remarks in conversation, but what about taking a look at the literal translation of ‘famous last words,’ that is to say the departing lines of famous people.
I’ve chosen three characters who, on their death-bed, managed to have the courage to give us the last laugh…

Actor Humphrey Bogart, died in L.A. 14th January 1957 aged 57, 60 years ago.

He is reported to have said, “I should never have switched from Scotch to martinis.”

American jazz drummer Buddy Rich, died after going into surgery, in L.A. 2nd April 1987 aged 69, 30 years ago. 

As Rich was being prepped for the surgery he was asked, “is there anything you can’t take?” (referring to any type of medication). 

His response, “Yeah country music.”

Writer Groucho Marx, died in L.A. 19th August 1977 aged 86, 40 years ago. 

In his final moments, the famed comic is supposed to have said, “this is no way to live!”

Couldn’t resist a few more Groucho reMarx to cheer this sorry tale’s ending…

“I intend to live forever, or die trying.”

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

“Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.”

Amen.

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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 

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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A Somme-ber Silence #TheSomme #WorldWarOne #anniversary #remembrance #EUreferendum #France #GreatBritain #democracy #decisions #bravery #Europe #poppies

The 1st July 1916 on The Battlefield of Northern France: The Somme; 20,000 young allied men lie dead, 40,000 wounded; the worst single day in British military history.

A sad, brutal symbol of modern machine warfare and of futility – the German machine gun was known as the Devil’s paint brush; a desperate loss of innocence for many generations and the devastating repercussions of what ‘Europe is capable of doing to itself.’

The battle raged for 5 months, by 18th November 1916 One million were dead or wounded on both sides; their bodies rest on muddy foreign soil, a white headstone remembers their fall, their sacrifice and their significant memory.

The 1st July 1916 is also deemed to be a mid-way point between the start and the end of World War I. 

30 years later a Second World War would just be ending.

A further 70 years later The Democracy of The United Kingdom would make a tight decision to split from the EU, European Union, and face the wrath of the World.

‘This precious stone set in the silver sea’ may now face a storm and have to sail a rough course, before, once again, ruling the waves and being the great, Great Britain it is. 

We all make the country what it is, so end the moans and groans and clouds of despair.

Don’t be SOMBRE, be responsible for making it even better and even stronger.

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Signs that Stick (Out) #OnThisDay #War #signs #life #death #Hastings

Speedy lives, racing around, lots to do, no time to stop, then one day or some odd day, or some particular day comes along and in it there’s a sign; you stop to read it – twice, no more than a simple 3 minutes of your time, but what it says is striking…

On this site stood

The Swan Inn

& 1,2 & 3 Swan Terrace

destroyed by enemy action 

at about mid-day on Sunday

23rd May 1943 with consider-

able loss of life.

After that, you walk away much slower, much softer and much more removed from all around you, and furthermore you contemplate a situation of absolute pain, horror and devastation precisely 83 years ago, down that same path you casually wander today.

The land on which you stand has played many a-parts.

Pass with a new eye and a different tread.

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Silence please #remembrance #OnThisDay #VeteransDay #Poppy

2 minutes of silent remembrance is held today 11.11.2015.
On 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, it is customary to take a short, respectful, commemorative moment to remember those who sacrificed the gift of life for freedom, all unknown and known warriors and heroes, during the Great War, the Second World War and all global wars and conflicts.

‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them…’

From ‘For The Fallen’ written in 1914 by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

This is the Pride of the Poppy; the symbol of ‘the few’

A simple, yet profound statement: “this is my thanks, I remember you.”
A picture paints a thousand words…a picture speaks volumes…picturing this field at the Tower of London in November 2014 was extremely moving…888,246 ceramic red poppies. 
Two weeks later, there was a knock at the door, a postal delivery for me, and then a tear of joy and a tear of sadness at the realisation of the gravity of the moment, for One of these beautiful Poppies is now mine.

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John Keats, Reflecting on A Star #OnThisDay #poetry #JohnKeats

John Keats born 31st October 1795, (220 years ago today).

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen…’

From, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ (sonnet) composed by Keats in October 1816 after a night spent reading aloud translations from Homer. These translations were completed by George Chapman in 1616, precisely 200 years prior to Keats, then add another 220 years and you reach our 21st century.

That evening Keats parted from his school friend, Cowden-Clarke, walked over London Bridge back to Dean Street (present day fashionable Soho) and at once wrote this sonnet.

Keats died of tuberculosis aged only 25 years in Rome, 23rd February 1821.

‘When I have fears that I may cease to be,
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain…’ 

He never got his girl (Fanny Brawne) and, in true romantic fashion, he strove to write and achieve the very best poetry; believing he had failed in his lifetime as a poet.

‘ – then on the shore 

Of the wide world I stand alone and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.’

Keats wrote some of the most beautiful lines in the English language.

Today he is considered ‘a bright star.’

Stars, whose fires corresponded with his own ardour (Latin ardere = to burn), were an endless preoccupation for Keats; he had a kinship with the transcendent world – a place where he might continuously exist outside the created world; free from life’s limitations and restrictions and ultimately death… ‘A Bright Star.’

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London’s Autumnal Reflections: ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever…’

  

London Poppy Day  #RoyalBritishLegion #remembrance #poppy

Today is LONDON POPPY DAY, 29th October 2015.

‘By wearing a Royal British Legion poppy, you are helping provide support to thousands of veterans, Service men and women.’

The photo below was one of the very many striking images from last year’s (2014) 100 year anniversary of the commemoration of the outbreak of The Great War 1914-1918.

The bronze statue depicts a valiant, yet humble, ordinary War soldier, with hat and rifle. He is coated in red paper poppies, floating all around him, in his arms and at his feet. The monument itself was placed in Trafalgar Square, where during the war rallying speeches were delivered and after the war, joyful celebrations took place.  

He faces the direction of Westminster Abbey, where the tomb of the unknown warrior lies, and towards St Stephens Tower: Big Ben, whose powerful chimes of 11 bells at 11 o’clock on the 11th November, 1918 marked the end of The Great War.

In the background is the glorious St Martin-in-the-Fields church, and behind him lies the National Gallery, home to an incredible collection of paintings.  

He is immortalised and He is home.

I am so in awe of this incredible city.

Do I feel proud of my capital? Absolutely!

The generosity of the British for charitable work is unsurpassable. The ability of people to raise money for so many worthwhile causes is commendable and the kindness shown and the astonishing amounts saved and donated is amazing.
With one Poppy pinned with pride to your coat, you say so much…

You remember all those who have fought for freedom and kept our country safe.

In your honour, London salutes you.

‘When you part from me, and depart our earth,

Your scarlet poppy will grow to bow in a breeze,

Their trembling wave of ‘cheerio, goodbye!’

Makes desert red; while silence bleeds into a distant cry.’

K.B. – 2015


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My Boy Jack #poetry #quotes #remembrance

On 27th September 1915 (100 years today) Rudyard Kipling‘s son John was killed in The Battle of Loos.

‘Have you news of my boy Jack?’
Not this tide
‘When d’you think that he’ll come back?’
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

At first he was seen limping on the field of conflict and believed to have been taken prisoner.

“I trust that your great anxiety may be allayed by definite news of his safety soon,” wrote John’s commanding officer. No such news ever came.
Kipling conducted a 2 year search in vain for news of his son. His grief, the same desperate grief of an entire nation (a nation burning with sadness, drowning in tears, sick with pain) was expressed in poetry and in many voices.

‘My son died laughing at some jest, I would I knew
What it were, and it might serve me at a time when jests are few.’

From September 1930 Kipling instigated and funded the nightly sounding of The Last Post at the Loos Memorial where his son’s name was inscribed.

One, Lost in a foreign field. One, Loved in a family’s heart. One, Poppy.
Remembering all those who gave their life in The Great War (1914-1918), commemorating its 100year period.

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‘The finest hour’

Overlooking the beautiful cliffs & countryside of East Sussex, all is calm & peaceful, it is difficult to imagine over 75yrs ago this English Channel was a great defence against the threat of invasion & the scene of horrific ‘dog fights’.
Today we commemorate 70yrs since VE Day, Victory in Europe, & gaze happily on our magnificent Great Britain with pride. We must always give Thanks & Remembrance for the generations who sacrificed their lives for the Freedom we enjoy today; in everything we do the course of history plays a significant part. May we all take pleasure in many more ‘fine hours’.