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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Pirates & Piracy #pirates #Hastings #records #drummers 

Piracy in Hastings Old Town has become a mid-July, summer celebration and each year, along buccaneer mile, a little variation keeps it ever-exciting and wildly entertaining. Pirates from all over the country, county, cities and o’er the seas come to revel and rollick.
This year includes, ‘The Tigers’ free-fall parachuting, and landing on the end of Hastings pier; fierce and feisty drummers – Section 5; drinking gin before 11am; beards, parrots and real wooden legs; the creation of the largest pirate flag in the world on the beach and filmed from air; drinking whisky after 11am and everything else onwards; dancing and a full pirate orchestra performing Pirates of the Caribbean music as well as folk band, The Pyrates from Holland, and ‘light’ Opera (Pirates of Penzance); Jack Sparrow and entourage in drunken swagger parading along the seafront. He really looks like Johnny Depp.

Arrrgh…a jolly good time had by all!’

Please take note Hastings features in The Guinness Book of Records for the most recorded pirates in one place … that’s 14,231 Pirates.  I was one of them.


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Pirates party before pub refreshments.

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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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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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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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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The Leaves on a Tree, the Leaves of Poetry

Poet, John Keats sat at his window in Hampstead overlooking this Mulberry tree, a supreme specimen, in 1818 making this comment on inspiration and creativity,”If Poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.”  Let this be a good argument for sitting and staring out of a window!

The ‘Cockney’ poet’s greatest literary influences were Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, and he admired his contemporaries, particularly Wordsworth.  Keats was a fierce critic of his own work, and faced harsh criticism from outside his circle.  Despite disappointing sales of his first collection, he was intensely ambitious,

“I was never afraid of failure,” he insisted,”for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.” Keats, in his short lifetime, was not recognised as a great poet, but some time later and well after his death he sits firmly among the celebrated, the finest, ‘the greatest’ poets. The tragic triumph that was his life story.