Holidays in Britain, holidays with books #holidays #beach #books #travel #Britain #foreign #August #weather #vacation #hot #Hastings

Phew! Summer has reached the long month of August and it continues to be hot and muggy in almost all of the U.K.

It’s still the holiday season, if a little exhausted by now.

Many people fly away to foreign climes and shores, but what about taking the time to uncover the beauty and interest of our British beach-towns... no foreign tongue, no tipping expected, no air-travel, no sharks. Mostly you’ll find endless entertainment, interesting experiences and/or absolute peace, depending on your nature.

We have warm evenings and an easy-going nature and so much coastline to offer something unusual and exciting, just trace the outline of the U.K. and stick a pin in the part you want to explore.

Then pack a few items and a book to read and re-discover your country again and again and tell everyone that Britain is brilliant (with examples to explain).

When you travel somewhere new, you visit another life and another world even if it’s still lovely Blighty, it’s just different. You bring along a GOOD book which will transport you somewhere new too. So two holidays in one trip. ‘That’s the way to do it!’

Happy holiday hunting and remember to stay cool.

Photo: Welcoming the Red Arrows over the cliffs in Hastings, East Sussex. Our very own Jet-setters!

Books available to buy www.katebarnwell.com

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A New Book in Store! #Bookshops #books #novels #writing #literature #fiction #Collioure #France #England #adventure #travel #planets #moon #solstice

I’m VERY happy to announce that my new novel

‘A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers’

is NOW available to buy through my website http://www.katebarnwell.com (signed copies with bookmark at £7.99 plus p&p). Please take a look.

Synopsis:

‘I never fully understood where I fitted in or what to do with what I had.’

What alignment of planets brought about the meeting of two souls – Mothy Chambers, a 16-year-old struggling with adolescent uncertainties and Bette, a mesmeric young woman, settled in the unique southern French town of Collioure? He, sent direct from English boarding school to France by an indifferent family; she, the recently arrived, new wife of his host.

In the warmth, colour and skies of this small town, extraordinary lives are being embraced.

Mothy returns to England and he and Bette maintain a long and mutually confiding correspondence as he struggles to give meaning to his life. Gradually as his memories unfold, he starts to understand the relevance of his earlier times in France; he remembers how important and special this town was to so many people before him and it’s indisputable effect and transformation on those who came calling.

Mothy reflects on the enchantment of Bette, and wonders if the sudden disappearance of his oldest friend is the key to the purpose of his own ordinary life.

Many thanks to those who have supported my work in the past.

Keep reading something different.

Also available, if you must…

http://www.amazon.co.uk

http://www.amazon.com

Paperback: ISBN: 978-0-9935817-5-5

Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9935817-6-2

http://www.katebarnwell.com

The Brassey Institute, a library lives on… #Brassey #library #Victorians #history #books #culture #Hastings #art

This fine, extensively and carefully restored Victorian building, The Brassey Institute (see photo) is the Hastings local library and has just newly re-opened. It stands in the Bohemian quarter of Hastings, in the so-called area, America Ground, 5 minutes from the award-winning new Hastings Pier, beside record and music stores – Hastings loves its music scene too.

It was designed as a multi-purpose building (built 1878-81) for Thomas Brassey, a hugely wealthy railways man. As well as accommodation and private suites for himself, there was a Lecture Hall, Library, Museum and a School Of Art and Science.

In 1888 Mr Brassey presented the building to the town of Hastings.

Today, in 2018, 130 extraordinary years later, the Brassey Institute is a 21st century clean, interactive Library and has just accepted my first book,

‘The Case Of Aleister Stratton’ by K.G.V. Barnwell onto its beaming shelves.

Once again Hastings has battled to preserve its heritage and I am proud to be a part of its literature section and to entertain and enthral the next keen readers who come through its doors.

The mosaics above the entrance hall depict The Battle Of Hastings and the iron gates at the front are purportedly from St Paul’s Cathedral. There is history and culture all around. This library, from the history books, now lives on…

www.katebarnwell.com

Marching on #March #April #Aries #Shakespeare #astrology #proverb #Leo #clocks #light #Easter

‘In like a lion, out like a lamb!’ is the sweet little proverb often associated with March.

We began the month with biting cold winds, hazardous black ice and blankets of snow; the fierce roar of winter raged on… and Spring was kept deep below the soil.

The origin of the proverb is to do with astrology.

Leo the lion is the rising sign, the sign in ascendency but by 21st March (to 20th April) Aries, the ram, arrives (lamb sounds better than ram).

March is, can be and may have been a difficult month for some. The month has several associations with erraticism:

‘March winds’

‘Mad as a March hare’

and Misfortune ‘beware the Ides of March’ from Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar.’

This was spoken by a soothsayer warning Caesar of his portentous downfall.

When Caesar’s frosty reign ended on the 15th, it was nearly Spring.

The 25th March marks the change of clocks, with an extra hour of evening light…longer, lighter days are here to enjoy, providing the weather is kind.

Easter sneaks in at the end of the month too and then on Easter Sunday we awaken to April.

My new novel: ‘A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers’ is available, signed, via kate@katebarnwell.com

www.katebarnwell.com

Chinese New Year: Year of the Dog #ChineseNewYear #Dog #festival #parade #London #Chinatown #zodiac #2018 #animals #books #Hastings

The Chinese New Year is different each year because it is determined by the Lunar calendar (falling between the 21st January and the 20th February).

In 2018 it falls today, the 16th February.

It is the year of the Dog (the Earth Dog, to be precise).

The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle (as opposed to a 12-month cycle) and the order of each animal is on account of a marvellous legend…

Many, many years ago the Jade Emperor ordered the animals to come forward to him and each of the first 12 animals became the ones to date the years.

The cat was too late, so he will always chase the rat, who scurried on ahead of him and became the first animal on the list. The animals were chosen, then categorised into yin and yang, depending on their odd or even number of claws, toes or hooves and then alternated into a sequence…

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

Like with the New Year, 31st December/1st January it is celebrated with an explosion of light, colour and noise. Streets are lined with swinging lanterns; festivities and parades and costumes abound. Money, good fortune and food become the focus.

In celebration of The Earth Dog I am very grateful to Hula from Hastings Old Town for posing as my Chinese New Year Dog Of 2018.

She’s a very well-travelled dog, at her most happy when playing in the garden or out for walks with her lovely family or when she dines on bacon rashers (don’t tell The Pig).

I am also pleased not to have to search for any of the other animals (see list).

Happy Chinese New Year.

Coming 2018 – a new book: ‘ A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers’ by Kate Barnwell

Follow my blogs www.katebarnwell.com

Once, twice, three times a moon. #Nasa #bluemoon #supermoon #bloodmoon #moon #Earth #space #novel

Today, the 31st January 2018, the moon will be three spectacular things in one.

The UK, however, will benefit from just one moon phenomenon, a blue moon, when two full moons appear in the same calendar month (a full moon appeared last on the 2nd January).

The second moon trick is a super-moon, when the moon is unusually close to Earth, seeming bigger and brighter.

The third bit of moon magic is a blood-moon, when the moon falls into Earth’s shadow, (an eclipse) making the moon appear red.

In order to witness all three (something that has not graced our space since 1866) you must be located in the correct section of the world: “please ensure you are sitting in the correct part of the carriage, and keep your belongings with you at all times.”

Britain will be blue, but not discouraged, if the skies clear, a bright, white, dazzling pearl of a moon will be enough to light our way.

Happy gazing and contemplating wherever you are.

Coming soon a new novella: ‘A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers’ by Kate Barnwell

End of the Year! #NewYear #AuldLangSyne #celebration #song #remembrance #poem #midnight #kindness

Wherever you wake up today and wherever you end your night, be it Sea, City or country dwelling… be safe and be thoughtful.

It is customary, in English speaking countries, to end the year, at the strike of midnight to a delightful (if struggling) rendition of the Poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ by Scotsman, Robert Burns, written in 1788 (with slight variations to the original) and sung to a traditional folk tune.

The translation of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is ‘Days Gone By,’ or ‘For the sake of old times.’ That we might think of long-standing friendships, old acquaintances – they should not be forgotten – and days passed, memories made; reflection and contemplation and remembrance.

If ever there was a time of year to consider what has been and gone it is now, before we busy ourselves with what’s next.

So here’s to looking back fondly and moving forward faithfully.

Start the new year with a cup of kindness.

Should old acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot

And old lang syne…

For auld lang syne, my dear

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet

For (the sake of) auld lang syne…

COMING UP in 2018, a new novel: ‘A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers’

by K.G.V. Barnwell

http://www.katebarnwell.com

Autumn is falling – Leaving London   #leaves #autumn #London #GreenPark #October

Between the green stretches of Hyde Park and St James Park in the city of Westminster lies Green Park, 47 acres of public strolling grounds.  

It is both a lovely green space in the heart of London, and the lungs of the city too, providing fresh country air – perfect for escaping Piccadilly madness.

There are no lakes, no playgrounds, no buildings and no planted beds (so no king may gather flowers for his mistress). There are 3 memorials.

Here is a quick history of the area:

In the 17th century it was a swampy burial ground for lepers.

In 1668 the area was part of the Poulteney family estate, who then surrendered the bulk of land to King Charles II, thus becoming a Royal Park, ‘Upper St James Park.’  Charles, in his turn, enclosed the parkland with a brick wall and built an icehouse for cold summer drinks (as one does).

By the 18th century it was an isolated area, haunted by thieves and highwaymen. Horace Walpole, writer and politician, was robbed here.

In the 18th-19th centuries there were public firework displays (in 1749 Handel composed music specifically for a Green Park display) and ballooning (up, up and away) and even duelling (sword fights).

In 1820 John Nash landscaped the area and in June 1840 from Constitutional Hill, Edward Oxford made an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria.

For me, in 2017Green Park (also a tube stop) is an excellent in-between walking route from Berkeley Square to Victoria, early in the morning when the squirrels are busy burying conkers and tourists are making their way to Buckingham Palace.

The plain trees are beginning to shred, scattering brown and yellow crinkly leaves along the pathway; there is an earthy dampness, a grey chill and a pale light filtering through the flaking canopy.  

Autumn is now the season to go strolling.  

Green Park offers everyone a green and pleasant land in London Town.

Follow my blogs http://www.katebarnwell.com

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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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…

Follow my blogs http://www.katebarnwell.com

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?

Follow my blogs http://www.katebarnwell.com

Foreign Bodies #poetry #poets #quotes #travel

Poets who are buried outside of their homeland, to name a few…

John Keats born in London, 31st October 1795, died, 23rd February 1821 of tuberculosis in Rome and buried in the Non-Catholic cemetery, Rome.

“Nothing becomes real till it is experienced.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, born in Sussex, 4th August 1792 died in La Spezia, Italy in a boating accident, 8th July 1822, buried in the Non-Catholic cemetery in Rome.

“A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer his own solitude with sweet sounds.”

Oscar Wilde born in Dublin 16th October 1854, exiled and died in Paris, 30th November 1900, buried in Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning born 6th March 1806 in Durham, died 29th June 1861 in Florence and buried in the Protestant English cemetery of Florence, Italy.
“Who so loves believes the impossible.”

“I shall but love thee better after death.”

Her husband, Robert Browning died at their son’s house in Venice in 1889 and is buried in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey.
W.B.Yeats born in Dublin 13th June 1865, died in Roquebrune Cap Martin, France, 28th January 1939, repatriated in September 1948 to Drumcliff, County Sligo, Ireland.
“Cast a cold Eye 

On Life, on Death

Horseman pass by.”

Lord George Byron born 22nd January 1788, London, died of fever, 19th April 1824 in Missolonghi, Greece.
“Love will find a way through where wolves fear to prey.”

Rupert Brooke born in Rugby, 3rd August 1887, died of sepsis 23rd April 1915 in a French hospital ship, buried in Skyros, Greece.
“If I should die, think only this is of me

That there’s some corner of a foreign field. 

That is forever England.”

Spanish poet Antonio Machado born in Seville, 26th July 1875, died, 22nd February 1939 and buried in Collioure, France, after journeying over the Pyrenees to escape Franco’s Spain.

“There is no road, lonely wanderer 

Just wakes at sea, only that.”

  

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At the end of the road – turn to WRITE-ING!#poetry #travel

How marvellous to find one street, with one name, written in two languages…

The cul-de-sac of the ‘Poet– first in French, then in Catalan.

  
Catalan – known as a Romance language, derives from Vulgar Latin. It was the troubadours of the 12th century who founded lyrical poetry and love songs(cancons).

Els Amants by Vincent Andres Estelles (1924-1993)
‘Es desperta, de sobte, com un vell huraca
I ens tomba en terra els dos, ens ajunta, ens empeny.’

(Catalan)

The Lovers
‘Love, it awakens suddenly, like an old hurricane
It throws us to the ground, it joins us together,
Squeezing us tightly.’

A little walk, a little looking around, leads to bigger things in surprising places!
They do say, “What goes around, comes around,” – well it was a cul-de-sac!

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