Um – brella – come rain or shine #rain #sun #tradition #London #history #umbrella

Let me share a quote with you that seems appropriate in the current ‘crazy’ weather climate, affecting a vast number of people across the globe.

Here it is, direct from the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival, a sometimes quite rainy area of land inhabited by Scots: 

“I like to imagine the guy who invented the umbrella was going to call it ‘brella’ but he hesitated.” 

Um, firstly I think it’s rather presumptive to assume it was a man, but let’s think of the ‘he’ collectively.

The name umbrella evolved from the Latin umbella – a flat-topped rounded flower and the term umbra, meaning shadow or shade. In Italian, Latin’s closest modern-day language, the term for shade is ombra and for umbrella, ombrella.

While we play with names and definitions here are a few more of notable interest:

Un Parasol (French and Spanish) protects against the sun, para means stop or shield and sol is sun.

Un Parapluie (French) is an umbrella, para (shield against) pluie (rain). 

A Parachute (English, French) – para (shield from) a fall.

The oldest reference to a collapsible umbrella is 21AD in Ancient China. Then we follow the umbrella, in all its forms, through the traditions and customs of dynasties such as Ancient India, Siam, the Middle East, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, the Aztecs and Europe.

In The Middle Ages (of Britain) a cloak, not an  umbrella, was often the desired clothing against rainstorms.

In 1768 a Paris magazine stated:

‘Those who do not wish to be mistaken for vulgar people much prefer to take the risk of being soaked rather than be regarded as one who goes on foot; an umbrella is a sure sign of someone who does not own his own carriage.’

It would not be long before umbrellas became a fashionable item; an accessory not only to shelter from the rain but to avoid the heat of the scorching sun (the sunbeams being particularly piercing in India, for example). 

By the 1750s the British people had got over their natural shyness and promoted the umbrella’s general use.

One such character, Jonas Hanway, founder of the Magdalen Hospital, dared the reproach and ridicule – the staring, laughing, jeering, hooting, heckling and bullying – of hackney taxi-cabs, of carrying an umbrella in London, everyday for 30 years, dying, nice and dry, in 1786.

There is a small street in London’s Fitzrovia, leading from Oxford Street winding itself to Tottenham Court Road, called Hanway Street, reputed to be named after our man. His popularisation of the umbrella was more successful than his attempt to introduce stilts into London, keen to avoid the muck and grime of the 18th century streets. 

Clearly he likes the theme of ‘avoidance.’ 

Ironically Umbrellas are the most ‘left’ items in taxi-cabs. 

They are sometimes extremely annoying but desperately useful articles, not everybody wants to ‘sing in the rain’ or have ‘raindrops keep falling on their head’…
Global National Umbrella Day is 10th February.

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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

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.

Star Movies, under the stars, on Hastings Pier #hastingspier #cinema #movies #films #outdoors #summer #weekends #stars

Hastings Pier is happy to announce three summer weekends of classic cinema, as voted by the general public; “you asked, we listened!” was their mantra. So it’s time to look forward to these all-time favourite movies with family and friends and enjoy their iconic lines and lyrics, on the Pier, just as the sun goes down, the sky turns black and one by one the stars appear.

The first weekend is May: 26/27/28.

I’m booked in for Back To The Future, “Great Scot!” “save the clock tower!” “You made a time-machine out of a deLorean!” “where we’re goin’ we don’t need roads!”

Then comes ‘the unsinkable’ Titanic, “take a deep breath, jump!” Hmm this will be a chilly night, as the tide rolls in and the waves crash against the steel girders, and you hug your dearest and offer her your life-jacket; “women and children first.” Over a hundred years later it’s a struggle to find a man who’ll hold open a door for you.

Then it’s song and dance time with Mamma Mia “does your mother know that you’re out?” Here’s a film to really let your hair down; serious and un-fun people, keep away or be warned, Dad may do his dance…

Moving into June 15/16/17.

Hastings can’t resist a pirate, so Pirates of The Caribbean – The Curse of Black Pearl will be sailing onto our shores; dressing up is essential, although some people won’t need to, they are gifted with the pirate look.

The cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show follows next, actor Tim Curry turns transvestite; and then action-packed men-in-the-air, Top Gun, flies in, with the adrenaline-boosting, “the need for speed.”

And finally July 20/21/22.

The dinosaurs are coming as Jurassic Park opens its doors and lets you in. Buckle up and smile at the T-Rex, he’s got lots of teeth to eat you with. And that scream will echo as far as France; we do like to keep them guessing.

Then comes Quadrophenia: mods and rockers clash in a ‘coastal’ town.

Last but not least comes Grease (hopefully no atmospheric lightening). John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John bring their summer lovin’ into town, to warm those ‘chills that are multiplying.’

Well you’d ‘better shape up’ and get along to one of these cinema events. Tickets don’t buy themselves, there’s a great time to be had and once again Hastings Pier has the right touch. Weather cannot be promised, but an unforgettable night is assured.

Walk the prom, see you on the Pier!

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Kate Barnwell, Lyrical HIP http://www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk

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…

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Big News! #book #news #novella #cult #mystery #imagination #September #bookshops #London #Hastings #online #eBook

A cult mystery novella – released worldwide September 2016.

‘The Case of Aleister Stratton’ by K.G.V. Barnwell

An unusual name: Aleister Stratton; a mysterious quest for information; a chance discovery; the past and present merging. What caused this seemingly inexplicable death?

Imagine one morning you wake up and believe you have committed a murder.

At what point did the unconscious take over the mind and how much control can the conscious regain? What we do by day is one thing, how we pass the night is another.

How safe are we from the complexities of our mind?


“Stylish and beautifully written, combining elegance and gripping intensity; eye-catching and oft slyly satirical prose.”

~

“An intriguing and compulsively good read.”
~

Available NOW – signed copies from: 

http://www.katebarnwell.com

http://www.grosvenorartistmanagement.com

See the original website http://www.aleisterstratton.com

Available as a book and ebook from Waterstones Bookshops ~ Amazon Worldwide ~ Ingrams.

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

‘I must go down to the seas again’

On departing London’s Charing Cross by train to Hastings, East Sussex who cannot help but think of this compelling line ‘I must go down to the seas again…!’
How lovely – a deep breath of salty sea air, a wet breeze, some dozy clouds & the tide tirelessly lapping on the beach. The seashore is a timeless, evocative & ancient old place to cast off your woes & to make new wishes.
John Masefield’s (1st June 1878- 12th May 1967) poem ‘Sea Fever’ captures every worldly imagination of the seas – ‘a grey mist on the sea’s face’ ‘the white clouds flying’ ‘the flung spray’ ‘the blown spume’ ‘the call of the running tide’ ‘the seagulls crying.’ This poem is every schoolboy’s favourite & every grown man’s old romance.
On our Island nation ‘Sea Fever’ is all around us – get out, see it and live these lines!