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

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

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.

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

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.

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

  

Cafe au lait, au lait! #art #travel #quotes

The most famous French cafe on the tip of the Mediterranean, Les Templiers (Knights of the Realm) in the Catalan fishing village of Collioure. Home to sun-seeking artists extraordinaire of the early 1900s including Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Dufy – inspired by the light, the warmth, the sweet wines, the traditional music, the scents of jasmine, caught by the nose and a sea-salt aroma, touched by the tongue.

The bar is adorned in artwork, donated by generations of artists who could not pay for drinks.

Scottish artist and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret escaped the smoggy atmosphere of London, to visit Collioure in the spring of 1924…

“We think it is one of the most wonderful places we have ever seen.”


Prennez le petit dejeuner, chocolat chaud, assiette de fromage
…soak up the ambiance, the distinctive style and the air-borne inspiration, drink in the magic of many artistic worlds.

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The Shore-sign Contemplation #art #beach #poetry

Ideas for Poetry can pop up in all sorts of places: promenading along the beach, caught in a crowded city, cruising the countryside, stuck on the underground, rambling in summer pastures, travelling to foreign lands, and at any time, from early morning to late at night. 

Inspiration continues to be an unusual and unpredictable sensation …whatever your tool (painting, writing, acting, baking, singing, composing…) you feel compelled to make the best use of it, to interpret it into something distinctive, unique…
Some signs wash up on the shore…!

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.