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

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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

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.


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


Pirates party before pub refreshments.

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

Setting the scene #mikrontheatre

Outdoor theatre at it’s best. Sitting on bales of straw, a blue sky with chunky clouds and all set in a vast allotment field, close to the Grand Union canal, Warwickshire. This is The Mikron Theatre way… A good story, packed with songs, music and facts. Very entertaining and informative. Poetry in motion!