A Cup of of Camomile¬†#quotes #Shakespeare #gardens #herbs #Spring #playwright #camomile

An English garden, or any of a temperate climate, through the seasons, holds a spell. It feeds the soul and mind in beauty, peace and rest and the body in herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. Please note I’m mostly concerned with Spring and Summer.

Many herbs and plants have made their way into Shakespeare’s plays…their use in medicines (Romeo&Juliet), in metaphors (Hamlet, Henry IV) & in magic (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Shakespeare loved to garden. He would have been familiar with, and fully aware of the significance and importance of herbs. Their values, qualities and differences would have played on his imagination and are naturally and subtly woven (weaved) into his work with great effect.

“… though the camomile, the more it is trodden on the faster it grows, yet youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears.” Henry IV

In herb gardens lie stories, tales and morals, and healing properties: prevention and cure.

Herbs and spices for sprinkling, wit and wisdom for thinking.


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First Class Quotations¬†#Shakespeare #quotes #theatre #plays #stamps #StGeorge #Passover

The 23rd April is a very busy date. 

Firstly we must commemorate Mr William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon who died on 23rd April 1616, 400 years ago today.  

Shakespeare was also born on the 23rd April 1564.

The 23rd April happens to be St George’s Day; St George is the patron saint of England, often depicted slaying a dragon to rescue the fair maiden.

 “Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sighs” from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

This quote seems to tie the two together perfectly.

Royal Mail has issued 10 Shakespeare quotes as 1st class stamps. You could have issued a 100 stamps going by the popularity and love of a Shakespeare line:

“To thine own self be true…” A quote for this day of all days, and everyday thereafter.

‘The fair and the mighty, such characters enthral

Indulge all our senses, give rowdy applause

To rousing great speeches, the lines well rehearsed

The sonnets and quotes, perfect prose of sweet verse…’

From The Bard by K.Barnwell

Today is also The First Day of Passover (Pesach = Hebrew ‘to pass over’) – the freedom of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery by the Pharaohs (rulers over the kingdom of Egypt, considered half man, half god, but not King).  

Only unleavened bread called Matzo is eaten. The festival lasts 15 days.
A Great weekend to come…

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Going hoarse for a Horse! From Car park to Cathedral. #onthisday #RichardIII #history

On the 22nd August, 1485 (530 years ago today) on Redmore Plain in Leicestershire (now known as Bosworth Field) the 32 year old King of England, Richard III (King for less than 2 years) lay slain, beaten and betrayed.
‘Pity the man who waves the white boar’

It was Shakespeare’s play, written with enormous Tudor biase, ‘Richard III’ (1592) that coined the desperately-pleading phrase: “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”
This was not officially recorded as truth but it’s a most likely understated request.
His remains were only recovered and confirmed, after a great deal of forensic analysis, in a Leicester council car park under the letter R in 2012 and he was respectfully and ceremoniously laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral in March 2015.
He was the first King to have died in battle since the Norman Conquest (1066) and the last since; he was the first to be found under a car park and the most historically misunderstood and misrepresented King. His death marked the end of The Plantagenet dynasty and the War of The Roses: the Yorkist White & the Lancastrian Red. Henry Tudor (Henry VII) united the two sides with his Tudor rose (red & white combined, NOT pink) both the House of Lancaster and the House of York were very closely related.

The life and times of King Richard III are a fascinating subject.
Today we must picture him on a valiant stead, with his banner of St George and his emblem, The White Boar flying high on a windy plain,
‘this glorious son of York.’

The Gesturing Jester

Shakespeare’s Jester or Fool is the witty, comedic role, led with flamboyance and flair! Guaranteed to bring laughs and to be laughed at; he is the Joker in the pack…

‘O noble Fool, a worthy Fool!’
As You Like It

‘Foolery, Sir, goes walk about the orb like the sun, shines everywhere.’
Twelfth Night

‘The Fool doth think him wise but the wise man knows himself to be a Fool.’
As You Like It

Performing Poetry #StratfordPoetryFestival

“Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears!”

What great enthusiasm and energy at The Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival!

Directly outside Shakespeare’s birthplace in the heart of the town, we gathered an audience and recited a varied selection of poems, written by the choicest poets (from sonnets to comical rhymes). It’s not an easy task but it’s a great pleasure to join happy, like minded people for whom poetry is a joy.

Our T-shirts read ‘Shakespeare lives here, Stratford Poetry Festival 2015’

Roving Poets

‘We’ll go no more a roving…’ said Lord Byron.

I say, ‘I’ll go roving in the name of poetry!’ 

On Sunday 12th July 2015, for the Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival 

I will be  ‘A Roving Poet’ on the streets of Shakespeare’s home town.

Along with other poet enthusiasts and an audience, it’s a chance to showcase your work and join in the wonderful world of poetry. There’ll be song, dance, and events and no doubt a jester (this is Shakespeare’s county after all). 

“The earth has music for those who listen,” Shakespeare

The World according to Oysters

On a day like today, out in the June sun, the sky a deep, jewel-like blue; there’s a calm, rolling sea, a safe shoreline, fresh oxygenated air and endless space.
You may look to the horizon and say the words:-

“The world is mine oyster!” Well you won’t be catching oysters from this boat in this English Channel but you will mean so much more when you look back on this proverb with ‘its highly memorable condensed bold imagery of its commonplace fact of experience’ (quite a verbal mouthful – break it down!)

What you are really saying is “I can achieve anything I want, go anyway; I have the opportunity (time and money) and the ability (health)!”

‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ (Shakespeare’s play, written in1600) was the first to make use of this phrase:

Falstaff: “I will not lend thee a penny ”

Pistol: “Why then the world’s mine oyster, which I with a sword will open.”

The world doesn’t have to be expensive or exclusive or difficult to access; maybe we just have to change our perspectives…this view is free and makes you feel instantly liberated. Anyhow it’s food for thought (although while we’re on oysters, I hear they are quite a required taste!)

  

Looking for signs

Sometimes the answers are all around us, we just have to know where to look.
Sometimes a sign appears ‘out of the blue’ (that’s an old nautical phrase, the blue being the sea) & it may change our feelings for an entire day, or longer & thus influence those around us too, setting off a small chain reaction of events. Let’s stay on the positive side; I would encourage you to always see the happy not the sad, the love not the hate.

So here’s an example: strolling in a city park (part of the live longer campaign as a previous blog stated, exercise & fresh air – excuse the digression, but everything is interlinked) I came across this sign ‘Keep Smiling’ – the name of a bed of roses.

Now you may quote me Shakespeare:

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other day name would smell as sweet.”

So true Juliet, but what a fantastic name; it certainly makes you stop, smile and shake off those daily frustrations.

As a consequence I smiled at everyone I walked past (a rarity in a busy city), I helped an old lady figure out how to use her mobile phone as a camera and photograph the park ducks; I popped into a gallery to donate some money, thereby buying a postcard to send to a friend.

The World sorted for the day.

So what will your sign be? Just look out for it and in someway it might just look after you…

‘All the world’s a stage’

Here at The Globe on the banks of the River Thames, just as it was in the 16th century, the stage is set for a fabulous performance of ‘The Merchant of Venice’. Through high winds, rain, & sun, the show must go on.

Love, laughs, money, religion, tragedy, cross dressing, jests, wit & merriment all encompassed in Shakespeare’s great play.
‘The quality of mercy is not strained, it dropeth like gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath’

‘The darling buds of May’

Poetry in nature, Nature in poetry; the two so intricately bound, they preserve each other beautifully.
In everything we see & do, we find poetry: a word, a line, a couplet, a verse; our language is peppered with worn phrases & quotations, part remembered & stored in our minds ready to be recited just at the perfect moment.
Be amazed! We have an incomparable poetic heritage and however young or old the poem or ourselves, there is a poetry moment waiting inside us all.
We can think & breathe the same life as our chosen poet has all those years ago; we too see the same beauty or feel the same pain.

‘Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date…’
Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare, 1609

William Shakespeare & I agree: the winds are whipping up the delicate apple blossoms & an English summer never lasts long enough. Kate Barnwell, 2015