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

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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

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

John Keats, Reflecting on A Star #OnThisDay #poetry #JohnKeats

John Keats born 31st October 1795, (220 years ago today).

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen…’

From, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ (sonnet) composed by Keats in October 1816 after a night spent reading aloud translations from Homer. These translations were completed by George Chapman in 1616, precisely 200 years prior to Keats, then add another 220 years and you reach our 21st century.

That evening Keats parted from his school friend, Cowden-Clarke, walked over London Bridge back to Dean Street (present day fashionable Soho) and at once wrote this sonnet.

Keats died of tuberculosis aged only 25 years in Rome, 23rd February 1821.

‘When I have fears that I may cease to be,
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain…’ 

He never got his girl (Fanny Brawne) and, in true romantic fashion, he strove to write and achieve the very best poetry; believing he had failed in his lifetime as a poet.

‘ – then on the shore 

Of the wide world I stand alone and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.’

Keats wrote some of the most beautiful lines in the English language.

Today he is considered ‘a bright star.’

Stars, whose fires corresponded with his own ardour (Latin ardere = to burn), were an endless preoccupation for Keats; he had a kinship with the transcendent world – a place where he might continuously exist outside the created world; free from life’s limitations and restrictions and ultimately death… ‘A Bright Star.’

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London’s Autumnal Reflections: ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever…’

  

Stars

A poet’s stars…

Supernova particles of dust
On which To make our wishes
All those millions of miles away
A black galaxy of floating, dazzling Rocks
Silent by day, by night, an audience of STARS
by Kate Barnwell

A dictionary’s stars…

A fixed luminous point in the sky which is a large, remote incandescent body like the sun. True stars are formally known as fixed stars to distinguish them from wandering stars or planets. There are more than a hundred thousand stars in our Galaxy.

Something’s ‘Goethe’ Give!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – pronounced ‘gerter’ (1749-1832) is a German legend.
The learned Goethe did a lot in his lifetime – he was, by turns, a philosopher, novelist, botanist, anatomist, poet, dramatist and theatre director and if that wasn’t enough he was closely involved in the politics & court life of Weimar.
But it doesn’t end there, he is also famous for fleeing to Italy, masquerading as a painter & enjoying an ‘Italian Journey’ which he vividly wrote about from 1786-1788. What an adventurer – no blogging, no mobiles, no credit cards, no FaceTime, no Facebook, no tweeting, just him, a trusty pen & parchment, and the desire to explore the classical world.

His first published work included ‘Die Nacht’ / Night Thoughts & it appeared in a songbook, he was a lyricist too, in 1769, in this poem he refers to the stars,
‘beautiful as you are, shining in your glory’ …
‘your figures in a dance through the vast heaven’…
‘what journey have you ended in this moment’ …
From the German to the English the translation is quite perfect!