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

Winter’s last full moon #March #moon #equinox #winter #spring #books #snow #weather #2018

Today, the 2nd March, is the last full moon of Winter before the Spring (vernal) Equinox. This year, 2018, the Equinox falls on the 20th March, when winter officially ends and spring begins.

This is the calendar of the Northern Hemisphere, those living in the Soithern Hemisphere will be entering winter and leaving spring behind.

The full moon today goes by many wonderful names.

Firstly a Worm Moon, named after the earthworms that emerge this time of year (although it’s unlikely they will be tempted to rise and push through the thick snow, currently settling across the U.K).

A Lenten Moon, ‘lenten’ from the Germanic languages meaning spring or lengthening, as the days become noticeably longer and lighter, both morning and early evening. From this word we also derive the term Lent, a period of the Christian calendar we are now passing through.

A Crow Moon: crows appear, signifying the end of winter

A Crust Moon: from the crust that forms on top of snow as it begins to melt and refreeze.

A Sugar or Sap Moon: the gathering of maple syrup from the maple tree saps.

Whatever Moon-name you choose to go by, it will be a late riser and high in an black, icy sky. Keep warm & hibernate & look ahead to springtime!

Coming Soon in 2018, a new novella: A Worldly Tale Told Of Mothy Chambers by Kate Barnwell

www.katebarnwell.com

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

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

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

Please sign here…#MagnaCarta

The 15th June was the official date for the signing of The Magna Carta, The Great Charter by King John, in 1215. It was essentially a peace treaty between the King and his Barons and the administration of justice, fairness and the rule of law.

Z O O M forward 800 years, 15th June 2015 & whilst in the process this charter of the land has seen Revival and Survival, English Liberties, Colonies and Revolutions, Radicalism and Reform, Empire and After, and The Modern Age.

After the English language it is Britain’s greatest export, inspiring the drafters of documents such as the U.S Declaration of Independence (1776) and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

From Bad King John to Good Queen Liz, the legacy of Magna Carta weaves its way into upholding Law, Liberty and Justice; unfortunately for many people and nations today the fight for freedom and dignity continues to be a great struggle.

Let’s end in a staggeringly defiant mood, for the sake of all those who suffer under tyranny, by quoting from W.E.Henley’s poem ‘Invictus’ (Invincible/ Unconquered) which was written after the amputation of his leg and has emotionally inspired leaders Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela.

A 19th century poem, for the soul, can be as powerful as a 13th century document to the system, and accessible to all nations:-

‘Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank what gods may be

For my inconquerable soul…’

Hastings and battles

Here is a view that must be over 150yrs old, in the quintessentially English Old Town of Hastings, East Sussex, which in 1066 (Normans versus Anglo Saxons) became the most famous landmark in the world.  So what came next? Well over time 19 new Hastings would pop up on the global map.

Let’s list them: Hastings, Somerset, England… Hastings, Barbados…Hastings, Sierra Leone… Hastings, New Zealand…Hastings, Tasmania…Hastings River & Hastings Range, New South Wales, Australia… Hastings, Victoria, Australia… Hastings Island, Louisiade, Archipelago.

In America: Hastings, Minnesota…Hastings, Michigan…Hastings, Iowa… Hastings, Nebraska…Hastings, Oklahoma…

Hastings, Florida…Hastings, Pennsylvania…Hastings on Hudson, New York 

In Canada: Hastings, Ontario…Hastings, Nova Scotia…

Hastings, New Brunswick.

Phew what a legacy! If you ever meet someone and throw Hastings into the conversation 9 times out of 10 you will get the answer “ah Battle of Hastings, 1066!” The original is always best – and there are no battles anymore-except the town Battle, where the 1066 battle actually took place!