Monday, 26 September 2016

Hengist and his horse

One of my all-time favourite books is '1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England', by W C Sellar.

It was indeed memorable for me, because more than a few of the dates and names stuck in my head and gave me a jolt of joy later in life when I studied history. Many a dry lecture was enlivened for me by a passing reference to Sellar's Important Dates and People.

My absolutely favourite quote is this one, about Hengist and his wife (or horse?) Horsa.

Here it is:

“Memorable among the Saxon warriors were Hengist and his wife (? or horse), Horsa. Hengist made himself King in the South. Thus Hengist was the first English King and his wife (or horse), Horsa, the first English Queen (or horse).”

Imagine my joy today, many decades later, to receive the daily Word a Day email and read the following:


noun: A supporter or subordinate, especially one who engages in illegal activities for a powerful boss or criminal.

From Old English hengest (a male horse) + man. Earlier a henchman was an attendant who walked or rode beside a prince. Earliest documented use: 1360.

It's an OMG moment! Hengest was named for a male horse and he was married to a woman called Horsa?

Hmm... There's more to this than meets the eye. I love it!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Alfie Dog stories win awards

I received an email from Alfie Dog publishers a few days ago. They are thrilled that all three of the stories they entered in the Write Well awards were selected as winners and will appear in an anthology soon, as an ebook or a print copy.

I didn't want to wait for the anthology, so I bought the three stories immediately and enjoyed them all. I can see why they were chosen.

I think it's wonderful that these days I can buy short stories individually. When I buy collections of stories I usually like only a couple in the book and skip through the others. This way I simply choose the ones I want to read, and it's quite inexpensive.