How to write about The Queen … of horses

“Canadien Horse?  Never heard of it,” said the magazine editor down the phone to me, “but write it up and we’ll have a look.” I had just read an article about the breed in an obscure Canadian historical magazine and had fallen in love with these tough, hardy, talented “little iron horses” as they’re known.

Article about the Queen's horse

HM Queen riding her famous horse “Burmese”, given to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969. Burmese was ridden by the Queen at every Trooping the Colour ceremony from 1969 to 1986. Many thanks for this image to Leonard Bentley.

Being Canadian myself, I was particularly enthused at the thought of introducing British readers to a Canadian product that’s lot more interesting than maple syrup, lumberjacks, or Toronto’s CN tower which once earned itself the dubious accolade of being “the largest free-standing erection in North America.”

I was also fascinated to learn more about what I imagine is, if not the only one, certainly one of the few North American “native” breeds not descended from horses left behind by the Spanish. [Read more…]

Remembrance Day 2018

November 11th 2018

For all who fell, and for all who served

Remembering my grandfather, Major Crawford Mack Hercus, who served with the Canadian Forces in northern Europe in World War One

Remembering my father, Captain Crawford MacGregor Hercus, who served with the Canadian Forces in northern Europe in World War Two

Remembering my mother, Jacqueline Forgan-Potts Hercus, who served with the Resistance Movement in northern Europe in World War Two

They survived, but so many of their colleagues didn’t.

Now my relatives are gone, too.

May they and all who served with them

rest in peace, and may we always be grateful

for their bravery, devotion to duty and

determination to protect us from evil.

Sz xx

 

Why print newspapers are not good for alternative facts

Every year when I come “home” to Canada and stay with my uncle and aunt in Toronto, one of my greatest treats is to read a real newspaper.

Alternative facts are harder to write in paper newspapers

Does the ethos of old-fashioned print newspapers make it harder for “alternative facts” to be believed?

Not the digitally erstatz version of The Times or the The Daily Mail or The Washington Post or any other online me-too news resource that doesn’t fool anyone into thinking it shares similarities with the real thing… [Read more…]

Writing names for new weed products in Stonetario, Canada…

With recent news in Ontario, Canada that manufacturers of drinks and other products are keen to get in on Canada’s incoming legalisation of fun-filled weed, here are some suggestions for bespoke brand names that will take the new market by storm…

Let's all get high in Ontario

Not to be smoked with a pinch of salt…

Names for new cannabis drink and food products: some ideas

Doctor Potter

A & W Cream Stoner [Read more…]

Write me une lettre if you plait…

There are bilingual countries, and then there are bilingual cities, and then there is Ottawa. (Canada.)

Writing in Canadian English - or Frech

Writing, reading and speaking in Ottawa, Canada is a muddle of French and English. Bonne luck…

Even though it’s situated in Ontario, just (a predominantly English-speaking province but with Québec just across the river), being the federal capital and therefore holier than thou, everything in Ottawa happens in both English and French.

All the same, Ottawa is surprisingly unstuffy. [Read more…]

Why I don’t mind writing that I’m going away

If you’re about to go off on a vacation/holiday, it makes a lot of sense not to say so on your social media as you don’t want to announce to the burglary community that your home will be empty and undefended for two weeks. Such is the advice given very widely by Police forces and other worthies.

How to deter burglars

Do mechanical and electronic security devices really work to deter burglars?

I was pondering this today as I get ready for my annual pilgrimage back home to Ontario, Canada, and had to smile at the thought of what some poor burglars would find if they tried to give my house a working over…

Four sets of very sharp canine teeth and a Taekwondo black belter

[Read more…]

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