Writer Sees Squirrels…and Sabers

Posted: December 2nd, 2023 under Life beyond writing, Research.
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I’ve often enjoyed a blog tittled “Scientist Sees Sq1irrels” by Stephen Heard, a Canadian scientist who has just retired from his university faculty position.  Always interesting essays, sometimes about science, sometimes about other things.  So I’m half-stealing his title for this post, because I, too, “see squirrels” in the sense that I’m easily distracted by new topics, new data, something I never heard of or thought about before.   My mother the engineer, who could multi-track like nobody’s business, did not like my doing that.   Obviously, giving the length of books & book groups I’ve written, I can stick to a project for years at a time.   But in the fine detail of those months and years, I will also spend time nosing out  things new to me, *some* of which may show up in the current project.

The saber continues to fascinate and challenge me.  Yes, I’m getting slowly (annoyingly slowly) stronger and better.  This week I started working with it twice a day, not just once a day.  Exercises that would be boring if I had some other exercise object in my hand, but with a saber…the mindset is different.   I want to have a name for it, but did people ever name their saber?  Oh.  Wait.  It just named itself.  Joyeux.   That fits perfectly.


  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — December 3, 2023 @ 6:30 am


    Not a squirrel – you are just doing deep research for your stories. And of course we are just waiting for you to start erecting a line of posts to put straw heads on. And also of course we are patient – you do need a life outside of writing. Enjoy Joyeux.

  • Comment by Patricia Lanigan — December 9, 2023 @ 4:33 pm


    More power to you for all that sabre work – or, as they used to say in Nigeria, more grease to your elbow! Are you planning to take the sabre with you when next you you go for a ride on Rags?

    Never having ridden a horse, I’ve no idea what kind of saddle you use. I’ve watched YouTube blogs ‘Modern History’, where Jason Kingsley talks about his re-enactments of medieval jousting with lances, and shows his work with his horses, and his saddles, equipment and armour, which are of course very different from what your Clarts Company would use. I’ve started looking up cavalry saddles, but can’t really get my imagination working round the kind needed when galloping at an enemy and slashing at them one after another.

    I hope you’ll squeeze in a bit about the care and feeding of their horses in Horngard II – the logistics of maintaining cavalry troops must have been hugely demanding.

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