Fox News

We sent a JPEG Christmas card to friends around the world over the weekend, prior to posting it here. We hope you like it – and would like to comment.  Scroll down after the image to see some of the reactions we’ve received so far! 


No way to prove it but my father did ride with the English on at least one hunt and the gentleman in the grey riding habit has the stature that resembles my father. – M.L, Montreal

 Iraq was not the only unlikely venue for foxhunting. There was one here: it went under the name of the Ramle Hunt and, as far as I remember, was active between the wars. There are foxes here, but, as in Iraq, jackals were the usual quarry. – R.A, Jerusalem

My father served in Mesopotamia between the wars and in those British Colonial days it was always referred to as Messpot.  – J.V, London

Priceless. You’d never believe it’s Iraq!­ – S.E, Brussels

I am enjoying reading your book. Many similar memories. Cheerio!! (as we used to toast in Northern Iraq!!, probably another British “alcoholic” influence). ­–Y.S, Los Angeles

This raises all sorts of questions, such as how did the indigenous population react to being treated like an extension of  British Indian rule? – G.K, London

What an amazing Christmas card – absolutely the best I’ve received. – N.D, London

Ek sao das means one hundred and ten.  Ek is one, sao is hundred, das is ten.  I still remember some of the Hindustani I used while living in Calcutta.

The British seem to have mesmerized the people in their colonies and in mandated Iraq to emulate their “pukka Sahib” ways. – D.M, Toronto

Sorry, I wrote “ex sao das” and stand corrected. By ‘ek! – Tony

About Tally Ho!

Pam in Montreal has just written to say: “I think (until someone tells me better) that Tally Ho is straight from the Arabic (come this way, follow me), something Crusaders could have picked up?”

Nice one, Pam!  The mem-Sahib here has been trying that out with her Arabic (it sounds plausible:  ta’allee hon! ) but I can’t find anything to back it up on the net.  There’s a likelier possibility that it came from old French:

Two hundred years ago, according to a magazine of that date, the English fox-hunter’s cry was

” Tallio, Hoix, Hark, Forward,” which is a corruption of the French hunter’s call. Four hundred years ago the French hunter encouraged his dogs with the musical cry of “Thia-hilaud a qui forheur!” sometimes printed “Tya-hillaut a qui forheur!” (These huntsmen’s shouts are given in a quaint and rare old French book illustrated with the strange pictures of the day and entitled “La Venerie de Jacques du Fouilloux, a Paris 1573.”) From this the English manufactured “Tallio, hoix, hark, forward.” Later it has been abbreviated to simply “Tally-ho.”

I picked that up from

Wikipedia seems to agree.

Anyone any ideas?

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