Before We Begin


Blac” means “pale” in Old English. This can be interpreted as the opposite of its current Modern English meaning. It also makes total sense: colourless. “Rīdere”: “mounted warrior”, “rider”, “knight”, from Middle German, or possibly Old Dutch. Irish and Welsh have similar words. It also means “smile” or “laughter” in Latin.

Blac rīdere. A pale rider, or a dark knight. And perhaps a grinning or laughing one?

Old English is, without a doubt, English. But it’s also German, and Latin, and French. It’s as English as Europe, as European as England. Language is defined by its usage. Is place? Is a person?

Up to a point. We are tribal creatures, with a desperate unforgiving urge to define ourselves, so that we may claim to belong to a tribe.

My tribe wears helmets and armour. We ride astride iron horses. We travel near, and when we are fortunate and the opportunity presents itself, we travel further.

One sees the world very differently from a motorbike.


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