A Begginner's Guide, by Hodgesaargh!

also known as Dave Hodges

As well as being Editor of the RealHHG, Dave Hodges has a second, perhaps less strange, career as a fictional character. Those of you who are familiar with the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett may have already encountered Hodgesaargh, the Royal Falconer of Lancre Castle, mentioned in "Lords and Ladies" and also in "Carpe Jugulum". The real-life Dave Hodges is based on this character, or the other way around, I'm not quite sure which...

Dave is also a falconer in real life, where he has quite a lot to do with an elderly and evil-tempered bird of prey called Lady Jane, who co-stars with him in the Discworld books. He distilled the essence of his bird-keeping wisdom into a suitably short book in pocket A6 format entitled "The Arts of Falconrie and Hawking, A Begginners Guide".

Photo of Orang-utan titled 'picture of Hodgesaargh! at first Discworld Convention'

In his foreword to the book, Terry Pratchett wrote:

"What can be said about David Hodges - man of many words, former driver of one of the country's few mobile greenhouses, and falconer? I am delighted he has unearthed this lore from the ancient mews. It must be ancient, because no-one today spells as badly as that."
Photo of Dave Hodges titled 'Picture of male Orang-utan in natural habitat' Not only very funny, and a Discworld collector's item in its own right, the book was also a very informative introduction to the world of falconry. From its "hystery" through to how to treat the inevitable injuries sustained by its practitioners, the book has all the information you need. Its final incarnation so far was the illustrated edition, which included unique original artwork by Paul Kidby and well-known fan artist Catskind. From the cover price of £4, £2 was donated to Terry Pratchett's favourite charity, The Orangutan Foundation, to help preserve the wild population of Orang-utans.

Photo of Dave passing a giant cheque to Terry Pratchett - or possibly Terry
  paying Dave a large sum to go away The book is now hard to find, but second-hand copies surface from time to time on eBay and Amazon. If you go to a convention, Discworld play or other event, you may possibly be cornered by the now legendary Hodgesaargh! and forcibly sold a copy of the book. We currently know of no other way of obtaining a copy but hope one day to publish a new edition.


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