Over the Hills and Far Away


Chosen Men! To Me!,

Every winter break, I travel over the hills and far away. Well, not literally. It has been a long running tradition going back to when I left the fire service and began to teach for my day job as opposed to my side gig that whenever Christmas Break arrives, I have a Sharpe’s Rifles marathon. I watch all of the movies, up through Sharpe’s Peril, the final in the series. Yes, I’ve seen them a billion times and I’ve read most of the books too, but they never get old, even as I quote the movies along with the actors.

The Napoleonic Era is of interest to me, mostly since one of my ancestors (5th great grandfather) served in the Connaught Rangers in the Peninsular Wars, seeing action at Ciudad Rodgrigo, Salamanca, Talavera, Fuentes D’Oro, and, of course, he stormed the ramparts of Badajoz. So with much of the Sharpe stories taking place in Spain during this time, I guess I was predisposed to like them. Bugles, battles, explosions, evil villains, and pretty ladies. What’s not to like!

But you know you’ve watched too much when you divide your bosses at work into two types: killing bosses and murdering bosses, you get written up by one such boss for continually referring to your female co-workers as “lass”, or whenever you see a person on horseback, you immediately yell “Form Squares!”. Other than the action in the movies, I think part of the appeal is the cast of characters.


Lady Jane Farthingdale….oh be still my beating heart! All I can say is, “My compliments, ma’am.” (Watch Sharpe’s Enemy for that reference).


There has never been a villain as evil as Sergeant Obediah Hakeswell. Says so in the scriptures!


Ah, yes. Sergeant Patrick Harper. Full of wit and always with a story to tell. God Save Ireland! LOUDER!


And has there ever been a scheming little hussy like Jane Sharpe? Seriously, Richard, what were you thinking with her?

Once upon a time, the movies were all available on the YouTube, but I think that is no longer the case. I do own a complete collection on DVD, but they are also available via the Amazon Fire Stick or Amazon TV if you subscribe to Britbox. Normally, I wait to begin my marathon until I get home from entering my last final exam and posting my last classes grades, however, given how positively brutal this semester has been (physically), I decided to start watching on Friday after my last lecture day of the semester. I’ll watch one movie every night through Thursday of this week, when the semester officially ends. After that, I’ll watch one in the afternoon and one at night until the series is finished.


And remember:

“All you’ve got to do is stand and fire three rounds a minute. Now, you and I know you can fire three rounds a minute. But can you stand?”



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