Hart of the Midlands is the Personal/Professional brand for me, Mike Hartley.
A friend suggested that getting a personal identity would be a useful thing as I started to explore getting involved with the various Microsoft communities and headed off to events that were not related to my day-job.
This represents me as I am in my technical, unashamedly geeky, life: Passionate about exploring new technologies, all about working with others and helping out, and stepping out in a more determined manner on a journey of personal and professional development and growth.
It also gives me some flexibility if I ever decide that I want to set out on my own, and leave the “permanent” employment status behind for other career pathways.
A Hart is a medieval name for a Stag that, traditionally, has 10 or more points and is at least 6 years old. For a stag to become a Hart is a sign of maturity and vitality.
More often than not, if you see a stag being presented in all its majestic glory on TV or film then it will likely be a Hart.
The emblem of a White Hart was used as the personal badge for King Richard II, and there are many (many, many) pubs bearing the same name. There is also the legend of Herne the Hunter, around the Windsor area, who is depicted with the horns of a “Great Stag” (a newer name for the Hart) on his head.
I’ve always loved the majestic stags, from their appearances in the Narnia books and Arthurian legend to seeing them standing proud over beautiful landscapes. As an avid reader, the term “Hart” appeared in quite a few books that I read as a child – and it is also the first part of my surname… Hartley.
The second part of my surname “ley” means a meadow or pasture, and place of rest and calm (often spelled “lea” when used in this way, it has been used in literature with both spellings).
Combine them together and you get a mature, magnificent, stag in a place of rest and peace. Which always makes me think of Psalm 42:1 “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” (or, “As the Deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You, O God”)
The Midlands part is quite simple – Rugby is smack bang in the middle of the Midlands here in England which then makes the play on words “Hart of the Midlands” work rather nicely I think.