today i'm going to hand you over to Rich who will tell you all about his recent trip to Waterloo...
It's official. I am in the dog house! Lord Nash is sulking at all of the nerd herd and not talking to us any more. So I thought I had better step up. Unfortunately the saga battle I took part in is now a distant memory and I lost my notes, so I can either come up with some old blag about a vague recollection of a game I had or, I can tell you all about something far more interesting which was a recent trip I took part in to Belgium with my old man to tour the Waterloo battlefields.
So here goes, back in mid June my farther and I boarded a coach to Brussels with ledger tours . We had been to Normandy a few years before to visit the beaches where my grandfather landed to fight and drive his way to Berlin and having enjoyed it immensely we decided another trip was in order.
The visit was during the recent Euro 2016 tournament meaning that the French felt the need to delay us by three hours going out because let's be honest they can't be arsed to do any hard work when the number of travellers increases. However in best British stiff upper lip fashion we didn't let froggy ruin the fun and set sail for France. This was the first opportunity amongst many that my father found to sample a Belgian beer (his favourite tipple as you will see).
We arrived later that day at the hotel and after several more Belgian beers and me going to bed an hour before the old git (he is 71!) we fell asleep. The actual reason I went to bed early was to blag the double bed but don't tell my dad that.
The next day we visited the main visitor centre at St. John's mount. (The big hill with the lion on the top) and had a good look around. The visitor centre has had a huge amount of investment recently for the bi centennial celebration of 2015 and I have to say it was a very interesting look. The 3D cinema was fabulous and put us all in the middle of the events of the battle.
After the museum we decided to walk up the lion mount. This is no mean feat and I am pleased to say that despite having a knee that isn't to keen on bending and a foot which is pretty useless the old man reached the top ship shape and in Bristol fashion. I however had a minor stroke and suspected heart attack . None the less the top was reached and the view of the battlefields was spectacular. I have to say you really get a sense of how small the battlefield was and it brings home what a terrifying experience it must have been.
From there we walked with our guide to Hougoumount carrying out a few troop manoeuvres along the way. Hougoumount has also had a huge investment (by the British tax payer) and looks amazing. Once again the facilities and displays are first class. Jolly good show the British.
After a few more tours to various parts of the battlefield it was back to the hotel where my father once again made me look like a lightweight even though I had been preparing myself all day by only drinking water (he had two 9% beers just with lunch!)
I can honestly say I nearly wet myself trying to find the hotel room and when I got there the bastard had stole back the double bed! Damn his eyes !!
So day two commenced, somewhat hazily we set off for Quatre bras. This was very interesting as I didn't know so much about the events leading up to the main battle.
The shame of it all was the condition of Quatre bras farm. The locals i.e the French speaking Belgians seem to want to forget the battle for some reason and the farm owner has left the buildings to fall into utter decay. This wasn't the first time we got the impression the locals thought history was best left alone! I wonder why? Oh yes they lost that's it. Although as you will see I'm not sure they fully accept that.
The afternoon (two more strong beers with lunch for Papa later) we had a lovely battlefield walk around Popolette (the allied left flank) and to Le Haye Saint. We also visited Napoleons head quarters and as you can see Napoleon was still there! And Wellingtons head quarters where in the visitor shop you could buy everything to do with Napoleon and nothing to do with Wellington! (No one likes a bad loser)
The evening was the main event the re enactment of the assault at Hougoumount this consisted of three French men dressed as English marines ?? And about a hundred French cavalry, cannon and infantry attacking. Not surprisingly the English lost hmmmm a history lesson for our French cousins me thinks. Despite the outcome of the battle the noise and fighting gave a good feel of what things must have been like on the day. Finally the crys of Vive la France went up from the actors to mighty cheers from the crowd and a return chorus of the French slogan. Followed by one small cry from deep within the crowd of “God save the queen!” Gotta love the old chap!!!
And so narrowly escaping from French and Belgian stares and tuts with our lives we boarded the coach and retreated to the hotel for more of the local brew.
Was a damn good weekend although I have to say the locals didn't do their best to welcome the lovely band of wandering English visitors and you are left with the overwhelming impression the British lost. But none the less a very enjoyable trip.
So with that and in the hope I am now back in the fold with our Lord commander I bid you all adieux.