Today is the day. I can’t believe it. I conceived this plan almost five years ago. I started calling B&Bs three years ago, asking if they were taking reservations yet. They were all polite, but thought I was nuts. When a call went out for help in renovating Chateau Hougoumont, the farmhouse that was the lynchpin of Wellington’s defenses, I did my bit(although they didn’t invite me to the reopening. Harrumph). And then I contacted my friend Sally Hawkes to see if she wanted to come along, since she’s the one responsible for getting me interested in the era in the first place. Not that I hadn’t had an interest. Long before Sally convinced me to read my first Veryan or Heyer, I had been reading Bernard Cornwell, Forster and Alexander Kent, who all did military series based on the period (actually not as odd as it sounds. I grew up with 5 brothers. When I say I didn’t know who Shirley Temple was until she was a delegate to the UN, but I know every movie John Wayne died in, I’m not kidding). But Sally helped me add tiaras, white gloves and barouches to the red jackets and shakoes.
I planned the rest of this extended trip around the fact that from the 18th to the 21st, Belgium was to honor the people who changed the world 200 years ago. Sally and I would traipse along behind a general as he explained positions and strategy and consequence. We would meet reenactors in their encampments and take our reserved seats as 100 cannons, 300 horses and 5000 reenactors recreate the greatest battle of the 19th century. And it begins today. (okay, actually it began last Saturday at the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball. But that’s a different story. We only found out about the ball some two months ago and really had to scramble to be ready. I feel as if I’ve been ready for the battle for 5 years)
On one hand, I’m so excited I can’t stand it. On the other, I’m already sad, because it means that the thing I’ve planned for and anticipated and worried over for 5 years is too soon going to be over(it’s one of the downsides of being a trauma nurse. We know that everything ends, and prepare for that as much as the enjoyment of the thing itself). I have no idea what the next few days will hold, except for what has been advertised. I’ve already spent time with the Duke of Wellington(sort of). I’ve chatted with modern day pipers and been saluted to by men in Guards’ red. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
And when I do, I’ll share it with you. Now, I have a train to catch.