Tag Archives: waterloo

Over the hills and far away

The hat rack of delusions

The hat rack of delusions

Balling in the ballroom

Balling in the ballroom

It’s out of season for Middle Eastern excavation so I’m having to make my own fun. I’m about to buy Sharpe’s Trafalgar in the Kindle store which, I have high hopes, will bring together many of my life’s dirty little pleasures – heroic men in well-fitting uniforms, slightly shoddy literature and Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. This will be the seventh Sharpe novel I’ve read this week in an attempt to stave off the ravages of the real world. I’ve decided that the tawdry and emasculated land of now is not for me and I’m going to form square and repel reality with as many volleys as it takes (aim for the horses lads).

The pre-ball frisbee

Traditional pre-ball frisbee

I solve the croquet/dress problem by tucking my petticoats into my stockings

I solve the croquet/dress problem by tucking my petticoats into my stockings

It’s been nearly two weeks since the end of the week-long house party my sister and me organised for the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, which isn’t even the stupidest thing we’ve ever done. The problem has been the existential hangover, in which I’m struggling to come to terms with hard truths, such as no longer being able to drink my claret on the croquet lawn or ask one of the officers to row me around the boating lake. Why don’t I have a ballroom to hold my balls in? I can’t fit a full sized snooker table into any of the rooms in my parents’ three bedroom semi, and the neighbours stare at me through the front windows when I wear Napoleon’s hat (they’re doing it right now). I think one of them was looking at me from behind their curtains when I was practicing my musket drill in the back garden last night (how else am I going to get up to three rounds a minute?)

The post-ball gambling

I triumph in the post-ball all-night poker

I’m also frustrated that I can no longer resolve simple disagreements by shooting the other person in the head at dawn. I’ve tried demanding satisfaction, but the man who poured me the wrong sort of beer in the pub last week entirely misunderstood me. In the meantime, I can feel my precarious grasp of time, place and appropriate clothing fading away like the paintball bruises on my thighs and abdomen. Why cannot life be always cake and dancing? At least I can still drink all day.

The undeniable pleasure of killing one's enemy with a shot to the heart on the first ball

The undeniable pleasure of killing one’s enemy with a shot to the heart on the first ball

Dawn duelling

Dawn duelling: death in pajamas

Really I should be working – I haven’t been paid since January and I’ve got a monstrous pile of desk work lined up for the summer, but it’s difficult to balance it with the demands of being mental and reading 1.5 Bernard Cornwell novels a day. I’m trying to resist the urge to buy another sword.

I effectively went on holiday to 1815 and refused to come home. Sorry, I am currently out of the office; I have gone to my happy place to fight the French.

Does anyone know how to get port out of a silk dress?

Waterloo dinner, drinking a health to the duke

Waterloo dinner, drinking a health to the duke and confusion to Bonaparte

Look out! There are Llamas

Luckily, I'd already made a naval captain's uniform during a previous bout of insanity. I think I shall use it on the boating lake

Luckily, I’d already made a naval captain’s uniform during a previous bout of insanity. I think I shall use it on the boating lake

The summer is cantering by and I’m finding ingenious new ways to waste my life. About five years ago it seemed like a really good idea to start organising an enormous Regency party for the 200th Anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. This is now happening tomorrow (for a whole week). I’ve spent the bulk of the last three weeks sewing ball dresses, making Napoleon’s hat, learning how to bake calves tongues and how to play Lillibulero on the recorder. My parents have reached new levels of despair as I’ve filled their home with bonnets and mined all the rugs with lost pins. I also almost shot the cat testing the paintball guns I bought for duelling. Thanks mum and dad for housing and feeding me.

My only concession towards productive (or at least profitable) activity is the two days of work I picked up from Museum of London Archaeology, for which I was forced to find my steel toe-capped boots in the garage and scoop the dead spiders out with a spoon. The job consisted of watching a digger make some holes in some hedges on the other side of Crewe.

Llama drama

Llama drama

A major inconvenience of this was that the hedges were keeping a wide range of animals in order, and a great deal of energy was expended in herding cows, ducks, donkeys, horses and angry llamas with the help of the farmer’s grandson and a Landrover. The actual archaeology was rubbish, or more accurately not there, as all I found was a lot of clay and rotten fence posts and a farmer with some moderately xenophobic views about Polish people. The rather idyllic corner of rural Cheshire was merrily signed over to the property developers so they could cover it in marginally habitable brick boxes to be bought by old rich people as buy-to-let investments. I wonder how long it’ll take the Museum of London to pay me.

The big yellow trowel

The big yellow trowel making a mess of south cheshire

Sorry this is a short one, I have to pack my Georgian naval uniform and go buy a lot of port.

If you don’t get the title here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbwkkXGmFrI