After many trips to the loo; firstly to try and reconstitute my rapidly dehydrating quaking flesh and secondly to empty my bladder full of Belgian water, the pale morning light penetrated the bland window coverings of the magnificent Hotel Nivelles. It was time to try my luck with a bit of frisky with Annette!
Alas, despite my ultra sexy appearance of; raw sleep lacking eyes, sweaty stubble and tempting vomit flavoured breath, my love was still able to resist my advances. Probably worried Adam might come in looking for his breakfast I expect!
Anyway, one shower and shave latter I began to feel more alive and looking forward to todays adventure. Why even the strong smell of freshly smoked Cuban cigars was leaving our non-smoking room. You could still see the rings on the table where the ashtrays had been but remember we were in Belgium!
So I finished of Adam's bowl of soggy Cornflakes that he wanted so bad we had to search the supermarket for a bowl and spoon and we all went off across the ring road of doom doing the lemming dash to the shopping complex where Andrew had took a shine to one particular cafe bar. No - this time your wrong. There was no big buxom blond serving wench for him to fall in love with but merely hot wholesome food, good beer and a friendly Belgian waiter. (Is this an Oxymoron?)
One quick dash back across the dual carriageway and we were ready to go. I had found a pear tree and an apple tree so I scrumped my breakfast. Did not fancy of that Johnny foreigner stuff. The horror of the 'Grande American' was still too fresh.
Gaily driving Annette mad with our loud tuneless rendition of Adam's "Waterloo" we set of for the twenty minute hop up the road to Waterloo. It probably seamed more like twenty days to Annette.
First stop was "Maison de Wellington". The pub he had set up headquarters in was now the only museum in the area that considered the fact we kicked the Frogs asses to be of any significance. It was all we could have expected with loads of good stuff and a scruffy looking wretch of student type selling souvenirs and booklets. Note: all Wargamers must buy - the Battle Map of Waterloo (reproduced more time than a sex mad white rat in a laboratory rat whore house). Real good detail and gives a feal of the place.
Waterloo itself looked as though not much had changed since the Duke was last there, especially non of the curtains. If it were a western set then you would have a pretty good idea of the main town - one street but with largely brick built buildings rather than wooden saloons and barns. Very picturesque a guide book might say. Worth a look I say.
So having met up with Annette in a suitable cafe for a nice cool beer (Andrew did the mineral water/coke stuff - driving) and a snack, we did a touch of tricky manouvering to find our way back from the side street car park that looked like the OK corale, back out onto the main drag for our next port of call, Lions Mound.
Being a complete ignoramous, I had not heard of the Lions Mound, but Andrew had all the knowledge and we had our guide map to inform us that it was a mound built over the fallen allied troops on the very spot were the Prince of Orange was wounded. So there! Basically it was ahuge earth pyramid with steps up the one side facing down over the battlefield with a great big stone lion monument at the top.
We pulled into the car park and went of in search of a water loo(do puns get any worse?) in the nearest bar only to be intercepted en route by a sweaty Belgian barman who took offence at us needing a piss before we had any more beer. So we departed his establishment wondering if we were still in the same country that provided such hospitality at Varlet Farm and where the change over to hostility began.
Anyway, there was no shortage of ale establishments so we selected another, got comfortable and refreshed with cool beers before our attempt on the mound. It was of course scorching hot. While poor old Prague was in the midst of continuos rains we were in a heat wave that I could only remember from my distant past. Probably not the best time to climb that big limp of dirt but "...mad dogs and Englishmen..."
Annette took one look at it and said "I'll wait in the bar" Probably the most sensible words spoken on this day. Like crazy fools me, Adam and Andrew started off up the steps tempted by scanty clad ladies at various stages of the climb. Adam kept on racing ahead Hare like as I plodded on Tortoise like with grim determination. Then he would stop gasping for breath at the next level until I caught him up and off he'd go again saying he was not going to let me beat him to the top.
The next few minutes(may have been hours) were once more bleary in my memory. Somehow I made it to the top of this great man made Everest in one piece and leaning heavily on the support rails glanced out over the fields of Waterloo. It was a great view of the whole battlefield and surrounding area and it was a big disappointment. All the text books speak of the '..gentle yet deceptive slope of the ground..' but, all I could see was flat fields. I came to the conclusion years of continuos ploughing(for it was still farmlands) had swept what bit of a ridge there had been away.
And so we rested and picked out the landmarks at the top sipping a warm coke between us (the rest had to be jettisoned in order to gain the required height during the climb!). Despite my disappointment I was still determined to go and walk the fields hoping to find a musket ball at least or perhaps a dead French general or two. Thus began our decent onto the fields of Waterloo.
Stay tuned for Waterloo part 2 - On to Huguenot.