So there we were, gazing across the flat fields that once was the richest source of false teeth in the century.
It was time to descend and walk the fields of corn stubble and hopefully find an old musket ball or at least a dead French general or two. There must surely be some bits left. I think I was a bit over optimistic on this point but it may have been different if we had a metal detector.
Nevertheless I was determined to kick up dirt and dust in the hope that something might turn up. It was not to be though and i had to content myself with an ear or corn from one of the fields. Still it turned out nice again! It was quite clear once we were down at ground level that the text books were indeed correct, there were slopes and dead ground. The effect was quite amazing after how flat it all looked and i regained all my enthusiasm for the battlefield walk.
Andrew was quite girlie at first, sticking to the road, but before long he was ploughing across the fields with me trying to uncover a musket ball or two. Even Adam couldn't find a musket ball here but it did not matter. We walked down the road towards the small wooded area that would have been to the right of Wellingtons line of battle. It was the road that lead to Huguenot farm which we had seen quite clearly from the mound and it looked completely unchanged. Well of course they had shifted the dead bodies.
The sun was still scorching and we were getting dusty from kicking for souvenirs but it was exciting!!! As we turned the corner to approach the old farm yard proper there was an almighty bang and we found some decrepit looking Belgian peasant sitting under an old tree shooting at crows. We kept to the path past this mean looking bugger.
Approaching the farm was like stepping back in time. There was a memorial plaque outside the main entrance and some wise historian had amended it because they had omitted off his favourite regiment from the defending force. I was surprised how high the walls and gates were, loooks a lot smaller in 15mm scale! It certainly looked easy enough to defend with the high walled courtyard and adjoining outbuildings. I can now understand how it was held against such great odds. There were still places, particularly on the eastern side where you could see the pock marks from ball and shot.
Best thing was, as we passed the southern wall I noticed that part of the side had collapsed and i was able to collect a better souvenir - two small pieces of the wall to go with my growing 'been there museum' collection. I now had a bit of Prinz Albrecht Strasse, Waterloo corn and Huguenot farm. There was no way i would go back without a bit of the Dunkirk beach either.
We then cut back up to the midle part of the battlefield approaching the British lines(well technically allied I supose) and again it was clear that the land sloped all over the show. Adam was growing a bit weary by now so we took him back to Annette and had another drink before continuing over to the Belle Alliance and completing the battle walk. It was quite a trek on the whole, would not have been much fun on fresh mud with a full battle pack and some sod trying to kill you.
Our tickets included the historic panoramic display of the battle in some tatty Belgian barn loft. so we went to have a look at what all the fuss was about but, it wasn't too good. Still I suppose they built it not long after the battle and there were a good deal of model soldiers there (out of reach unfortunately). On the whole i think I was a bit harsh, it looked quite effective and as a circular display you could in theory, follow the course of the battle round the building.
You were not allowed to take photos, so of course we all did. I don't know if any of them came out though. I think some of our films are still awaiting development. Andrew I'm sure must have some crackers if he did not take them to the destroyer of the check point Charlie film!
Yet more drink and then it was a quick trip over to Ligny and the Prussian memorial before returning along our main route to visit the 'Nappy' museum. The Ligny site was hard to spot. We drove past it on the first approach. It was a small memorial about eight feet above the road with no dedicated car park. Annette could not have cared less by now about Prussian memorials, but we gallant three scrambled up the steps to see the overgrown monument and pay our respects to Bluchers boys.
We parked up with about 40 minutes before they clossed shop at the Nappy HQ and there was just enough light to capture a picture of Napoleon in my baseball cap. looked better on him than on me. The reverence for Napoleon was still apparent in the museum and it was worthy of a look round but, I still preferred the Wellington house.
From there it was back to the motel from hell for a hot shower a brush up before our planned evening meal at the safely spotted 'Quick' over the carriageway of doom. It would be a meal free of 'Grande Americans' as like in MacDonalds all their meals had little picturtes so you could see what you were getting.
Eine keine pause(now a little break) There's more to come good people.