Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Battle of Waterloo. Again!

I went to the re-enactment the The Battle of Waterloo last week. It takes place in June every year on the historical battlefield just a few kilometers from Brussels in the Belgian province of Wallonia and has a cast of over 600 actors watched by thousands.
Napoleon before it all went wrong (c) Andy Mossack
Much of this historical landmark has been preserved exactly as it was after the battle in June 1815. Napoleon and Wellington's headquarters and the battlefield itself (although the giant Lion's Mount erected a few years after by the Dutch King William to mark the spot where his son the Prince of Orange was wounded in the battle used some of the earth from it - significantly altering the sunken ridge which was Wellington's master stroke).
Me and my buddy the Napster. (c) Andy Mossack
I had the honour of a personal audience with Napoleon on the eve of the "battle" joining him with his elite battalion bivouacked at his HQ. Joesphine was there, with her maidens all looking suitably splendid, sipping tea from elegantly crafted teapots, and his generals were milling around him their boots shined and swords sharpened.
A squad of Wellington's finest (c) Andy Mossack
It was towards this somewhat fearsome gathering that I, a lonesome Englishman, approached and, after being ushered into Napoleon's tent, at the very heart of the enemy lines stood in front of the Emperor and asked him in flawless French "Do you speak English?"  Perhaps not my finest journalistic moment.
He looked at me as though he had just trodden in something soft and smelly, curled his lip in total disdain, spat out "Merde" and turned on his heel and marched out.

Not the best opening to an interview. Perhaps I should have wished him luck first.