Huge thank you to Spetchley Park for its recent multi-period history event. Myself and Mr Frocksandbikes attended as part of the Napoleonic Camp and display. Here’s a letter home…
My dear sister,
An excellent few days in the town of Worcester at the invitation of the local authorities (http://m5show.co.uk/home). Mr F-‘s regiment, the Prussian Landwehr, fresh from their triumphant Waterloo action, were there in some force. We were joined by a number of deliciously attired regiments from across the British and Allied armies, including the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd/95th. I was quite beside myself to see them quartered so closely to our own not-immodest camp!
There were, of course, a number of tedious and barbaric French in attendance, representing the forces of that devil, Napoleon. However, I must confess, the French soldiery and peasantry which I encountered were uniformly polite and respectful to a lady of my rank and quality. Perhaps when this terrible business is over, we shall all be friends! I jest, of course, as there is no circumstance in which the French will be tolerable.
However, I am progressing too quickly through my narrative, I must return to the beginning and set out the events as they befell.
Mr F- was determined that we should miss the busy times on the roads from London, despite my protestations that these roads are always thronged with travellers, and we had better simply set out when it was a convenience to us. Inevitably, within minutes of embarkation, our carriage was enmeshed in the most tedious crush of similar conveyances. For fully three hours, we travelled the road around London at the pace of Mrs P-‘s arthritic dog. Mr F- was beside himself, sighing and point out the idiocies of other drivers, while I spent the time in idle contemplation of the fashions of those in the conveyances nearest to us. Once we left the London road, our speed increased substantially, and we were able to complete the journey to Worcester by 8 o’clock.
Having established ourselves at the house which we let from a reputable local tradesman, we set out into Worcester for dinner. In pursuit of a ‘Nandos of cheek’, we settled on a local inn, providing excellent if overpriced fare. Mr F-, after his five hours of exertion on the road, loudly proclaimed his intention of drinking whatever was ‘on tap’ until the establishment refused him further service. Fortunately, three pints and a steak later, he was too satiated to make good on his threat. I satisfied myself with a single draught of carbonated beverage. We returned, replete, to our quarters, and crawled into bed. This was necessitated by the fact that the sleeping portion of the apartment was secreted in the roof space, necessitating a crouching position in order to access the bed. How we laughed when Mr F- caught his brow on the approach! I thought I should never cease my mirth!
Fortunately, I had not omitted to prepare my hair appropriately for the day’s events on the previous evening. It therefore only remained to remove the rags and utilise all the most modern of hair dressings, including four different types of hairspray, in order to secure my style for a day in a windy field. I wore my red riding habit over the most becoming high necked chemisette, together with a black riding hat. Mr F- naturally wore his uniform, which is quite smart initially, but soon becomes less so as he festoons himself with all the necessary accoutrements and bedazzlements of a common soldier.