On Friday we are setting off for a five day holiday in Belgium, spending four nights on the battlefield of Waterloo. I am ridiculously excited at the prospect. As a teenager my family lived only a few miles away and I visited often with my Dad, - thirteen times, or so he tells me. He gave me my first Napoleonic history, David Howarth's Near Run Thing, which is still one of my favourite Waterloo accounts. But I haven't been back since 1975 and I am looking forward to seeing all the changes. My wife Caroline arranged the break and is gamely preparing for it. We recently watched Waterloo the movie together (in three instalments) and she is reading Georgette Heyer's An Infamous Army. I am so touched by her readiness to embrace the battlefield tour experience! I will try not to abuse her goodwill as who knows what further tours might follow?
We are going with our good friends Keith and Fran. He is as dedicated a gamer as I am and Fran is as unmoved by military history as Caroline is. It may be tempting to suggest we split into boys and girls' parties but I know that would be a bad call. The better approach will be to take the history in small slices, with a lot of good food and at least a few non-Napoleonic diversions.