08 December 2009


Every year on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington would hold a banquet at Apsley House.

For the first few years the meal was in the 'small' dining room and it was limited to thirty-five or so officers who had actually commanded at the battle. In later years the Duke built the Waterloo Gallery and the guest list became slightly less exclusive and as many as a hundred of the great and good might be invited, the dinner attracting great crowds to the pavement, eager for a glimpse of the great and good - a bit like the big brother house.

Here's a painting of the sumptuous 1836 event

Wellington was son of the Earl of Mornington and brother of the Governor General of India. He was nothing if not an establishment figure and his annual dinner was a triumph of the values of tradition privilege and patronage

Even while Wellington was fighting the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812 the Grande Armee was marching on Moscow in the ill fated Russian campaign. The French army, composed of conscripts, peasants, foreigners lived through the most unimaginable conditions. Men froze in their boots standing in the cold, cut meat from their horses and stole clothes from their prisoners' backs. Only 50,000 men came home from Russia and Sergeant Bourgorgne recounted in his memoirs that whenever veterans met, years after, their talk always turned to Moscow, and Borodino, and the crossing of the Berezina.

French veterans were not recognised until 1857; they did not have banquets in Apsley house.

Which type of reunion would you be proudest to attend?


M4GD said...

Your Side Bar:
- Ahhh..it was soooo lovely watching the Hermès clip!!! I confess to be Hermès scarves addict. It is a one tiny material thing that I do enjoy for the uniqueness, finesse, art, and color of each scarf.

- Reformist Manifesto: Liked your comment. I was not impressed with the Epicurean proposed solutions. They seemed unrealistic. I think you should start your own blog on this matter.

- Married Happily with issues: Wow, wow, and another wow - what an article!! I was extremely exhausted after reading it. Good luck for all in finding what works. It's very hard to carve a manifesto for this one. EACH TO THEIR OWN. BTW one of the books mentioned is excellent. I read Cristina Nehring’s ‘A Vindication of Love” cover to cover and I LOVED it. It’s very witty. While it’s written from a modern perspective it pulls in a lot of well researched history and poetry.

Your Today’s main course:

I love the reunions when they matter. When they warm your heart through laughter, common interests, and yes why not food too! I love them when they mean something real. When you want to be and look forward to being there because you share a sincere appreciation for life and a bond that can not be broken due to time or distance. I avoid the reunions that are there just ‘in name only’ for showing off and conforming as they are very 'harmful' for the soul.

Ever seen the Japanese Movie ‘Mādadayo’ (‘Not Yet’ in English)? It highlights this form of loyal real reunions over the years through thick and thin!

M4GD said...

Have you tried the google-goggles before? It looks very interesting. See link below. Please test the label of your next bottle of wine and tell us:-)


M4GD said...

Oookay...I assure your readers that I'm not competing in the GI TDMFC (i.e. Green Ideas Today's Most Frequent Commenter!) I just thought you'll enjoy the article below: :-)

Lobbying Against Reform
The K Street crowd has a vested interest in avoiding change.
By Thomas Cooley