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On 27th of December my fiance and I flew to Russia for New Year. Let me tell you people, I don't know how it is for others, but in my case having an ex-military fiance who still has atavistic/irrational fears of KGB is pretty hilarious. As we were landing I mimed attaching electrodes to him and made "Bzzzt" sounds. It was childish. I loled a lot.

Read more... )
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Memoranda made by a soldier marching from Lisbon to rejoin his regiment:

 

Two leagues from Lisbon on the right, at the Casa de Pasto.                               Good vino


Half a league beyond on the left.                                                                                  Strong akadent.1


At Rio-Maior, at the end of town, on the left, a small house.                                   Right strong vino


At Leiria, a shop going up to Bishop's palace, on the right.                                    Good akadent


Two leagues beyond Pombal on the left                                                                     Horrid rot-gut stuff


Half a league further, white house (without a bush)                                                 Right good stuff


On entering Coimbra, on the right.                                                                              Good cheap vino




1i.e. aguardente, strong spirits


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Joaquin Blake was an Irishman who fought for the Spanish against Napoleon – and delivered a rare victory against the French.

Article by Andrew Bamford from “Military Illustrated”.

 

Son of the Wild Geese.

 

Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, expatriate Irish soldiers fought with distinction in the Catholic armies of Europe. After the collapse of the final Jacobite rising of 1745, the trickle of rank-and-file volunteers largely dried up, but many Irish gentry families had by now established themselves in exile, giving good service as officers and assimilating themselves into the societies of their new homes. Whilst the Irish heritage of these sons of the Wild Geese led to some ludicrous names and dubiously-assumed pretensions to nobility (such as Austria’s Johans-Sigismund Maguire von Inniskillin), they rewarded the states that had adopted them with loyal and honest service.

This was nowhere more true than in Spain, where, upon the outbreak of the Peninsular War in 1808, only a handful of officers of Irish descent sided with the French, as opposed to scores of high-ranking Spanish traitors. The most distinguished of the Hispano-Irish who stayed loyal to Spain was Joaquin Blake, one of the very few Spanish generals to ever defeat the French in battle during the final six years of the conflict.



Napoleon’s Coup.

 

Read more... )
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The city library continues to surprise me. Pleasantly, I might add. Today I found (and borrowed) "The Dairy of a Cavalry Officer 1809-1815, Lt.-Col William Tompkinson" and "Wellington's Lieutenant, Napoleon's Gaoler: Peninsular letters and St. Helena diaries of Sir George Ridout Bingham". :D
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More descriptions of Wellington with emphasis on his clothing (yes, I am obsessed, can you blame me? Black leather leggins, damn it!) XD


1802, George Elers.

…Colonel Wellesley was just thrity-two, and I saw some gray hairs about his temples mixed with his fine crop of light-brown hair… He never wore powder, though it was at that time the regulation to do so. His hair was cropped close. I have heard him say he was convinced the wearing of hair powder was very prejudicial to health as impeding the perspiration, and he was doubtless right.
 … His dress consisted of a long coat, the uniform of the 33rd Regiment, a cocked hat, white pantaloons, Hessian boots and spurs, and a large sabre, the handle solid silver, and the mounting of the scabbard of the same metal, but all gilt.

1813

We know Lord Wellington at a great distance by his little flat cocked hat (not a fraction of an inch higher than the crown,) being set on his head completely at right angles with his person, and sitting very upright in his hussar saddle, which is simply covered with a plain blue shabrack. His lordship rides, to all appearance, devoid of sash, as, since he has been made a Spanish Field-Marshal, he wears on his white waistcoat, under his blue surtout coat, the red and gold knotted sash of that rank, out of compliment to our allies. From the same motive, he always wears the order of the Toison d’Or round his neck, and on his black cockade two others, very small, of the Portuguese and Spanish national colours. His lordship, within the last year, has taken to wearing a white neckerchief instead of our black regulation, and in bad weather a French private Dragoon’s cloak of the same colour.

William Maginn

Every day during the siege of San Sebastian  I saw him, unattended by his staff, riding by my window, in a narrow street of Renteria, on his way to the besieged fortress, accompanied by an old artillery or engineer officer, - I believe Sir. R. Fletcher, - and dressed in a plain grey frock, white cravat, and cocked hat - evidently intent on the matters of the siege…’

1814.
 
Major Harry Ross-Lewin

‘He had been reconnoitring the enemy, and, seating himself on the grass in his well-known short white cloak, he took out some paper, and began to write; but some drizzling rain that was then falling incommoded him. Another officer and I, perceiving the inconvenience he suffered, immediately procured an umbrella, which my companion fixed near him so as to shelter the paper, his lordship having thanked him for his attention.’

John Colborne.

I remember seeing Lord Wellington in a little white cloak, sitting on a stone, writing. Charles Beckwith, who was standing near me, said, “Do you see that old White Friar sitting there? I wonder how many men he is marking off to be sent into the next world.’


And now, for variety's sake, Russian soldier's march/song of the Napoleonic Wars, specifically 1812. I provided the translation into English.


 

Song & Translation )
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I think I suffer from a peculiar form of narcissism. I've created some OCs for BSSF (that's what I am calling it now, Big and Scary Sharpe Fic). Most of them are minor, props really for the whole story. But just now I finally started writing a scene that involves a major OC. I liked his character even before that, but now that I saw him in action, I think I'm in love with him! O_o *impersonates Hastings* Good Lord! XD It took one phrase! ONE DAMN LINE OF DIALOGUE and I love him to bits! He is a bit of a male Mary Sue (no more than Sharpe though, me thinks), but hell, that just makes him more perfect in my loving eyes. XD Also, he suddenly brought with himself so much slash potential into the fic, it's just scary. x _ x Really, really angsty torturous slash. ^_^;; I just fear this fic might devolve into pornographic sketches of this character. Ahahahaha. *drools quietly*
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Yes! I did it! I finally, FINALLY, got the plot line of my big and scary Sharpe fic straight. OH JOY! It's not even overly melodramatic. ^_^;; Though, of course, now I want to rewrite everything written so far, even though I already re-wrote a lot of it. >.<

In other news. I got propositioned by a guy with pink hair and now I am hoping desperately he is not gonna take me up on my promise to meet up and hang out which I made BEFORE the proposition. x _ x I think I've used up a month's worth of excuses last night already. I wish I could just tell him to go to hell, but I've known him for a while, and he is actually a pretty nice guy, and we do have some history... But that history is like 4 years old! AAAAARGH, time to forget it. >.< *hides in the closet*

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 This morning I went to have a look inside the St. Machar Cathedral. I ended up being away from home for almost 5 hours (and the Cathedral is 20 mins away from my house x _ x ), due to the fact that I went for a lengthy walk along River Don from the Seaton Park (on the outskirts of which stands the Cathedral) down to its delta at the seaside. O_o I guess something that happened to me in the Cathedral gave me energy for the whole thing.
 One of the people working it St. Machar's approached me offering helpe. He should not have. XD Him, another woman and me ended up browsing records of the Cathedral's cemetery, looking for anyone who fought in Napoleonic Wars. We found one, but we used index to search, using Waterloo and Trafalgar as keywords, so hopefully they'll let me have a proper read of the records when I go back there during a weekday.

 The man we found was General Lord James Hay, 2nd son of 7th Marquess of Tweeddale, (b.1788-d.1862). He fought in the battles of Copenhagen, Vimiero, Busaco, Fuentos d'Onoro, Vittoria, Nivelle, Nive and Waterloo. At Waterloo he was aide-de-camp to Liuetenant-General Sir Charles Colville (4th Division) and held the rank of Captain in 1st Foot Guards. In 1854 he was also appointed Colonel of 86th Regiment of Foot. He also received the War Medal with eight clasps. That is unfortunately the extent of information I managed to find out about him. However, his family history is rich in military 'heritage.'

 His older brother, George Hay, Earl of Gifford (and later 8th Marquess of Tweeddale), served throughout the Peninsular war as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington; in later life he became a Field-Marshal and also served as the Governor of Madras. His younger brother, Lord John Hay was a rear-admiral and one of the Lords of Admiralty. Another younger brother of his was a colonel. Many of his direct descendants saw military service. Among his ancestors was another General, Lord John Hay, who served under the Duke of Malborough and too was the second son of 2nd Marquess of Tweeddale.

 

The Walk picspam )
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I am officially in love with Captain Rennie, one of the two main characters of Peter Smalley's series. His first book 'HMS Expedient' kept me up well into the night (with a lot of giggling going on, especially when the first liuetenant looses the somewhat tipsy Captain) and the next day I went out and got all the books so far available in the series. The second book so far is good too. ^_^ And they get to go to the Caribbean! Yay!

Apparently, there is a 'relic' in my family, which I knew nothing of until a few days ago. My father's side of the family, or more specifically his mother's side, has a rare Bible that is at least 200 years old that has been passed down through generations, once the 'representative' of the next generation had, so to speak, found faith. The reason my dad told me about was because my grandmother has given to him precisely for that reason. It has piqued my curiosity greatly and I will insist on seeing it when I am back in Russia this month. :)

I have been yet again re-watching Poirot series and I find I become more and more addicted as I rewatch them. O_o A lovely quote from one of the episodes I rewatched today:

Poirot: "That is very funny Hastings. However, when you are grown up, you will find that food, it is not the subject suitable for the humour"


 

Napoleonic wars stuff (mostly to do with Wellington) ^_^ )


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OMFG, OMFG!!! When I bought a new issue of 'Classic Arms and Militia' I didn't even know what jewel waited for me between it's covers! An article about James Duff, 4th Earl of Fife!!! Yes, the one who became a Spanish General! OMG, I practically shrieked with delight! Most of the article was on the man's gun collection but there were a few biographical facts that I did not know and just have to share!

'He fought with distinction being severely wounded at Talavera, and becoming a hero at Fort Matagorda while saving the Spanish standard. Before returning home in 1813, his friend the Duke of Wellington presented him with a jeweled sword that he had taken from the defeated Tipu Sultan in India in 1799.'

'He was also appointed Grand Master of Masonic Lodge for Scotland.'

'He had been known occasionally to dress down while attempting to go unrecognised on his estate. On one occasion he spotted an old woman as she struggled, carrying a heavy sack on her shoulders. Taking it from her, James carried it to her croft. 'Sieve your oats well, lassie,' he cried on departing. The old woman took heed and discovered two gold coins within the sack.'


The magazine also has an article on New Land Pattern Light Infantry musket that was developed during the Napoleonic Wars and also saw service in the Canadian War in 1812.


On a totally different note. I was rewatching some old episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot and it struck me that in 'The Disapperance of Mr. Davenheim' Poirot is being particularly sarcastic. XD Here are a couple of quotes.

'Small animals have no place in the home life of a private detective from Belgium... except of course as a source of nourishment.'

Poirot : 'And please dont fraternize with that creature, I'm still training him'
Hastings: 'It's only a parrot.'
Poirot: 'I was talking to the parrot.'

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, a picspam of impressive proportions!


Food! )

Kirk of St. Nicholas.

Prettiness. ^_^ )
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My character from the forum RPG 'Show the Colours'  http://showthecolours.forumakers.com/forum.htm , George Hunter is scary and wants me to write a short fic about his childhood. Gah, *goes away to search for an exorcist*
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Title: One thousand and One night: Tales of Napoleonic Wars. The Tale of the Hill.
Characters: Sir Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Macduff (future 4th Earl of Fife)
Pairing: none
Rating: PG

Spain, 1809.

The Tale of the Hill )


Title: One thousand and One night: Tales of Napoleonic Wars. The Tale of a Countess (that is not really about her at all).
Characters: The Duke of Wellington, 4th Earl of Fife, Lady Granville, Countess de Lieven
Pairing: none
Rating: PG    

England, 1816.

The Tale of a Countess (that is not really about her at all). )


 


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This is an abstract from Wellington's letter to Mrs. Arbuthnot (taken from the book Wellington and his Friends: Letters of the First Duke Selected and Edited by the Seventh Duke of Wellington). It mentions James Duff, 4th Earl Fife!!! Ahahahaha!

The Letter of Awesomeness )

Welly  is such a gossip! XD and my lovely Earl is such a kind man. *sighs happily*. And I love the line about the knees. *snickers*
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I have a name for the fic I wrote about Welly and Duff (being proof - read), the fic that features them and Princess Lieven and another fic that takes place in Lisbon right after Welly's arrival there! Only, you see, this name just made me think of several other fic ideas... *headdesks and goes away to shoot self*
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 Having finally found a short (15 pages or so x_x) biography of James Duff, 4th Earl Fife in the 'National Portrait Gallery of Illustrious and Eminent Personages of the Nineteenth Century', published in 1831, I was absolutely gleeful and utterly filled with warmth at this quote:

'He accordingly took leave of the great Commander of the British army—who had treated him with the utmost kindness—and of many other distinguished officers, with whom he had passed much of his time since the battle of Talavera—among whom we may mention Lord Hill, Sir G. Murray, the present Marquis of Londonderry, and Colonel Waters.'

It is just so nice to find out that my new crush was treated kindly by Wellesley! He truly must have been a great man! XD

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Shall sell soul for a proper biography of  Major - General James Duff, 4th Earl Fife.
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 I don't know why I don't travel more, I really don't know. I came back from Banff (a small harbour town in Northern Scoltand) just an hour ago and I am still gleefull. ^_^ Duff House even had a couple of Gainsboroughs. Also I saw a model of how it was supposed to look like and I must say it's a great pity that William Adam, the architector, and William Duff, the 1st Earl Fife had a huge falling out. Damn. Stupid boys.

So pics of Duff House first. ^_^

Aaargh. 575 more yards....*dies*

 

Duff House )

Me like this hotel!
 

Banff )


Well, I greatly enjoyed this trip, though a raven crowing from the roof of our bus as I was getting in... Let's just say I had uncomfortable flashbacks to Poe's poem. x_x Sleepy Hollow FTW!

Also, am in love with the 4th Earl Fife, James Duff! The poor dear had his wife die of rabies, then went to serve in the Peninsular Wars and even became a general, though in the Spanish service but he volunteered for it and he was at Talavera! and I haz a picture of his portrait, which is totally sad and pathetic.

So there! *runs away to eat fudge*






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Dammit, why is the first volume of Sir Charles Oman's 'History of the Peninsular War' is so expensive compared to volumes 2, 3, 4, which I already own?! Grrrr.

 

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Studying Wellington's Peninsular campaign is having a bad influence on me. I have recently acquired a Portuguese cookbook. Pretty pictures, yummy looking food, and ZOMG, I have baked a Portuguese Caramel Cake. Mmmmm. Ate almost a quarter in one go. Feel like a true glutton, but perhaps it shall give me some inspiration for my Holmes Food series. Yeah, right.

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