Saturday, May 20, 2023

Pacing Myself

British troops on the road to Quatre Bras
An officer of the Royal Horse Artillery salutes the Duke of Wellington

Though it was a short campaign, less than a week from start to the finale on the slopes of Mont St. Jean¹, I'm attempting to get a novel out of it. Obviously it won't stretch to the length of Tolstoy's War and Peace but I think there's enough material to make it a decent size book.

Thousands of books have been written about this campaign, I have ten new ones in my possession since the turn of the year, and have read many more. So why another one? Well, because I can and because I want to.

It was an interesting campaign and I mean to do justice to the men who fought there.

But I'm going to pace myself on this effort, I ain't getting any younger. To tell the truth, the last week or so has worn me out.

Not so much the drive down to Maryland, then the drive up to Antietam and a day spent traipsing the battlefield, nope. It was more the drive home the Friday before Mother's Day, then the drive up to New Hampshire on Saturday, then the drive back on Sunday. Some seven-hundred miles right there.

Back in my younger days we thought nothing of piling into the car then doing five hundred miles a day until we got to where we wanted to go. Often that trip was from Omaha down to Louisiana. Beauty of that was that none of it went through the New York metropolitan area.

But I noticed this past week that my butt was dragging, being back to work was fine, it was the getting up early and the staying up too late that did me in. I need to stop doing that.

Yesterday's post was an epic effort on my part, three pieces of research close to hand and two actual historic figures involved in the persons of Lt. Col. Robert Macara and Capt. Archibald Menzies of the 42nd Regiment of Foot, also known as the "Black Watch." My favorite regiment, that one is. Paraded with and partied with a few of the regiment's pipers back in the day.

Good times.

But in order to keep the quality of the writing up, I need to pace myself and not go all out charging in like some berserker. Nope, slow and steady will win this race.

I hope.

Anyhoo, I'm well rested from not doing a damned thing yesterday (Friday) so perhaps you'll get another episode this weekend.

Keep your fingers crossed and your powder dry.

Until tomorrow!

¹ The French call the battle by that name (Mont St. Jean) as it was the nearest village to the battlefield, the Germans La Belle Alliance for the name of the inn where Blücher met with Wellington after the battle. Wellington called it Waterloo in his after action report as that village is where his headquarters was and he thought the name easy enough to remember and pronounce in English.


  1. Trying to burn the candle at both ends could find you discovering that there isn't a wick left on one end........... :) Waiting patiently for your effort Sarge.

  2. Sarge, I find city driving exhausting and the recovery time easily takes a day. And yes, unfortunately we have to wedge in writing amidst our other tasks. And writing takes a lot longer than I ever anticipate, especially something like historical writing. I am shocked at the amount of time and energy it takes to write on history.

    1. Lots of time and energy to get it right, which you do and you do it well!

    2. Thank you Sarge! I hope I leave people better educated.

  3. "because I can and because I want to"... That is reason enough! Enjoy :-)

  4. Crusty Old TV Tech here. Yeah, Back In The Day (tm), I used to do the 24 hour drive from da Griff to Shreveport in 2 days. 16 hours to Jackson, TN the first, then 8 hours the next. The reverse was 16 hours to Columbus, OH, then 8 hours to Exit 33 on the Thruway. Did that a bunch of times. Nowadays? A 3 hour drive to Austin wears me out. Waking up at 0615 for an 0630 start of work for a week has me beat, too. Artifact of being Aged Flatulence I suspect.

    In any case, enjoying the Waterloo story. If it comes out in little dribbles intermittently, it's still getting done!

    1. Little dribbles ...

      I'm afraid so, at least for a while.

    2. To be fair, from what I've heard, driving to/in Austin is very wearing. Lots of nutbags in that area. :)

    3. There are lots of nutbags in every metro area. Those areas attract them, like flies to a carcass.

    4. Crusty Old TV Tech again. Yeah, Austin is the Galactic Center of Driving Madness. It's like someone got a cage full of squirrels and shook it hard, and tumped them all out into the lap of every driver in Austin...ESPECIALLY those on I-35. I've driven in Central America, Greece, Germany (Macht Nicht sticks and black Porsche's doing 220 klicks), England (go LEFT round the roundabout!), all over the US, and Austin is #1 on the nutty driver parade. DFW is #2. I'll take crazed Ouzo-soaked horsepuckey-cigarette-puffing Greek taxi drivers anyday over erratic squirrely Austin drivers any day.

    5. Sounds a lot like western Connecticut on I-95 to tell you the truth.

    6. (A mime I ran across): Bumper sticker "I'm a veterinarian, therefore I drive like an animal"..."Suddenly, I realized how many proctologists are on the road"...

  5. What you can, when you can, or, as my blushing bride and I like to say, "The Widow's Mite."

    Your writing skills and efforts are much appreciated, but no need to push yourself and turn it into drudgery.

  6. Used to enjoy long distance driving. Now, not so much. Bleh. Too bad flying has become so inconvenient between the airlines and the government.

    Keep it up. Pace yourself. You'll find more time to write once you are only burning one candle at both ends, rather than box of candles. And TB is right, research and getting the right feel on historical fiction can be taxing of itself.

    So... any plans to feed the herons this year out of your reflection pond?

    1. The netting we put up a couple of years ago has severely damaged the herons' feeding prospects.

      Short answer, no.


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