Lady Hillingdon

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Not to be confused with Henry Uxbridge, two miles down the road, who was the commander of the heavy cavalry at Waterloo and who, despite having his leg shot away by a cannon ball, survived the battle and lived to the age of 85, fathering eighteen children across two marriages. He’d run off with the Duke of Wellington’s sister-in-law five years before Waterloo, which caused a certain amount of social tension between the two men as you might imagine, but it’s said that Wellington was nearby when the cannon ball struck, and that the following exchange took place between them:

Uxbridge: “By God, Sir, I’ve lost my leg!”
Wellington: “By God, Sir, so you have!”

– which actually sounds pretty effusive by Wellington’s standards. It’s also said that during the amputation of his leg Uxbridge said, “I have had a pretty long run. I have been a beau these 47 years and it would not be fair to cut the young men out any longer”, and that when Wellington called in to see him shortly afterwards, Uxbridge asked him to examine the leg and confirm that removing it had been the correct decision, which Wellington did.

Did I mention that my three-times great-grandfather was in the most famous cavalry charge at Waterloo? It’s possible that this is rather on my mind just now, with the 200th anniversary just a couple of weeks away.

Anyway – back to Lady Hillingdon. I know rather less about her than I do about Lord Uxbridge; in fact, pretty much all I know is that she has been credited with coining the phrase “close your eyes and think of England” – which isn’t wholly surprising when you look at the rather pained and dissatisfied expression she was wearing in this portrait photograph. The rose is rather more generous, I’m happy to say, and R and I both liked the way it caught this afternoon’s strong sunlight.

The extra is a shallow dof shot of an Abraham Darby bloom which was damaged by the very strong wind we had a couple of nights ago. Having photographed it I plonked it in water, and it’s currently sitting next to my computer screen emitting the most glorious fragrance – somewhere between a rose and a fruit salad. I wish you could smell it too.