Je Suis Charie

21 Jan

As we travel down through France on the first stage of our Grand Tour, this DRB and her travelling companion, Paisley Boy, who is so gallantly steering our 23-year-old mobile-home, Lola, into the sunset, we have nothing but admiration for the attitude of the French nation towards the recent horrific loss of lives in Paris. In every town and village we pass Je Suis Charlie posters are in evidence. A united dignified response to such a tragedy.

 A DRB on the raod with Lola

           A DRB on the road with Lola

Je Suis Charlie aside, we are continuing to look for statues of women as we travel south, heading for Italy on our Grand Tour.  One I particularly liked was the 19th century female mayor in the town of Caussades famous for hat making. Alas, not one to be purchased on the chilly Saturday in January we drove into town. They specialise in the straw variety, so not surprising.

Hats off to the Maire of Caussades

Next port of call was Montauban, birthplace of the prolific sculptor, Emile Antone Bourdelle (1861-1929). He won a scholarship, aged 24 years, to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He was a pioneer of 20th century monumental sculpture and in 1893 he joined Rodin, who was a great admirer of his work, as his assistant.

I couldn’t resist saying hello to his statue of Penelope, wife of Odysseus in Greek mythology, who stands majestic outside the Tourist Office in the town.

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Penelope was the daughter of Icarus, who went to fight in the Trojan War and didn’t return for 20 years.  She delayed marrying, one of her 108 suitors and has become a symbol of fidelity.

The story brings to mind a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, the first woman and first Scot to become a Poet Laureate in 2019 Mrs. Icarus from The World’s Wife:

“I’m not the first or the last to stand on a hillock,

Watching the man she married prove to the world

He’s a total, utter, absolute, Grade A pillock.”

My sincerest apologies to Penelope for being so disrespectful to her mother but I do so enjoy bringing attention to the world one of Scotland’s funniest poets.

When not precariously climbing up public monuments, Paisley Boy and his DRB companion are attempting to bring an appreciation of Sir Walter Scott to the French. We filled Lola with over 400 copies of Great Scott, the free booklet published to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Waverley, and take every opportunity to give copies out.  So We will keep you posted as we meander towards Italy.

Great Scott delivered to free library in St. Aatinin-Noble-Val

Free library at St. Antonin-Noble=Val

Au Revoir until the next post  DRB on the road with Lola.

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