Women of the World Unite

15 Feb

Despite my current self-inflicted obsession with my Great Twins Quilt Project ( see my recent blogs for evidence )  I have not forgotten  one of the original aims of the DRB’s to promote unsung heroines of history. Whilst on my travels I continue to look for statutes of women wherever I happen to be and where possible do a bit of research. It’s not so easy on the road to spend time in libraries, Paisley Boy and Lola feel a little neglected.  Internet connection has been spasmodic and very expensive. Unless I wanted to spend hours accessing free WiFi in MacDonald’s, whilst travelling through France, who would !!  I have had to be content with taking the odd pic whilst enjoying the gastronomic delights of French bars and  restaurants, which most certainly do not include Big Macs on their Plat de Jour.

When we arrived in Toulouse it was my duty as a travelling DRB to say hello to Joan of Arc, who aged 19 was buried at the stake for heresy and witchcraft on May 30th 1431.

Toulouse sculptor, Marius Jean Antonin Mercie (1845-1916) created the bronze equestrian statue on a granite plinth, to honour The Maid of Orleans (1412-1431), national heroine of France. She was beatified in 1906 and canonized in 1920. She led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War.

Statue of Joan of Arc

Statue of Joan of Arc in Toulouse

Another statue worthy of mention was in the town of Draguignan in south-west France. The area experienced the worst flooding since 1827 in 2010 when many people were drowned.  This memorial stands proudly on a roundabout as you approach the town from the north.  Parking Lola at a suitable spot and crossing the busy road, dangerous though it may have been, I think was worth the effort.  What do you think?

Memorial to the flood victims in Draguignan

Memorial to the flood victims in Draguignan

Our final  photo opportunity on French soil was just outside Cannes, in the village of Theoule sur Mer.  We meandered our way along the narrow coastal road from St. Tropez heading for Italy. In desperate need of a coffee break, well that was for Paisley boy who was driving, I needed a real drink and this is where we met The Sphinxesse.  She is in the Parc e Salute and is by PoPoy a sculptor from Theoule.

The Sphinxesse

My history classes at school did cover Joan of Arc, but until I got to the city of Lucca our first stop in Italy, I was not aware that Napoleon Bonaparte had a sister, let alone that she ruled the city for a number of years. Elisa Bonaparte (1777-1820)  Princess of Lucca (1805-1814)  was a patron of Arts and Science and well-respected for the work she did to improve the lives of the people of Lucca.  It would be remiss of me not to mention, for the classical music lovers amongst you, that Puccini was born in Lucca.  Sadly we are unable to listen to any of his operas, or music of any kind, because we had the front of our radio stolen along with a camera and the spare lap-top.  Finding the police station and filing a report for the insurance company is a sad story for another time.  The good news is we still have our passports, credit cards and money.

Elisa Bonaparte Princess of Lucca 1805-1814

Elisa Bonaparte Princess of Lucca 1805-1814

Lastly the distribution of the Great Scott free books which we have taken with us as our calling card. The book was published to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Waverley and 10th anniversary of Edinburgh’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Station masters; teachers in small village schools in rural France; a waiter born in Kirkcaldy,working in  a restaurant in a small French town; supporters of Bath Rugby Team attending an away match in Toulouse, which incidentally they won; and an artist of fine watercolours, working on the steps of the Uffizi Museum, have been the willing recipients of the free gift from the Scots travelling abroad.

We still have a few hundred to distribute in Italy so watch this space.  Buona sera

Great Scott in Vaour Midi- Pyrenees

Great Scott in Vaour Midi- Pyrenees

The waiter from Kircaldy with Great Scott

The waiter from Kirkcaldy with Great Scott

 Great Scott in Toulouse with Bath Rugby supporters

Great Scott in Toulouse with Bath Rugby supporters

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