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This time you can blame my pal Ross. He told me last week he’s longed for a mention.  I have a great story about Ross, but I’m keeping it just now. Anyway Ross will understand the significance of the title. It’s from a time we were being somewhat bolshie with regard to a certain situation, a certain person, a certain crest and the altering of a certain magazine cover. I say no more. Except we didn’t.

Tomorrow is St.Andrew’s Day.


Ross is probably of greater Scottish extraction than I am. Having dipped into the past and found a fairly volatile mixture of rebels, robber barons, frequently had up in court for causing illegal distress to their neighbours, – murdering them in other words to get their mitts on their widows, ergo their lands –  and foreign mercenaries, not to mention Irish potato-blighted farmers, I think I can say that. But yes, a highlander line was there. So…

Oh…and also my older girl – she of Arboard fame, talking of saints – is such a blond, despite being a brunette. In keeping with the last post I wanted to show the pic of her a la Butch and Sundance on the bike. But it’s temporarily vamoosed…as had her brains the day she came home to tell me it was a scene from ET she was doing, perched on the handlebars in a fancy long frock. ET, with raindrops falling on his head? Well maybe, had Spielberg thought of it.

What I wanted to say – boy will you be glad to hear – is when it comes to heroines, Etta-Place is some woman. (Seen here with Sun by the way)

Maybe she never took a trip across the moon with ET, but just look at some of the other things she did behind her school-marm guise. She’s an outlaw’s lover, who puts her education to pretty good use by teaching Spanish when she’s on the run. Not so Butch and Sundance can pass as natives in Bolivia. So they can rob banks. Her too.

Yes, that tagging biz got me on my soap box re heroines – especially imperfect ones – but more importantly women who give the lie to any historical notion of what a woman’s place should be.  What was it the delightful John Knox said…about our place being to obey man and God? Aye… right. Given the average Scottish woman he was probably on a hiding to nothing, even then.  Just trying to look the big boots by saying it.

Anyway it being St.Andrew’s Day.,..nearly…. here’s my list of Scottish bolshie women from history.

Kate Barlass.

Looking incredibly noble here for someone about to have their arm snapped….let’s see how good she looks after eh?…. did Kate sit mutely doing her embroidery, saying I know my place,  when assassins arrived to kill James 1st of Scotland?  A quite common occurrence for a Scottish king, by the way. No. Kate’s place was at the chamber door, sticking her arm through the staples, while the King fled into a sewer tunnel. Now, if she had spent all these hours embroidering tapestries and bed sheets, would she have had the eyesight to see the bolt had been removed?  She didn’t save the king by the way, but it wasn’t for want of getting her arm broken for her trouble.

Jenny Geddes

Jenny certainly knew her place in that she went to church. Yes. But as for sitting quietly there, Jenny wasn’t for having Charles 1st’s new prayer book. ‘Daur ye say mass in my lug?’ Jenny enquired, turfing her prayer stool at the minister.  Before we go thinking Jenny did this entirely from a desire to keep her ears unblemished, she, and a number of other women had been paid to disrupt the service. Would any man have done that if he thought woman were meek and mild?  Jenny’s stunt sparked a riot, which led to a war, which led to the execution of a king. Who says only the Scots did that? Mind you he was of Scots’ descent.

Flora Macdonald

Well, what list of Scottish women would be complete without Flora?  When the Bonnie Prince fled Culloden, more or less landing up on her doorstep with his tattered hopes and dreams,  a price on his head, did she say, I’m awfie sorry Charlie, but I wouldnae be kenning my place if I let you in the night?

Absolutely not. Flora did time for taking the Prince, disguised as a maidservant, by boat, over the sea to Skye.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Again, the list would be incomplete given the way Mary blazed through life. Imprisoned at the age of 25, by which time she’d lived a lifetime, widowed twice, a son she would never see again, a ruinous marraige to the kidnapping, allegedly rapacious, Bothwell, Mary had a lot of time to learn her place. But the feisty queen preferred to spend her time escaping, allegedly writing letters implicating her in her second husband’s murder and getting involved in various plots. All leading to her place eventually being on the executioner’s block – in a dark red petticoat no less.

 Mary Slessor

Mary would hardly be commemorated on Scottish banknotes today if she’d known her place. At that time in Dundee? You would have to be mad. Mary was soon saving hundreds of sets of twins in Calabar – a place said to be less rough than Dundee Hilltoon on a Saturday night – nursing, teaching, and generally gaining a respect unknown for a woman there. it wouldn’t have happened if she’d worked in a Dundee jute mill.   

It all depends on the place. It all depends on the woman. Happy St. Andrew’s Day to you all. I have one more image to show. You will have guessed by now, I ain’t good at this promotional thingy, which is why I have kept it till last. It’s the cover for my forthcoming book. Here she is at last. I can’t tell you how gobsmacked I was to open the email and see it.

Like it or lump it?  Well, I don’t know about anybody else but I LOVE it. And I’m showing it big cos I  want to say a mega huge thank you, hugs, kisses the lot  to my talented cover artist for capturing this particular lady for me.

Some rules are made to be broken sure enough…..