Sous le pont d’Avignon and other things

We are in the south of France, in Avignon in particular, which is why blogging has been absent.

Yesterday we visited the graves of John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill. Mill’s grave is in simple white marble with “John Stuart Mill” engraved on the side. Searched around for Harriet’s and only after a while worked out that they are buried together, as I would have thought, but her tombstone sits above Mill’s and could only be read if I stood on my tiptoes. Every grave beside it was about ten feet high with religious symbolism a feature, unlike theirs which had none. But the most outrageous part was the little sign put at the foot of the gravestone in 1980 by the French which reads:

“En hommage a John Stuart Mill

“Defenseur des femmes”

I suppose he might have found that all right but seemed a bit thin as a descriptor to me. Mill died here in 1873 because Harriet died here in 1858 and he stayed close for the rest of his life. Must say, however, that the winter here has become a bit brutal for the likes of me. I no longer laugh at 2 degree weather with my Australian-thinned blood, especially with the mistral coming across any open space we enter. Particularly difficult on le pont d’Avignon where the wind almost carried us over the sides. Fascinating place with the fourteenth century papal palace the most outstanding feature. I wrote a first year university paper about the Avignon papacy which in many ways was my introduction to power politics.

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