Friday, 17 August 2018

Another First

Perthshire in Scotland is one of my most favourite places to visit. It doesn't matter what time of year I visit, the hills, rivers, quaint towns and villages capture my heart.

    Many of the towns and villages are reminiscent of a scene from the old movie, Brigadoon and sitting in a cafe, or park on a summers day a writers imagination can run riot.

    I personally try to imagine what it was like to be a woman living there a hundred years or so ago. Education would have had to done at home and opportunities to be anything other than a mother and a homemaker were limited.

    On my travels I'm always on the lookout for female role models who didn't allow their sex to hold them back and recently I found someone who really did do it for the girls in the early twentieth century. Her name was, Victoria Drummond, born in Perthshire in 1894.

    The god-daughter of Queen Victoria was like other girls at that time and was educated at home, however, she did show an interest in marine engineering and went onto college to study in this.

    The First World war opened up opportunities for women and by 1920 Victoria was at sea. She travelled the World, but life wasn't always plain sailing and her attempts to become the first woman marine engineer in the UK were constantly thwarted.

    A determined Victoria never gave up and finally after 37 attempts she passed her chief engineers examination. Times were hard during the depression and it wasn't until after the Second World War that Victoria found herself back at sea.

    Her ship the SS. Bonita came under attack in the mid-Atlantic in the 1940's and Victoria's bravery was recognised. She received both an MBE and Lloyd's War Medal for bravery at sea.

    Not bad for a wee Scottish lassie.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Tooth Fairy

      I don't know if it's because I have been making lots of visits to the dentist recently but, I started to think about back when I was a kid and one of my milk teeth fell out. Like most children in the western world I believed that the Tooth Fairy would visit me during the night if I placed a recently lost tooth below my pillow.

    Sneaking in under the cover of darkness, the Tooth Fairy would carefully sprinkle me with fairy-dust in order that I did not detect her presence. Knowing now, that I was in a deep sleep the Tooth Fairy could carefully remove my tooth and leave me a silver coin in return.

    The thing was one night she forgot her magical dust and I woke up just as my tooth was being slipped from underneath my pillow. The only problem was on this final visit,  the Tooth Fairy had been substituted by my mother. I was devastated, my magical world was blown apart. I instantly realised that Santa Claus too was a myth. Two gut-wrenching revelations in one day.

    Alas, many good stories do come to an end. Especially this one, because you no longer receive a silver coin for your loss, only a hefty dental bill.  

    That is the fun about fairies and fairy-like people, you know, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy wouldn't be half so much fun if they were like we are. they can do all sorts of things that we never could!

Louise Price Bell "There is a Santa Claus" 1935

Friday, 10 August 2018

Women Showing the Way


    There are so many women in history who have fought for equality for children and women in society. A fight that still goes on and as to how long the fight will go on there is definitely no answer in sight. The old phrase, "How long is a piece of string?" comes to mind.

    All advocates for the under-represented can do is keep fighting and take lead from those in the past who did just that.

    There are three women all born in the 19th century who I think are great examples of women showing the way in science, a field in which women are still inadequately represented and I want to tell you about them today.

    First up, is Dame Maria Gordon 1864-1939 a Scottish geologist born in Aberdeenshire was the first woman to receive a Dr of Science from the University of London and the first woman to be awarded a PhD from the University of Munich. She is noted for the work she did in the Dolomites, North-eastern Italy which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. If trekking the Alps wasn't enough she was also a mother and a campaigner for equality for children and women.

    The second woman is also a Scot and her name is, Williamina Fleming 1857-1911. Williamina an astrologer discovered the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion in the late 19th century. She promoted women in science on both sides of the Atlantic and gave a talk at 1893, World Fair, in Chicago on, "A Field for Woman's Work in Astronomy."

    Last but not least, is a British physician, Elizabeth Blackwell, 1821-1910. Elizabeth was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US and was the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. Like the women I have mentioned previously in the post, Elizabeth actively supported women in science and promoted women in medicine in the USA.



Sunday, 5 August 2018

Books are for Always

    On August 9th it's, National Book Lover's Day and if you are looking for a good book for your teenager or yourself to take on vacation, I've put together a great bunch of multiple genre authors for you to choose from.

    Wanting to know a little more about their books and them? Well, there is no need to look any further, they have all featured in my blog at some time or another and since featuring some have new titles to browse through over on their own websites. Happy reading friends.

Goan Chase: Take Three Mysteries

Remember books aren't just for vacation they're for always!

Friday, 3 August 2018