Toulouse

The journey through the Western fringe of Occitan presented a significant risk. Nominally Frankish territory, the small expeditionary force could have been overwhelmed if there had been a concerted move against them. It all hinged on the attitude of the Toulousaines, almost independent from the Franks but never completely at ease with the rule of the Ramnulfids, Angevins or Plantagenets. The Prince judged it perfectly; to treat them as independent and offer an advantageous alliance.

Moissac

I am sure the citizens of Moissac would take difference with a simplistic comparison with Aiguillion. Both are near to the confluence between the Garronne and major tributaries.   In Moissac the Tarn is substituted for the Lot. In both places there used to be mills on both sides of the river. The Mills at Moissac have fared rather better than those at Aiguillion The mill closest to the the town of Moissac is now a pleasant hotel and the smaller mill on the far side of the river is now the office for a camping site on the Ile de Beaucaire.

There are other differences. Moissac itself is not elevated but closer to the river level and the “Canal de Deux Mers” passes through the centre of the town. Moissac is home to the Abbey of St Pierre which is of world renown and is world heritage listed. It is also the location Of Pont Napoleon, a restaurant of international reputation.

 Castelginest

Now almost lost in the industrial suburbs of Toulouse. Castelingest was only on the route because of the church of St Pierrre, in the gift of  the monastery of St. Sernin of Toulouse. I started with a very poor quality photograph from the web site  of the Mayor (Marie) of Castelingest. I persued the location of the church even though for once no one i talked to seemed to know anything about the history of Castelingest or of St Pierre’s. I was directed away from the town centre into a district which i was assured was “Historique”.  I found a match for the photograph but the church appears too modern. However it’s configuration is most unusual more like the keep of a castle than a church So perhaps it is the original St Pierre’s. The illuminated features built into the fabric of the church made the search worthwhile. I have in no way retouched the photographs; the overall effect is quite spooky!

Toulouse

At one time the richest city in Europe. It’s trade and economy were ruined by the Albigensian Crusade  but the centre of the city is still a treasure trove of wonderful architecture.

Lacroix-Falguarde.

Now another suburb of Toulouse but very different to Castelingest. Lacroix is in the country and is laced with expensive detached houses.  The crossing of the Arriege had to be undertaken somewhere and here it is! As in many of the places visited there is a delightful restaurant complete with views over the crossing point.

Muret

The destination of the  Secret Journey. There are still meadows and swimming holes down by the river.  The foundations of the ancient Bridge can still be seen disturbing the fast flowing waters. I almost expected to tumble upon the Princes tent and meet Ximene myself.

The most dangerous woman in the world

List of Characters

Table Of Contents

References

characters

Table of Contents

Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355

 

'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. 

He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’