President's Report - August 2016
My Bastille Day disaster, as reported in last month’s Roar – garage door dents and scratches to the roof of my 508 – is now a thing of the past. Geoff Parkins at Hume Bodyworks has made it as good as new, with a bit of gentle panel work and a full roof respray. There was also more good news when he charged me less than the original repair estimate. OK, so I’m several hundred dollars poorer, but at least I have a pristine 508 again.
I also mentioned another Bastille Day event in last month’s magazine – my wife, Sue, was in Paris, staying within walking distance of the Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. Needless to say, she joined the crowd at the traditional Bastille Day military parade, which included a strong ANZAC contingent this year, coinciding with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. She also managed to photograph two classic Pugs – a 404 cabriolet and a 504 cabriolet, whose owners clearly wanted to celebrate Bastille Day in style.
The Arc de Triomphe has an interesting history. It was originally commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, but he died in exile on St Helena in 1821 and never lived to see it completed. Neither did his architect, Jean Chalgrin who died in 1811.
The Arc was finally completed during the reign of King Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836. It honours those who died for France during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), with the names of all French victories (and generals) inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.
The Arc also includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. In 1840 King Louis Philippe obtained British permission to return Napoleon’s remains from St Helena to France. A state funeral was held in December 1840, with a funeral procession from the Arc de Triomphe.
At 50m high and 45m wide, the Arc is huge. Famously, in 1919, three weeks after the Paris victory parade marking the end of World War 1, Charles Godefroy flew a Nieuport biplane through the Arc, with the event captured on newsreel.
Meanwhile back in Canberra, we are looking forward to our own Napoleonic War, with the rescheduled Battle of Waterloo, to be held at Weston Park in Yarralumla on Sunday 4 September, when French and British cars will once again fight it out for battlefield supremacy. Participants are asked to arrive by 10 am and please bring a drip tray. Club members are encouraged to invite all their French car-owning friends to attend because victory is based on French versus British car numbers. Of course we all know that one French car should be worth much more than one British car but battlefield diplomacy prevails to give the Brits a sporting chance.
Our next club meeting will be held at 8 pm on Tuesday 23 August at the Raiders Weston Club,with dinner and drinks, as usual, from 7 pm. Battle of Waterloo tactics will doubtless be discussed! And, finally, expressions of interest are invited for the 2017 Peugeot Pageant, which is being organised by the Peugeot Car Club of Victoria. The pageant will be held in Merimbula on the NSW south coast from Friday 21 to Monday 24 April 2017.
Keep on Pugging,