Tuesday, May 29, 2012


May 29, aka Oak Apple Day or Royal Oak Day in Britain is the anniversary of the Restoration of the Monarchy (1660). It was the date (according to the Julian calendar) when King Charles II returned to London after years of exile, during the rule of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector.
"Parliament had ordered the 29th of May, the King’s birthday, to be forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he returning to London that day."
From the diary of Samuel Pepys, June 1, 1660.
The day used to be commemorated by the wearing of oak apples or oak leaves, recalling the Boscobel oak in which Charles II hid after the battle of Worcester. Numerous British pubs have names recalling the event (see right).
29 May was also the birthday of Charles II, but when converted to the Gregorian calendar his date of birth for astrological purposes becomes June 8 - still with Sun in Gemini. Astrodatabank has his natal chart HERE.

Chambers' Book of Days tells this about the King with Sun in Gemini:
It is a great pity that Charles II was so dissolute, and so reckless of the duties of his high station, for his life was an interesting one in many respects; and, after all, the national joy attending his restoration, and his cheerfulness, wit, and good-nature, give him a rather pleasant association with English history. His parents, Charles I and Henrietta Maria (daughter of Henry IV of France), who had been married in 1626, had a child named Charles James born to them in March 1629, but who did not live above a day. Their second infant, who was destined to live and to reign, saw the light on the 29th of May 1630, his birth being distinguished by the appearance, it was said, of a star at midday.

It was on his thirtieth birthday, the 29th of May 1660, that the distresses and vicissitudes of his early life were closed by his triumphal entry as king into London.

All of which allows a (somewhat contrived) segue into a ramble about the trees, past and present in our yards. Yards, by the way, is the term used in the USA for lawn areas or gardens in front of, and behind the house. In the UK "yard" usually refers to a concreted area, often called "the backyard" behind modestly sized, older style homes.

When, in early 2005, we moved into the house where we now live a big part of the attraction was its location. It's on the edge of town, necessities within easy reach, yet countryside lies just beyond the backyard fence, as husband's photograph (above), taken from the kitchen window, shows. Some lovely old shady Cottonwood trees stood inside the back fence, as well as two big Maples at the front of the house. I suspect that before a road and houses were constructed, the three huge trees in our backyard formed a semi-circle with three others in the pasture beyond our fence. Perhaps they were planted as part of the concerted effort, led by the government, to protect and change the face of a barren Oklahoma after the dust-bowl era of the 1930s.

Sadly, "old" often gets the better of "shady".

In 2009 one of the three huge Cottonwoods had to go. Cottonwoods, in old age, are apparently prone to atttack by borer beetles and disease. We resisted the loss for as long as seemed safe, but the thought of a wild winter and next tornado season overtook any sentimental meanderings. Last year another Cottonwood, badly damaged by an ice storm had to be taken down as it had become dangerous to the house, and the house nextdoor.

There's bad news this year too. One of the two tall Maples in front of the house was killed off by last year's drought. It'll have to go. We'll plant a young Cottonwood later to replace it.

A rotting Mimosa tree had to be removed from the back, then an old decaying fruit tree. Three years ago we planted a Crape Myrtle to replace the lost Mimosa tree. At the same time we also planted a small Smoke Tree in the front yard - very pretty little tree, I can't find our photograph of it. Both survived ice storms and other wild weather events, but last year's protracted drought and record high temperatures for weeks on end killed both, in spite of frequent watering.

Both Crape Myrtle and Smoke Tree had to be cut down, but have left us with some hope. New shoots appeared, and are now growing. The heat had killed only what was above-ground.

We hope for less extreme temperatures this summer, or at least for no extended period of drought, to give the new growths a chance.


Wisewebwoman said...

Strange seasons indeed, T, when the trees are affected so badly. Mine survived Igor but they tell me Bertha (?) may have some effects tomorrow.
I feel sad for your trees :(

R J Adams said...

I feel quite guilty felling so many trees when you're struggling to keep yours alive. Thankfully, the climate here is still moderate and it rains just like it does - or did - in England.

As for Charles II, he was indeed full of '...cheerfulness, wit, and good-nature...' especially towards his dozen or so mistresses, and innumerable illegitimate offspring.

I'm not sure what would have become of the country had his brother, James, not succeeded to the throne. Charles had no legitimate heirs.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~
Yes, mee too. Trees here must have grown used to extreme weather events over the years, but last year was one too many extremes for some of them.. I'm surprised so many survived it - and amazingly, they did.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ We're in a hot/dry spot here which has advantages at time, but not often.

Charles II was a very romantic figure to me in my young days - I remember reading several novels in which he played a part. Older and wiser now, I realise he was not the kind of guy one would want to have ruling a nation. ;-)