Friday, 29 May 2009

Special Day.
















Today is one of those days where you want to take a photograph in your mind and store it away, to be brought out in one of the dark days before Christmas, when it is raw, wet and foggy and you have to have the light on in the house all day in order to see what you are doing.
The temperature is in the seventies, there is a light breeze blowing from the South, the sky is almost unbroken blue, and the air is filled with the heady, almondy scent of the hawthorn blossom - out at last but fairly scarce this year
Our afternoon walk has been one of pure bliss. Every field is golden with buttercups. Thousands of dandelion clocks gently send their seed off on their expedition to find a resting place. In the beck the blue water forget me not and the white water crowfoot vie for your attention. A mallard and her little brood of ducklings weave their way through the flowers in the beck - mother quietly quacking to keep her brood round her as she hurries to the shelter of a clump of water iris, where she thinks I can't see her.
In the long meadow the Timothy grass has gone to seed and there is a blue haze over the top of the grass - I hope you can see it in the photograph. Tess is just in shot - she of course is looking for those baby rabbits. I guess they are all below ground keeping cool for not a set of long ears in sight.
Today - May 29th - is Royal Oak Day - the commemoration of the day on which the future Charles II hid in an oak tree at Boscobel House, avoiding the Roundheads who were looking for him and later - in disguise - fleeing to France. The English Civil War in the mid Seventeenth Century seems a long time ago, but when I was a child in rural Lincolnshire in the thirties, we had the afternoon off for Royal Oak day. We had a rhyme:

Royal Oak Day, the twenty-ninth of May,
If we don't have a holiday we'll all run away.

We left school at lunchtime wearing a sprig of oak in our buttonholes. If you didn't wear the oak then you had to run the gauntlet of the boys who hung about with bunches of stinging nettles.
So many of those customs have died out now - it is lovely to look back and remember them.
Enjoy the summer while it lasts - last year we didn't seem to have any of those days when the only sounds were the buzzing of the bees and the faraway drone of a distant aeroplane. Bliss!
The lane is lined with meadowsweet as though decorated for a wedding (Oberon and Titania?).

20 comments:

Mary said...

Oh, how beautiful!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

We're having wonderful days here, too…not too hot, not too cool. Flowers blooming—both wild and and garden species; birds still singing, though not quite so boisterous now, as some are tending fledglings. The sky is blue, the river runs clear and full.

A day to store in the memory banks and savor throughout the year.

I loved your photos. I'd never heard of Royal Oak Day, but I'm glad you mentioned and explained it. I think it's sad, and a loss to culture's rich tapestry, when so many of these old ways and customs fall into disuse…to be eventually forgotten.

I wish your fearsome beast—Tess—luck on the rabbits, though she barely looks bigger than a rabbit herself.

Finally…congrats on the blog award. All one has to do is read and look at postings such as today's to know why you deserve honors.

Hildred and Charles said...

What a lovely, picturesque country you live in, Weaver, - and you describe it so beautifully. The English in me wants to come and see it all once again....

I recognize the second line of the Royal Oak rhyme, - perhaps I heard my grandmother recite it.

Reader Wil said...

I love all those old traditions! I thought that I saw something of the Royal Oktree tradition in Midsummer Murders. So it ought to be celebrated today.Have a great weekend.

Denise Burden said...

Yet another subject I've learnt about today - Royal Oak Day. I've never heard of it.
What wonderful weather! I hope it stays like this for Saturday as I'm going to the Wedding of my oldest friend.

Crafty Green Poet said...

strange that your hawthorn is so scarce, it's doing really well up here this year.

Hope the rabbits all escape.....

You asked which river it is in the photo in my new blog header, its the Water of Leith in Edinburgh - a stratch of the river to the south of the city.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh bliss indeed! Love those photos, Weaver.

Interesting that you mention the only sounds being the buzzing of the bees and the faraway drone of a distant aeroplane - that always speaks to me of halcyon summer days too. There's something about that distant drone that makes me feel warm and summery and indescribably sort of calm.

Cloudia said...

A blissfull, soul-healing post, Weaver! And thanks for sharing this charming custom....Aloha

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Today - May 29th - is Royal Oak Day - the commemoration of the day on which the future Charles II hid in an oak tree at Boscobel House, avoiding the Roundheads who were looking for him and later - in disguise - fleeing to France."

Most interesting -- and lovely pictures.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

We are enjoying glorious "summer" days aren't we? I'm not sure what hawthorn blossom is (he says shamefacedly) but our hedgerows and plenty of bushes/trees are massed with white blossoms. Quite beautiful!

I never got to celebrate Royal Oak/Oak Apple Day - boo hoo!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to Mary - and to scribe - Tess is quite a bit bigger than she appears in the photograph and comes from a long line of rat catchers and rabbiters - so we shall see how she measures up.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hildred and Charles
Reader wil.

Glad you enjoyed reading about Royal Oak Day. It would quite probably feature in Midsummer Murders.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Denise - hope you both enjoy the wedding - what a fabulous day for it.
We shall miss you at our Summer supper tonight - but hope you will soon be able to come for a meal.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Juliet - thanks for identifying the river in the photo - what a lovely name for a river.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Agree Raph about those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Cloudia for the visit.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mid life job hunter - thanks for visiting, I shall pay you a return call......NOW

Bdogs said...

Such a lovely picture of your world on a beautiful day! We are so fortunate to live in the countryside.

BT said...

A beautiful, sunshiney, summery post Weaver. It's been glorious here in Ireland, too. A bit too hot today in fact. The flowers are coming out as you watch them.

Janice Thomson said...

Such beautiful country...sigh