5 November 2015

Oak

When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Sheffield and the Upper Derwent reservoirs in late September 1945, it was just three weeks after World War II had officially ended. They rode in an open topped black car along Fulwood Road and through Broomhill where thronging crowds cheered them, no doubt still mightily pleased that war was at last over.

Mistress Jan Blawat of Wesley Mansion, Sloughhouse, California was disgruntled that I did not post a picture of the King's Oak to accompany yesterday's post. I had mentioned it in the text - a commemorative tree planted by King George and his queen on September 25th 1945 close to the head of Howden Reservoir. Not wishing to upset or offend the feisty Ms Blawat, I shall now make amends. Here it is without its summer clothes:-
It is not the most impressive of trees. I doubt that its situation is the best for English oaks - in a deep and often shady valley that can be bitterly cold in the wintertime - but at least it is still growing. Being the obsequious kind of fellow I am I wished to please Mistress Blawat further by finding a picture of the original planting ceremony but I was sadly unsuccessful. Nonetheless, here is the tree in 1946 - a few months after it was planted:-
The railings have gone - probably pilfered by an unscrupulous scrap metal thief in the dead of night. I also notice those bare hillsides that are now clothed under plantations of lofty pine trees. Lower down the valley at the bottom dam - called  Ladybower - the king ceremoniously unlocked the ornamental gates that still stand today even though I notice that those impressive bronze shields have gone. That damned scrap metal thief again!
It crossed my mind to write a spoof speech by King George in which he almost painfully stammered and stuttered out his sentences - purely for your entertainment but then I thought better of it. After all, speech defects are not really funny and having a stammer is a kind of disability. Just as it would be wrong to make fun of paraplegics or blind people so it would surely be in very bad taste to poke fun at stammerers. I taught a few over the years and shared in some of their struggles.

12 comments:

  1. Well-considered, Yorkie...you came to the right decision in the end. :)

    No doubt you've seen this site...but in case you haven't....

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tBcvyKNlXmIB2MGP0zf4FmRRv-t7rKPLHxygWOmzTI8/edit

    It's wonderful to see and know that the old oak tree (minus the yellow ribbon) still stands, though lofty it may not be.

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    1. Thank you for that useful link Lee. I have dipped into it but there's a lot to read there. Plenty of stuff I didn't know and all close to this keyboard. Fascinating.

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  2. Another brief insight into local history.

    Ms Soup

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  3. That's interesting; in Germany, May 8th, 1945, is regarded as the official end of WWII. Unconditional capitulation was signed by Germany on May 7th and declared complete on May 8th at 1 minute past 11 pm. Except for the Soviet Union, it was accepted by all war parties. The USSR declared the official end of its state of war against Germany 10 years later, in 1955.

    While the railing around the tree certainly served a purpose while the tree was very young and needed protection from deer (and possibly people, too), I think the place looks nicer without it. It is not really old in terms of a tree's life, and for its relative youth and considering its less than ideal position, it is a good tree.

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    1. "Having agreed in principle to unconditional surrender on 15 August 1945, Japan formally surrenders, ending World War II throughout the rest of the world.The surrender was signed on 2 Sept. 1945 aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay."

      I planted a tree twenty seven years ago - a horse chestnut and it is twice as big as that oak tree but I guess that oaks grow more slowly.

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    2. Germany apparently wasn't aware there was also a war going on against Japan at the same time.

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    3. Yes Bob but Meike wasn't born at that point in time. The world had to wait another 24 years if my arithmetic is correct.

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  4. That tree is 70 years old? You'd never know from looking at it. It seems much younger.

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    1. Yup! That's just what I thought Steve. Not the best position for it but as I suggested to Librarian above - English oaks are probably slow growing anyway.

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  5. I think get rid of the bitumen and give the tree a chance to survive and thrive for many more years.
    Great impulse control too!

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    1. The tree is in the middle of a traffic roundabout which is at the very end of the paved road to the west of the reservoirs. Beyond the tree you have to hike. But yeah, I see what you mean Carol. Th...th...th...thanks for noticing my imp..imp..ulse control.

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