pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

King Canute and the Chocolate Cake

"Remarkable Oak"
remarkable, because it is reputed to be over one thousand years old.

Remarkable Oak stands in farmland
 not the easiest tree to get close to, for photography purposes,
(Well, that's my excuse.)
for it grows in a meadow right next door to a red brick Tudor mansion.
The fence is electrified.
I had intended to take a photograph during the winter, 
while the tree was bare...

King of the forest, father of trees
Bare branches antlering the winter sky

alas, I forgot.
So, here is Remarkable Oak a cloth├ęd all in green.

It is definitely not the tallest tree, nor does it have the most amazing canopy span,
but check out that girth,  middle-age spread, and then some.
Through the years it has suffered, bits have fallen off,
one thousand years is an awfully long time.
Even viewed from the roadside,
or the adjacent field,
it looks ancient.

This is the earliest Ordnance Survey map of the area, it shows a 'Remarkable Oak' standing in this very spot.
It was drawn two hundred years ago.

Even the current map shows the remarkable old oak tree.

If it truly is a thousand years old - think King Canute (Cnut),
The Norman Conquest, The Domesday Book...
and everything else from thereon in.

Allowing for exaggeration (surely not!)
even if this tree is a mere youngster of 500 years
it has been standing
since around the time Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon... then Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour,
Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr.

It stood tall while the English Civil War took place,
watched over the Agricultural Revolution,
and far too many wars and battles,

However old this wonderful oak tree is, it is a youngster, compared to
the Fortingall Yew which is between two and five thousand years old!

This beautiful engraving of a mighty oak is by Andy English.

Oak trees are thought to attract lightning more than any other kind of tree,
they also survive it rather better,
possibly due to the extremely long tap root which anchors it to the earth.

The acorn
is said to represent
long life and good luck
and an acorn placed on a windowsill
is thought to offer protection.

Because the oak is one of the longest-lived trees it is associated with
endurance and stability.

It was traditionally used for ship building...
"Heart of Oak are our Ships
Jolly Tars are our men..."

If you are wondering where the chocolate cake fits in...
well, I baked it at the weekend.

It was amazing!
Deep, dark, chocolate flavour.
I rarely bake cakes,
but this one was worth the effort,
and the calories.


  1. We have a wonderful oak in our front yard. Not five hundred years, but probably fifty. It houses two occupied bird houses, a cardinal nest, a squirrel nest. There is a bench under it year round, and in summer, the hammock. Good tree to have.

  2. I absolutely loved this post and how wonderful to have this Remarkable Oak near you.

  3. The tales it could tell.We used to march with extra swagger when Hearts of Oak was played !
    Jane x

  4. That's very stylish middle-age spread! Jx

  5. I love oak trees and that chocolate cake looks delicious.

  6. I was waiting for the chocolate, the cake looks delicious! I like to look at old big trees, I've mentioned one in one of my posts. It's so fun to imagine what they could have seen, how long they live. If only they were Ents, the stories they could tell. Groetjes, Gerda

  7. It's interesting that the tree was already considered remarkable 200 years ago.
    It is sad that so few trees are allowed to live that long. They are cut down for fire wood or to clear a road or simply because they're in the way. I'm so glad to see your Remarkable Oak is still thriving!

  8. It looks to be in very good condition. No propped branches or split sides. We have quite recently bought some land with a very big oak, but I have no idea how old it is. I named ours 'The Royal Oak' in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee.

  9. Commune with nature... or with cake... that really is a toughy?


  10. That tree looks huge. Lovely! Now that cake ... mmmm. I'll let you know what I think after my mouth stops watering. Sue

  11. A truly amazing long life....I know we boast about our trees here, but nothing as old as this one. Great the maps. And the cake can be labeled a "Decadent Dessert".

  12. I love seeing this old tree and learning what it has endured; what do they say, "if this could talk!" Hey, how about a recipe for that cake...I'm drooling here, XOXO

  13. Oh my that tree is amazing I don't normally like cake but I can taste that one almost


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