Happy Oak Apple day!
29 May 2010 marks the 350th anniversary of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. I've already referred in this blog to the strange silence about this in official circles and the media, but at least there have been a few mentions of it in the blogosphere - including this suggestion that Oak Apple day should replace St George's day as a public holiday for England - and I recently discovered a website that attempts to raise awareness of the day, partly through suggesting a pub crawl of 'Royal Oaks'... 29 May 1660 was King Charles II's thirtieth birthday and the day chosen for his ceremonial entry into the city of London, having landed at Dover on the twenty-fifth (a scene described in Pepys's diary, which also commemorates its 350th anniversary this year; last week I attended the annual Pepys commemoration service at St Olave's church, where he's buried). The day was marked in the Anglican liturgy until 1859, and warships of the Royal Navy fired gun salutes to mark the occasion until well into the eighteenth century. The first warship to be named Royal Oak was launched in 1664, only to be burned during the Dutch attack on the Medway in 1667; she was the flagship of Sir John Lawson at the battle of Lowestoft in 1665 and thus features in the sections that I'm currently writing for the third Quinton novel, The Blast That Tears the Skies. The most famous Royal Oak was, of course, sunk in Scapa Flow on 14 October 1939 by U-47, which had daringly penetrated the harbour defences.
Finally, beginning with this post 'View from the Lair' will be moving home to be hosted by the website of publishers Ian Allan, who are bringing out my book Blood of Kings and are about to launch their new website; the archive of previous posts will also be transferring across, although they'll also continue to be available at this url. The blog should have much greater exposure on that site, and it might also be possible to do some exciting new things with it.