North Circular Cork Oak - may take some beating. That a cork oak stands so incongruously placed on this busy road is down to a bit of vanity planting by the owners of a linoleum factory, now disappeared. The road must have crept closer and closer to the site so that now the tree's existence is an act of defiance, standing alone in a fenced enclosure, the busy road on one side and a retail park and industrial estate behind.
The fence is broken - car crash, probably - and as I was trying to squeeze through a passer-by tried to help me out and I had to explain that I was trying to climb in to see the tree, that I had come especially to see it. He looked at up in awe - "Never noticed it before" he said "All the times I've walked past. Well, I never." Inside, you get to see and touch the glorious corkiness of the bark and, out of sight, you can even give it a hug. In spite of the discarded drink cans, the weeds and traffic passing by, it was like being in a magical space.
We made out way back home that day via the Wood Street Horse Chestnut and the George Green Sweet Chestnut, once home to protesters against the A12 extension. It still looks a little sad.
There more oaks to visit- the oaks of Fairlop and Fulham Palace, the Dulwich Park Turkey Oak, the Valence Park Holm Oak - and we'll make our way to them in due course, no doubt. While I'm waiting I will indulge in virtual oaky outings - Marlene's oak jewellery and the corsets and haberdashery of Fleur Oakes.