Too hot to go far today. There's no way I'm putting Sylvester in the car or on a commuter-packed train. So instead we stay local and venture across the road to see if our neighbour Lloyd fancies a walk around the block.
We take a stroll most days, Sylvester and I, to take the air as it were and watch the trees go by. (Do trees go by if you're sitting in a pram or is it you who goes by them? I think of the Pacific tribe we saw on TV recently whose peripatetic philosophy is to let the mountain come to them rather than visit it.) Anyway, I digress; on a stroll with Lloyd, The Knowledge on anything Forest Gate, we also get a guided tour.
We proceed through the Woodgrange Estate where, he tells me, several large manor houses once stood among pasture and parkland. Three streets up and we're on Wanstead Flats.
The next leg of our journey is the semi-circumnavigation of a copse of oak trees by the park warden's hut; if you're after a feast of parasol mushrooms, X marks the spot. We discuss whether laws made last year, protecting against the collection of fungi in Epping Forest, stretch down to Wanstead Flats. Either way the mushroom cupboard is bare, so we are spared the temptation.
I ask if this is the circle of trees that mark where the bandstand used to be. Lloyd points, in response, to the far corner of the flats by Angel Pond and the 'Beware Cattle' sign on the corner of Capel Road (cattle grazed freely here, under the Epping Forest Act 1878 and the right of common pasture, until the BSE crisis in 1996). According to Lloyd the bandstand circle of trees is comprised of 56 London planes, the exact same number as there are Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge.
Apparently the dude responsible for planting the bandstand trees was a bit of a solstice fan and came over all druidic when he put the planning proposals through. Shame he didn't organise a music festival at the same time.
I must go and count those trees at some point.