Now, let’s talk about Vicky Park.

Long ago when Hackney Wick was full of peanuts and never called Fish Island or was simply confused with the name The Isle of Dogs by North Londoners pushing east, Victoria Park was not a landmark, a picnic place,  an interest for a documentary. It was swampy,  unchartered and had deer. Around the perimeter,  grand horse-chestnut trees guarded another era when people slept in on a Sunday and lived in a square of houses destined to be worth millions.

 I used to take youngsters in an Austin 1300 with its sunroof and, with no problem,  park by Victoria Park around a back way gate. We’d collect conkers and feed them to the deer. We’d fill up carrier bags and leave the conkers in the grate at home.

One day I chucked out the collection. After a few months the conkers had rooted and sprouted. I put a sapling in each corner of the cultivated garden.

Thirty-two years later, son of a Victoria Park conker tree stands huge and beautiful in a Leyton back yard. Proud? You bet.

Today we lost plastic Buzz Lightyear in the paddling pool area.


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