All about the Furzedown Oak Project, by Guest Blogger Christopher Guest...
Furzedown is reported to have a habitation of tree-carvers, scientific name Furzedown Oak Community Project. Not seen frequently, they nevertheless show evidence of sustained and intelligent activity. Signs of their recent presence can be piles of oak bark, oak chips, or heavy-duty grey plastic sheeting. That the area is a hill-top may account for their choosing this place for their inexplicable industry. They seem to be from another era, and to have fled the rush of everyday life: they apparently shun normal patterns of work and recompense.
Do not be alarmed: they are harmless. Friendly local people do interact with them and even provide them with safe havens in less frequented corners. Behind churches for example, or in gated playgrounds. Beautiful signs of their life are the bench at the memorial garden of St Paul's Church on Welham Rd and the painted log outside Eardley School. The bench in the Tooting Community Garden in North Drive and the cloister of St Alban's Church are also well worth visiting: both are classic sites, ie in a quiet garden behind a locked door.
Their behaviour has noticeably evolved, however, over the last four years, and they are becoming bolder occasionally. Astute scientists are fascinated to observe their trails to such beaten paths as Moyser Rd, where there are two focal points for them: one is in front of Sprout Arts and the other is next to the Furzedown Project. The correct methodology for monitoring these breakouts from known behavioural paradigms is a topic of hot debate.
The exact interest of this folk in the tree species, American Red Oak, which attracts them is unclear. At least one study is under way investigating whether they are attempting a conscious form of communication. Links with alcoholic intoxication as integral to their actions has been ruled out as the area is notorious for its lack of public houses.
This is a milestone in the anthropology/zoology/botany of the liminal space between Tooting and Streatham, between urban and natural, public and private, sane and insane, in fact we are faced with throwing out the dictionaries. What tools are we left with then, in this new and uncertain phase? Fortunately technology comes to the rescue in the Guest pattern display case, pictured above. This is being trialled locally and businesses or organisations with shopfronts are invited to apply for short-term use of it to raise the profile and funds (sponsorship) of this endearing local life form. Its outside dimensions are 12 x 26 x 13 inches (depth, width, height).