The Oak Lives Long

It’s been a really long time since I went to Shabbat services in an English synagogue but not much has changed. It was lovely to see my great niece Charlotte perform her D’var Torah on the 23rd. She acquitted herself really well, which surprised no one, and it was lovely to hear her give such meaning to the Torah portion and to hear the rabbi praise her so highly.
And of course, the hats were great. In the more conservative congregations in England, married women wear hats to services and they can give Derby Day or Royal Ascot a run for the money.
We hope to catch up more with family in the next couple of days, since it was really hard to even get into the Kiddush, let alone visit or eat anything.
Late afternoon we got ourselves organized and headed out to see the area in which I grew up, the borough of Southgate in North London.

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I grew up on Langside Crescent, which you can see on the map. We drove past the house in which I lived from one month to 18 years. It looks very different now, especially since the garage has been converted and the front re-landscaped, but since my parents sold the house in 1985, it’s not surprising. It was interesting to me how close together the houses look now and how compact the neighborhood seems.
I also showed Angie Southgate tube station, which opened in 1933. Built in the Art Deco/Streamline Moderne style, it is the only Tube station that is completely circular. This picture barely does it justice. Many of the original features of the station are still in place, unlike many other stations.

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Our last stop on the nostalgia tour was a quick stop at the Oak Garden on Waterfall Road, just down from where I went to primary (grade school). This is the home of the Minchenden Oak, after which my high school was named. Legend has it that the Minchenden Oak is (or at one point was) the largest Oak tree in England and that it was documented in the Doomsday book, which is believed to have been the first census.
Does it look big to you?

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I can’t believe we forgot to take any pictures for the rest of the evening, though it was par for the course yesterday, since we also forgot to get pictures of Angie and me in dresses before we went to the service. In the evening, we concluded our tour of Southgate by meeting up with some of my old school friends at Ye Olde Cherry Tree, the pub that was my local growing up and has been around since at least the 17th Century. The pub has changed a bit, but not too much. Of course the location was not as important as the company. It was a chance to reunite with my old friends, Sara, Hilary, Dora, and Nikki. We had a good catch up and Angie didn’t feel lost too much of the time. The food was very good too.

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