Just round the corner from our house is a beautiful tree-lined street. The trees are all horse chestnuts and as Autumn has arrived, that means conkers. Lots and lots of conkers!
Nothing makes me feel more nostalgic than conkers. It’s been my first conker Autumn for over a decade. These conker mornings – boy, how I missed them. Fresh dew on the ground, the sun hanging low in the sky, and your breath mixing with the light mist in the air. My sons collected up the chestnuts from the ground and I was looking forward to teaching them how to pickle them, lightly bake them, and store them in the airing cupboard to produce all-conquering conkers. Even the word is brilliant – conker! For me, conkers brings up images of school uniforms, fingers of Fudge and cub caps. Thing is, no one plays them anymore.
The first clue was the sheer number of chestnuts my kids gathered up. When I was a wee lad, we were out in t’fields like gold prospectors, searching for the biggest hardest nut. My boys remained unchallenged when gathering, and collected quite the booty.
I enjoyed teaching them how to pierce them and hang them on the shoelace. We had a few games in the garden but they really needed competition from their peers to get into it, even though I (as usual!) let them win. Ah well. I imagine Fudges aren’t even 10p anymore.
A sidenote: Spent last week visiting my parents in my hometown. Thought I’d take my boys on a trip to find some more conkers. Incredibly, two of the three horse chestnut trees we used to plunder have been chopped down! Perhaps because of pesky kids. But isn’t there a law against that?