Monday, November 13, 2006

Bonkers for Conkers




This is a late post but wanted to show you what Sam and l did just before Halloween. We went for a walk to collect leaves for a nature collage, brought it all home and got very sticky with the glue. Sam got to learn about the different shapes of leaves and collect horse-chestnuts. The leaves were all just starting to change colour which made collecting them more fun. Bet you can't guess what one Sam did- he was very good at this!





When l was around 10/11years l loved to climb trees ~ l was a real tomboy. Our neighbours, the Mcgranigan’s, an Irish family of mostly boys had a large Chestnut tree in their garden ~ brilliant for finding conkers!
The fruits of this tree would give us much fun during Sept/Oct- when ripe. We would climb all day, going higher and higher, always in search of the biggest prickly casing. I fell from this tree once and landed on top of two garden pots - l was knocked unconscious, mum came running and all was ok in the end, however l did have two large ring marks on my back for a while- ouch! This was the 'conker' season.
We would take our best ones and thread a string (shoelace) through the centre; the conker would hang on a knot at the end. To find the best conkers for play you would put them all in a basin of water, the ones that would sink were harder.
Conkers is a game for two people, striking at each other’s conker with their own. If your chestnut survives the strikes or you manage to knock your opponents conker off the string then you call it a ‘one-er’. A winning conker can then go on to do battle with other conkers, each victory adding to the conker’s score. If lucky your ‘one-er’ then becomes a ‘two-er’ and so on. The Mcgranigan’s used to cheat by pickling their conkers to make them harder ~ l remember asking my mum for the vinegar too, oh the shame.
There are various different swings that people tend to favour- l used to swing down vertically. Others would swing from the side or diagonally- always looking for the weakest point of the nut. You had to watch out for the swing and not pull back- all a bit unnerving. We played this game at home and at school- there was real competition and everyone enjoyed because even if you lost you could still go home and string up another.
Sadly these traditional playground pursuits such as conkers, handstands, tag, yo-yos and even skipping are consigned to history as safety-obsessed councils and schools declare them 'too dangerous'. How on earth did we survive?

15 comments:

Pretty Lady said...

Thank you for sharing your memories, I was a tomboy too, but what a great time I had being so daring, I do also love climbing on trees and I fell from one and I cut my tongue and my chin. I guess conker was fun, I played those games too and if I try to share them with my daughter but they are not allowed anymore specially the tag.

somershade said...

Beautiful art work of leaves and fall gatherings.
Bad fall from that tree ouch!!!

When I was first reading about the game I thought suerly they are not bopping each other on the head with those things. But then I clicked on your link and found out how to play. Duh!

Great fall post a+ for being so creative.Seems to come easy for you!
kiss kiss

Tammy said...

LMBO...here in Ohio they are called Buck~eyes...that is what the college football team is called too...women wear them as jewelery, why just the other day they had necklases for sale at Krogers of all places for $8 per strand!!
My papaw carried one for years, said they brought good luck...my Mom makes buck~eye peanutbutter candies that look just like the nut at Christmas time...
:-D

Sue said...

Love the leaves, and what fun games. Seems the simple games we all played are ruled much to risky nowdays. What a shame!
xoxo

Cathy said...

I've never heard of this game before, and we have chestnuts here; perhaps we can import this tradition!

Grish said...

I hadn't heard of conkers before. I love the leaves btw...

snappy said...

Horizon,I love Conkers.I blogged about them, and that game earlier.Too many liberals now making absurd rules up.I can remember getting smacked on the hand by bad conker players, as a tactic.Its a tradition that needs keeping alive.The UK is the only place it was played..

Kerri said...

I think you are the 3rd blogger I've read who has posted about conkers. It's fun to read about these old games. There are so many things we did in our childhood which are deemed as too dangerous now. Amazing, isn't it?
Now climbing that big tree could definitely be dangerous. So glad you survived relatively unscathed :)
I couldn't guess which collage wee Sam created. They're both so pretty. We're so far apart, yet so much is the same!

Sharon Kay said...

We had so much fun that the children of today are missing. The conkers game sounds like a lot of fun. Here in the states they will not let children run and play games during recess because they may get hurt.....We all had the bumbs and bruses and are still here to talk about them.........love the pictures with the leaves and not sure which one is Sam's...........

Nancy said...

loved reading about conkers. I had never heard of it. what fun!

Pamela said...

Conkers sounds like great fun! Even for big kids like us! lol Isn't that the truth too, so silly, how did we survive! Fun post! :)

PEA said...

Well, I just learned something new...Conkers! It certainly does sound like it was a lot of fun but thank goodness you survived the fall from that tree while getting some of the fruit!! It really is a shame that a lot of the games we use to play all the time, you don't see anymore...we all survived, why wouldn't our own kids??? As you said, these safety obsessed councils have ruined all the fun! Love the leaf collage you and Sam made...delightful!!! Hugs xoxo

Sling said...

Conkers sounds like fun.
I've taught my children how to use a Yo-Yo,,Round the world,cat's cradle,sleeping and such.I keep one in my dresser for emergencies..

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

What pretty autumny collages...is there such a word?LOL Interesting story about conkers too !

tea
xo

slap me happy said...

Sam did both didn't he lol, very nice time for you both to share. very nice to keep for the future to show himn when he grows up.
xx
shona

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