I have been trying to type a new post for my blog but my brain is rather sluggish.
I have a cold.
Or maybe it is an allergy.
However things cheered up considerably when we went for a walk this morning, because I picked up my first conker of the season. For me this means that Autumn is well and truly on the way.
|This photograph of our village horse chestnut trees was taken today by Kirk Dale|
When I was a child we would make a hole through the biggest ones and thread them with string. Then we would play 'conkers’, trying to smash our opponent’s conker so that our one could become a champion.
There was a rhyme to sing when playing conkers:
Obbly obbly onker, my first conker,
Ack ack ack my first crack."
When my family moved to Melbourne there were very few conker trees and so I only ever got them when I was back in England and staying with my uncle and aunt. They had two huge old conker trees at the bottom of the garden. My aunt would collect lots of them in buckets and when neighbouring children came she would allow them to reach in a take a huge handful: a conker lucky dip. I of course being a favoured nephew, was always presented with the biggest one when I arrived – even as an adult!
|This photograph of today's small conker haul was taken by Kirk Dale.|
Now we are living in Europe and conkers are plentiful at this time of year. Technically they are horse chestnuts but to me they are conkers. Shiny, dark brown ones are the best. Now that I am approaching fifty I do not grab a bucket and rush out madly looking for the biggest and the best ones and hording them all for myself. Instead, I walk sedately and look as if I do not care about them, but once I spy a nice big, dark brown, shiny one with clear champion tendencies, I cannot help myself: I have to pick it up. I must pick it up!
I hold it in my hand and feel its glossy smoothness. Then I slip it into my pocket, occasionally putting my hand inside to make sure it is still there.
|This photograph of the my first conker was taken by Kirk Dale|
When we get back home I put it in pride of place on my bedside table. As the season progresses the conker is joined by various others that I find. Some may be bigger or browner or glossier but my first conker will retain its place as ‘premier’ conker in the collection – and when winter comes and there are no more conkers to be had, it will go and join the various others that sit dotted around the house until they shrivel up and are then tossed into the old dike, there among the bushes and grass to gradually return to the earth that produced them.
Another good thing about the arrival of Autumn is the fact that we eat ‘marzipan hornchen’. This is a croissant with marzipan inside. It is extremely addictive! The local baker makes them and they are very nice with a cup of tea or coffee on a cool day.
|This photograph of a Marzipan Hornchen was taken by Kirk Dale.|