Thursday, October 11, 2007

Conkers

In response to public demand, the answer to the question "what are conkers?" ...

Conkers are nuts from the horse chestnut tree - not edible (unless you are a squirrel!) but beautifully shiny and satisfyingly round. Somehow it isn't possible to see a conker on the ground and not pick it up and stuff it into your pocket. Unless you have no soul, that is. Or are no longer still a child at heart. Horse chestnuts are one of our most common trees, so conkers are easy to find in the autumn.

When I was a child everyone used to play a game unimaginatively called conkers. You prepare your conkers by skewering a hole through them and threading them onto individual pieces of string. One player holds a conker still, dangling on its string; the other player then swings their conker at it, trying to break it. The players take turns until one conker breaks, leaving the intact conker the winner. The game of conkers seems to have gone out of fashion, but kids still collect them.

You can find more about conkers here and here.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL! I'm glad you posted that! I was wondering, but figured it was some British term I should know but don't.....and was afraid to ask. :-)

-Catherine

Spinneretta said...

I miss conkers... they don't seem to have any around here and walnuts and hickory nuts are not the same thing!

Faith said...

Oh thank you for that wonderful explanation. It makes me think of Darcy in P&P talking about running to the great horse chesnut tree by the smithy as a child! I think that line is only in the A&E version. But still it sounds so British to me!

BTW my yard is littered with very ugly green fruit, I think dropped from walnut trees? But they are no way near as pretty as horse chesnuts!

Sarah said...

So, here in Ohio, we call them buckeyes. (Proudly, I might add.) And we make necklaces out of them!

Anyway, thanks for the answer, and not just an answer, but a colorful explanation! :)

Romany said...

Kathryn

playing conkers has been banned from many playgrounds. {sigh} A child could get hurt you know!