Thursday, 18 September 2008
As autumn gently arrives (not that it's following much of a summer), the trees in the square in front of my flat are beginning to turn brown, and the horse chestnuts are shedding their conkers.
Now, as a child I remember being taken by my Mum and Dad to collect conkers on a lane on the hill of Brent Knoll in Somerset: the conkers from the few trees around where we lived were quickly snapped up by eager young hands, whereas where we went there was less competition.
Of course, we always collected far more than we needed to play conkers at school, in those blissful, far off days when, if you'd told anyone that playing conkers might one day be banned by the Health & Safety people, they would have thought you were mad.
Fast-forward to 2008 and the trees in Nevern Square (and one in particular) are producing a bountiful harvest of fresh, plump conkers. I think they are beautiful objects in their own right, but alas, no-one seems to collect them these days: there are plenty of children around here, but clearly this is one tradition that has bitten the dust. There are drifts of conkers lying in the road, just waiting to be squashed by parking cars.
It seems such a terrible waste to me: perhaps I should go and collect some, just for old times' sake...