Right royal conkers!

September 18, 2007 at 10:53 am | Posted in Britain, conkers, England, Fun, Games, Kids, UK | 1 Comment

Windsor Great Park is out-of-bounds for collecting conkers nowadays, due to foot and mouth disease precautions in our area. No matter—we have a stash of conkers from last year, and the year before that! Look at this crystal bowl full of conkers, fit for a queen:

Conkers from Windsor Castle grounds collected in October 2005

We have heard that hand cream ensures a winner. Strangely, last evening there was an inquiring yell from the bathroom, where our youngest son was considering spreading hair removing cream on his conker! (He did not read the word “removing” and thought hair cream would be similar to hand cream and thus guarantee him a champion …)

We also heard that conkers explode in the microwave—but we are not going to try that at home, as Brainiac have already proved that one for the boys! (Brainiac being a reliable source of such information, you realise.)

We have an even better solution to improve our conkers’ chances of winning: natural aging. The catch is, you see, that old conkers are rarely kept beyond the season: typically these “toys” would get tossed in a pre-Christmas tidying session. So those old chestnuts that have had time to harden naturally are rare—but when this time of year rolls round once again, as it always does, they have the perfect chance to become stars!

One fairly fresh conker split open at school today, in the first trials by Year 5. So, I have just been on conker duty, and operated on an old one, making a clean, narrow hole—the perfect fit for regular parcel string—with a Phillips head screwdriver. Let’s see how this one does in the current conker championships😉

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  1. …which is the very reason we call some time-proved items and ideas, ‘old chestnuts,’ isn’t it? Nice point. Incidentally didn’t vinegar figure in the old recipes somehow? Or slow-hardening in warm (but not hot!) ashes overnight (“when ah were a lad, in’t days of coal fires…”). Or am I re-magining my youth again?


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