What? I hear my American chums cry. I'm talking about the common horse chestnut, or Aeschulus hippocastanum, a member of the group of trees that include several varieties of the buckeye tree. In Britain the common horse chestnut is also known as the conker tree, and the nuts produced by it are known to British schoolchildren as conkers. There is a game of conkers which has probably been played by every British schoolkid for a good few centuries. The game involves:
- Collecting a good few conkers that have fallen from the tree, the bigger the better;
- Making a thin hole through them and threading them with string, making a knot at the bottom, one per string;
- With another person who is armed with a conker, take turns striking each other's conkers with your conker, until one of them breaks.
- If your conker destroys your opponent's conker, it becomes a 'one-er'. If it then destroys another, it becomes a 'two-er'. If your 'two-er' breaks another 'two-er', it becomes a 'four-er'. If that 'four-er' breaks a 'two hundred and seventy-sixer' then it becomes a 'two hundred and eighty-er' and so on.
Today while walking along Appledore Road in Tenterden with its multitude of horse-chestnut trees lining the road like a green-yellow arbor, I noticed the amount of conkers on the ground and was transported back to the days of my youth when I walked that very thoroughfare daily to school and back, and to town to do the grocery shopping on a Saturday morning. Collecting conkers for the purposes of playing against and beating your school chums was the thing to do. The sky was cloudy, there was a slight breeze and a vague chill in the air. Yes indeed, the season is definitely upon us, I thought. 'I shall have to take some piccies on my way back', I mused, knowing that my dear children, raised in America, had never seen such delights as conkers.
|Two conker trees at the top of the first entrance to Shrubcote.|
|Two others at the other entrance.|
As I toddled back along the road some hours later, dusk was upon us and the light was fading. It was considerably colder and the street lamps were coming on. There was a beautiful evening sky too, so I did take a few pics, collecting some conkers as I did so, as I knew the shots of them on the ground would be too dark. I'll take a pic when I get in, I thought.
Well as I walked further and the light faded, my photographer's eye kicked in and I got a bit arty.
|At the top of Beacon Oak Road, a lamppost merges with another tree.|
|On Silver Hill, moving traffic create a beautiful blur.|
|View from halfway down Silver Hill looking across towards Homewood School sports fields.|
|The Fat Ox looking all warm and welcoming on a chill autumnal night.|
|Even Shop Around The Clock cannot escape the arty treatment.|
|Top of Chalk Avenue looking towards Henley Fields.|
|Chalk Avenue with the spire of St. Michael and All Angels clearly visible on the horizon.|