Sunday, October 08, 2006
The thing is that about now everyone goes bonkers about conkers. So a pause for a bit of conker stuff. Conkers is an ancient game played by kings and peasants and arch- bishops for all I know. It is actually fantastically violent and was nearly banned in our school a few years ago when an unknown hero actually managed to break the headteacher's wrist. You must understand, the idea is to break your opponent's conker and not their wrist but this can be a nice bonus. Other hazards when playing conkers are conker splinters flying into your face, loss of one or both eyes, bits of conker innard in your mouth and severe bruising on any exposed part of your upper body bits. Apart from that it's perfectly harmless and even Mrs Trundle, our teacher has a go (the rumour is that's how she lost her eye - cool).
Roald Dahl was a big conker fan and he tells us in his book, 'Roald Dahl, My Year' that,
'...a great conker is one that has been stored in a dry place for at least a year. This matures it and makes it rock hard and therefore formidable.'
It's true. Dexter tried soaking his in vinegar for a week and Tyson baked his in the oven at a very low temperature for six hours. Useless - they went for looks and not inner toughness. Typical.
- choose a conker with a sharp edge (not the big round ones)
- the shinier it is the less likely it is too win (thin and soft inside)
- keep it for one year or more before use (tough dull shell)
- keep your eye on the conker when aiming
- keep your head still when firing
For the full low down on how to play, follow the link. It's not just bashing (unless you are Dexter) it is like science, seriously.
The world conker championships have just begun at Ashton in Cambridgeshire. This has been going since the olden days or 1965. The grown-ups have taken over, it's The Alan Club all over again.