Sunday, October 08, 2006

One Conker to Rule them All


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.

Top tips
- 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
- practise

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.

12 comments:

Susan Abraham said...

Oh my God, Wilf.

Conkers link me to Enid Blyton and the Just William series of stories. What wonderful memories!

And now all these fascinating information too.

Remembering some schoolyard notoriety with regards to conckers, no doubt Crompton & Blyton's book heroes could have used a few valuable lessons.

Lovely post today! Thank you.

Claire Jones said...

Wilf dear heart,

Ashton home of the conker championships is held in NORTHAMPTONSHIRE!!

Details here...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northamptonshire/asop/east_northants/conkers_2003/conkers_hadman.shtml

May I suggest your geography teacher who is probably called Alan wears a Dunce's Hat and stands in the corner!

Standards are slipping...tusk tusk!

The GodMother

Wilf said...

Conkers should be part of the national curriculum, Susan.
Addy

Wilf said...

I have a confession to make - despite having the link, I didn't check the and took the county straight from the pages of Roald Dahl's, 'My Year'. That'll teach me.
Addy

Atyllah said...

Such a violent game, Wilf, tsk! But if you must beat people up with conkers, may I suggest you find a few Draconians and practice on them! They could do with a thrashing!

Wilf said...

Yeah, the Draconians would be all style and no substance - Wilf would thrash them!
Addy

Candy said...

I was playing football with some short people at the new Whittington Park football pitch last Sunday when two boys zoomed past, towed by a bike, in their rollerblades. After they fell off a couple of times, they jogged over to invite us to attend the Hampstead Heath conker championships. Unfortunately the short people I was with became very hungry and had to be taken home and stuffed. But here is a report on what happened on the heath.

Wilf said...

Tee-hee, tee-hee - some of my best friends are short people. A.

I read the conker report and I have decided that next year I will do the Short People World Conker Championship. No adults.

jason evans said...

Wow, that sounds seriously wild! I want to play!!

Khylan said...

"You must understand, the idea is to break your opponent's conker and not their wrist but this can be a nice bonus."

LOL! Crack up.

Wilf said...

There must be some horse chestnuts in your part of the world - play on!
Addy

Wilf said...

Thanks Khylan!
Addy