Have you ever seen a conker? Or, better
still, played conkers as a kid? It’s a lot of fun.
The idea is to drill a hole through the conker and thread a piece of
string, or a shoelace,
through it and tie a knot at one end so that the conker stays on the
Conkers is played in pairs. One player holds the string at the end so
that the conker
hangs down as still as possible. The other player has to swing his
conker at the dangling
one and try to hit it and break it. If he or she hits it, he or she can
have another go. If
he or she misses, however, the turn goes to the other player. You win
when you completely
destroy the other player’s conker.
There is technique in this game. You want to hit your opponent’s conker
hard, but you
still need to be accurate. If you miss, you lose your advantage. Some
players bake their
conkers in the oven to make them hard, others soak them in vinegar.
The game isn’t without its dangers. A bad aim could bring a conker down
on your opponent’s
knuckles. This was a tactic I used to my advantage because if you gave
several painful hits on the knuckles, he was unable to hold his conker
and you won the game.
I found this underhanded method quite easy to implement as most kids
would hold out their
conkers with their eyes closed in anticipation of the hit.
A certain prestige and respect is attached to a conker that has
destroyed many others. If you
win a game, you have a 1er. If you smash two conkers, you have a 2er. 3,
a 3er, 4 a 4er etc. I
once had a 37er that I swapped for a model car.
By far the most enjoyable part of this schoolboy game (it was mainly
boys who played conkers
when I was a child) is searching for and collecting your conkers in the
autumn when they fell
from the chestnut trees. My mum used to take me conker hunting to parks
and forests and it
remains one of my fondest childhood memories.
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