Monday 5 September 2011

Fun with Conkers

I remember the day back in September 2009... I had just started my new job and was walking around the corner to the shop with my head down probably wondering that the hell I was doing here and if I'd ever remember to ask people for their surname rather than their last name when I noticed loads of spikey rounded "things" on the ground.  I wondered first if they were shells protecting a living thing like a tiny spikey shelled turtle, but when I gingerly picked one up, it was empty inside and I was perplexed. 
My spikey find
Image: mine
I took my spikey "thing" home to my husband and he infomed me it was the outside of a conker (a horse chestnut). They grow on trees and squirrels (and maybe birds?) eat the conker (its a seed really) inside and leave the spikey bits on the ground which is why I kept finding them empty...until today!

I have finally found a lovely whole conker in it's spikey shell!   Why is this exciting, you ask?  Because now I can play conkers!  Hooray! 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention -  a conker is the seed inside a spikey shell that squirrels eat, but is also a game that children play with the seed part. To play conkers, you need a large whole conker (just the inside) which you will drill or skewer through. Then put a string through the hole and tie at the end creating a conker on a string.  Your opponent will have the same thing and one of you will hold your string at the top letting the conker dangle down while the other swings his and tries to smash yours to bits.   (just a side note, before this was properly explained to me, I thought kids played with conker still inside the spikey shell which I still think sounds a lot more exciting than the real version of the game!)

Conker swing in action
Image: Ashton Conker Club
Once you have defeated another conker, yours is upgraded to a one-er (one victory), and then the next win makes it a two-er and so on.  Also, if you beat another "ranked" conker, you take on their victories too - you keep your victories (two), take their victories (five) and then get a point for beating them (one) making you an eight-er.   Note: the conker adds up the victories, not the person!

Since my new conker hasn't beaten anyone, he's called a none-er.* Boo-hoo.  And here he is as found:

Conker hiding in his shell
Image: mine

Looks like a winner to me!  I peeled back the shell (its not really a shell since its quite soft, but I dont know what other word to use) to reveal this...

WTF mutated tiny twin testicular conkers?!  Those won't beat the kids on the playground!

Guess I'll keep looking.... My first game will have to wait.  I'll keep you posted.

*Regional verbage may vary


  1. I'm informed that there are strategies for making your conker invincible... freezing and roasting for example. Keep us posted!

  2. Yes, apparently something about vinegar and baking... Cheat to win!