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Here, kid — go play with a nut on a string



Behold, conkers. Horse chestnuts. Allen brought them up. British schoolchildren once played a game where they threaded chestnuts on a string and took turns swinging one against another until one or the other cracked.

Apparently, the main thrill was getting your knuckles rapped with a near miss. Which is why I say “played” — HealthNSafety Nazis have outlawed them in many school jurisdictions. Or mandated — yes — safety glasses.

Wikipedia (where I nicked these nifty photos) has a surprisingly interesting article on the game, including trivia. Which is how you know a Brit must have written the article: International Conker Championship trivia. More lily-gilding than most Americans can manage.

Go read it. It’s too hot in here to excerpt.

Incidentally, sending me home with a pocket full of conkers every Fall, as Uncle B does, is muy illegal. You’re not supposed to smuggle nuts across international borders. I told him he’d made me an accidental scofflaw. And he said, “what’s a scofflaw?” And I had to explain that scofflaw is a bogus, make-believe word for people who broke a bogus, make-believe law.


Comment from Jill
Time: July 8, 2008, 3:50 pm

“…You’re not supposed to smuggle nuts across international borders…”

But what about Amy Winehouse?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 8, 2008, 4:11 pm

TOTALLY out of line, unless she’s going to Berkley.

She’d fit right in over there….

Comment from BGG
Time: July 8, 2008, 4:30 pm

World Wide Words — thanks for giving me a new favorite site. You know, when I was bored as a kid, my dad would say “Go read the dictionary!” And I did. It kind of stuck.

Smuggle nuts…ha, that makes me think of a speedo (grape smuggler). Actually, “Smuggle-Nuts” might make a cute nickname for someone. Who I don’t know.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: July 8, 2008, 4:46 pm

Oooo.K. then……..

Meanwhile, back on the couch……..


Comment from Buffoon
Time: July 8, 2008, 4:59 pm

We call them “Buckeyes” down south. Supposedly, keeping one in your pocket was supposed to bring you luck…

Comment from Allen
Time: July 8, 2008, 5:54 pm

Weasel, that title cracks me up.

Adult: here kid go play with a nut on a string.
Kid: Really!? Cool.

Now for the full flavor, picture playing conkers in a school uniform that we used to have to wear, like this:


I’m having bad flashbacks… 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 8, 2008, 5:57 pm

Heh heh. I bet Uncle B is getting beads of sweat along the hairline, too.

Now that I’m home and in the YouTube business again, I have to go back to that other thread and look at the pitchers.

Comment from Pupster
Time: July 8, 2008, 7:30 pm

Buffoon beat me to it, those are Buckeyes.

Folks string them together with Scarlet and Grey beads to make necklaces; it’s the hot thing to accessorize with on fall Saturdays here in Oh-hi-oh.

I always thought horse-chestnuts was a euphemism for poo.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: July 8, 2008, 9:17 pm

Horse chestnuts = poo in my book, for sure and certain.

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