UKC

Conkers - forgotten about?

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 subtle 08 Oct 2021

Walked down a street in a busy enough town today, in a residential area, and was struck to see so many conkers lying on the ground - obviously the school kids of today don't play conkers any more!

Was quite sad, a game from my child hood now gone, guess its not electronic enough for the youth of today.

There were some beauties there though as I stopped to pick up a few, now need to get home and cure them, just in case I get asked for a game anytime soon.

Any favorite method of curing them?

3
 wintertree 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

They're in short supply my way - always gone within hours of a windfall.  I have to really scoot about to find enough to last the year for my shampoo - a saponin extract from the conker's flesh.

 Slackboot 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

I had a Thousandser. I pickled it in vinegar and then baked it in the oven. It was the hardest looking conker I ever saw. In the end no one would play me as it looked so mean.

 I think 'Conkers' is banned in lots of schools in case kids get injured.

2
In reply to subtle:

Gone the way of pea-shooters, spud guns, catapults and other such brilliant gadgets.

 Slackboot 08 Oct 2021
In reply to stealth_mode_rob:

and Clackers. They were banned too.

In reply to Slackboot:

> I had a Thousandser. I pickled it in vinegar and then baked it in the oven. It was the hardest looking conker I ever saw. In the end no one would play me as it looked so mean.

>  I think 'Conkers' is banned in lots of schools in case kids get injured.

Think a lot of it was health and safety myth that then spreaded. And then conkers got out of fashion. The most dangerous thing about conkers was making the hole. 
Oh, sounds like a cracking conker you had. 

1
 Route Adjuster 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

Many fond memories of conker collecting, climbing trees, lobbing sticks etc.  Then taking them into school to battle at break times, great fun.  Never mastered the art of curing them though, just strung another one and had another go.

We still collect conkers as a family (doxesn of us now with kids and grand-kids) - make a day of it followed by a picnic and good catch up.

 stubbed 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

My children collect them, but they don't play conkers (neither did I) they play other stuff with them. We love conkers

 jasonC abroad 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

My allotment friend has a harvest festival every year and there is always a knockout conker competition every year, usually won by the same person, using a conker she'd saved from previous years.  After 3 years, she finally got defeated.

Post edited at 14:20
In reply to subtle:

I used year old conkers too. My skills were limited but the opposition broke their own against mine.

Shame about H&S and playground conkers. Kids will have to wait until they can take up climbing or some other senseless occupation to spice up their lives with a bit of risk.

Edit. Forgot, they already do this with solo tree climbing.

Post edited at 14:27
 PaulJepson 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

It basically got banned at our school along with yoyos cos kids would tw*t eachother with them. 

 gravy 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

Kid collect them round here. 

Making the hole was never the most dangerous thing - it was really going for it, missing and getting whacked by the unspent momentum.

 profitofdoom 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

> ......The most dangerous thing about conkers was making the hole......

Red hot knitting needle off the gas stove. What could go wrong?!

 kipper12 08 Oct 2021
In reply to profitofdoom:

Using a plastic knitting needle!

In reply to profitofdoom:

And collecting them could be dangerous. I grew up in Leigh. Folks would start collecting them when they were mainly still white. They’d climb trees of about E5 5a and  jump up and down on the branches and all sorts. Then various sticks, metal rods and other lethal weapons would be hurled at them. When I say ‘them’, I mean both the conkers and the lad up the tree. Wasps going crazy would add to the fun. And a few gang fights thrown in for good measure. 
Sometimes, various dads would turn up.  Hard as nails miners who’s throw was so immense they could have brought down a plane circling for Manchester airport. By early October not much of the trees would be left. Happy Days!

Post edited at 15:08
 combatrock 08 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

Good - more for me (39 years old, still goes "oooohhhh, conker!" when I see a beauty)! 

In reply to subtle:

I got my dad to drill a hole (for the string) in a smooth conker-shaped rock, which I painted to look like the real thing. I didn't make the knot big enough, and the sound of the 'conker' hitting the flagstones gave the game away.

I was henceforth cast aside by my peers to the dark, damp shadowy recesses of the school playground reserved for cheating little shits like me. The shame!  Of course, I blame my dad. 

 Tom Valentine 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

>  I think 'Conkers' is banned in lots of schools in case kids get injured.

The quarries at the back of our farm got turned into the council tip and we used to roam around it at dusk ( along with a lot of other types). For a spell we played conkers with milk bottles. Not stupid, though, we half shielded our eyes with the free hand.

 Slackboot 08 Oct 2021
In reply to Tom Valentine:

Glad to hear you were aware of the latest developments in health and safety.

 mountainbagger 08 Oct 2021
In reply to stubbed:

> My children collect them, but they don't play conkers (neither did I) they play other stuff with them. We love conkers

Same. My 8 yr old daughter has a collection by the front door. I've no idea what she's planning on doing with them yet.

In reply to mountainbagger:

My wife did a ‘show and tell’ in her class today and some 6 yr old brought in a shoe box if shiny conkers which they passed around and counted. He was well proud.  Simple. Amazing. Anything that connects people (of any age) with nature and science and maths * is great. 

* or anything to be honest. 

 Holdtickler 09 Oct 2021
In reply to AllanMac:

See I had the opposite strategy, I painted a real conker with some silver paint. I remember being so convinced that it was gonna be basically as tough as a lump of metal. flawless logic.

Damn those mean kids who played "stamps"! So unsporting!. We were so into it back in my school days, each kid had about 20 on one shoelace. Speed reload after each defeat. The winner took all the losers points right? The higher your rank the more everyone was gunning for you!

 Slackboot 09 Oct 2021
In reply to Holdtickler:

'The winner took all the losers points right? The higher your rank the more everyone was gunning for you!'

There were two grading systems for playing conkers. In one you took the other conkers points if you won. In the other system you got 1 point for every conker you beat. So every conker had two different scores. Sound familiar?

Post edited at 05:11
 Holdtickler 09 Oct 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

Yeah, thinking back now I think we played that you added on the loser"s score to whatever you had before. It was great, you could start the day as a hopeful one-er, survive playtime and you might be up there with a good rank. You'd be king of the world with your 100er by the end of dinner then it would fall off the string and some mean kid would stamp on it uncermoneously. The whole drama would just start over each day and if you'd managed to survive a day you were hero. Good thing they grew on trees! Using last years conkers was also my sneaky trick

We had a good teacher who took advantage of our enthusiasm and planned a whole science experiment around it. Each kid brought in their own soaked, aged, painted etc conker. I think they even tied them all to a stick and tested how many times they could swing it into the wall from a standardized distance. Pretty good science for an infant school really in hindsight.

Such a rich tradition! Time for a comeback. Maybe it should replace the speed in the combined format?

In reply to Bottom Clinger:

I agree, there is nothing to stop a school having a bit of a conker tournament, it's not the most complex think to risk assess. I think we would draw the line at freestyle conker matches without supervision as conkers on strings do make excellent weapons.

1
In reply to subtle:

I always saw it as cheating to season the conker myself.

Great Times as a kid hurling sticks in to trees to knock them down and I have to admit as an adult on occasion if I see kids conkering  I may climb the odd tree, swing around like an orangutan and make it rain for them. 

 robate 09 Oct 2021
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

This deserves to segue into a life story with a name like 'The Harder Years'..

 Slackboot 09 Oct 2021
In reply to robate:

Segue is a great word!

 SFM 09 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

I taught my America cousins the art of conkers. They knew them as buckeyes so thought just the game was called conkers. I gave up explaining the name but the main thing is they loved it and showed all their friends how to play. Just think of the international tournaments that could be had!

 robate 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Slackboot:

I think so too, just the right level of self mockery commenting on a post I really enjoyed from BC..

 Billhook 10 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

Its very hard to play conkers and look at your mobile at the same time.

In reply to subtle:

Ah. Conkers. 

Reminds me of cowpats and sore knuckles.

Loved it. 

 SouthernSteve 10 Oct 2021
In reply to subtle:

When I was at school there were dark allegations that undefeated conkers had been tampered with using superglue or araldite inside the shell.


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