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Outfit: Conkers


If you've never heard of conkers before, you're in good company. Until recently I had no idea what a "conker" was and had certainly never played it! Conkers are another term for chestnuts, or rather a local, traditional children's game played with chestnuts. It's a pretty simple game between two people. Each person has a conker threaded on a string (or more commonly an old shoelace, my shoelaces were sacrificed this year) and they take turns whacking one another's conker. The first conker to break loses. But the real strategy in conkers comes earlier, in the collection of the best chestnuts and then the special preparation you take to make your chosen conker the hardest and toughest to beat. Some trees will produce bigger nuts and you collect a lot before you make your final selection of which looks the biggest and best. Then, there are different techniques to toughen your conker--Thomas told me when he was younger he would hoard some for a whole year in a hot press waiting until the next autumn to make their fighting debut, while other people would soak their conkers in vinegar in attempt to make them harder. It's an old game that dates back to the 1800s and still played today, although some schools have banned it (and you can imagine why it might not be wise to have children swinging hardened conkers on strings in each other's faces!).

This is how "conkers" or chestnuts look on the branch; they have an outer protective prickly shell you break off to get to the nut in the center. An old wives tale says having fresh chestnuts in your house will keep spiders away.

I had a lot of fun collecting conkers and learning to play the game a bit this autumn. I'm quite a newbie so it's hard for me to even swing my conker correctly to hit my opponent's! But it's fun to learn a little bit about Thomas's childhood and highly entertaining to watch him play against his father (they're tied with equal wins and losses right now)! I might have to bring this game back to America and teach my family to play on our next visit.

16 comments:

Around Colours said...

I had never heard of that game. The only thing we do with those here is roast them and eat them haha but it seems fun!

Cori Hicks said...

This is such a neat game! And I love the pairing of the blouse and skirt!

Laura Mitbrodt said...

Another beautiful fall look, I love your skirt
xo
www.laurajaneatelier.com

nickyaddrison said...

conkers are inedible horse chestnuts. The seeds look slightly similar to chestnuts, but they only distantly related.

Linda Tran said...

Your entire outfit is gorgeous!! Always have such beautiful photos! :)

Linda
Typically Linda || Instagram

rae lovefromberlin said...

Loving the fall vibes and this outfit so much and I just learnt what conkers were this year from a friend from the UK when he saw them lying on the ground!

Rae | Love from Berlin

Shannon said...

This is so cool! I have to know: how do you thread them? It seems as if they'd be really hard on the inside and therefore difficult to thread with something as thick as a shoelace.

Molly said...

I have never played conkers (being Australian) but my Scottish partner played it every autumn as a child. Now that I've mentioned conkers to him, he's going to take me to his childhood source (a chestnut tree near his old school) so we can collect some! I'm a little excited :)

Malu Swartjes said...

Wow,you look so stunning! Lovely photos:)
xx
BLES Magazine: the brand new online magazine about Beauty Life Entertainment & Style!

Laura said...

I'm impressed with how many gorgeous photos you are able to present from ONE OUTFIT. Seriously, I get how much of an accomplishment that is. Love the shots. www.clothesstories.wordpress.com

Susanna said...

Woah. That blouse is so gorgeous. And the colouring of your photos is also inspirational. I just found your blog recently and I am absolutely loving it.

Rebecca, A Clothes Horse said...

@Shannon, You have to drill a hole in them; Thomas used a thick nail, so the hole isn't tiny, and then a shoelace actually works pretty well because the hard bit at the end of the lace is easier to push through than a flimsy thread.

Lady Emily said...

You look so pretty! I love the short hair with the beret. And that blouse is so cute wit the skirt!

Lady Emily said...

You look so pretty! I love the short hair with the beret. And that blouse is so cute wit the skirt!

Anonymous said...

Your outfits are so perfect! It's interesting to see conkers in this blog post. We have these trees all over Southern Ontario, including the beach in my home town Cobourg. One time my friend and I encountered a little boy holding the spiked shell of one of those horse chestnuts and he was very outgoing and started telling us he was going to use it to make a helmet for his pet snake. It was so adorable!

Jo said...

Conkers are also good for getting rid of spiders in your home. A handful here any there seems to keep them at bay.
Lovely post,
Jo x