Monday, October 07, 2019


The quest began in 1998 because that is the autumn Marcel learned to walk. And it continued for 20 years... At first we lived in a West End flat in Glasgow, so Marcel and I made our way up to the Botanic gardens every year and searched on the grass around every chestnut tree. I'm not sure we got the timing right, having waited till the trees were completely yellow, so we came home with two or three at most. By the time Charlotte was a toddler, we'd tracked down the tree in the far corner of the Botanics on the Great Western road side. We managed to fill at least one pocket with that one, several years in a row. When we first moved to the southside, we simply commuted back in autumn but eventually we did try tracking down trees in Rouken Glen but were lucky if we ever got more than one conker per child per year. They were like gold dust - whether it was the squirrels or the school children passing through, conkers were simply thin on the ground. Finally, when Amaia was about five I had an epiphany. Where are there trees, but not many passing kids? Graveyards, not just graveyards but the furthest most secluded corner of the Necropolis to be exact! I've never admitted this, for fear of it getting out, that there was a tree in there that actually had conkers by the handful. The first year we actually managed to fill my camera bag and the kids managed to play conkers and make little conker animals, Danish-style! Bliss. 
I know the kids are getting kind of big now but Amaia still has a conker year or two in her, so thought I would need to start my scouting early in this unknown new place... until we moved into our new house and looked out the window, that is. What did I see? What do I actually own? This! Oh my lord - there is an abundance. If I'm still here when I'm a granny, I'm going to be the most popular granny in the world! I was certainly a fairly popular auntie yesterday to my six year old niece who lives in a fourth floor flat in Copenhagen! She went home with a supermarket bag full. I expect Thomas's sister might even be able to sell them to other parents in Valby, she collected that many! And Amaia collected a few too - the other 98% are still out there on the tree!

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