Sunday, 6 October 2013

conker season


It's Storytelling Sunday over at Sian's blog and she invites each of us to choose an object of item that's precious to us and share its story - you can head over there and read lots of wonderful contributions.  My items today are free and readily available, beautiful, shiny and they won't last.  But they evoke Autumn like nothing else and my little collection is now sitting on my kitchen table.

It’s conker season and the playground is heaving with them.  Unfortunately, snowball rules apply: no throwing, picking up or even touching of conkers is permitted on school grounds.  Punishment is swift and undiscriminating.  Detention.  So of course the day after this rule is proclaimed, I find one of my Year 7s squatting in the playground between lessons, shuffling and scuffling and grubbing around on the floor looking for prize conkers.  I waited until he straightened up which put him face to face with me. Or it would have done if he were taller.  And his face was a picture. He accompanied me to my office and I asked him if he was allowed to pick up conkers?  No.  And what happens to boys caught picking up conkers?  Detention.  So he knew the rules.  Did he understand why I was so disappointed?  Yes, because he had been breaking school rules and he had been collecting conkers when he should have been going straight to lessons.  But he liked to collect conkers and like any small boy, he couldn’t bring himself to leave such riches strewn about the ground going to waste.

Tears were streaming silently down his face and I felt like a conker Nazi kicking a baby squirrel. In the end, I didn’t have the heart to give him a full Head of Year detention (1 hour after school, parents informed by formal letter) and I gave him a scant 20 minutes at lunchtime.  Damn school policy. Conkers are lovely and autumnal and are irresistibly shiny and ripe for the taking and I’m surprised that more of my little lads haven’t succumbed. The seven pretty specimens nestled in my desk draw gathered hastily during a free period attest to the fact that none of us are immune to the allure :D

This story will form part of my Project Life experiment for October.  It's interesting to see how the change in seasons affects what we do in school.

Kisses xxx

P.S. Don't tell anyone that I'm a soft touch.

21 comments:

  1. Curious why they aren't allowed to even so much as touch a conker? Like you said, its just one of those signs of autumn & something generations of little boys have plkayed with. Lovely story though!

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  2. I like your confession. I was anticipating you saying that your collection was attained by confiscation. I should have known better!
    P.S. I think I will soon be prevented from leaving comments - the verification is getting so hard to read.

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  3. I miss the days of conker contest in the school playground lol my children have no interest in them :-(

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  4. Blimey, having to be a conker Nazi..I bet that is a bit of a challenge! I'm not surprised that you are a bit of a soft touch. We're off out for an autumn walk later and I'm hoping to find a few conkers myself..but I'll be looking over my shoulder before I slip any into my pocket :) great story

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  5. What a great story and thanks for clearing up what I've been wondering about - what are conkers. Now I know and have great memories of gathering them myself as a child. I don't know of any trees around here that would have them. (:

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  6. I still get excited searching for conkers, the grandchildren have to humour me!!

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  7. Oh I great story - how sad you have to be a conker Nazi! Love conkers - and have fond memories of them dangling on a bit of string - J x

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  8. Gosh!! what ever happened to the days of collecting conkers, soaking them in vinegar, baking them in the oven and getting your dad to skewer them.....all this to at least get a six-er!! Many a play/ lunch time was spent playing conkers and keeping score. I'm glad you're a soft touch :) great story!!!

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  9. Definitely a tricky thing to be a Conker Nazi!

    I'm missing the collections of conkers this year as Princess isn't coming back from school with pockets full. Hmm, wonder if she's collecting any at Uni?

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  10. I think it's rather sad that kids can't play with conkers at school any more....so pleased you're a bit of a soft touch!!

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  11. Autumn, conkers and boys of any age just go together; I'm so glad you were lenient with him.

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  12. So sad that they can't even collect them, but then if they had them in their pockets they would be tempted to do things with them which they shouldn't whilst at school! Glad you were a soft touch though!

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  13. Oh bless him. I'm glad you went soft with him. I love conkers, they are so beautiful.

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  14. Your post brings back so many memories of my childhood! Sadly, we don't get conkers here in Austrlalia, but just seeing your photo conjures up all of their irresistible, glossy gorgeousness! I can completely understand how tempting they must have been for your Year 7 boy :)

    Julia (in sunny Sydney-which compensates somewhat for the lack of conkers!)

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  15. Love your story. And love that it lead me to look up what a game of conkers looks like. Not sure it is (or was) ever played anywhere in the U.S. But I certainly understand the appeal of those shiny seeds - they beg to be touched.

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  16. It does seem harsh but I guess that rules are rules. I love that you break your own rules. When I was an NQT and Friday hometime rolled around we would get giddy and have cartwheeling contests down the school corridor - if only the kids could have seen us! Now I doubt I could cartwheel anymore!

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  17. They really are irresistible aren't they ;)

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  18. Must be chestnuts! Look lovely though! We have acorns ourselves and I love them to bits! Thanks for being a cool teach!

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  19. I'm pleased that you're a soft touch, it doesn't seem fair that they can't collect conkers.

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  20. This is a brilliant story Kirsty, and definitely put a smile on my face today! Shiny conkers are such a sign that autumn has rolled around :D And I won't tell anyone you're a soft touch, your secret's safe with me! xx

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  21. It seems like an impossible request to resist. Glad you are a bit of a soft touch!

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