Chloe’s question wasn’t a daft one. I mean, how many people from Illinois know what a conker is, let alone that it comes from a tree named after an animal and an edible nut? And as for taking the conker out of its spiky husk, soaking it in vinegar and threading it with string, Chloe was intrigued, there’s nowt like that in Chicago.
She’d seen a headline in the paper exclaiming what we all know – it’s conker time!
“It’s like this, you take your conker and hit someone else’s,” I told her
“Hit?” The genteel American was quite shocked, they don’t have a lot of nut-related contact sports across the pond.
“Yes… err…. the idea is to smash your opponent’s conker.” This was starting to sound serious.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” she asked. That brought back memories of rapped wristed and knocked knuckles.
A colleague explained the complex maths of conker conquests. The conqueror takes the conquered conker’s conquests and add it to the total conker victory count. So a oner that beats a two-er becomes a three-er etc etc etc
There was only one thing for it, a real-life demonstration. After checking for the health and safety patrol, locking the door, closing the office blinds and diverting the phones, the contest began. Watched by Chloe, Mark and Michael took their places and knocked the hell out of each other’s conkers. I think Chloe was shocked, though, thanks to the generosity of Michael the victor, she now has a oner to take on all comers.