A collaborative, competitive game played since boys were boys is conkers. It required, good hand eye co-ordination and some wily construction skills. However, all across Europe and in the US, Chestnut trees are dying. This year the disease has gone, from about 10% of the population in 2006 to nearly every tree I’ve looked at in the UK and France.
It’s a sad state of affairs and yet another change in the landscape. I’ll miss the glorious rich brown of the conkers as they split out of their green prickly shells that break open as they fall. On the up side, as there’s no sunshine in the UK any more, we won’t need the 500,000 or more of these majestic trees for shade.