In the UK, the seeds of horse chestnut trees are called “conkers” and, for me, the first conker of the season signals the start of autumn. I love seeing the leaves change from green to orange and red, but there is something strangely appealing about conkers, as they have a prickly shell, but inside, the conkers are glossy and smooth.
When I was little, we would play a game with conkers, funnily enough called “Conkers”. To play, first you had to make the pieces yourself. You had to make a hole through the middle of your conker and thread a piece of string through the hole, and then you had to tie a knot at the end of the piece of string to secure the conker.
Many people decorated their conkers to make them colourful or glittery, but I always thought they were prettier without any decoration. Once you had made your conker, the game was very simple. You had to take turns striking someone else’s conker with your own until it broke. The person who managed to break their opponent’s conker with their own would win the game.
So when I see glossy the conkers peeking out of their green, prickly shells on the ground, I think of my childhood, but also that autumn has come.