If there’s something that’s always made me stop what I’m doing ever since I was a little boy it’s a shiny conker or a lovely brown acorn.
I’m sure in a previous life I was a squirrel.
Although my fascination probably has more to do with always enjoying this time of year and the slow change of summer into autumn. I can’t help picking them up and examining them.
They always remind me of the darkly lacquered furniture in my grandmothers and my own house when growing up and they bring back some happy memories both of childhood (where big conkers were something to be prized) and simpler times.
When I was little I didn’t know anywhere that conkers grew. Then a boy at school mentioned ‘Conker Island‘.
I kid you not – in my tiny child-like mind I imagined an actual island where nothing but conker trees (boring people call them Horse Chestnuts) grew and their seeds could be picked up off the ground with ease. I had a visualisation of pockets bulging with conker booty – and arriving home from the voyage like a pirate squirrel – ready to conquer any conker champions in the school playground.
(For those in Europe or elsewhere who may be unfamiliar with this game – have a look here.)
In reality it turned out to be a grove of trees by two main roads near the Clock Garage in Castle Bromwich about three miles from my house.
When my mom and I arrived there were no competition class conkers – they’d been hoovered up by the other children before I got there. They had no parents with them and were all throwing wooden coat hangers at the tree like ASBO boomerangs to knock them down in clusters. We steered clear of them.
It was a little disappointing if I’m honest – but I did get one or two smaller ones and a few handfuls of acorns, which I put in the two zip up pockets of my body warmer.
I have no idea why but the memory has stuck with me and I can’t resist picking up either of them when I notice them lying on the ground.
It’s the seasonal changes that I love though – not just the way they look at one particular moment in time.
It was only last week that I was in the Wyre Forest and all of the acorns were a fresh green colour. They were far from falling off the trees – but were in a shaded arboretum in the middle of the wood.
I’ve come to realise lately that although a lot of the joy of moving from A to B has been in the sensation of increased vitality and the corresponding positive moods there’s more to it than this.
As I type I’m again in a coffee shop surrounded by people. I need the world – not the solitude of my home.
That’s not to say I need to be surrounded by people all the time – but I need to see LIFE, as well as just talking to friends and passers by. When I watch the shift in seasons, see acorns maturing into a new shade and leaves getting ready to change into rich oranges and browns for the Autumn I feel connected to the world around me.
It’s a nice feeling.
For the most part it is anyway. I still feel ill and cannot stop coughing – which is a real pain as tomorrow I’m attending a friend’s birthday lunch. It’s a significant milestone, so not only only do I not want to miss it but I don’t want to turn up empty handed.
The internet came to my rescue in the form of Moonpig. I LOVE this website due to the variety of personalisation options on the majority of the cards you can send. You can really make it your own – and add your own verses and dedications – which I do.
Oddly it’s sometimes both a personal and an impersonal choice though. If you’re in a hurry to make the date (like I was) you can get the card sent direct to the recipient with your own words printed inside – but without your own authentic signature. When I’m not in a rush I get it sent to myself, sign it and then post it.
Thankfully I didn’t miss the occasion and my friend loved the card nonetheless.
Her pending celebration also provided the motivation for me to come into Leamington and have a plodding walk around town looking for presents.
Much of my gift shopping in the last few years has been exclusively on Amazon. Their next day delivery has sorted out my birthdays, Christmases and any other big event. In years past I used to enjoy browsing for little gifts and quirky presents in Solihull or Birmingham, but it just slowly stopped for me as it became easier to manage every aspect of such events from home.
I told myself it was to avoid queues and high prices but really it had a lot to do with just not wanting to move. Today however (despite the coughing and sneezing throughout) I’ve enjoyed present hunting and I think I’ve found some suitably fun and practical little gifts that will put a smile on her face. That’s pretty much made my day.
Well – that and my handful of warm acorns, with all of their woody imperfections and personality.
Although – If I’m honest internet I’m a little preoccupied and not looking forward to weighing in tomorrow. It’s not been a good week for eating and exercise.
However THAT that will be another story for another post…