Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
There aren’t many people who don’t find conkers irresistible – l have even spied adults picking them up and putting them in their pockets!
They are beautifully patterned and coloured and very shiny.
For those of you who don’t know what conkers are; they are the seeds of the horse chestnut tree.
And conkers is also a game played by children whereby conkers are strung onto a piece of string or a shoelace and bashed against each other in tournaments.
A winning conker – one that manages to smash another one to bits collects a score. Each conker conquered adds another number to the score.
So a new conker is a none-er and one that has smashed its first rival is a one-er and so on.
Bill and Bob also give their conkers names like ‘Barney’ and ‘Nigel’ and because conkers all look different they are each easy to recognise amongst the fluff and sticky sweets that inhabit little boys’ pockets.
Bill and Bob have had Barney and Nigel for some time now because they naughtily cheated and soaked them in vinegar before play which made them unnaturally hard!
Another ploy is to keep conkers until the next year – time also hardens them – or even baking them in the oven; this is also cheating.
They have become so attached to Barney and Nigel that l think it possible that if these conkers ever break, they may want to glue them back together again.
Conkers have other names as well, a conker with a flat side formed when the conker grows against its twin inside the case is called a ‘cheeser’. A regional name for a conker is an ‘obblyonker’ apparently – l think l might even prefer that to Nigel.
Another way to play with conkers is to throw them at another group of children the other side of a high wall dodging the ones thrown at you; this also works with windfall apples.
This reminds me of mediaeval castle warfare and of course l am not recommending this sort of game at all – but of course we’ve all done it.
We know people have been playing conkers since the mid 1800s and the game did spread beyond England, but of course is impossible to play without a supply of conkers – nut and snail shells can be substituted and a little boy’s natural habit for bashing and hitting things is universally found.
You may have noticed that conker trees obligingly cast their crop just as the new school year begins; ready for contestants to meet up in the playground. Although some schools don’t allow conkers to be played in their playgrounds, l have heard – they think it is too dangerous.
Bill and Bob are now storing Barney and Nigel for the World Conker Championships in Northamptonshire next year.
Between you and me their mother has no intention of letting them go.
Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!
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And see you again next Fun Friday!
Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bob: Who won the race between two balls of string?
Bill: l don’t know. Who won the race between two balls of string.
Bob: Neither, they tied!
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
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A mediaeval siege
A horse chestnut leaf has a distinctive shape
It also has the properties of soap with a mild antiseptic (because they contain saponins) and suntan lotion apparently
Conkers begin as flowers in May
The flowers are pollinated
The flowers turn into tiny conkers
Conkers ripening over the summer
Conkers grow inside spiky cases
And were originally designed to grow into new trees
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
Little Emily was really pleased with the track suit that Auntie Alice knitted for her 12” doll last week. But she was a bit concerned that her doll would get cold feet on a cold winter’s evening so Auntie Alice has now also knitted some slipper socks and a throw as well.
If you would like the pattern here it is.
12” DOLL SLIPPER SOCKS
SLIPPER SOCKS (KNIT TWO)
Using 3¼mm knitting needles and white 4 ply yarn cast on 16 stitches
Knit 26 rows of 1 x 1 rib
Thread the end of yarn left at the bottom of the knitting through the bottom edge and gather it in.
Then continue to sew up the back of the sock with right sides together.
Neaten the ends of yarn and turn the sock right side out.
Cast on 30 stitches
(Knit 5, purl 5) repeat these 10 stitches to end of row
Repeat this row 3 times
(Purl 5, knit 5) repeat these 10 stitches to end of row
Repeat this row 3 times
Continue working in this pattern
After knitting for 40 rows cast off
And don’t forget that International Sunflower Planting Day is coming up on 1st May – so have your seeds at the ready!
Bill, Bob, Emily and Henry are going to have a sunflower competition this summer.
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Some people say that conkers can act as moth balls.
This is a simple pattern to make a bag to keep conkers, moth balls or scented wood balls in your draws.
Cut a piece of the kind of lace fabric that does not fray 20cm/8 inches long by 25cm/9 inches wide.
Fold lengthways and hem around the bottom and side using over-sew stitch.
Tie a length of narrow ribbon around the top and into a bow.
BLOW MY FOGHORN!!!
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lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO MAKE A HOUSE FOR YOUR CONKERS
If you find conkers irresistible, you may want to make a house to keep them in when you get them home.
This one should make them feel right at home!
You will need:-
A base from a pizza or a circle of cardboard
Some card from a pizza box or cereal packet
The inside card from 2 rolls of lavatory paper
Some sheets of kitchen roll
PVA glue and a mixing tray
Brown and green paint
A couple of sheets of newspaper
And put down plenty of newspaper to work on!
- Cut a piece of card about 32cm/13 inches by 17cm/7 inches, make it into a tube and secure with sticky tape.
- Cut out a door and windows then tape it to the base.
- Tape on a round top of card.
- Cut the two rolls in half lengthways.
- Cut a strip off one end about 2cm/1 inch (they don’t all have to be the same length).
- Cut the other end into a point (position these as roots at the base of the tree with the points facing away from the trunk and tape into place).
- Tape small rolls of newspaper to the sides of the large tube to create ridges.
- Mix some PVA with water in your mixing tray and soak large squares of kitchen paper in the mixture (about ¼ of a sheet at a time).
- Cover the whole structure with these squares – even the base because paint will not stick to sticky tape.
- Cover with another layer of smaller squares to get rid of any straight lines.
- Leave to dry overnight or longer.
- Paint the bark brown and let it dry.
- Paint the surrounding grass green and let the paint dry.
If you are not bonkers for conkers, you could use this as a mouse house for any toy mice you might have. Make sure that you make the door is big enough for them to get through.
This would also work as a chocolate cake, if you stand a chocolate roll on end and cover it in butter icing.
If you decorate the cake with toy mice or rabbit families, they can be extra presents.
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015