I have been struggling to find an escoteric/geomantic relevance to what I am about to write. While I am not sure that there is one, but I'll do my best! ; )
One of the realities of being an immigrant (I'm one of the nice ones - honest) is that when you get with a group of peers, and they begin talking about their youth, I wasn't here to share those experiences. Brits don't know much about Howdy Doody, Ed Sullivan, or Dick Clark and his American Bandstand. On the other hand, I didn't experience Faulty Towers, Benny Hill or Beyond the Fringe as a lad though I did get to know Postman Pat because he was a favourite of Josie's when I first came to Glastonbury and stayed with her parents, Jamie and Frances Howard-Gordon George of Gothic Image, my publishers <http://www.geomancy.org/#resources/books-by-sig/index.php>. Another thing I had never experienced, though I've heard about them was the game of Conkers.
In the middle of a match.
According to Wikipedia, "Conkers or conker is a game traditionally played mostly by children in Britain, Ireland and some former British colonies using the seeds of horse-chestnut trees – the name conker is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other's conker until one breaks.
"Again, to give you a taste of Cokorial history, according to Wiki <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conkers>The first recorded game of Conkers using horse chestnuts was on the Isle of Wight in 1848 – the horse chestnut tree is not native to Britain, but was introduced from the Balkans in the late 16th century; it was not widely planted until the early 19th century. In 1965 the World Conker Championships were set up in Ashton (near Oundle) Northamptonshire, England, and still take place on the second Sunday of October every year. In 2004, an audience of 5,000 turned up to watch more than 500 competitors from all over the world.In 1993, Michael Palin, of Monty Python fame, was disqualified from a Conkers competition in the United Kingdom for baking his conker and soaking it in vinegar."
I was in fabulous downtown Glastonbury having a morning respite with my geriatric Coffee Klatsch. The group began discussing the conkers match that was happening behind me, so I turned around to watch. The big talk this year in the BBC has been about Health and Safety giving Headmasters the right to require students to wear safety glasses whilst conkering each other. While I can understand the risks, this PC Regulation seems to be a bit over the top. No one I saw was wearing them.
So I went over to get a closer look at what was going on, and was invited to join in in the fun and a 12 year old boy agreed to a contest with me. It was wonderful to see his intensity as he focused on swinging his conker, attempting to smash mine, which I held out in front of me. Obviously any sport has its own arcane lingo and rules, so I learned about "Stringsies," Dropsies," and "Stompsies."
Sadly, my mental acumen allowed me to occasionally hit his conker, and to ultimately smash it, so I gave the lad my conker as a prize.
Boy with conker.
I just wanted to write this piece because it was a typically British activity that I had not experienced in the twenty-five years I have been here (I wern't exactly a lad when I came ; ), so it would be less than candid of me not to admit that I have been struggling to find an escoteric/geomantic relevance to this game of Conkers. Fortunately, I have found one!
Conkers make an excellent pendulum!
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