Monday, September 28

War Of The Conker

One last shot from Berlin.

The kids have been in an all-out war to collect.. conkers (a "conker," Dear Reader, the seed of a horse-chestnut tree and ubiquitous in London this time of year).  And should we think the competition only with us, I learn that contestants in the Pulton International Conkers Tournement, held annually in the small village of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, were warned Friday that they face new security including searches and police-style checks to combat possible cheating.  Only conkers, you see, collected and checked by the organising committee may be used - each conker marked (of course) with a special flourescent pen similar to a police-marking on stolen goods.  Were that not enough, the winning conkers checked afterwards to ensure that they have not used substitutes which might have been soaked in vinegar or baked in an oven.  Event organiser Phil Heneghan notes: "we may also check contestants' footwear."  He adds further: "It is truly incredible what lengths some contestants will go to in their attempts to win the championship."  Watching the near fist fights in Eitan and Madeleine's simple competition, I can only imagine if the stakes high.

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." 
--George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008