I really do worry about teenagers these days. Especially the girls. This one in particular is prone to the odd bout of 'crazy teenage' behaviour, being an ex-cellist, often, I hear they are the worst. So I tottle (given my new age, tottling is definitely in order, I'm very old, I'm assured) downstairs last week after my 'birthday lie in' and come across a veritable forest in my living room on the stove (the stove obviously is off, otherwise this is not a good place for a veritable forest to start really is it?) but fear not she's a sensible sort. The mystery deepens with a note, whilst these are famed for ransoms, this note appears to be more of a confession of apparent teenage debauchery and skullduggery. Then again this particular teenager is known for leaving ransom notes, often on ransom banana's.
So as you can imagine, I'm more than a bit cautious when I see a note on anything here.
And, dear reader I'm in no confusion, this note is clearly for me. No other 'Mum's' habit these here lands.
So, the first word is 'fecking tree' not any expletives other than those used in that famous Irish TV show where Mrs Doyle frequently proffers cups of tea to unsuspecting clergy. She continues - 'Do you know how hard it is to hide a tree?' The sub-text here is 'in my TINY bedroom'.
The cellist being of a slim and willowy stature has a slim and willowy compact bedroom to suit. Hiding a veritable forest in there by means of a horse chestnut and a forest of raspberries is no mean feat. And she continued to tell me the joys of moving such beasts home on the bus, seemingly not fun. Ah, teenagers, you see they are still borne of resilient stock I'd say, trees on public transport - that's quite a feat in itself, never mind playing a game of hide and seek with them once home.
If you're ever in doubt, you hide them behind the door as folks often don't come in to your room they just stick their head around the door. Clever girl eh? Just in case you're of a mind to hide a couple trees for a while. A nice thoughtful present I'd say. Mind you I am wondering what else is BEHIND the door now and probably has been for years unnoticed.
I'm going to be creating a 'productive' garden when we flit (flitting is moving house) - so the bounty there is welcomed.
I did however query the horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) - we like a good conker in this house, and the kids have played many a conker game. In fact for a while they both had a 2 ltr ice cream box of 'feral conkers' which happily travelled back and forth to 'dads' until they accidentally fell down the stairs a time to many and the 'pet conkers' were sadly set free in their fathers garden. Sad times, but packing boxes of conkers in childrens 'overnight' bags for a trip to dads was a lot of fun we all thought. I do fear however, their dear father never really found it such a joy, being conker-under-footed-often-on-the-stairs-often. Sadly limited sense of humour over in those lands.
Back to the veritable almost-edible forest then, the rasps are now wrapped up and both these and the chestnut sits nobly waiting to flit with the rest of the stuff. Its 'edible' remit I was unsure of, so I asked the dear ex-cellist, her thoughts on the subject. I know you like eating chestnuts she said, she's clever like that, she notices the ample scoffing I do in this house. However, horse chestnuts of which conkers are, are inedible to both humans and horses. And, in fact make you a bit poorly. Conkers are supposed to ward away spiders although there's a lot of chat and not a lot of science to back that up. They also attract mice, so depending on how you feel if you keep conkers in your drawers to ward away spiders, best put the kettle on for the mice who'll gladly join in too.
Dear reader, I am beside myself with glee at my newly emerging forest and its components. With regard to Monsieur Conker, I'm going to be planting him it at the back of our new garden as it reaches a goodly lovely height and hope that its prolific and grows into a noble tree and perhaps in my lifetime produces conkers.
So I think I'll stick to playing conkers in the future, perhaps with the ex-cellist and her offspring, one day eh? Roast (inedible) horse chestnuts doesn't really appeal as much as a decent game of conkers.
Which reminds me, the largest and most beautiful conker tree on the island, in Kirkwall, is in full leaf now and about to flower - I must pop by and get a photo or two of it. Whilst it doesn't reach the heady heights of those 'doon sooth' its a corker (or conker?) and beautiful in flower. And, truth be told its quite nice to eyegoggle and stalk a tree in these lands which isn't the noble Sycamore. I like a good sycamore, don't get me wrong, but its nice to have a change.
Why don't you head off and find one to goggle yourself? The flowers are magnificent and the tree itself quite statuesque. In my best Mrs Doyle voice, I beseech you - Go'an, go'an, go'an, you know you want to, go find a tree and have a wee neb at its awesomeness. Then mind it on for autumn and get conkering. Nothing quite bruises the knuckles in quite the same way.