Saturday, 29 September 2012

Conker time

The horse chestnut trees in Parcul Sportiv Universitar Prof.dr.luliu Hatieganu have dropped dry curled leaves, brown and ridged like moth pupae and amongst them round spiked caskets of lime green. These split to reveal chestnuts, brown and moist as eyes. Folklore from nearby Moldova suggests that the chestnuts should be gathered,mashed and steeped in alcohol for 21 days in a dark place. The paste can then be used as a poltice to relieve painful joints. Nothing in Romania goes to waste, many things are said to have a use for healing or strengthening. In England schoolboys call chestnuts conkers. They are collected, pierced, hung singly on strings and used in contests of vegitable endurance. Each time a conker vanquishes an opponent, smashing it it is awarded a name denoting its number of victories. A sixer is a prized conker. The sport is not without hazard. Many English schoolboys could benefit from Romanian chestnut paste to sooth bruised wrists and thumbs.

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