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September came and went remarkably quickly for us. It was a busy time and we didn't notice the days creeping by until, SUDDENLY, October was upon us and the days were noticably crisper and the sunlight hours much shorter.
There's a big old Horse Chestnut tree up near our house which always seems to turn red first. The chestnuts on this kind of tree are not for eating, at least by humans, but the trees are giants that compare in size to the huge old beech trees also in the neighbourhood. The leaves were just turning bright red when one of our visitors, Tomoko, came and so I took her up to see it before we went down into the village.
These chestnuts are called 'conkers' by all schoolboys in Britain. At this time of year, when I was a schoolboy my friends and I would throw our schoolbags up into the boughs of such trees to try and dislodge these 'conkers' and, if we found any good big ones, we'd take them home, drill a hole through them, thread a knotted shoelace onto the best and go to school armed with it. Using our best eye and a sling-shot skill we would take it in turns to hit an opponent's 'conker' until one or the other was broken. The winner would then own a champion 'conker' and the game would go on. A really good one would have maybe more than 20 kills to its name . I don't think it's as popular a game today as it was when I was at school. Perhaps it isn't as prevalent in Scotland as is it in England.
Seeing these trees especially when their leaves are turning always reminds of those days. I love when this season comes round. I think Tomoko enjoyed the grandeur of the trees around our house. There are more of these giant 'conker' trees at the bus stop at the bottom of our road. You might be able to see one of the big old beech trees there in the photograph as well. This season of 'mellow fruitfulness' is magnificent in Colinton. We are the greenest area of Edinburgh so in Autumn, or Fall, it is also the most colourful as well.