I just can’t help loving the shine on conkers – it’s a really important part of the English Autumn for me. I hated playing conkers at school (it was a deeply competitive ritual and all I can remember is the pain of the conkers that missed their target and hit my frozen fingers instead), but the shine of Autumn conkers and apples is wonderful! I always found the Keats poem To Autumn a bit much, but the second verse really got me – who was this weirdo, and what was he doing…
“sitting careless on a granary floor,
… hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flower..”
And that was a rare occasion: a literary heritage moment!