KIERAN HOWARD: At least we’ll have enough conkers to scare the spiders off

Kieran and his son Louie had a great day out collecting conkers
Kieran and his son Louie had a great day out collecting conkers
Have your say

If you’d contemplated going in search of conkers at Alver Valley Country Park this weekend, it’s probably not worth your while now.

Louie’s virtually hoovered up this season’s entire deposit of the horse chestnut trees’ seeds.

It’s marvellous what a nappy sack can be used for, other than the obvious

Thankfully there’s plenty of other country parks available, which he’s yet to discover, so all is not lost.

At one point on our recent venture into the woods, he ran out of hands in which to hold them all.

His frustration almost boiled over as he strove to balance 10 on a single palm.

Before our jaunt into the forest, we’d actually only intended collecting a few.

At least, I’d only intended on collecting a few.

His intentions, on the other hand, were to squirrel away enough to overfill his ball-pit, with some in reserve.

This was his first experience of them after all.

We arrived back home with dozens of the things over-spilling from an improvised conker-collecting bag – or nappy sack as it’s commonly known.

It’s marvellous what else a nappy sack can be used for, other than the obvious.

Anyway, the result is that we now have enough to supply the next World Conker Championships.

Yes, they really do have a worldwide tournament for it.

We’d be like Slazenger is to Wimbledon.

They supply tennis balls for the summer Grand Slam.

We’d provide conkers for the World Championships.

Failing that, we’ll use them to ward off unwelcome spiders wishing to enter our home.

According to folklore, they can prove extremely effective in deterring my eight-legged nemesis.

As an arachnophobe, it seems they could really benefit me.

Of course Kerrie keeps reminding me that I shouldn’t allow Louie to see me fearful of such things.

It will likely only lead to him being equally fearful, she says.

I’ve made huge strides with arachnids over the years though.

A decade ago, it took me 24 hours to even concede sharing my home with one.

I’d avoid a certain room of the house if it meant not having to come face-to-face with one.

But now, I’ll use a glass and the nearest bit of cardboard to hand – usually a hastily ripped cereal box – to return one to the garden.

That’s a massive step for me.

And with the aid of Louie’s recent collection, together we can hopefully reduce the fear, as well as the number of confrontations we have with those frightening little creatures.


I’ve just discovered there’s a new game which shares its name with our boy - Gooey Louie it’s called.

Rather foolishly, bearing in mind its title, I had hoped it might be a classic for our little man to play with for years to come.

Then I read the description and saw some photos and my hopes were extinguished fairly rapidly.

Argos describes it as a toy in which you ‘stick your finger up poor Louie’s nose and pull out many stretch gooeys.’

It continues, ‘be careful, if you pull out the wrong gooey then his eyes will bulge and his brain will explode.’ Charming.

Unsurprisingly, the game’s received mixed reviews. Bonzo from South Lanarkshire stresses, ‘Definitely one for the younger ones. I can’t even get my

finger up to get a bogey out.’

Jack from Gloucestershire points out, ‘It can be a bit tricky for children to put the brain back in the top of the head.’

Meanwhile Ju from the West Midlands warns that it’s not one for the faint-hearted.

And finally, Ardchattan from Argyll says, ‘If you’re looking for grossness, this is not the game for you. If you want gross, go for Doggie Doo.’

Admittedly I’ve not yet looked that one up. I could probably make an educated guess though.

Anyway, Gooey Louie is for three and up, so we’ll consider it for him for Christmas 2018.