Monday, 12 October 2009

Under the spreading chestnut tree

Under the spreading chestnut tree,
Where I knelt upon my knee,

We were as happy as could be,

Under the spreading chestnut tree.

A simple ditty but one which clearly describes a certain pleasure to be had in autumn, kicking up the leaves to find conkers (if it's that kind of chestnut tree) or sweet chestnuts.
I was kicking around a wood with a few young sweet chestnut trees, when I noticed that most of the husks blown down by the recent winds contained relatively large nuts, in contrast to the shrivelled ones that we usually see - maybe the long mild Kentish summer has been good for them this year. So I collected a pocketful, noting that there are plenty for later in the year (and it's not a place that gets many visitors).
Such is the poor quality of chestnuts in Britain, the trees are invariably grown for timber, coppiced after about 20 years. When the great standards that stand proudly in the estates were planted, maybe summers were warmer and crops were better.
Under the spreading chestnut tree,
I'll kiss you and you'll kiss me.
Oh how happy we will be
Under the spreading chestnut tree.
That's the second verse, making me feel old, extolling the joys of foraging for nuts.

By the way, in case the bird-fanciers out there wonder how I missed the many rarities that have visited the cliffs this week, I can tell you that it's easy..... I was in all the right places, but not necessarily at the right times.


Warren Baker said...

I like that spider on the Blackberries!

Mary said...

I like the chestnuts and those blackberries look very sweet.

Jessica Winder said...

Wow, those chestnuts and blackberries look good enough to eat.