Roger Martindale, a 48-year-old chartered surveyor from Bromsgrove, has returned from a trip down memory lane by playing conkers in the back garden with his 12-year-old son Nigel in the evening mist. Unfortunately the memories that were revived were all awful, given that the experience served mainly to confirm that his childhood games were basically pants.
‘Nigel kept on at me to collect conkers with him, then drill holes through them and play,’ Martindale said. ‘I thought it might be a fun, quality time experience for us to share but after about 100 goes each and only dealing a glancing blow to each other’s conker twice each, I started to wonder how much longer I’d have to – AHHHH! Dammit, Nigel, mind my bloody knuckles will you?’
Martindale had had fond memories of playing conkers with his own dad some 35 autumns ago, until he remembered that the only reason for this was that his friends refused to, calling him a speccy loser for not having an Atari.
‘To compound the overwhelming sense of ennui and futility inherent in the situation, the dog, who regards everything else I have ever done as wonderful looked on as disdainfully as my pet cat from childhood did in 1980, while my wife started on about how lovely it was to see boys still enjoying all the old-fashioned games. Exactly like my mother did in 1980, safe in the knowledge that, as a girl, she would never have this inflicted on her.’
Nonetheless, he conceded, it would be nice if one day, Nigel got to play conkers in the autumn twilight with his own son, ‘if only because the thought of being wheeled out at the age of 75 to do this shit again with a third generation of nerdy kid is too painful to think about it. Come on mate, it’s France v Romania in a minute. And that was NEVER a windmill, you can fuck right off you can…’