Going Nutting

It sounds rather like a central-Greenwich-of-a-Saturday-night pursuit, doesn’t it. But I was walking through the park yesterday and realised that this year we seem to have the best crop of chestnuts I’ve ever known. I couldn’t help myself – I just stopped for ten minutes – easily enough time to pick up really juicy fat nuts to roast for supper.

The trees are about half way through their fruiting – some are already finished, some aren’t quite there yet, but even very young trees have a bumper crop. Notwithstanding the armies of squirrels (have you ever seen so many squirrels as this year?) parrots (watch out for them, they bombard you with half-eaten nuts as you’re gathering) and Chinese grannies with giant carrier bags full, there’s plenty for all. If I’d stayed longer, I could have got far more, but I just wanted enough for a taster.

If you’re going to be serious about it, thick gloves are useful, though I perfected a little manoeuvre using my boots to pry open the prickly cases and pop out the kernels, which probably made me look very strange indeed. Bring a carrier bag – they fall out of pockets. There were so many that I left all the weedy ones and just picked out the whoppers.

The best gathering spot at the moment seems to be the little path that leads to the gate near Macartney House, though, as I previously warned, there’s a huge flock of very noisy, rather violent parakeets in them thar trees…

Since I don’t have an open fire on which to roast them, I just cut crosses in the top (so they don’t explode, a very messy experience, I understand) and put them in a roasting pan in quite a hot oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then I enjoyed a happy half-hour in front of the telly, burning my fingers peeling them and scoffing the lot.

Thanks to Dave for the picture, by the way. And to all of you who suggested the Sale of Goods Act letter to send about my broken Fuji camera so I can start taking my own snaps again. It is covered but – and it’s a big ‘but’ – because it’s more than a certain time since I bought it, the onus is on me to prove that it’s a manufacturing fault and not just general wear and tear. This would involve getting a report done – which, if it did decide it was wear and tear, I’d be liable for.

The report would cost not-much-less than a new camera (we’re not talking top of the range here…) so I think I just have to lump it. You know – it’s not even the money – which is annoying enough – it’s more the whole built-in obsolescence culture we live in. This should be a repairable item – and it is – for exactly three pounds less than I paid for the camera in the first place. Bah!

Sorry – don’t really know where that came from. This started out as a cheery post. And hell – it’s going to be a cheery post.

Happy nutting folks.


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