I've decided to use conkers for my Rhod in Roath garden installation. Growing up in Pontcanna, I remember Autumn in Cardiff being the loveliest thing. Walking to the school bus, crunchy leaves drifting over garden walls and filling the streets, the misty hint of rain in the air, and competitive conker collecting in Llandaff fields, stuffing dad’s bike saddle bags with conkers as dusk descended. For a Cowbridge Road girl, Roath was the land of leisure, terrapin, rose gardens and rowing boats, bohemians, ice creams and hanging out. This garden intervention is inspired by Jacob Whittaker’s path of vinyl records last year (entitled Now!18), and is made in celebration of this green city in arguably its most beautiful season.
In my search for conkers I've had a some heart warming encounters. Last saturday I went to Carmarthen park. There was already a couple and their 9 year old son hunting for conkers which were pretty thin on the ground. For a laugh and to get over my embarrassment ( a grown-up conker-ing on my own) i said
"hey, have you had all the conkers? they laughed. I laughed.
Ten minutes later the little boy offered me more than half of his conkers! I did feel a bit bad , and tried to make him keep them, but in the end hid mum in sited that he doesn't need any more conkers at home.
Thank you kind people! Then I saw some more horse chestnut trees further down in the park, rich pickings. I was assisted by an old lady, and then some little polish girls on bikes who told ne they were going to use their conkers to make "a shiny dragon". Searching for conkers brought back all the warm happy feelings I remember conker-ing in Llandaff fields and Ninian Park.