Collectively Off Their Nut

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We here at Blue Crab Boulevard have mentioned many times that we're fond of the British. We've also mentioned many times that they have some unusual quirks. Whether it's saluting a goat, the quaint, if now outlawed, custom of beating one another with dead eels or a widespread horror of clowns, the Brits do peculiar things. (Not that you shouldn't be afraid of clowns with machetes, mind you.) We've just heard of a celebration in merry old England that proves conclusively that the Brits are collectively off their nut.

The World Conker Championships.

Amid much revelry and great intensity on the village green in the town of Ashton, Chris Jones, 48, of London was declared Conker King out of an initial field of 256 entrants.

Sandy Gardener, 35, from the Dordogne region of France, was likewise crowned Conker Queen for the year out of an entry of 64 women.

"It was very competitive but also very festive," competition ringmaster Richard Howard told Reuters. "This year we had entries from 19 countries."

Begun in 1965 by a group of friends whose fishing trip had been cancelled, the event on the town's village green has become an annual fair attracting hundreds of entrants and thousands of spectators — enjoying the spectacle and the beer.

So what exactly is this – er – sport? Equipment consists of a horse chestnut tied onto a string. The object is to swing the chestnut at another player's equipment and break it. The chestnut, not the player. As we said, off their nuts. Or off with their nuts as the case may be. The Ashton Conker Club has an official website. Doesn't everybody these days?

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