Conkers and Culture

PUBLISHED: 10:48 29 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010

I REALLY love this time of year as it brings back lots of happy memories of my childhood and also my own children who are all grown up now. I remember my dad taking me blackberry picking as a child, and all those trips into the countryside gave me a real

I REALLY love this time of year as it brings back lots of happy memories of my childhood and also my own children who are all grown up now. I remember my dad taking me blackberry picking as a child, and all those trips into the countryside gave me a real appreciation of wildlife and plants in later life. We always had to be careful where we were walking so as not to damage plants or farmer's crops and we wouldn't have dreamt of leaving any rubbish around. It also taught me some important lessons about 'making do' and not wasting anything. Mum used to make jam from things we brought home and dad made the most awful tasting wine, but it was great fun and when we were teenagers it also taught us some useful lessons. Lessons such as 'not drinking vast quantities of home-made carrot wine with friends before attending the school disco' (me) and 'not drinking home-made wine with friends after eating spaghetti Bolognese' (my sister).

Years later when I had my own children I took them blackberry picking and at this time of year we always went conkering. In fact, I find it very hard even now to walk past a conker tree and not look for the nearest stick to throw at a huge one that seems to be asking to be dipped in vinegar. I am sure it would be a health and safety nightmare, but maybe we should have an Ely conker contest? I haven't thought this one through in any detail, but if anyone would like a game of conkers please let me know.

There seems to be lots of programmes on television at the moment about foraging and growing things at home and apparently the demand for allotments in most areas is high. My biggest success in the garden this year has been my cherry tomatoes. For the price of a packet of seeds, I have probably had about 100 tomatoes and they taste wonderful. My pumpkin plants took like Triffids and are spreading all over the garden and out of control, but there are no pumpkins to be seen, well, not that I can see anyway. I am determined to read up a bit more and do a bit better next year.

Once of the really nice things about being the editor of the local paper is all the invitations I receive to local events.

On Friday I have been invited to the lighting up ceremony at Ely Cathedral, which is an event to launch the Cultural Olympiad for Cambridgeshire. I know there has been a little bit of controversy about the event and whether sport and religion are a good mix, but I hope people will go along with an open mind.

I spoke to someone at the cathedral some time back and she told me that there is a strong desire within the community to ensure that the cathedral more inclusive and encourage local people to take part in events and visit the cathedral in a non-religious capacity and this to me sounded like an excellent idea.

If you are about in Ely on Saturday, between 11am and 3pm, there will be a stall on the market where a lady called Susan Meldon will be holding a pottery demonstration. Anyone visiting the stall will also get the chance to 'throw a pot' for £1, which if you've never done it, sounds like great fun and a good use of a £1.

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