August 31st – Horse chestnuts (conkers) and sweet chestnuts are completely different, but both are growing all around right now. Neither are yet ripe, but there seem to be handsome crops of both. The horse chestnuts here are showing the effect of the leaf miner moth, whose larvae hatch inside the leaf structure and kill it from the inside, turning the leaves patchy brown very early in the summer. The fruit, however, is unaffected and well familiar to blokes everywhere who are genetically programmed to pick up fallen conkers, whatever their age or status. The hard spiky shells are a stark contrast to the ferocious-looking sweet chestnuts, which are actually relatively soft. The Sweet chestnuts have leathery, shiny dark green foliage, too, giving them a slightly continental appearance. Both trees were spotted in Stonnall – the sweet chestnut on the verge at the junction of Main Street and Church Lane.