The pavement on the walk to drop the kids off at school this morning was littered with tiny conkers, no more than half a centimetre in diameter. The torrential rain of the past 24 hours had dislodged the infant fruit from the trees above.

Over the coming months no doubt more will be lost as the seasons turn, until the autumn when the main crop will fall to the ground. Some might make it to be a battle toy for a child with parents caught in the nostalgia of their own youth. Most will be swept up and turned to compost. A tiny few may germinate. It’s highly unlikely that any will turn into fully-fledged trees, and that’s no more the case in rural areas than it is here in the suburbs of South West London.

Compared to our organisations such remarkable inefficiency and redundancy. Surely the horse chestnut management need to take a long hard look at their renewal programmes and streamline them through continuous improvement. Can’t their seeding and planting projects be outsourced to one of the big four?

We’ve become so focused on mirages of efficiency in modern life that when you look at how the natural world around us operates, it can seem remarkably alien. But the industrialised efficiency brings with it remarkable fragility. Whilst the horse chestnut produces thousands of fruit with little or no chance of reproduction, they’re still around us.

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