Saturday, 1 December 2012

Trains and/or Boats..

I went up to London on Wednesday to visit my daughter and granddaughter, and as I'm now quite a long way from London, I thought I would let the train take the strain as they used to say in the train adverts years ago. The view from the window over what should have been green fields was quite amazing, in as much as it was just water, water everywhere. For anyone who doesn't know, there has been extensive flooding in this area resulting from heavy rains falling on already waterlogged ground.  I took this video on my phone, just a few miles from Taunton, and I thought you might like to see it. It did feel quite weird with the water washing right up to the sides of the train.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Fungus Foray

Our new house is on the eastern edge of Exmoor, in the Brendon Hills. It's spectacular walking country, when it's not raining, which today it wasn't so I took the opportunity to stride off up the hillside with the dog. Bit squelchy underfoot, but lovely non the less. Now I've always been a fan of the idea of foraging, I've watched Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall going off to forage for delicious ceps, chanterelles, morels, and other delicacies, coming back to River Cottage and cooking up a wonderful mushroom supper with a scraping of wild garlic and herbs, but when I've searched myself for such things I've seldom found such bounty. Once or twice I've been rewarded with a Shaggy Parasol or two and once a whole field full of Field Mushrooms, but not as often as tv experts would have you believe.
So imagine my excitement when I got to the top of the hill and in the woods I came across these

it's not obvious from the photo, which I took with my phone, but there was a veritable sea of fungi all over the forest floor. I picked a few samples and took some photos,

and when we got back I rushed to check on the internet to see whether my hoped for mushroom supper was about to become a reality. Sadly it seems not. There were two main sorts of the fungi, and neither of them seem to be the edible kind, so far as I can see anyway. I've struggled to find them online and as I'm by no means an expert, and would certainly never consider eating anything that I could not positively identify, I will have to leave them be, but it's really such a shame because there are absolutely masses of the  things up there.

We had a house in France a few years ago, and so popular is fungus foraging over there that you can take your collected specimen of fungi into any pharmacist and they would identify it for you, although there were many apocryphal stories of whole families of people being found frozen in rigor mortis at the dinner table forks in hand around a dish of Amanita Phalloides a la Creme....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Welcome back to me

It's well over a year since I made any contribution to this blog, but in my defence I will say that there's been quite a bit going on around the place. I hope you've missed me, but given the ever increasing number of brilliant blogs popping up everywhere, I'd be surprised, unless you're related to me, if you'd noticed.

Anyway, we've mainly been moving house, and as simple as that sounds, it has taken all my time and effort for most of the last year. It's an utterly exhausting experience, but the upshot is that we have left Windy Wiltshire, are now getting established here in Wet and Windy West Somerset. I'm not entirely convinced that weather wise, we have made a beneficial exchange, since we have had barely a dry day since we moved in several weeks ago. People keep telling me that it's the same everywhere, and indeed it has been, even by English weather standards, a dreadful summer. So since my gardening activity has been mostly concerned with keeping the garden tidy until we moved, I don't really feel that I've missed all that much and I'm hoping that we are due for a better summer next year. Law of averages and all that. Surely.

Here's a snap of the new abode - it's about  15th century, and you can see it's thatched, which is lovely, but at the moment, some of the many gallons of water falling from the sky are falling directly through the thatch and onto the fireplace. Which could put a bit of a damper on the blazing Yule log scenario for Christmas, so I'm waiting in for a thatcher who is coming round imminently to advise us. That's not the blue suit and handbag Thatcher of course, (which is always the image that comes to my mind) but an expert on straw roofs with an altogether more approachable hairdo. Let's hope for the best..

Note the blue sky and sunshine on this photo, taken before we moved in, I'm taking this as evidence that it will stop raining, eventually. We are lucky enough to have some seven acres attached to the house here, so I will try to post some of my efforts in the new garden - there's lots to do, and I have plans to try all sorts of new stuff.  
However, at the moment, I'm hoping to be throwing another log on the fire, and unpacking a few more boxes.

And anyway, it's raining....


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