Sorry we've been gone a while. My phone line developed a fault so no phone or Internet for a whole week! I thought it had to be some kind of joke when BT informed me it would be 7 days.....but no, sure enough, true to their word it was indeed a whole week of no contact with the virtual world. BT didn't choose the most convenient week to develop a fault on the line, but hey ho, not much I could do about that. Actually the time of being 'uncontactable' was quite nice. No computer distraction, no Facebook!!!
So we're back with some rather fun happenings to report from life on the 'wyld' side.
Firstly there was the wonderful time for lighting a fire in the grate. I held out until the temperature really dropped until I gave in. As I now have officially the lowest income ever, I figured I should hang in there as long as possible so as to make the most of our supply of well chopped and dry logs. I don't have much left to chop now from last Winter. Shame really, I rather like the buzz you get from swinging an axe on a cold day. Nothing like warming up in order to create beautifully chopped logs to warm you again. there is the old saying that chopping wood warms you twice, once when you chop and again when you burn. It provides a really good workout too!
As we waited for so long and with so much anticipation for this wonderful act, I figured I should in true 'me style', mark the occasion with some sort of 'fire lighting ceremony'. I know, I am now officially admitting to being different from the rest!
With the log basket loaded, kindling stacked and a good supply of old newspapers (not forgetting the marshmallows), we were ready! Small boy built the first attempt (always the pyromaniac). Ummm he seems to have lost the knack, there is a distinct knack to fire lighting, it is rarely an act of luck!
Anyway, with dry wood it was going in no time! Arrr the sheer delight of seeing those flames flicker and feeling the warmth radiating towards us. I couldn't resist spreading my sheepskin in front of it.....(we can all dream!).
Talking of fires, mine and several other families gathered in some Millennium woodland recently for a fire, cook out and general social event. It poured with rain but us hardy folk (or are we just plain mad??) continued to party and were not deterred by our sodden hair and clothes. No one batted an eyelid when an old metal stretcher was brought out to lay across the burning embers to cook the sausages on. I do love my friends :-) The fact that we all have such similar thoughts on life and a natural spark of creativity!
Last Saturday I organised a fungi foray in a local BBOWT reserve near my home. I invited a really knowledgeable chappy along that I have got to know over recent years, who knows a lot about living out doors and surviving in the wild. Could you survive without modern conveniences? I honestly think that simple living is definitely the way forwards. (Won't get depressing here). With my Internet and phone line down, this was not the best week to be organising such an event, but we all got there in the end (some of us having to abandon our cars before the car park as the road to the reserve was seriously in need of attention and without having a car that transforms to a boat like 'Chitty' there was no way we were risking it!).
Armed with baskets and flasks of hot soup we ventured into the woods for our adventure, and what an adventure it was too! I had been a little worried that the cold weather might have snapped too soon and killed off the forest delights, but no, that was not to be the case. Suddenly our eyes were ignited by the masses of different kids of fungi that lined the forest floor. If you knew what you were looking for you could seriously feast for free here!
Now foraging is not easy business as I quickly learned. There are indeed a host of very attractive beauties growing out there but if you are not 100% sure of what you are gathering then you could make a nasty (potentially fatal) mistake. Many mushrooms are in fact deadly poisonous. I went along armed with two lovely colourful books borrowed from the library, but I have to say I wasn't all that impressed with them. Although they gave good descriptions they weren't terribly clear and didn't leave me 100% confident.
Our guide was good and rather funny too, he made me chuckle as he flopped down (quite literally) to the ground to get a really good close look at each specimen. He seemed really knowledgeable, but again if he wasn't certain he didn't take any risks.
Jelly ears - these cans be found growing on rotting wood and can be eaten raw. I think they look rather like 'mouse' ears. The texture was...unusual!
The kids had a wonderful time playing in natures playground and we adults returned to the car park with a basket overflowing with about five types of edible mushrooms to fry up and savour.
My honest thoughts on the taste.......they tasted like the forest floor! Perhaps next time I'll wash them!!