Fun with fungi

Looking for fungi is a bit like beachcombing; you have to take it slowly, stop, look round you, look again. Celia has started attending Monday fungi identification sessions at the South London Botanical Institute. It means the weekends are now prime specimen collection time. I went along for the walk on a very mild afternoon. The hunting ground was Ruskin Park.
At first it seemed the park was a fungi free zone, and I suspect Celia was regretting agreeing to go there rather than one of our other local large green spaces. Then we found this:

First find

After that most of our finds were tiny, but Celia’s paper bag started to fill up. Some fungi is amazingly tough and will not be removed from its site by fingers alone. Celia forgot to bring a knife, though on reflection that was possibly just as well. Being arrested on a sunny afternoon in South London for possession of an offensive weapon would not have been high on either of our agendas.
I’m going to just give the other photos numbers and hope that Celia, who should be now be long home from her class, will enlighten us.



Continue reading

Of Friends, Visitors, Christmas and Time Passing

At first I thought they were leaves, but a nano second later realised I was looking at some rather fab fungi. Janh may be able to identify them, as she did the ones I snapped in Greece last year. I’m hoping so anyway.

Fungi, not leaves

Fungi, not leaves

I took that picture this morning, in the rain. Some people think it rains all the time here in London. It doesn’t. And usually when it does it’s like today, drizzly rather than lashing.

I am just back from a very enjoyable evening with Octavia, one of our frequent Sunday evening meals. The Grey Ninja was as beautiful as ever, and Octavia’s hall is newly painted a gorgeous pale olive green.

Last night I met up with Sophie Scott and her chap. We ate in a local Italian restaurant, and then repaired to the ice cream parlour for pudding. It’s been open for about eighteen months and I had never set foot in it. In summer, with the doors open, the smell of sugar caramelises the air on the pavement outside. The decor, black and Brighton rock pink, repulses me. But my hazelnut and pistachio ice cream was to die for. I may have to hold silver coins and crucifixes when I go by in future. Then we came back to the flat. Sophie was confident of a welcome from MasterB which he duly supplied before demanding Outside Time.

Lovely Neighbour Aeftheld dropped in on Friday night on a visit to London. She was worried MasterB might have forgotten her. She met me outside as I arrived home from work. When I unlocked the door, Himself came out, and all but ignoring me, let her know she was not only remembered, but that he was delighted to see her. Ahh.

She has her own cat now, a youngster of less than twelve months called Pippin. Although she wanted a MasterB calendar for next year, I reckon there will be Pippin calendars by 2017. Much to my delight, Aeftheld departed with varous toys MasterB has outgrown, cook books I have culled from my shelves, a rolling pin that was Mother’s that I hardly ever use, and that most essential of kitchen items, an egg coddler.

I was so pleased she wanted them, and that these things woud be going to a home where they would be used and appreciated.

Octavia had already received her first Christmas card. I haven’t written one, but I shall admit to enjoying the sight of the Christmas trees around London. It’s hard to believe that another year is almost at an end. I can remember back so many decades now. Am I really so old already?


Thank goodness the heating was on in the train. I was sodden from the thigh down. After days and days of warm weather, sunshine and gentle breezes, today it rained. I was out on a walk in Sussex. Last night, I looked at the forecast and groaned inwardly. Maybe outwardly too. Under normal circumstances, I’d have changed my plans and opted for a day at home. But this was a special walk in memory of a man who died of pancreatic cancer two years ago, less than four weeks after his diagnosis. Many cancers are now curable. Not pancreatic cancer it seems. It can also be genetic. This man’s father also died of it. He left daughters who have had children. Time bombs. So the walk was to remember him and to raise awareness and money for research. Actually the morning, though grey and windy, was mainly dry. A couple I had never met before collected me from Hayward’s Heath railway station and we drove to the start point. There, a group gathered, pulling on waterproofs and gazing hopefully at the sky. The man’s widow, and the one person I knew before joining this walk, gave me a hello hug. We met on holiday in Greece just three weeks ago. Soon I was introduced to the daughters and the grandchildren, to friends and neighbours. Then we began walking. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If anyone talks about walking in rolling countryside it means you will be doing as much up as down. This was rolling countryside. There seemed a fair bit of up to begin with, but fortunately that was it. We walked. We talked. The wind blew. It stayed dry. A very nice bunch of people. The pub was expecting us and had arranged tables so we could sit together. More talk, lots of food and some very good cider. Boots back on, we collected in front of the pub. The village still had signs of hallowe’en festivities. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Continue reading

In Answer to Your Comments

My apologies for not replying to your comments. Believe me I have tried. The rationing continues. If I wake in the middle of the night, as I tend to do, I shall post this then.

In the meantime; my thanks to Jan. We have supplementary questions which may earn you even more admirers: to wit, are these fungi poisonous, and how likely are we to see them in the UK? I now have a reputation to keep up. Members of the group zealously pointed out fungi to me to photograph today. I haven’t looked at the results, so they may be an out of focus blur. I don’t think I managed to catch a pic of the adder we disturbed I a sunny path. It shot away from us, and must have thought the paparazzi had turned up. It may well still be recovering. Continue reading