Sunday, 28 September 2008

Puff The Magic Mushrooms

No, not a microscope image of the spaces between my toes but Lycoperdon pyriforme, a tiny version of the Giant Puff-ball so eagerly sought-after on these misty moisty mornings. I discovered this little group lining-up on a piece of rotting tree trunk on the margins of a wood next to the Clipsham Topiary Avenue in Rutland. Puff-balls are extraordinary, distributing their spores all around if gently knocked, or even if gently pattered upon by raindrops. The giant variety is supposed to release seven million million spores, which does make me wonder why I can't readily find them for my breakfast. But I suspect it may be something to do with my neighbour getting up earlier than me. As in blogs passim, I'm finding fungi more and more interesting, not as a supplement to my diet or as a way of radically altering my thought processes, but just for the way they look. They really are like alien invaders, the sinister infants of Ray Bradbury's Boys! Grow Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellars! or the 'powdery prisoners' crowding to the door in Derek Mahon's poem A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford. Right, off to chop a horse mushroom into the Sunday breakfast. I just hope it doesn't squeal as it goes into the pan.

57 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Supper last night contained mushrooms rather like these, along with something apparently called shaggy parasols. Another literary reference is Sylvia Plath's poem 'Mushrooms', with its sinister line, 'Our foot's in the door.'

Peter Ashley said...

Ah yes, the Ragged Parasol, Lepiota rhacodes. You're in luck, it's in my King Penguin Edible Fungi.

Fred Fibonacci said...

I have two memories of freshly picked mushrooms. On tour with a theatre company, staying in a damp caravan with Hamish the Dog, on a farm in Dorset. On our morning off I took him for a walk; we came upon a wonderful crop of edible field mushrooms. Fried them up with bacon and eggs back at the 'van. Bliss.

You'll have to ask Ron about the other time. I think they must have been off, or something. Ron ended up in deep conversation with a loudspeaker. I ended up staring at a chap in the pub whose face kept changing into a chicken, then a duck, then a man again. Very odd. Needless to say, this all took place A Very Long Time Ago

Peter Ashley said...

Hmm, we do have to be careful. I once picked some jolly big horse mushrooms from around the war memorial that sits on the downs above Wantage. The ghost of some Berkshire squaddie must have got his own back because my girlfriend and I spent two hours the next morning calling God on our respective big white telephones.

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