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.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)