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Autumn Weather

Tuesday October 15th, clear and chilly morning, bright sun and warm air now. Saturday the 12th we went foraging, over to Hurstmonceux, but we were too early. Beautiful weather, the trees just turning, hedges full of red rose hips and holly berries, and plenty of conkers, but only a pocket full of chestnuts and no funghi to mention, except two undersized field mushrooms, which we carried around pour encourager les autres, and some raggy little old fairy ring mushrooms that we left in peace. So we had lunch at the Bulls Head, Boreham Street, one of the nicest pubs we know, very pleasant drop of Harvey's Bitter you get there, and wandered onward, heading for a beautiful sunset, great sweeping brushstrokes of warm pink across that deep clear blue you only see in autumn skies, me just vaguely looking out for those parasols we usually find somewhere around here. It's almost exactly a year since the news of ash dieback in the UK broke, so I was looking at the ash trees (of which there are plenty around Boreham), and seeing them not withered and blighted, not yet*, but all smothered in bunches of keys and some just turning from green to lemony. . .& then I saw a white ovoid in a clover field, and decided it must be a mushroom. Far too big, says Peter, but something in my ancient little brain said different, so I went haring over there, and stumbled on a monstrous fairy ring of giant puffballs. I've never seen even one giant puffball, except in pictures. They are very strange. Unbelievably huge, pure white lumps the consistency of beancurd with a kid leather skin, and one of them (the one I had spotted from far away) well young enough to eat. As big as my head? Nah, twice that! Like having a big fat tofu ham in the fridge. Enough for a week at least!

Giant Puffball Menu Plan:

Saturday: sliced giant puffball on toast, fried in butter and garlic (very good)

Sunday: puffball curry with chapatis and dahl (surprisingly excellent)

Monday: Puffball and celery soup, with sherry and Worcester sauce (dreadful. Slime flavoured with worcester sauce and had to be replaced with an internet recipe for puffball, corn kernel, onion and milk broth.)

Tuesday: Chinese vegetables, puffball and rice

Wednesday: creamed puffball and pasta

Actually, I'll cook the last of it tonight. Wednesday isn't going to happen, owing to me having omitted to cut off the growing point, where the fruit connects to the mycelium. . . so our giant puffball went on growing up, and when the spore mass is mature, it's inedible. I knew that, but forgot in my astonishment.

Have posted off my written objection to the "exploratory drilling" at Wisborough Green, which is a weight off my mind. I intend to post it on Gwynethann as well, so you can read it if you want to, although it's pretty boring really. (and here's the link) I also intend to add a short snappy one to the growing number on the WSCC site. Nobody is going to be able to say it happened because we did nothing, in our tiny patch.

On the other hand, here's a site to watch, for a reality check on our global chances:

And meanwhile, from the Brighton Independent: Caroline Lucas, my MP, and in my humble opinion the best MP in the UK, has decided to plead not guilty and go to trial, over her alleged public order offences at the Balcombe drilling site protest. I am very proud of her, and when the trial comes up, I intend to be there.


Not found anything to replace Breaking Bad yet. Blacklist is just feeble. Last night, when we eventually convened for some tv leisure, we watched part of The Mummy Returns (which never tires) and Avengers Assemble, on Gabriel's recommendation. A supersized, fat and sugar feast of silliness, but not a patch on the former entertainment.

The keynote picture is the giant puffball in our fridge of course. *I ducked the ash dieback story this morning, wondering what the reporting was like, a year ago, and was it really so doomladen? Yes, it was, is the answer. Ash dieback will spread at a rate of 20 miles a year, and nearly every ash tree in the UK will be infected in a decade... It could still be true, but maybe, possibly, it won't be quite that fast, or so devastating?

A change in the Weather

Wednesday 2nd October, grey skies, clammy air. Rain in the night, but it didn't change anything. Spider season in the garden has come and gone since I last added anything to this blog, and far too much of the time between has been spent reading the documents supporting Energie Celtique's application to drill for oil and/or gas, at a site between Wisborough Green and Kirdford, Chichester district, West Sussex, deep in that "intimate and secluded" landscape, (I'm quoting from the ES) that still retains (miraculously! ed) its mediaeval character. There's 1000 pages of the stuff. The ancient headland church at Wisborough Green is the haunted location I chose for my "Tom and Em" story The Flame Is Roses The Smoke Is Briars. The Sussex Wildlife Trust has a reserve adjoining the site, frequented by all sorts of bats, including the rare species our present regime mysteriously insists that it protects to the point of reverent worship (cf great crested newts: they're obsessed with great crested newts, they love to catch them and carry them around in jars, like rapacious small children of fifty years ago). SWT wasn't consulted, of course. They're asking all their members to object, and of course many of us will, but the process is a mean joke. If we so much as hint at the term "fracking", our objections will be tossed. If we say, exploration? Well, what are they exploring for, if they don't mean to exploit?, our objections will be tossed. If we say, we know what outcome is planned. We've read the letter to the shareholders, and it's all about tasty unconventional energy reserves, do you think we don't know what unconventional means?... Do you think we don't know how many wells they'll need? our objections will be tossed.

Sometimes I wonder, what could be the Invasion of Poland, the game changer, in the preamble to this war against the worst threat our civilisation has ever faced? And I can't think. I just can't think.

Dust in the air suspended, marks the place where a story ended

Not many people realise this, but that dust, the eutrophic nitrogen in all the heavy goods vehicle emissions just duing the 3 years of this "exploration" license, will be enough to destroy a lot of the "value" of these choice "landscape receptors": and I mean permanently.

& that's only one of the threads I'm involved in. I'm drowning in hopeless activism here. I really must get a grip on this.

Watching (over)

& so, goodbye Breaking Bad. On Friday night we took a break, and another on Saturday: then realised we weren't going to make it without a huge effort, and it was worth it. 3 episodes on Sunday, and a race to the finish on Monday, late. There's times when I've grown impatient, and many times I've grumbled that the two female characters had very little to do except wander vaguely about being witless (I'm not counting the Wicked Witch of the East with her iconic red soles; or that zero-hours contracted baby), but even Marie was a huge improvement on the usual sopranos and madmen collusive and enabling pneumatic dolls. The melodrama of the last stretch was peerless. Pantomime elements in the mopping up of secondaries fine with me. I like a fictioneer who isn't afraid of pantomime. Happy ending for the monster of evil, reunited with his true love, also okay with me. It was neat.


Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice; for Vector. Very interesting! All I'm going to say about that for the moment.

Hoping for

A change in the weather.

Keynote picture is my gentian sino ornata, that I bought to cheer myself up. This plant will have to live in a pot when it moves to the garden, as it hates chalk, yes, I know that. Couldn't help myself. Bright blue October sky...Memo, must visit Sheffield Park this month.