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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?