This is an event they all Look Forward To Enormously during the week. It is, possibly, the Highlight Of Their Weekend. You can imagine just how much when you consider that they are all now teenagers, or in the case of L, might as well be (12 going on 16), and a Walk Through The Countryside With Their Parents is High On The Agenda of things they want to use their weekends for. This time I bribed L with a new Camelback - he drinks copious amounts of water which
Anyway, I've had a hankering to go mushrooming all week, having watched them Pop Up all over the lawn and drive in recent days. Did you know (incidentally) that the roots of a mushie are always there beneath the surface and the fruit (the bit we consider to be a mushroom and the thing garden gnomes are almost always pictured beside) only pops up when conditions are right, and not necessarily every year? And did you also know that mushies are one of the Most Ancient Species on the planet?(possibly as much as 200,000,000 years old)
Science Lesson Over, back to the story.
This is Mushrooming With Camera rather than to eat. I think I mentioned before I tend to stay away from ingesting fungi since I had an unfortunate experience involving People Who Weren't There that lasted most of the night.
So with the sun shining and two boys in need of Removal From Minecraft And Enforced Fresh Air Time, we bundled everyone in the car, put Ted in the boot and drove to Emer Bog, an important Lowland Valley Peat Bog, as it says on the info board (shame about the punctuation errors, but Never Mind- Denise, you Will Be Cross about the Unnecessary Commas):
I have been to the bog many times (it is a regular dog-walking haunt for me and Mrs M, and in fact come to think of it Mrs M's hubby D is a Veritable Mine Of Information when it comes to mushies, so we must try and all go out for a walk together there soon so he can Put Me Right on my ID mistakes). I had never before noticed the Moth Connection with the bog but now I know that I feel even warmer towards the place. It's managed by the Hants and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and is a fascinating habitat (Ooh, I think I might be starting to sound like an ecologist! I bloody well hope so, given that I've been traumatising my brain this week stuffing it full of New Learning about sub-atomic particles and the Creation Of The Universe. I've even had to buy a Brian Cox DVD for heaven's sake. This is much to my husband's delight because I have spent years being fairly merciless in my impersonations of Mr Cox's effusive presentation style: "let me show you, using only this Old Lemon Squash Bottle and a Ripe Pear in a Fantastically Expensive Setting somewhere in the Colorado Desert where I have been flown at not-inconsiderable expense because I am a Cool and Trendy Astro-Physicist who's made it onto Prime Time TV, how the Universe Was Formed" and so on. M loves him, and now I have to read his books because they are on Modern Ecological Reading Lists.
The bog was Mushroom Heaven. There were so many I didn't know where to start. I had a fabulous hour wandering around peering at the ground snapping away like mad while the boys climbed trees and Teddy did poos which M had to collect in a bag and carry all the way round.
My Fungi ID knowledge is Pretty Shameful, so if you spot any glaring errors please feel free to shout. And whatever you do, don't take the ones that do have labels as permission to eat anything. If they don't kill you first you may well end up talking to fairies all night, which is not so bad, until they morph into woman-eating-trolls at about 3am who have six heads, are dressed in sequin-encrusted leotards and quote Yeats and Shelley until you think your head's going to explode.
Could these be Penny Buns clustering around an Earth Ball?
Hypholoma capnoides or Sulphur Tuft
"Not Know", as L used to say when he was little.
Does anyone know what this is? It smelt terrible and looked like rotting flesh. Yuk. Or "Ewwww" as my daughter would say.
Now I feel I should be able to ascertain what this one is given the distinctive roll over of the top, but can I find it anywhere...?
Hypholoma fasciculare (sulphur tuft)
Probably some kind of Boletes Mushroom
Amanita Muscaria or Fly Agaric (poisonous, although some apparently have a pleasant taste. How Naughty!)
Dung mottle-gill (Great Name)
Milk Cap of some variety?
Amenita Rubiscens, The Blusher
Pleurotus Ostreatus or Oyster Mushroom (possibly?)
Whilst Hunting Mushrooms I came upon this Rather Lovely Miniscule Froglet, who obligingly posed for a couple of pics before diving back into the grasses. This is one of the things I love about looking at the minutiae of nature- quite unexpected things often pop into view that you would miss if you weren't crawling about looking among grasses and leaves.
And talking of which, as we were getting in the car to set off to the bog I spotted this Remarkable Insect dangling from a spider's web on the car door. Do you know what he is? No, I didn't either. He is a Common Backswimmer, more usually known to you and me as a Water Boatman. Apparently they are Fine Flyers in Warm Weather. Needless to say I rescued him and Returned Him To The Wild. Bit gorgeous isn't he?
I'll leave you with these Rather Adorable Mushies who were all Lined Up In A Row on this tree branch. It is important, when Mushroon Hunting, to Look Up as well as down....
Wishing you all a Marvellous Weekend. I'm off to eat a Thai Green Curry and Treacle Sponge Pud, drink champers and watch Ashes to Ashes. Happy Days....