Monday, October 17, 2005

Well my bobble hat may not have had an airing but my walking boots certainly came in handy after all.

My maiden foray with the local Naturalists Union was certainly an experience. Not quite what I had envisaged but enjoyable nonetheless. Perfect autunmnal day, sunny, warm with just a faint haze, beautiful secluded setting miles from any sort of intrusion, beards galore, huge ones that could never be found in the Letts Pocket Guide to Beards, you'd need a serious MacMillan book to identify one of those and even then you might have to send a digital picture to a learned Professor Emeritus Hirsuteus to get a qualified answer but for most of us they would come under the heading of"Weirdie-Beardies". And I'm including the few women that were present.

That said, I did witness the first official recording of Crawlius-Creepius-Rigidus-Boringdum Shield Beetle in the County EVER!!! Spreading from the West apparently, let's hope they meet bird-flu before it meets us.

I think perhaps I am not cut-out for wanders through the countryside with the County Recorders. I found one interestingly colourful glob on a fallen branch and made the mistake of asking what it might be, to discover that in fact I had uncovered a veritable treasurechest of fungi, none of which I had noticed and may well form the basis of the next 6 hourly talks on the Fungi of Middle England. I was happy to lug the decaying log back to basecamp but stopped at the first Little Chef to wash my hands and ring Jack to make sure he wasn't planning on Mushroom Risotto for tea.

The people were lovely, don't get me wrong. Incredibly friendly, welcoming and given that most of them had or were on the waiting list for, hip replacements, very easy to keep up with practically, if not mentally but not quite as dumbed down as I would like - see that ugly, foul-smelling growth there, delicious! those cute clusters of honey-smelling boleti, evil, look for brown-ridges for clues of edibility. None of that happened. It was all Latin names and the only bit of popular lore was when Colin ( Visagium Beardus Maximus) explained that the Ink Horn thingy was used by lawyers to pen their documents and even today forgeries are proven by their lack of spores.

I'm going to try the local Wildlife Trust next. I'm hoping they might just about bridge the gap that I find myself in, slightly more interested than the average bear but not so obsessed that they insist you carry specimen bottles about with you.

If that fails, it might be the local Naturists Society, slightly more Bare than the average fungus forager.


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Sunday, Oct. 16 -- We're off for a while. Cashed in some frequent flier miles when it looked like US Airways wouldn't be around to celebrate Christmas this year.
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