Autumnal F-words

I’ve just spent a few days at 88, taking in a meeting at the Natural History Museum, gardening and book group.  During the lunch hour at the museum I spent a good while browsing the shop.  They have a great selection of books, especially for children, on natural history, earth science, and, spectacularly, dinosaurs.  And lots of sticker books too.  I also found a delightful volume on FUNGI to put aside for my favourite mycologist, a quirky book on Personality and a book on countryside lore, an ideal present for another relly.

I was on the point of making a note of the titles of all my finds so that I could buy them on Amazon, no doubt at a reduced price, when I had a flash of conscience.  Do I want retail outlets such as the Museum shop to survive?  Should they be more than outlets for my window-shopping activities?  Do I want the Musuem staff, employed to service the retailing activities of the seething general public, to keep their jobs?  Yes to all of the above, so I made my purchases there and then.

These clear and clement autumn days have been a gift to gardeners, amongst others.  The morning chill yields to the bright sunshine and a stream of mild weather has encouraged yet another flowering of such shrubs as the Crinodendron, the bushy Salvias, and the Japanese anemones.  The wild strawberries continue to FLOWER and the Morning Glory plants have yet to wilt.  On Sunday, Ted and I spent quality time in the garden and whilst I cut back dead flowerheads, and hoiked out bamboo, and yellow Flag from the pond, Ted played with some Giant Pond Snails and a few stripy landsnails.  He very quickly grasped the characteristics of aquatic and terrestrial snail shells and was able to tell the difference.

The following day I took several sacks of green waste to the tip and later that afternoon a final sack of debris to the heap in the woods.  The crab apple tree next to the heap has had a bumper year, the ground covered in fallen FRUITS, golden in dappled sunlight.

Back in Winterborne K I notice a large mushroom on the kitchen windowsill.  It is one of the Parasol mushroom species.  Nick tells me he noticed several on his drive into Poole.  Based on my favourable reaction he goes to gather the remainder, and the FUNGI then form the basis of a mushroom/nut loaf. Parasol mushrooms are fairly distinctive, nevertheless there are cautionary notes to the effect that one must be wholly confident of the identity.  Taking a leaf out of Alice in Wonderland’s book, Nick nibbles a sliver off one end…….. I wonder if it came off the ‘shorter’ or ‘taller’ end 🙂



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