Tuesday, 6 December 2011
The Last Mushrooms
And so at last we come to the end of the mushroom season. The last mushrooms are to my mind some of nature's best - wood blewits with their lovely lilac gills, floral scent and firm flesh. They arrive when the first good frosts turn the other mushrooms to a brown mush, in fact they seem to need the frosts to fruit.
I picked these in the woods above my Czech home, but have picked them among the gorse bushes on Cleeve Hill in the Cotswolds. I was alone in the woods apart from some wild boar snorting in the undergrowth and making me jump and a herd of maybe a dozen deer. Many Czechs are not aware of the blewits, indeed I have been told categorically by neighbours that blewits are not good and even poisonous. It was a delightful walk - the air crisp and still, sunlight glancing through the trees. The blewits were a nice extra, a surprise even because I thought they might be over, but there they were nestling around a fallen fir tree, pushing up through the needles which they clinged on to as I tried to pick them.
But now I think they are over. It snowed last night (more of that in my next post) and there's more to come.