Tuesday 20 October 2020

A Garbled Piece, A Fug Descends and the New Improved Google Blogger

Well, I’ve been staring at this blank sheet of digital paper for more than a week now and no guff seems to be forthcoming. 

Over the years I’ve spoken with numerous coves who manage to make a living out of this caper and several times advice regarding inertia when it comes to chucking up guff has centred around just get something chucked down on the page. 


They may be the first words binned on the final edit, but they will have served as to set cogs grinding. 

So there we go, 

and we’re off. 

Hang on, final edit? 

Ok there are clever sub editors when guff is chucked up for magazines, but here, in this house? 

Clearly there is no final edit, this material is in RAW format.

Right, well a hundred words should be enough to oil the wheels so we will now attend to matters arising since I was last on here. 

And once again the fug descends. 

The river, of course the river, where, in Toronto speak, we are approaching full fall.
Inevitably the last knockings have seen an increase in piscine activity. 

These trout know you know. 

A few fine fish were grassed, mostly to a nymph although the odd one to Daddy Long Legs shock tactics. The chunky triploids that have turned up the past few winters will continue to feed throughout the winter as they have no horse in the race when it comes to the business of reproduction. We’ve a few grayling about. Nothing like the numbers we played host to six or seven years ago, but some good fish that will provide sport on a fine day following a frost. We’ve had ice on the roof two mornings this past week and the sycamore, beech and chestnut are shedding leaves at quite a rate. Numbers of duck overnighting on the pond are increasing although the geese have yet to put in an appearance. Martins, swallows and swifts all pushed off the week before last and woodcock are back in the wood.

It’s a good year round here for mushrooms. 

I’ve been picking a bowl of the things every four or five days from a secret location nearby and man are they good squishy. 

 The village in Cheshire where I grew up was surrounded by dairy country. Grass fields, often with a half acre marl pit to provide liquid succour for cattle and free angling opportunities for locals. Mushrooms were plentiful in several of the fields. Knowledge of which fields provided such fungal trove was a closely guarded secret and pickers would rise at dawn, often taking a circuitous route to fungi Valhalla in order to throw any pursuers off the trail of the shroom. I had my sources, and searching a large grass field for white gold in the early morning runs float fishing close as an exercise in boosting mindfulness. 

Everything else melts away, there is only green in the quest for the little white dot. 

I’ve picked horse mushrooms here in the wood by the river but they have a peculiar flavour which I put down to the Christmas trees and a carpet of pine needles, although I am more than happy to be corrected on this theory. The current crop are particularly juicy and leave a deep dark liquor in the pan that is saved and used in stews, sauces and soups. 

One final thing on the shroom. There was one pond in a field that I fished regularly in my youth that always threw a crop of field mushrooms in July and August. We’d cook them for breakfast during early morning tench fishing sessions, I don’t know why they went early but they were pretty reliable on when they would put in an appearance.
Apologies, another final thing on the shroom. 

Our last automotive, a Teutonic piece that you couldn’t help but drive with a smile on your face, was purchased by an Italian sky diving instructor who resided in the Basingstoke environs. The test drive, in what was not a slow car, was all that one would expect from an Italian in his thirties who hurled himself out of a plane at ten thousand feet on a daily basis, and we kind off got on. 

Quite the foodie, as he counted out the cash in the kitchen he admired a bowl of freshly picked field mushrooms sat on the kitchen counter. I informed him that I had picked them that morning and popped a few in a paper bag for him to try. He thanked me for the mushrooms, and also the car and then said, 

 “there is a wood near Basingstoke that is filled with the most magnificent Chanterelle mushrooms I have ever tasted” 

 “Oh really” I replied, sensing an opportunity 

 “and where would that be?” I enquired almost innocently, 

 “If I told you where it was, I would then have to kill you” he replied,

 A foraging omerta if you will. The clandestine code of the mushroom picker is Pan European. 

 Our walks in the quest for prolonging life over the coming weeks are understandably centred around the woods of Basingstoke, albeit with a wary one eye over the shoulder. 

 Apologies if this has been a bit garbled, as I mentioned earlier a certain fug has taken hold, but also I've had to give battle again with the new improved version of google blogger, where, I am sure you have by now ascertained, it remains very difficult to form paragraphs, but that's progress for you.

Footnote: Subsequently found the paragraph button while having a go at sub editing. 


The Two Terriers said...

Chris, A fine piece and you did seem to manage one hundred words, with ease. We haven't seen mushroom for two years and the nearest orchard used to produce beautiful large field mushrooms but not any more. Now remember "if you go down to the woods, near Basingstoke today..."

The pike are moving, when they feel like it, and out tomorrow hunting the hunter and your river looks wonderful. On a meteorological note we have had no frost at all.

Stay safe and keep your eyes peeled for men in dark glasses wearing ill-fitting jackets.

All the best, John

Test Valley River Keeper said...

Cheers John,

Hope you are all well.

I love Italy, we visited most years during the past decade (it's on here somewhere) and would haver been in some corner of it at some point this year if the pox hadn't struck.

It was often commented that my profile pic that The Shooting Times used for some years was a strong look. What you don't see is the twenty six pound carp I am cradling and the half acre of cannabis growing in the surrounding environs.

It was on the banks of the Arno in a very busy city and we were issued with similar advice as that proffered by my fungi fan of a car purchaser, only with a distinctly darker tone,

Look after yourselves and thanks as ever for getting in touch,


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