Scarlet Elfcups or Moss Cups and some Irish mycological history

I had occasion to sweep down through my last several years of google photos and the passing of every photographic year is dead easy to spot, regular as clockwork every winter/start of spring stands out because I take a load of photographs of scarlet elfcups, presumably not quite in the same wildly over enthused state…

Groundhogs and orange peels

First the unsurprising news: Lockdown continues to be a drag and I am not enjoying it much. I had the very creepy feeling of “wait, didn’t I buy those a couple of weeks ago?” in the shops the other day looking at Easter eggs; never has the sensation that my sense of time and where…

We interrupt this outdoor series..(shiitake mushrooms from a kit)

..to bring you a little indoor news. I’ve been waiting for the “you’re all effectively locked down again” news for a while. I am not especially happy about it, any more than I was last time, but it at least seems like a decision which is better than the weeks of speculation, gossip and backbiting…

Martinstown House and the Blue Roundheads

There exists a venue usually used for what I imagine are quite spectacular weddings, the very lovely Martinstown House, home to the cutest trio of inseparable little white ducks I’ve ever seen and Iggy, the somewhat irritated turkey. I wasn’t there for a wedding, but for glamping, being fortunate enough to visit before our now…

Hedgehog mushrooms

It’s October and I am at the start of my third year being properly interested in fungi and starting to get a bit more confident about being able to identify some – more than ten with confidence, more than 40 with some hedging of bets but reasonable confidence, kind of thing. I am utterly lucky…

Complicated feelings require woods.

I have become sufficiently practiced at sloughing off whatever thing is sitting on my shoulders for a while the second I get my first eyeful of whatever the woods want to show me that day, at least for the duration of the visit. Breathe. Blow it all away, grin, and step on along to see…

Wanderings

It was an odd day, but it got a lot better. There are some days when thoughts that ordinarily trickle through the humdrum domestic suddenly swell, careen, scour all before them down new paths thrown open with reckless abandon. Rather than give the torrents all their own way, and especially given an unexpected reason to…

Seasons turning

There are days when I wake up and almost immediately the brain starts to supply me with the list of all the things I haven’t done, all the ways in which it is displeased with me, all the shoulds and musts and have tos. I’ve been wading through a treacle soup of should have, could…

The boletes of Birr Castle

I brought my niece and nephew to Birr Castle at the weekend, they were keen to go mostly because of the promise of cake in the cafe and the *magnificent* castle treehouse they have in the playground, but also because I mentioned I had seen squirrels there on my last visit. It turns out neither…