I haven't been too well the past couple of days having suffered from an upset stomach and the beginnings of a cold. Fortunately both have subsided and I felt a little more energetic today and we took Missy for a constitutional walk, but not where we normally go. We went to a local Woods (a place I have been going to since I was a small child - we regularly used to go for picnics there with friends and many a happy time was had there as it is a lovely place to roam. and have a nic pic. I even took the step-children there when they were growing up. I felt the need to be near trees and in open spaces today it really tugged at me and I needed to get out and about. Not often I get like that but today was definitely one of those days.
I love walking but I also absolutely adore foraging of any kind- I like looking out for new sources of different wild produce. There were lots of mushrooms but I dare not pick them. I was taught how to recognise field mushrooms and a couple of other varieties as a child, but because it is so long since that knowledge was used I am not very confident. apart from with Puffballs - we have had about three more large ones this week. However I do intend to put this missing information right at some time and am going to look into this in some detail. It has been a lovely sunny day with a breeze here. I went armed with my foraging kit which consists of a pair of rubber gloves, some scissors, rolls of polythene bags and carrier bags and bin bags in my wicker basket together with my stick. I always take these with me when we go for a walk on the off-chance. I had every intention of actually collecting together some fir cones for use in a couple of projects I have in mind concerning Christmas decorations; I was looking for sloes, crab apples, blackberries, rosehips as well as for puffballs and haw berries. We found all these but we also found hazlenuts and beech mast. However, I came home empty handed for a change but with good reason.
As we were walking throught the woods we bumped into a retired couple with a black labrador dog and we got talking as you do, and we ended up walking together. They were on holiday camping on a local site up the road, and are originally from Swaffham in Norfolk. We spent a relatively quick three hours on a very long walk, chatting all the time and found that we had many things in common despite the difference in ages. In fact they were super company. It turned out that the husband used to keep bees (at least 6 hives) which is an interest of mine,. I have been on a training course, but don't keep bees at present becasue of a grumpy neighbour. They also grow their own veg and fruit but also have a passion for preserving and bottling, making wine generally making use of anything that came their way. In fact they have told me that Thetford Forest regularly put on mushroom identification courses so I am going to look into this and see if the gap in my knowledge can be improved so that at least I can come home with the right mushrooms rather than making everyone poorly. They are moving sites on Tuesday and are coming to stay on a local site in Peterborough so we have arranged to meet up with them and go out for a meal. Its funny how you meet folk and get talking and end up getting on like a house on fire. They were very good company. Needless to say Missy came home cream-crackered and has spent most of the evening fast asleep on her bed.
Most of the people I work with seem to think I am a little odd because I am quite passionate about cooking and preserving in particular, but hey it wouldn't do if we were all the same now would it.
We used to make wine years ago and weren't too bad at it and then for many years have not made it; I am currently in the swing of things again and hope to get a lot more made within the next few weeks, hopefully ready for Christmas, including Cider, and a Lager and Bitter kit. My Nan always used to make a lot of really good wine as did my mother.
We are hoping to get a shed shortly in order that I can sort my dining room out which is currently housing both my chest freezer and and an upright deep freeze, as a result of which space is at a premium, after which I am hoping to decorate the dining room and the kitchen prior to Christmas, but will have to wait and see what happens, pennies providing, but it needs tidying up. The kitchen only needs painting out, but the dining room needs papering and painting. So will have to see how things go.
I am back to work tomorrow after a completely chilled out week at home. I had so much to do but didn't get round to all of it, but I have chilled out a bit which was the whole purpose of the exercise. Hopefully I will be able to book another week's leave soon.
Well take care everyone and look after yourselves