Talking to yourself

Well, they say that talking to yourself is the first sign of something or other (can't remember what). But anyway, here we go ... Bryan's web log # 1

Yesterday Dee and I went on a hunt for the king of all wild mushrooms - the famous 'cep', or as the Italians have it, the 'porcini'. Or, according to British country people, the 'penny bun' because that is what it looks like. Brown dome up to 15 or so cms across stuck on top of a short, very bulbous stem. Truly delicious in a risotto or as a ragoute or simply as a powerful flavouring. Never absent from top kitchens everywhere - or our's for that matter. We dry them down as well, for use until the next hunting / picking season.

So here we are, forcing our way through coniferous woodland perched on the steep side of a hill. Difficult to see anything through the branches. Slow progress. Rough underfoot - although I doubt any other human foot has been stupid enough to try to step through here since the trees were planted so closely together. We've accumulated a few of the not so little treasures when we come across a find of a different kind in the form of a ring of stones and boulders about twenty feet across. A roundhouse, maybe a thousand years old, maybe a lot more. We calculate this wood was planted as part of someone's tax avoidance scheme not much more than half a century ago. Since then its been left to grow and die and replant itself unattended, unmanaged, covering up an ancient habitation whose presence I doubt is suspected by anyone living.

We sit on the stones and drink our coffee, thinking and talking of those who once lived here. How they lived. For sure they weren't farmers (apart from the husbanding of their semi-wild black beasts), but for the most part hunters and gatherers. Did they eat ceps?

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