Sunday, November 11, 2012

Toadstool towns and mushroom madness

What would November posting be without a fungal foray or two?  And it's quite a mushroom year; I have gathered so many edible ones - field and horse mushrooms and a few shaggy ink caps, only what I'm sure of, for of course there are bold mushroom hunters, and there are old mushroom hunters, and I intend to be among the latter - that I have mushroom duxelles enough for Heston Blumenthal to make a beef Wellington replica of Kings Cross station.

There are also some interesting non-edible ones about, most of which I can't begin to identify. I took a walk quite late today, so the light was a bit gloomy in places, sunset bright in others.

These greyish domes are emerging from a shady roadside bank,

and this one was quite a bright violet colour, top and bottom.

Fungus seems to benefit from the recent cutting of the banks and verges, on one shady corner under some trees there was quite a toadstool town.

And there is a patch under a confer hedge of good old fly agaric, that look like they came from the pages of a story book.

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that these used to be ingested frequently in Lapland, until the coming of vodka, which presumably provided a more reliable chemical means feeling good.  Curious, I googled 'eating fly agaric' and rather wished I hadn't, finding myself in a very strange world of mushroom enthusiasts of a very particular kind.  Among other things, I learned that the Lapps were said to feed it to their reindeer, then drink the reindeer's urine. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me though, how would they collect it? I thought reindeer were kind of semi-wild, they wouldn't obligingly stand around for a Lapp with a bucket would they?

Anyway, on one fascinating site, and also a very responsible and sensible one, devoted to the concerns of the Youth of Today, where I became horribly distracted, not only in reading about the various means, fungal and otherwise, by which people seek to alter their brain chemistry, but by various other matters to which, by dint of my advancing years, out-of-touchness and general congenital deep lack of cool, I am a stranger, I was informed of the effects of ingesting amanita muscaria:

- A dream-like state common to lucid dreaming, which can involve out-of-body experiences and enhanced clarity of the mind.
- Synaesthesia, where users experience a blurring of their senses, like smelling words or tasting colours.
- A strong internal dialogue with the feeling of being able to talk yourself through personal issues
- Blurred vision, with dilated pupils and watery eyes, as well as a runny nose.
- Involuntarily muscle twitching and trembling.
- Increased sweating and saliva production.
- Effects usually last between six and eight hours.

So I won't be making duxelles with those then.  Though the internal dialogue sounds quite interesting...


Unknown said...

Yes I know those symptoms. I experience them on the rare occasion when I listen to rock and roll.

Lucy said...


All shook up are you Joe?

Catalyst said...

Wow! I'd be very careful eating wild mushrooms. There were just some deaths in Oregon among people who were doing just that. Be sure of what you have, Lucy.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, how I do love a good fungal foray!

HKatz said...

The dome in the second photo looks like a jellyfish :) I love how when you zoom in on them, the small things we walk past and disregard every day become wondrous and weird.