Sunday, September 14, 2008

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous...

Until this weekend, my knowledge of fungi was extremely limited. As far as I was concerned, there were five kinds:

  1. The white mushrooms that you can buy in Tesco's and other supermarkets
  2. The posh, unusual mushrooms that Waitrose sell
  3. The unpleasant moulds that appear in damp houses
  4. Athlete's Foot
  5. 'Recreational' mushrooms
However, I now know that the world of fungi is infinitely more varied than I dared to imagine, as I have spent most of this weekend in a wonderful place called Wilderness Woods (I would recommend it to anyone living within a 50-mile radius of Hadlow Down, East Sussex).

I visited Wilderness Woods in a mood of desperation, hoping that it would give my sons an opportunity to exhaust their seemingly endless reserves of energy. As far as I'm concerned, children are like dogs and need to be exercised at least once a day. The analogy ends there - dogs are much easier than children and show far more gratitude when you take them out (but just as you really start to care about them they die of old age - it's not a good arrangement).

Wilderness Woods was a success. My sons were able to run around, build dens and let their imaginations run riot without any constraints. In the meantime, I became obsessed with the incredible variety of fungi that were present. I have seen toadstools before, but this was something different. Perhaps the appalling English summer - the worst on record - had been responsible for this amazing proliferation of mushrooms and fungi:




Can you see a face in the mushroom above, or do I need to see my GP?



There is something both beautiful and repugnant about mushrooms and fungi. I think the golden rule is that they're great in a woodland setting, but not so good on the genitals or feet.



In the picture above, I can almost see the head of a mackerel. Can you see it, or have I been under the influence of the more magical members of the mushroom family?


And now for the ridiculous. On the way home, we drove over the River Uck. The bridge we went across has, for many years, sported a sign that has been subject to petty vandalism, with local humorists adding an 'F' to the Uck. Eventually, the Highways Agency commissioned a customised sign that would leave no room for any vulgar consonants and for several years it seemed to work. However, where there's a will there's a way...


Yes it's puerile, but it still makes me laugh and I find it touching that someone has gone to so much effort on this busy road. I'm still waiting for someone to convert Sussex Drive to Sex Drive.

10 comments:

James A-S said...

I can see a parrot mid squawk. Does that help ?

The Poet Laura-eate said...

The trick is not to inhale Steerforth!

Amazing pictures - I'm glad the kids enjoyed it too - I often wonder how they persuade people to produce them, being so demanding and costing so much money to raise & then sodding off to Australia etc. Must have a first rate marketing department!

David said...

In Cardiff I recall a squeeze through alley called 'CANAL PASSAGE' before the docks were redeveloped. More a case of a reduction in letters to achieve the desired effect - this had been masterfully done with white paint.

Steerforth said...

Brilliant! I tried to find a photo of it, but my Google search yielded some rather unpleasant images.

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

aside from the obvious ( the gay quarter of Manchester is bisected by 'Canal Street' - they have given up painting the 'C' back in ), I used to have to travel to the headquarters of NEXT in Leicester on a regular basis - the taxi from the station took you down 'Raw Dyke" and up "Sore Valley "

ouch!

Steerforth said...

Yes, that sounds painful.

You can't beat a good bit of innuendo, although in Chaucer's time the street names left little to the imagination didn't they? Apparently, most towns had a Gropecunt Lane.

I expect Canal Street would have been called Buggereye Streete.

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

there is a Douche Passage somewhere in the Old Town, something to do with fish.....

Goncalo Veiga said...

Would you believe that in Portugal they have a place called Picha, a slang word for Penis?

Crazy!

Lucy Fishwife said...

There are also those French ones that look like imploded blackberries...?

Paula Turner said...

Just found your blog searching pictures of woodland fungi, great post. I took my boys to the woods for "exercise" today and found myself similarly fascinated by the mushrooms!