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21 April 2005

I found a fungus, strolling through the hospital grounds - no, I'm sorry, let me recast that: Strolling through the hospital grounds, I found a fungus [barely better, but hell, you know what I mean. Ah, all my days are like this, the endless conflict between grammar and aesthetics, sense and sensibility...]. And I picked it, and I brought it home with the fixed intention of finding out what it is and whether I can eat it; and I have never done this before, so I thought it worth recording.

Thing is, Iíve always been scrupulous about fungi. I have had two rules: "if you donít know what it is, donít eat it"; and "a book is not enough to tell you what it is".

Trouble is, you can wait all your life for an expert and still never find one at hand. My patience is fraying, and at least I do now have a book. (Actually, I found a lovely book a few months back, and wanted it severely - until I realised that none of its entries said whether or not a fungus was edible. So I checked the front, and behold, that was policy: they didnít believe in picking wild fungi, didnít want to encourage the practice and so deliberately never said whether a particular fungus would nourish you or kill you. Bah, humbug, said I, and bought another book. To be fair, I have only picked one sample from a clump of fungi, so that if it's not edible the rest may grow and flourish; but I'll tell you, if it is edible, I'm going back for the rest.)

So thatís what I'm off to do now, identify the object. Not sure how, exactly, but there must be a system. No doubt the book will explain. I was going to pass on my solution to the pasta salad problem (whatís the problem, you ask? Pasta salad!), but this is more urgent. If you donít hear from me again - well, draw your own conclusions. Maybe Iíve got bored and gone to Glasgow.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.