Thursday, 10 October 2013

Signs, Swans and Fungi

The night before we left for our recent trip to France and Ireland the power went off, just as we were about to start cooking! Several phone calls and consultations with neighbours later, workmen arrived with diggers, powerful lights and drills. Just what you need when you are either a) driving hundreds of miles the next morning - my husband and I or b) heading off to the railway station at the crack of dawn for a three-hour train journey to an important meeting - our daughter-in-law!

Said workmen toiled all through the night (we could tell because it was like Blackpool illuminations at the end of our drive!) and managed to get the power back on for us and our neighbours about 15 minutes before our daughter-in-law needed to leave to catch her train! Not the best preparation for a long day at work you have to agree.

A couple of hours later when we were heading off on our long drive South, this is what we found.

Apparently we were deemed incapable of realising that there was a hole at the end of the drive surrounded by fencing, and that we might have to drive slightly to the left of the fencing to avoid the hole! We don't routinely drive across our neighbour's garden to get to the road, so it was highly unlikely that we would be anywhere near the hole in the first place.

We arrived in France at the beginning of the mushroom foraging season, and being surrounded by forest as we are there, coming across little, old French men and women scouring the forest floor is not an uncommon occurrence. This year these magnificent specimens were growing in our garden.

I have no idea whether they are edible or not, but if I wanted to find out all I needed to do was take them to the nearest Pharmacy, where they will identify your finds for you. At this time of year the Pharmacies have posters in their windows identifying edible and non-edible mushrooms, but even there the differences are not always obvious to me. So I will continue to admire them from behind my camera lens and stock up on safe mushrooms from the local market instead :)

Remember the elephant towels in the Buxton hotel? Well, we had fancy folded towels of a different form on the ferry from France to Ireland. A pair of swans this time.

I wonder what other bird or animal shapes towels can be folded into. Do let me know if you have seen any other towel creatures on your travels, won't you :)

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  1. Love the towels - we used to have different creations each day on our honeymoon in Cuba - I think the swan is lesson one of housekeeping for tourists!

  2. Why fill in a hole when you can spend more time and money trying to stop people falling in it! I love that the French identify mushrooms for people and those towels are amazing :)

  3. When dad lived in France he regularly took mushrooms into the pharmacy for identifying - and they would also suggest the best way o cook each species! Yum!

  4. Haven't seen swan towels before! I've seen a little face washer folded into an elephant (though that does require the use of a rubber band to keep it in place!)

    Hope you had a wonderful trip away!

  5. that is the first time I have seen swan towels!! Some poor creative person is finding an outlet in whatever way they can!!

  6. Cool towels! I haven't seen anything but boring folded ones! How funny that the pharmacist will identify mushrooms for you-love it!

  7. Loosing electric is no fun especially at night time, from what they have said on the news looks like we could be in for power being turned off this winter if it is true that supplies are low, must put candles on the shopping list.
    Like you I have mushrooms sometimes on the lawn, the gardening programme says once they grow they will keep coming back as their spores are in the ground, did not know the pharmacy will identify them a good tip as would not dare try them! The swan towels are unusual not seen towels folded like that before.

  8. On honeymoon we got a swan, turkey and a monkey hanging above the bed! Gave us a laugh a day so we left quite a good tip. I remember when I was growing up on the farm there used to be one field full of mushrooms every year. Haven't grown there for years :-(:-(

  9. Those swans made me smile, a nice welcoming touch to a hotel room.

  10. What an interesting life you lead, travels and all.

    I once had a towel folded into the shape of a dog of some kind, and whoever did the folding also put my sunglasses on the pup.

  11. I'm with you, Fiona... I'd be buying my mushrooms. We sometimes get mushrooms growing in the garden, some are probably as a result of mushroom compost, but others are not. I wouldn't be game to eat any.

  12. Can't believe you chickened out on the mushrooms ;o)

  13. I agree with you I'd rather buy the mushrooms from the market. And here in the US the local pharmacy doesn't offer that service. My husband gets rid of any mushroom he finds in the garden as we had a terrible incident with one of our dogs eating a mushroom and we had to rush her to the emergency vet clinic. So since then when it comes to mushrooms better safe than sorry.
    They are beautiful to look at.


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