Shaggy parasols, coral fungi, wood blewit, amethyst deceiver, clouded agaric, giant blackened polypore and giant trooping funnel were amongst the highlights of an autumnal meander through the glorious Chilterns which was enjoyed today by the Berkshire Mid Thames group and their friends. Testimony to the collective wit and wisdom of the gathering, conversation ranged across the edible mycological delights at out feet (all identified in a flash by a visiting expert) to the biological processes responsible for inflammation, kites and kestrels and the history of an infamous nineteenth century gentlemen's bathing establishment in Vienna. And, inevitably, much else besides.
There was also some quite good walking too, and some very enjoyable lunch in the good company of 16 others at a place called the Maker Space in Nuffield. We dined in a studio which had just been used for a wreath-making workshop, surrounded by impressive quilts and a multitude of brightly coloured fabrics and wools. All of the food is home made, including a very good tomato soup and some excellent sausage rolls. And there were the hugest cakes.
It was agreeable to spot the celebrated journalist David Frost's grave at Nuffield Church, complete with his celebrated catchphrase 'hello, good evening, and welcome'. Those that did the shorter wander along the Ridgeway after lunch also caught sight of the former home of William Morris (the car man) and a manor house with peacocks.
The walk description beforehand touted 'spectacular' views and in spite of the cloudy weather, they were certainly both distant and impressive. In the course of the walk both Mother Dunch's Buttocks and Didcot Cathedral (Wittenham clumps and the power station) got picked out in sudden shafts of obliging sunlight. It wasn't quite the crags and moors of Derbyshire (the native habitat of our most-travelled walker) but it was definitely impressive.