Autumn, this means winter is next

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Autumn, this means winter is next

Autumn

Autumn in the UK, what am I missing

This is my 2nd full autumn in the UK, Autumn is historically my favourite time of year – winter is now but in my youth before I started skiing and Telemarking in my 20’s, I always had a soft spot for this time of year. This is also before I found foraging for mushrooms, another major reason for liking this time of year.

My earliest memory would probably be rolling around in big piles of leaves in the park and the smell of bonfires on the way to and from school in London.

I’m gonna try to fathom why I like autumn;

  • The light is amazing, I know the nights draw in and it gets dark but when the sun does come out, it seems amazing.
  • I’m not a fan of really high temperatures so for me if sunny and around 20 degrees that seems to suit me fine.
  • It smells really fresh, I think I was a bear in a previous life, I love the woodland smell, love being in the woods surrounded by trees.
  • Also as mentioned above I love foraging – not just for mushrooms – the hedgerows are full of fruit, blackberries, sloes, apples, pears, plums and much more.

I’ve not been that lucky with the mushrooming over here and I guess I miss that side of being in the mountains and finding a swathe of Chanterelles, the odd Cep or Penny bun, Hedgehog fungus, Giant puffball or Saffron milk cap. I tend to stay to these main 5 as they are quite easy to identify and if you do get it wrong the similar species are not deadly like Death cap, Panther cap, Destroying angel and others, I guess I’m a fungi!!

I remember the 1st time I ate a foraged mushroom, on a mountain walk when a friend found some and we cooked them on the BBQ and they were delicious. Part of me was a bit worried as I wasn’t sure if the friend knew what they were doing but we survived and it was one of the 5 I now know.

I then did a couple of summers working with a living legend (sadly dead now) an Iranian (he would say Persian) called Guilli. He would constantly show me free food; wild garlic, wild spinach, mushrooms and many others too many to mention along with full instructions on how to prepare and cook.

autumn

Guilli (pictured above) was in charge of managing the marked walks in the area (Soldeu, Andorra) and would repair the signs, chop down trees and bushes that grew over and blocked the paths and on one summer we pulled down the old ski school building to make way for the new one to be built. This involved driving up the slopes with tools and materials and on the way he’d pull over and say ” this is a great place to find……..”. He sadly died a few years ago at the age of 94 and I was told he was still teaching skiing in his late 80’s and proud to call him my friend.

autumn

Hedgehog fungus stew

Anyway I digress, it’s September, it’s autumn my favourite time of year but pretty soon it’ll be winter and I’ll be back in the mountains and gearing up to start the ski season. Excited? you bet but not before I find the odd bit of free food, play a few more gigs, finish writing my #ALCblogbook, share some more stories with you, alright Lyla (my dog) I know you need a walk….. sorry gotta go.

Don’t leave it too long to book your ski or Telemark lessons, JtS

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