I know the Christmas cracker jokes should have been binned by now, but I couldn't think of another title for this post - Apologies!
You can't have failed to notice how this year the place is awash with funghi. I think the mild autumn has provided perfect conditions for mushrooms and the common is covered. One of our neighbours grew up in France and knows her lawyers wigs from her shaggy ink caps and informed me that, back in November, they had picked and eaten mushrooms for supper every night for 2 weeks. I've no idea what is or isn't an edible mushroom and while I love the idea of foraging and hedgerow cooking I'm not prepared to risk picking my own mushrooms. However all this funghi reminded me that as a child we used to collect mushrooms and make spore prints.
In my memory this has to be done early on a misty morning. So early one beautiful, misty Sunday morning my little girl, the dog and I set of onto the common with an array of plastic bags (to put mushrooms in and to cover our hands with as our little girl is a thumb sucker). Said daughter is rather curious about the Natural World and relished the opportunity to jump around searching for different species to add to her collection, preferably before the dog crushed them to smithereens. We returned home and carefully lay the mushrooms out on paper and left for a couple of days for the spores to fall out. Unfortunately I think little fingers may have fiddled and our patterns didn't come out quite as clearly as they could have done, but our little girl was pleased with the results and they were duly taken into school for show-and-tell!
I've since discovered that it isn't necessary to get up early on a misty morning to carry out this activity, however for me that aspect of the adventure adds to the magic!