There are over 140,000 species of mushrooms in the world. 50,000 of them are edible, 2% of them are deadly poisonous. Unlike plants they don’t need sunlight to grow. Around 30 species actually glow in the dark. You can eat them, treat illnesses with them and even dye fabric with them.
A wondrous gift from nature that everybody can enjoy….apart from me, as I have a fungi allergy. Penicillin is out of bounds too. When I mention it, people tend to snigger in disbelief. Many of them my own friends.
No more so, than on a weekend girls trip a few years back. We were camping by the coast, celebrating the impending nuptials of a group member, in a popular site not too far from our home town in Essex.
I am not the biggest fan of camping. It is great in warmer climates. However, in the UK it get so cold at night you are forced to wear a hundred and one layers. Then the morning sun rises and you are so hot you are literally….‘Boil-in-a-bag’.
Putting my adversity aside, I revelled with my fellow hens until the early hours on the first night. Serving tequila cocktails like a Mexican flare bartender, dancing round the fire pit like a tribal warrior and skinny dipping like an excitable teen.
Unfortunately the second night was not as much fun. I was inadvertently poisoned by a Quorn burger. The camp BBQ chef had used the same grill area to cook both the meat and veggie supper.
Not wanting to spoil the proceedings, I played down the uncontrollable vomiting and sky high temperature. Presuming the symptoms would not worsen as it was only transference and not consumption, I took myself off to bed. Ice pack and sick bucket in hand.
Later that night as the whole campsite slept, I struggled to keep cool. In an attempt to reduce my temperature and avoid the risk of fitting, I resorted to leaving the tent. Big mistake, especially considering I was wearing only my briefs. Everything else had ben stripped earlier in a desperate bid to cool down.
Just as I inhaled my first deep breath of crisp fresh night air, legs astride and arms outstretched, campsite security flood lit our area with their van headlamps.
‘Night time patrols?’ I heard one chuckle to the other. ‘More like…Right time patrols’
I felt like an extra from ‘Carry on Camping’ . Not my finest moment.
Although I can not medicate with or eat mushrooms, I can enjoy drawing them. They make a great subject, so many individual shapes, colours and markings. I found it difficult to stop.