For the past couple of weeks i have been confined to the house as i unexpectantly came down with appendecitus and ended up in hospital for a few days whilst they removed the offending appendage and i recovered, this has meant that after being released from hospital i have literally been unable to do anything that involves too much movement or exertion. Now sitting in front of the tv watching crap all day may seem relaxing to some but for me its a nightmare as i,m a pretty active guy not to mention i,ve taken time out from my day job to finish of the work that needs doing to our house and extension, this is now on hold for another couple of weeks.
Yesterday however i was suffering badly from ‘cabin fever’ so decided that I, i mean the dogs, needed a nice walk in the afternoon sunshine. Off to a local area i call ‘Secret Fields’, they’re not really a secret but you’d only know how lovely the walk is if you ventured down a long overgrown track leading from a small one car parking area roadside, for a nice stretch of the legs as it really was a lovely afternoon. I couldn’t,t walk too far though as i started to feel a little ‘rough’ as we made our way from one small field to another, but the short time i was there really hit the spot. A few pheasants burst out of the long grass as the boys ran, pigeons were dropping into the sparsely leaved trees to rest, i saw a gorgeous kestrel hovering a short way of in an adjacent field, found some lovely looking Parasol Mushrooms and generally just soaked up the atmosphere of this peaceful paradise.
In total my walk barely lasted 30 minutes but i enjoyed every second of it, and so did my boys. Although short i feel totally refreshed today, body, mind and soul, and hopefully this feeling will last for a couple more days before i feel fit enough for another little outing. It just goes to show that you only need a short time in the great outdoors to re-charge the old batteries and relax….
So for a few years now i,ve been getting more and more interesting in foraging for wild food and this year has been no exception. From my teenage years through to my early thirties i was quite heavily into rough shooting both with shotgun and airgun, and at the same time i was also doing a lot of sea fishing from both shore and boat. Now a big part of both these pastimes/hobbies/obsessions was being able to eat what i had shot or caught and i thoroughly enjoyed setting out for the day with my mind set to return home later with my dinner. I’ve shot and eaten most of our legal game during this time, liked some, felt indifferent to others and hated many, but all were taken for consumption not just for fun, i never killed more than i, or my friends or family, could eat and nothing went to waste. The same went for any fish i caught, they were taken for the pot to be eaten or were returned to live another day. Now this, in my mind anyway, is a form of foraging, taking a small amount of natures bounty to fill my, ever growing as i get older, stomach, as much as searching for mushrooms and hedgerow gleaning. Nowadays i don’t shoot anymore, i do enjoy the odd wood pigeon or duck given to me by my Dad though, but i do still go fishing but unfortunately for some reason i now can’t stomach the taste of fish, so my better half gets whatever i catch, and much appreciative she is too, or i just admire the species of fish i have landed and slip it back to its watery home with nod and a thank you. Anyway, back to the point i was getting too and that was my interest in foraging wild food has increased lately and i,ve actually been active in hunting out something wild for my table.
It started of with the humble blackberry, i was on a quite a long walk with the boys and had run out of water and was feeling a little parched in the evening sun. Walking past a big bramble bush i spied some juicy looking fruits so picked a few and they certainly hit the spot. After that, for the next few weeks, i became a black berry picking monster spending a good bit of my dog walking time picking the little lovelies and thenturning them into crumbles and such.
Then, whilst in France carp fishing, i noticed a few sweet chestnut trees on the opposite bank so thought it would be rude not to pop over and harvest a few of its delicious bounty. Chucked on the bbq later that night, after my steak dinner, they tasted lovely as a little snack whilst i sipped a cold cider and watched the sun go down.
Also in France i found a few Cepes whilst having a little wander around the grounds of the fishery. A quick check with the owner to see if it was ok for me to pick a few, Cepes are a valuable commodity in France, and later that night i had a lovely side of mushrooms to go with yet another t-bone steak. On returning home those mushrooms have been forefront of my mind for some reason and i,ve been on the search for some of its edible cousins, although i,m still pretty wary of picking and eating fungi as i don’t fancy getting ill, and also been taking some cracking photographs of various ‘shrooms’. I did find a good crop of Horse Mushrooms on a recent dog walk so picked a few and had them with scrambled for my lunch, no more than two hours from being picked. They had a very strong mushroomy taste and i have to say that i couldn,t eat them all as i started to worry if they were actually an edible variety, they were, i double checked the ID, but i was just being a coward.
Finding and eating the above has got me more interested in wild food than i ever have been before, and i now find my spare time is taken up with either reading about foraging online or watching it on Youtube. Its a fascinating pastime, one i hope to learn a lot more about and i will definately be blogging more about it in the near future.
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So way back during the Easter weekend i took myself and the dogs of for a little weekend break to North Essex. I had no real plans as to where to go nor had i booked anywhere to stay for the nights as i,d planned to just keep n the back of my van, after all that was part of the reason that i originally bought the thing a few years ago. So with my fishing baedchair set up in the back and a back full of coffee making gear i loaded the pooches not the back and set off up country.
I won’t go into too much detail about the trip in this BLOG as i plan to do that in further entries to come. But i will say a good time was had, finding and exploring new places, by both myself and the doogles. Some of the places i visited on those few days included, ARLESFORD, BRIGHTLINGSEA, WIVENHOE, FRINTON-ON-SEA and MANNINGTREE, as well as a few smaller places along the way. The weather was definitely in our favour as it was bright, sunny and scorchio the whole time we were tripping around.
Driving along a small lane, on the way top a secret little river area i had found on the map, i drove past a derelict looking church hidden behind some trees so thought i,d turn the old ‘Rumble Wagon’ around and go and have a little explore. I,m glad i did as it was definitely worth it, and i,m also glad i took my camera with me to record it. I’ve posted the little video on my YOUTUBE CHANNEL BRYANS COUNTRYSIDE CAPERS
The church itself had been best part destroyed years ago so only the stone shell remained but it has been left open so the public can walk through and around the grounds to visit their deceased loved ones. I walked around the cemetery for a little while reading some of the headstones with many of them being well over a hundred years old, i read out some of the dates as i walk through the graves in the vlog, and the carvings on some of them are quite beautiful. It was a glorious sunny day and all that could be heard were the crows cawing in the distance and songbirds singing away in the trees and bushes that surround the church grounds. There was a very calming, peaceful feel to the place and although i,m not religious, or even interested in places of worship, i reckon i will return to walk the grounds again, but next time ill take my better camera and take some pictures to show ST PETERS beauty better.
Anyway please have a watch of the vlog on my YOUTUBE channel ‘BRYANS COUNTRYSIDE CAPERS’ and please leave a comment if you enjoyed it. You can also keep tracks of what i,m upto on my INSTAGRAM page ‘BRYANSCOUNTRYSIDECAPERS‘ and i,d love for you too follow me and i,ll do the same to you.
So its been a while since i last posted but i have been a busy boy with work and the house, that’s my excuse and I,m sticking to it. I have been out and about walking the dogs, and i,ve got some good footage from various walks which i hope to share with you in the near future. I,m always taking random pictures with my phone of anything that i might find interesting or pretty so i thought i would show you a few.
Just a few pictures taken with my iPhone Xr. I have to say that the quality is pretty good considering its just a phone after all. All the pictures were taken within 10 minutes of where i live and just goes to show that you don’t have to travel too far to be surrounded by the beauty of the nature, you just have to open your eyes……..
A few weeks back i was just returning from having a nice walk along Paglesham Creek with the 2 hairy hounds when i spotted something i,d not seen before. As i was crossing over a tiny little tidal creek i glanced down and there ‘swimming’ along with the current was a lovely looking jellyfish. I’ve seen plenty of jellyfish before but i,ve not seen one this up-close and been able to watch it movements. It was fascinating to watch as it pulsed along the creek and as you can see in the attached clip from my Youtube channel it actually breaks the waters surface as it ‘swims’.
I hope you enjoy this little video, it was only taken with my iPhone, and have a look at the other movies on my channel.
Please feel free to leave any comments, pictures and links of any similar sightings you may have had……