April 2013


pike 002Pickings from our local Boot Sale have been a bit slim over the last two weeks.

The only thing that I’ve bought worthy of comment has been a very good copy of Wild Food by Roger Phillips. This is part of an excellent series of books (many with Martyn Rix) which are┬ámuch sought after as they are now out of print. I have a good number of them and the Tree and Wild Flowers of Britain ones were constantly being consulted in the years I worked part-time before Little Boots went to school and we used to spend hours roaming the nearby countryside, bringing back photos and leaves for identification.

This particular volume is not one I actually knew existed and it’s as much a recipe book as an identification one, but then I guess that if you have the Tree and Wild Flower ones that’s not a problem.

Maybe tomorrow’s sale will yield a richer harvest.

booty

Last Sunday I made my first trip of the year to our local car boot sale. It was a lovely sunny day and consequently the event was well attended with plenty of sellers and buyers.

I picked up an Efgeeco landing net handle that was exactly the same as the much loved one I had as a teen. This made me disproportionately happy. Partly because it was in A1 condition but mostly because the original was sorely missed having been leant to an irresponsible relative and never returned. Along with this came 5 rod rests/bank sticks, most of which were Efgeeco. Fiver the lot.

Next was a hardback copy of Ray Mears’ Wild Food book. Like the net handle it was in first class condition. only a quid.

Lastly a kind of impulse purchase of a funny little axe for two fifty. Whilst it has a wooden handle I’m sure that’s not original – not least of all because of the brass screw “fixing” it in place. That will have to go BTW, as it, being made of a soft metal, may well shear under pressure and chopping with an unsafe axehead is asking for trouble. I have a strange feeling that it’s a military item and that’s not just because it’s painted green. It has a hole in the side of the head, but only one side. That suggests to me a removable head was somehow secured using this feature. Whether the heart-shaped hole in the axe bit (the blade) relates to this too I’ve no idea. Another unusual feature is a chunk of steel rolled into the poll (the bit at the back of the head), which suggests it was expected to be whacked with a hammer or something . Having tried it out I also reckon the original handle was much longer – more like a tomahawk.

It’s a curious thing that’s for sure.

Back in February Little Boots had a cold. This largely passed soon enough, but a persistent cough hung around. When this started getting worse we were concerned and sought the GP’s advice. Diagnosis was mixed as there were asthmatic symptoms. In the end we needn’t have worried as the worsening cough was simply the onset of another cold. I say simply, but as colds go this was a doozy and, as is the way with having small children bringing home lurgies from school, everyone in the household went down with it.

For my part I tried struggling on with work, which was certainly a mistake. Personally I don’t know what was the “highpoint” – coughing up blood, or totally blobbing the most important interview of my life cos I could barely talk, or think straight.

Then we had a chimney fire – well it was bank holiday afternoon and all the films on were rubbish, so we had to do something exciting. Anyway it kept the neighbours amused to have a fire engine pumping water down our chimney. Having the house still smelling of smoke was not great when we were all still coughing.

And to add to it, whilst I was cleaning up after the fire I managed to tread cat poo all through the house. It was not the greatest day of my life.

In fact, all in all it was a fortnight of misery for the whole household and I felt pretty ground down by it all, both physically and emotionally.

But the day after the fire the sun came out, and the youngster and I kitted up and set off for adventure and fresh air. After walking a mile up the hill, we collected a young friend and were soon in the nearby woods. We built a shelter like we had before, but this time the kids found an old piece of corrugated iron that they wisely decided to use as part of the walls. As we sat eating lunch, I studied the shelter. It was much better than previous ones, which were not much more than a space to play in. This one would probably keep the rain off – well most of it.

shelter

Not that it rained. In fact with the shelter of the wood keeping the wind at bay the sunlight was warming and delightful. I had been noticing all morning primroses, celandines and other wild flowers making their belated appearances and it truly felt like spring was pushing through at last. There were other changes too. Little Boots was now the first to spot much of the wildlife, squirrel, kite, buzzard, pheasant, even a small chocolate coloured moth bumbling around in the leaf litter by my foot as we ate our soup.

We must have been out for about four hours and, though that’s not a particularly long time, when we got back I felt almost as if I’d been on holiday. No doubt a big part of this was the sun that shone brightly for what seemed like the first time since last September. Not that it was especially warm, a chill wind saw to that, although that too played a part in clearing away the mental and physical detritus, but for the first time in weeks I had stopped coughing.

It was marvellous.