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Phoenix Feathers is updated on Tuesday and Friday

Moonshadow and I went hunting on Sunday. Armed with knives and a wicker basket, we crept through Thetford Forest dodging the vicious spider webs that hung spread-eagled from trees waiting to capture the unwary - us included - in search of that elusive beast, the wild edible mushroom. They are supposed to emerge in late September, but for the last two years, we went in October, and missed out on the really nice Opyata, finding only Syroezhki and Dozhdeviki (these are the Russian names, because Moonshadow only knows them in Russian).

We found seven mushrooms in total. We searched through four different parts of Thetford Forest, but (edible) mushrooms (that we recognised) were not to be found. In the last place we went to, Brandon Country Park, where we got so many last year, there was an expedition of the sort that pick mushrooms for identification rather than eating, and they'd already combed the woods before us (except for the bits encircled by spider webs. We tried to enter here, but were repulsed by the spider webs, and one of our mushrooms escaped). In the end, we donated our six remaining captures to science and retreated until October.

Last year, we got a nice catch, but because mushrooms shrink so much when cooked, it made a garnish for five of us. Four, really, because Chediceni refused to eat his, distrusting Moonshadow's mushroom-recognition abilities, so I ate his instead. I shall hope for a better result come October, because wild mushrooms cost 30 pounds per kilo in the market, which is ridiculous, but they taste so nice..

- Sun Kitten, 1st October '02

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