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safe ceps, and other September pleasures

September 5, 2009

One of the delights of this time of year is the profusion of toadstools in the woods. Every size from teeny orange spots to great thick ruffles piled up on tree trunks, and every colour from ‘gnome’ red to sinister lilac. I’m sure several of them must be edible, but I don’t dare try for fear of disastrous consequences. After all, the apocryphal last words of the Emperor Claudius, as he tucked unwittingly into a dish of poisonous toadstools served by his loving wife Agrippina, were, ‘Euge, boleti!’ (‘Hurray, ceps!’).

Other seasonal delights include:

1. The solitary swan which  has deigned to return to our weed-encrusted lochan. Swans often stop here for a few days in September before going on to somewhere more congenial.

2. Virginia creeper turning a brief, blazing red on the side of the castle.

3. The odd wild raspberry still to be found in the hedgerows, along with ripening elderberries: renewing my annual good intention (never yet carried through) to make elderberry jelly.

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