13 July 2020

Since Wednesday, I have formed a support bubble with friends in Ilkley. Mornings are now spent working on art projects with my god-daughter before going for runs. Afternoons are spent on walks in the Dales, nearby gardens or chilling out at home. Evenings are spent eating home-cooked vegan food with old friends. To say it has been a boost to my mental health would be understating things.

A glimpse into the never-ending misery of the 2020 pandemic lockdown.
A glimpse into the never-ending misery of the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

[Mushrooms] I can also report that what I had learned about mushroom foraging from the excellent Martin Bailey last year paid off. During a walk in Middleton Woods, famous for its bluebells, we saw a big crop of one of my favourite ingredients in Chinese cuisine — the wood ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae, (hēi)(mù')(ěr)). It's used mostly in medicine but lends dishes a great crunchy texture. I collected a handful and later washed the slugs off and cooked them. I discovered that that on its own wood ear fungus is rather bland. However, next time we're in the woods I hope to be collecting a dozen or so and perhaps cooking them with other mushrooms.

Auricularia auricula-judae juxta Olicana
Auricularia auricula-judae juxta Olicana

With all this excitement, more solitary projects are getting less of my time. In my toy computer go project, I've started writing unit tests with the HUnit unit testing framework, just because the data structures output by my go program got too big to check manually. During this week I expect to get a bit more time with the Haskell compiler and the goban.