GMS Notes No. 41. November 2011

This month’s meeting is our AGM and will be held in the Village Hall as usual and will take place at 7.30 pm on Thursday, 17th November. The evening’s business shouldn’t take long and we have quite a full programme besides. I hope we get a good turnout as it promises to be a good evening.

Wildflower of the Month

FUNGI

 

 Fungus_1aIt has been a good autumn for finding fungi. I know they’re not wild flowers. They are not even true plants. However they are so interesting I couldn’t resist  featuring them this month. The one on the right is the common funnel mushroom, Clitocybe gibba. I think the other is another Clitocybe.

 

Fungus_2aFungi are classed in a kingdom of their own and include species ranging from the microscopic pin moulds on rotting food to the giant bracket fungi seen on trees; from pathogens such as Trichophyton (athlete’s foot) and Phytophthera which causes many diseases of plants including potato blight (P. infestans) to useful fungi such as Penicillium.and Saccharomyces cerevisiae

As a newly graduated botanist I would forage for edible fungi, confident in my knowledge. More than four decades on I have forgotten most of what I knew, and now confine myself to horse mushrooms. Contrary to popular belief, very few British toadstools are myceliumpoisonous, and only the deathcap (easily recognised by its almost luminous pale green colour) is deadly. However most are quite unpalatable and some can make you quite ill and even kill you if you are allergic or if you eat enough of them.

The toadstools that you see are only the fruiting bodies of the fungus. By far the greater part is made up of barely visible white threads called a mycelium (left) which spreads through dead wood and leaves and breaks them down providing them with sustenance, returning nutrients to the soil and preventing the accumulation of dead material.

PitcherLast Month’s Meeting

Last month Alex Summers set us a questionnaire testing our knowledge of things mediaeval and came up with some astonishing answers ranging from which cheeses made in mediaeval times are still being eaten today to why people of Great Mongeham would celebrate November 11th. He was ably supported by Pam who chipped in with a few other mediaeval titbits.

On the left is a photo of the Asante ewer, a mediaeval English ewer found in North Africa and now in the British Museum. How it found its way to Africa nobody knows, but it is believed to have belonged to Richard II. Those of us at the meeting now know that this is a ewer and not a pitcher or a jug. Those who missed the meeting will have to ask Alex.

November Meeting

BellringersThe November meeting is always the Annual General Meeting when we elect the committee for the following year. When the business is over we usually try to have something a bit different.

Alan Palmer, who buys and sells paper ephemera, will be talking to us about “Collectibles”. Paper ephemera includes such things as indentures, leaflets, programmes, brochures, advertising, packaging, posters, newspapers, magazines, tickets and personal documents.

I will also be putting out a wide range from the society’s archive, including some which have not been displayed before. I will put out photographs, letters, house deeds, wills, maps and a few other oddments. I will also include some of my own bits and pieces. If you have something you would like to show us please bring it along.

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