Of my earliest literary memories, beyond Where the Wild Things are, or Green Eggs and Ham, the most poignant and the most emotional I can remember is the final chapter of The House at Pooh Corner.
I have always loved E. H. Sheperd’s Winnie the Pooh, and regretted Disney’s.
In the woods not far from home I had my own enchanted place, a narrow glade, about one hundred yards long where Emile (our first dog) and I would go on damp mornings or, on the off chance after work, and gather, literally, kilos of Ceps, or Penny Bun mushrooms. It was always in amazement that no one had got there first.
Most of what I yearn for now is either edible or drinkable. White truffles of course offer voluble succour to the soul; caviar has its place, but is a financial Rubicon I rarely feel comfortable crossing. Even just (sic) three hundred euros for a bottle of Musigny is something I really can’t. In short all are fantastic but cost the earth.
Ceps are commonplace, unremittingly satisfying and free.
Alas, lthe local Mairie saw fit to sell the logging rights at the end of my glade, and one damp morning all that I found was a muddy quagmire where not even hope of funghi remained.
*Interestingly on the fly-leaf is a dedication from a mysterious Richard. My mother would have been seventeen or eighteen. He can only have been an admirer, and one with immaculate taste in books and women.