After months of exceptionally dry weather, it has rained solidly for the past six days.

Guillaume is absolutely delighted with this constant rain, the grass is visibly growing, and his cows have once again lots of lovely lush grass.

I stopped to get a baguette for lunch and made a dash from my car to the shop.

‘What dreadful weather!’ I said as I entered the bar.

Marie-Louise and Chantal turned, looking quite shocked at my criticism of the inclement weather:

‘Mais Nicole, c’est super’. This wasn’t sarcasm.

How can it be super? It has rained solidly for 6 days. What social/cultural gaffe had I committed now?

I took my place on a high stool between Chantal and Daniel.

Marie-Louise looked at me in a very ‘you poor English woman, you really don’t understand’ way. ‘To have a prolonged period of rain like this is absolutely brilliant, pour les champignons.’ The last three words she whispered.

Everyone in the bar grinned knowingly. And suddenly I too understood the veiled secrecy.

A basket of wild mushrooms in Brittany, France

A Fungus Feast

After years of trying to persuade my very good friend, Lisette, to take me mushroom picking, she finally admitted last year that she, well, just couldn’t.

It appears that everyone in rural Brittany has their own secret place in the forest for mushroom picking and they always go alone to pick these gastronomic treats.

As I don’t know my cep from my chanterelle, I can only wander through the forest marvelling at all the amazing species of mushrooms and watch a basket-carrying individual slip up a side path to their secret stash of fungus. I am tempted to follow. But I don’t.

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