This is a more accurate description of my life these days, so I have renamed this website from “Geoff’s Fungi and Foraging” to “Rhyd-Yr-Hwyaid (Ford of the Ducks)”, after the Welsh smallholding I’ve spent the past 18 months converting from equestrian to permaculture use.
When I created this blog/website over a decade ago, fungi foraging was an experimental new career for me, after escaping from software engineering and making myself otherwise unemployable by studying philosophy as a mature student. Not long after that I moved to Hastings, which is one of the best places in the UK if you’re interested in fungi, surrounded as it is by interlinked pockets of diverse woodland, much of it ancient. There I wrote two books on foraging (Edible Mushrooms has now sold well over 20,000 copies and its sales increase every year), and eventually got to the point where I was just about earning a respectable living from running foraging courses in Sussex.
The problem with south-east England, of course, is that the property market is insane and there’s far too many people everywhere. When my mother died, and I inherited some money, we had to decide where we were going to move to next. Had we chosen to stay in south-east England, our budget might have stretched to a decent three bed house on a plot of half an acre. A step up from a terraced house with a 5x20m garden, but not enough to seriously change your way of life (I’m old enough to remember the original broadcast of The Good Life). So we looked at many different options and eventually homed in on Ceredigion because it is pretty much the only place in England and Wales where smallholdings are reasonably abundant and relatively affordable. Foraging potential wasn’t on the list of things we were looking for.
As you have probably guessed by now, Ceredigion cannot compete with Sussex and Kent for fungi foraging, and it can’t compete for coastal foraging either (though Pembrokeshire can). It is simply not possible for me to run the sort of courses here that I ran there. I’ve also run out of things to say — when you’ve written two 500+ page books on foraging, and blogged and posted about foraging for over a decade, then it is hardly surprising that there is not much you can say without repeating yourself.
In future I shall therefore be focusing not just on foraging but the much wider topics of smallholding with the goal of resiliency and self-sufficiency, and also the philosophical and theoretical foundations of Ecocivilisation. Much more on that to follow!