Magic mushrooms or Brexit blues?

Over the last week, our very own mushroom man John Hughes has gone viral with a story about the unseasonal arrival of fungi. In this latest blog he explains in his own words, what the fuss is all about...

Journalists are predictable, but not so the reach of the stories they write.  Every year I expect to be asked if it’s unusual that daffodils are in flower so early, if all the baby birds will die in the cold snap or whether wildlife will ever recover from the drought.  I always oblige and, sadly, weird weather is becoming the norm thanks to climate change.

So it was no surprise that a local journo called me after the (positively balmy) Christmas hols to ask about unseasonal arrival of fungi, particularly magic mushrooms.  Now this last revelation did catch me out.

Brittlestem mushroom


Yes, autumn weather had effectively lasted into January.  Butterflies were on the wing, snowdrops flowering and fungi were fruiting.  Although I’d not seen any, it’s quite conceivable that magic mushrooms are about.

He wrote his piece and the next thing I knew was a call from a press agency desperate for a photo of magic mushrooms. Now I’m generally up for a good forage but this is needle in a haystack stuff and I was busy.

The agency snapper went on patrol and sent me some photos of a brittlestem mushroom – not quite yer actual magic mushroom, but some can be hallucinogenic.

The Telegraph, Times and Daily Star all picked up on this non-story.  So what does this say about the state of journalism and indeed news?

The pressure to fill column inches daily must mount as newspapers reduce costs by cutting staff reporters, so feeding off one another comes as no surprise.  Credit where it’s due, The Times bothered to contact me to check the facts.

However, the news has been so monochrome and dour – thanks Brexit – that a reminder that nature is still out there, and is far more important to our survival than petty politics, offers a glimpse of hope and joy to us all. Or it might be the hope that there is an escape via nature’s narcotics…

Liberty cap

Liberty cap AKA magic mushroom