Friday, October 20, 2006

My vain attempts to excite interest through "teasers" bearing no fruit (not a single person asked me what a trumpet of death was. Not one!) I'll just give in a do a post and pretend like someone requested it. Also: last day for six word stories! I take email submissions as well.

Sunday Amynah and I visited our first castle, built in the 13 century or so and now a ruin, though they're working on it.

The Andlau family still owns it, though they had to repurchase it from Napoleon III after it had been claimed in the name of France by Revolutionaries. It's blocked off now, in order to prevent the structural integrity of visitor's heads being irrevocably violated by falling bricks. That didn't stop me and our friend Sebastien from sneaking into the courtyard for a better look.

It's pretty small, by castle standards (I will confess that my castle standards are easily influenced by whatever guidebook I'm using) but is notable for its sandstone window frames.

So, what of the Trumpet of Death? You may well ask. Well, on the way back, our friend Julie - an avid mushroom picker in a nation of amateur mycologists - suddenly stopped.

"I smell mushrooms" she said.

“Really? Where?” I asked.

Rather than answer, Julie cocked her head, listening. She tensed.

“Shhh! Here come people! Don’t let them know - act like we’re just hanging out,” said Julie. In the middle of the woods? I put on the best “Fungi hunter? Who, me?” expression I could muster under the circumstances.

After they passed, we hopped off the trail and Julie introduced us to our prey - La Trompet de la Mort. These are, despite the name and the fact they still carry radiation blown in from Chernobyl, a local delicacy.

Julie, by the way, is not paranoid. People will hire armed guards to protect a good mushroom patch, the secret locations of which are passed down through the generations. Julie and Sebastien seemed quite pitying when we told them that Canadians pretty much only eat those mushrooms that grow in plastic wrapped blue boxes in grocery stores.

The mushrooms, by the way, were delicious.

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