Tuesday 7th April 2020 – Mushrooming

Confirmed cases Tasmania: 89

Confirmed cases Australia: 5,895

Total deaths Australia: 45

Confirmed cases worldwide: 1,346,035

Total deaths worldwide: 74,654

Total recovered worldwide: 278,534

So I think I’ve had an unfortunate encounter with some mushrooms. I feel like a right knob about it, but I think I should share my mistake as an important cautionary tale. I mean, you know how everyone is signing off with, ‘Stay safe, stay home’ thing? Well I’ve managed the stay home part really well, it’s just the stay safe bit that’s proved to be a problem.

In the paddock above our house, where I frequently ramble, there has been a bloom of wild mushrooms. You might remember that I gathered some, dried and bottled them? Well, last time I was up there, I decided that foraging is what one must do during a pandemic (even though food stores are open and stocked, particularly with fresh food grown by actual experts, such as mushroom farmers). Then last time I was up there I spotted some more. Feeling free and healthy and wholesome, I skipped back down the hill in my gumboots with a small pile of mushrooms cradled in my jumper and a distinctly smug ‘stay-safe-stay-home-no-need-to-clutter-up-the-supermarkets’ attitude. I served up a bit more of that smugness with dinner that night – lamb chops and barbequed field mushrooms.

The rest of the family turned their noses up at my mushrooms, which meant I had extra servings. I think I ate four in total. Big ones. Some of them were the traditional sort of white cap, brown gill sort. They were a bit sloppy, so I favouried the other variety, a firmer, paler fungi with a closed cap and pale beige gills. (I know to avoid the all-white death cap jobs, give me some credit). Anyway, fast foward about five hours and I’m awoken from sleep by a powerful wave of nausea. The next 24 hours were spent thrashing around in a sort of exhausted-nauseus insomnia. I took my temperature twice because I thought maybe this was what corona virus feels like. I didn’t have a fever. But I reached that sick sort of misery where you can’t remember what it’s like to be well, and then you decide you might die.

I didn’t die. The following day I felt normal again, and so grateful that I rushed around in a sort of productive euphoria (“how perfectly wonderful to be hanging the washing on the line” etc). I don’t even know for sure that I had mushroom poisoning. But the thought of a mushroom – any mushroom – now turns my stomach so completely that it’s even difficult to go rambling on the hill. And I can’t think what else it might have been. I mean, it’s not like I’ve been mixing with any humans other than the ones I’m in quarantine with. On the Department of Health webpage, when you rummage through the COVID-19 alerts, it says very clearly, ‘do not eat wild mushrooms’. My sensible sister said, ‘you complete twat, don’t ever do that again*’. And then we had a small laugh about the irony of surviving a rampant virus but killing yourself with mushrooms**. Also I had a small lament about the fact that my mushrooms had no psychadellic effects, just extreme misery. Anyway so I won’t. Do that ever, ever again.


Are these ones okay to eat?

I’m not even the sort of person who goes foraging. I more a ‘the hummus is in ailse six’ type of forager. Being a primary producer, I quite like supporting other farmers. But look what the ‘rona made me do! Look at how topsy turvy we’ve all become.

These days (because my innocent wild mushroom days seem so long ago, much like that time when we could all hug one another and get on a plane whenever we wanted. Remember that? The golden days of early March?) I’m suspicious of every fungus I see. I’ve even stopped picking an apple on my daily walk from the tree beside the road, in case someone coughed out of their car window. So now I’ve turned pandemic-paranoid. But perhaps paranoid, in these infectious times, is what we all have to be, at least a little.

Here are some other isolation behaviours that might violate the ‘stay safe’ rule, just so you can stay on the alert:

  • Choking on crumbly, home made BBQ shapes. (I have also done this. Little tip – no one can ever replicate the sheer wonder of the genuine Arnotts BBQ shape so don’t even bother. This is not a sponsored post but feel free to send shapes.)
  • Succumbing to pepsi max withdrawals because some bastard found my hidden treat stash and drank the last can.
  • Liver poisoning because someone put ‘tonic water’ and ‘corona cure’ in the same sentence and well, no one drinks tonic water without gin, surely.
  • Heart disease from all the baking the children are doing because they can’t think of entertainment options beyond you-tube and chocolate cake.
  • Falling over whilst running away from your children because you haven’t had any alone time in A VERY LONG TIME #sendhelp
  • Irreversibly damaging your vocal chords because you’ve yelled, ‘get out of the fridge, you’re not hungry, you’re bored’ at high volume so many times.
  • Totem tennis bruises.
  • Haemarroids from sitting on the loo for too long because it’s the only alone time you get.
  • A cricked neck from hiding in the cupboard from the children. (Tip – find a brilliant hiding space, suggest hide and seek, take a torch and your book.)
  • A couch-shaped curvature of the spine.
  • Damaged corneas from too much looking on the bright side.
  • A bitten tongue from trying not to get snippy with all the people who are not homeschooling and using this time to regroup, finish their projects, learn crochet and let the planet breathe.

Anyway, I have to go and feed the masses. They are hungry AGAIN. #sendhelp

Stay safe, stay home, stay happy, stay sane, keep laughing and stay away from random mushrooms. XXOOOXX

PS I have finished another draft of my second novel, which means it’s getting closer. Who knows when it will be published in these strange and uncertain times***, but it will see the light of day! Soon I will tell you what it’s called and a little of what it’s about.


*She’s too nice to actually say this, but that’s what she meant.

**Not sure if it’s irony or paradox, or neither.

*** obligatory phrase in every piece of communication for the forseeable future





Categories: Corona Chronicles, Uncategorized

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