The Mushroom Man—
The very best things in life are free. I’d add to that – free and fair. Things that grow are considered free and one of the things in my life that appears to have grown and become ever more free in the past fifteen years is the mind of John Wright.
John is a fungus hunter, seashore forager, former country cabinet maker, home brewer and author. He is also my friend and one of the fairest thinkers I’ve ever shared a glass with. He lives in the wild, by which I mean, there is no horizon which John will not stroll over with an inquisitive glint in his eye and a broad smile beneath his hat. Together with his wife Diane, it’s hard to imagine a more pleasurable way to roam, engaging with places that seem familiar through the lens of their secret-revealing knowledge of the landscape.
A couple of times this year we’ve got together for a few glasses of wine with some gentle snuffling out of what’s findable in fields and if you have even the most cursory interest in mushrooms, the seashore or hedgerow, it’s time you stopped reading this and clicked on his website below to visit John’s world and book on one of his days out – if you’re lucky enough to find a space. And if his courses are rammed, his book ‘The Forager’s Calendar’ is a thrill, winner of Food Book of the Year at this year’s Guild of Food Writers Awards. It’s a sublime, enriching and tantalizing delve into the scenes which surround us, which are all too often rendered invisible by froth and flim-flam.
John and Diane bring charm with knowledge, intimacy with entertainment and the simple act of peering around a tree under their guidance feels like a carnival of common sense.
Below are a few photos of recent times I’ve loved in their company.
Here’s to John, a most inspiring friend with a kind mind that’s as wild as it is free.