Tag Archives: countryside

return journeys…


Night falls very quickly here in Andrha Pradesh, at dusk round about 5.30 i usually finish my after school photoshop lessons, if i am in BH in the more remote orphanage, it means hitching a ride home with the milk van. The distance is only 15 km but it takes us more than an hour to get home with all the obstacles…bad roads, herds of goats and sheep, buffalo…the usual…


The milk van is a robust little jeep…no doors, just a bar to hold on to in front of you and obviously no seat belt!. I have made this journey hundreds of times, the 2 hour round trip 3 times a week drives me a little nuts really…but i kind of love it too. We go from rural countryside, through remote villages, to railway crossings and chaotic major roads. We cross our fingers to miss the train crossing stop…we can be there for a quite a while, waiting for the longest freight trains you can imagine to pass by or a passenger train, crammed to the gills with passengers perched on the exit stairs to get some fresh air.


To turn into this main road…well you just need to plough in…against traffic (and common sense) with massive lorries hurtling by either side, a lot of people on foot, bikes, auto-rickshaws, motorbikes…EVERY vehicle honking its horn constantly…show no fear and just plough in…somehow it kind of works…though i have seen a lot of accidents…


..nearly home now…they do weddings at this sparkly palace… i get back around 6.30pm, pitch dark. Night falls quickly here.


walking and tumbling boys…

More on that walk from the previous post…I took some of the tumbling boys i blogged about last year. I gave the boys a camera and they took some great shots.

I have to have eyes in the back of my head as they get up to all sorts of shenanigans…but i really love these boys and they never ask for anything, just a bit of your time and attention. Sai, one of the younger ones hugs me very, very tightly every 5 minutes or so…i am a little concerned as he is very attached to me and upset at the idea that i will be leaving after Christmas…so am i for that matter…

all the boys around here are obsessed with michael jackson…

That’s Eswar looking to camera, he is 16 and a half orphan as it’s know here in that his mum is alive but very poor and in ill health, she is a labourer on building sites but is in and out of hospital. Eswar grew up in the orphanage. He is one of the brightest boys i know, also very funny and very kind with the smaller children. I am happy that he considers me his friend.

Watch out at the end for some rather fantastic dance moves…

mexa cas…

In the middle of nowhere…again…definition of the galician countryside. Am struck by the beauty of these large structural weeds.

The local gallego name for them is “mexa cas” (literally – dog piss, they don’t smell, it’s just that dogs like to pee on them!)…nice…I think maybe it’s some kind of hogweed/cow parsnip (maybe Heracleum sosnowskyi) ANYWAY regardless of the ugly name i find them beautiful, like fractals or snowflakes, no two plants seem to be the same…

horreo – indigenous structure, originally used as grain stores (see previous post)

foraging 2…

I know a bit about food but this has been a revelation, this foraging lark, not like growing/rearing your own food (which i know well, which i grew up with)…this is a new skill to learn, now you have to become a bit of a detective…but its easy here in the Italian countryside with someone who knows what he is talking about and in a relatively “safe” patch of land. Researching into foraging in Scotland, i keep finding scary stories of middle class dinner parties going awry with people ending up on dialysis machines due to eating the wrong kind of mushrooms (allegedly experienced foragers too!!!! click here for THAT full story) think i will steer clear of the fungi for now, but am definitely going to give the rest of it a go.

More stuff we found:

Garlic mustard, you eat the leaves in a salad, they taste mildly of garlic.

Dandelions (dente di leone – get their name from their leaves that are characterised by jaggy lions teeth shaped edges), along with nettles are probably the easiest thing to find, cos we all know what they look like. You can eat the flowers and the young tender leaves in salads, but the fields are full of similar faux yellow dandeliony looking plants. One of the ways to tell if its a real dandelion is the hollow stem.

THE HAUL…including, wild asparagus, pungitopo*, garlic mustard, silver beet (cultivated) wild garlic/chives, a kind of chicory…recipes to follow in the next day or two

For a much more comprehensive and expert guide to foraging click here


* pungitopo seems to have lots of common names in english like: Butcher’s Broom, Kneeholy, Knee Holly, Kneeholm, Jew’s Myrtle, Sweet Broom, Pettigree, none of which i had heard of before. Anyway its hardy, it thrives in shady situations and is found in the UK so look for it!

other food posts on this blog

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break



further adventures in foraging

revelations in a milanese restaurant

further adventures in foraging


more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano

after the storm…

…dawn in the countryside just outside Rome after a night of thunder and lightening – corrugated iron roof so the sound effects were spectacular…

another foraging post tomorrow…