We followed a small path for some way, then left it and walked between the trees to where the land began to rise gently. ‘This is one place where we could find some,’ she said. ‘They are often half concealed under other plants and undergrowth. You have to look very carefully.’
There were plenty of mushrooms around, but we were interested only in chanterelles. We went side-by-side, a few feet apart and scanned the ground carefully. It was a real thrill to find them, nestling half-hidden amongst the grass or moss. They’re a brilliant, butter-yellow and the shape is so elegant, like a fluted trumpet. I felt a thrill every time I found one, like finding a nugget of gold, a gift from the forest gods.
‘They tend to grow in colonies,’ Päivi said, ‘so when you find one you will probably find others.’
‘There’s something quite baroque about them,’ I commented, when we’d just finished clearing one fairly large colony. I held one on my palm. It was almost weightless. ‘If Bach had been a mushroom, he would have been a chanterelle,’ I added.
Päivi giggled with delight. ‘That’s a lovely saying, Len. If Bach had been a mushroom. I must remember that.’