Hop Shoots


I recently went on a foraging course with Robin Harford and Olya Maiboroda. It was very good and I picked up a load of useful principles as well as some great specifics. One of those specific examples was Hop Shoots – the 4 inches or so at the tip of the plant. I was walking back from the pub the other day and found, to my delight, a wild or naturalised hop plant growing in some bushes. Quarter of an hour later I had a fist full of shoots and couldn’t wait to cook and taste them. Robin had said that they are a particular delicacy so my expectations were high. We first of all blanched them for a couple of minutes and then sauteed them in garlic butter. I have to say they were very nice but not as spectacular as I had hoped (no pun intended). Next time, I will saute them in normal, non garlic, butter to see if the taste is too delicate to take the garlic. Nonetheless I would give them a 8/10 as a very good, unusual side vegetable.



From Foraging to Feeling Connected


It was just last autumn that I met Julian and was introduced to the fascinating subject of Threnergy. Julian and I share a common interest in foraging wild food and fungi and met to explore the woodlands in search of some tasty finds. During the day the conversation turned to the subjects of mindfulness and Threnergy. Julian guided us through some basic exercises that we could use as we walked.

I’d not heard about Threnergy before, but have tried various mindfulness techniques in the past. Often I struggle to engage in the exercises and find it hard to feel a benefit, but this new concept I was being shown felt very different. The simplicity but power of the techniques was immediately noticeable and I was keen to find out more, so I was very excited to read his book. Julian uses his knowledge and experience throughout his book to guide you through the principles of Threnergy in an easy to follow manner. I’ve found these principles easy to incorporate into my day to day life in a way I’ve not been able to do before. These exercisers have been great in helping me to refocus and reflect no matter where I am, whether at home, at my desk or walking in the woods where this journey began for me.

Steve Thornton


Eating Weeds

Given my deep interest in foraging and Mindful Connectivity it came as no surprise to me that this course looked very interesting: Waking Up To Plants: Sensory Practices to Deepen Your Connection to Nature

I booked myself on the course run by Robin Harford and Olya Maiboroda in Exeter – and I was not disappointed. The topics, the presenters and the people it attracted were all first rate.


We started the first session with a brief introduction and then headed swiftly out into the local area, calming ourselves down in a small park before coming across and enjoying the delights of red valerian, daisies and elderberry flowers. After a short walk, we ended up in Belle Isle Park and looked at, sniffed and chewed a few plants ranging from mustard to sticky willy and Himalayan Balsam. Looking at the principles behind knowing these plants rather than the normal morphological approach to identifying them was fascinating.


As was the afternoon session, where Olya focused on our senses of smell and taste, linking drinking a freshly made dandelion tea with feelings within our bodies. A very nice way of understanding our innate abilities to taste, smell and feel the herbal effects with our minds and bodies. We tasted the tea blind and it was extremely interesting to hear what we all thought the tea was: there was a remarkable convergence of descriptions of smell, taste and feelings from all on the course.

Excellent Mindful Connectivity with taste, smell and herbal effects.

Torrents of Beer – 2


Continued from Torrents of Beer – 1

From the beach there was a fairly steep climb up one of Beer’s headlands – Beer Head.


They are country folk down here – but as I climbed up Beer head, I must admit I was a tad surprised to see them ploughing deckchairs.


And the view of the fishing boats was fantastic:


Especially through the Beer Garden, and along the Beer path


The village itself was spectacular … and yes I did stop off to have a beer or two in Beer.


Before heading back to the campsite.


The view back at the campsite was spectacular.

Torrents of Beer – 1

No – not what you might at first think! 🙂

I went on a fabulous foraging course in Exeter (link here). On the way down, I decided to stop off overnight somewhere convenient in ‘Cali’ – my Vdub bus. I found a lovely little campsite about five miles from the coast and got my pitch sorted before driving on down to Beer to have a look around.


I arrived in the middle of a torrential downpour- fortunately I was well equipped with wet gear and a massive brolly – so I was able to stay dry-ish and take some photos.



The setting was marvellous despite the rain.


And a walk over to Beer head uncovered lot of beer sites! TBC

Torrents of Beer – 2