Friday, 12 July 2013

The Waxcap Wizard!

To my mind, this is The Waxcap Wizard  known to the rest of the world as Bruce Langridge.
He has been the Interpretation Officer at The National Botanic Garden of Wales for the last 10 years & is responsible for lots of things,
including trails ...


One of the trails around the garden that he organises is of waxcap fungi!
(That's mushroom-y-like- toadstools that grow wild and free,
to the likes of you and me).
In fact, when Bruce came to catch up with me on a cold January morning in the Oriel Gallery, he was more excited about fairy rings than even I was.
I told him that I had read his piece in Y Gardd Magazine and that I was really excited about writing  the sequel to my Dragon Tree Book/Production/Installation ... and that I now knew it would be called The Tethered Fairy Ring.
Then Bruce told me about a very special trail indeed! Bruce organised the first ever Fungi day here in Wales and it was so popular that it has now become National with other Gardens joining in! WOWZERS! WELL DONE BRUCE!
Bruce has led an all Wales search for the largest fairy rings, been on the Beeb talking about mushrooms ... when it comes to fungus, Bruce is the man! I was completely  mesmerised by his passion for wax caps.
And here comes the magical bit!
Bruce then told me some very, very interesting things about how to get in and out of fairy rings ...
He showed me precisely, the only way to get out of a fairy ring. Now let's face it, that is a very handy thing for a person such as you or I to know, should we ever find ourselves trapped inside one!
And as he enthralled me with his fairy stories, a little light bulb came on in my head ...
'Wouldn't it be AMAZING to launch my Tethered Fairy Ring here, at the Garden, on National Fungi Day, to tour her everywhere, and then bring her back here at the end of the tour on Fungi Day the following year with an Arts Installation!
'Yes,' said Bruce ...
... but I don't think Bruce knew me very well at the time. I don't think he knew that I would spend my every spare moment between then and now, composing a Symphonic Poem & Ukulele Overture for the Light Hearted (wink!)
I don't think Bruce could have guessed how I would lay awake at night running over The Tethered Fairy Ring time and time again in my mind until it made sense.
How should he have known that I would perform it to intimate audiences, other musicians and artists for feedback, as research to find out if the characters & story line work ...
... because I'm guessing, it's not every day that Science & The Arts have such a meeting on a January morning or any morning, come to that
Thanks a million Bruce for inspiring me!
NB: All the mushroom foto's in this post were taken by Bruce who kindly gave his permission for me to use them. Not sure who took the ones of him?
In my next blog I'll tell you how the different layers of The Tethered Fairy Ring started to unfold and how the characters showed themselves to me.


  1. It fascinated me on one of the Waxcap walks that most of the experts aren't interested in eating them. A couple of us volunteers remedied this shortcoming and can confirm that most waxcaps taste great. But don't try this without an expert to advise you!

  2. Mushrooms,what more can I say :)

  3. Dai, there was a glorious mushroom scene in a series called, if I remember, the 10 th kingdom. If you listened carefully they were singing Whiter Shade of Pale! Loved it.