I WAS very excited to come across this magnificent fungus (pictured) in a wildly growing grass verge on one of my regular walking routes, and I swear it hadn’t been there just the day before. It was quite enormous for a mushroom, or toadstool, not sure what is correct, measuring about two feet from end to end, and multi-layered. I tweeted a picture of it and got a variety of suggestions as to its name - fungi always have great, descriptive names do they not? BBC political correspondent, Chris Mason, suggested it looked like a stack of pancakes, with someone else adding it looked like someone had tipped some maple syrup onto it.

It seems, however, it is the wonderfully named ‘dryad’s saddle’ (Polyporus squamosus).

According to my Collins ‘mushrooms and toadstools of Britain and Europe’ by Edmund Garnweidner, it appears between May and September on living or dead trunks and stumps of various, broad-leafed trees and mostly in larger groups. It likes sunny spots, mainly on the edges of forests, and on free standing trees. Most importantly, my Collins illustrates it with a skull and crossbones, so not to be eaten then - not that I was tempted at all.

THE Michaelmas Daisies that I thought I’d been seeing along the hedgerows this year in great abundance are in fact not Michaelmas Daisies, but Oxeye daisies, and are more commonly known as ‘dog daisies’. It not being Michaelmas until September should have been a clue, but they do look very similar.

Brian Stott has sent me this picture of a fine crop of dog daisies at the edge of Middletown recreation ground in Skipton, the growing conditions clearly this year, spot on.

According to the website, plantlive.org.uk dog daisies, are in bloom around the summer solstice and are a sure sign that summer has arrived.

They are similar to a daisy, but are a lot larger and grow in a variety of places, including meadows and fields, in forests and scrubland - I have also seen them in abundance along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath, as well as along the sides of roads.

Interestingly, before the 16th century, it was more commonly known as the ‘Moon Daisy’. It is also called the ‘Horse Daisy’, ‘Moonpenny’ and ‘Marguerite’. In Austria and Germany, it was hung inside homes, as a defence against lightning.

The unopened flower buds can be marinated, and used like capers - now, there is an idea worth following up.

If cattle eat the daisies, it can affect the taste of their milk; it is widely cultivated and available as an ornamental plant for meadow landscapes and gardens.

YOU cannot keep a good man down. At least not for long! Grounded due to Covid regulations having denied him his traditional festive season ‘bucket and banter’ tour of the district’s pubs and hostelries on behalf of children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters, Skipton’s ‘Mr Sport’, Roger Ingham, has kept his fundraising going, although on a smaller scale - and has now raised a magnificent £77,000 for the charity based at Leeds General Infirmary.

Roger was not able to go into pubs, because of regulations, but did manage to collect donations from those sitting outside, and managed to collect £1,680 - a not unsubstantial sum.

His latest haul means he has raised £77,000 for Candlelighters - £1,000 for every year of his life!

Candlelighters is not however the only charity he has raised money for over the years, in fact his overall tally is well into six figures.

And as for his most recent fundraising effort, Roger gives a most sincere ‘thank-you’ to everyone who so generously contributed and also to all the respective managements who allowed him to collect on their premises.

I WAS interested to receive a press release from North Yorkshire County Council on the subject on the fact that two of its four area managers for highways are women.

North Yorkshire has the largest road network in the country, and the women, says the council, are ‘defying the narrative’ by working in an industry - highways - which is often dubbed a ‘man’s world’.

Jayne Charlton, area manager for Richmondshire and Hambleton, and Melisa Burnham, area manager for Harrogate, are amongst the 111 women employed in the highways department - the council doesn’t actually say how many people are employed in the department, but it is a figure it is certainly proud of.

NY Highways was created after the contract with private sector company Ringway ended to give the county council greater control and flexibility over highways service delivery in the management of its 5,800 miles of roads.

Jayne, who has two children, is responsible for the management and delivery of highway operations across the two districts from road resurfacing to snow clearance, covering a total of 2,750km with budgets in excess of £7.5m.

She said: “In the winter months I am a winter service decision maker and manager, making decisions based on the weather forecast as to what gritting and snow ploughing operations we need to do.

Melisa, who also has two children, has liaised with local district councils over local plans and has represented the county council at major planning application committees, public inquiries.

She said: “With two young daughters work/life balance has always been very important to me which certainly gets harder as you move up the career ladder. However, the County Council is really supportive of this and allows a good level of flexibility.”

North Yorkshire County Council’s workforce is made up of 76 per cent women and 24 per cent men. Although the percentage for highways and transportation is much smaller, there are now 111 females working within the service – half of these are employed in managerial, professional or technical roles. There are now 16 female engineers – up from three in July 2017.

IT was all about slim members of the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association 50 years ago. In July, 1971, the Craven Herald reported on a practice session by the fell rescue team centred around Langstroth Pot, above Yockenthwaite. The pothole had been ‘blacklisted’ by the team, reported the Herald because of its tightness.

So, in order to carry out the practice, a team of specially picked slim cavers had been selected to carry out the rescue of ‘potholers’, team members, Ken Robinson, 24, and Ian Plant, 23, who spent 23 hours, 270ft underground.

Success of the rescue was down to the three controllers, Len Huff, Chris Baker and Harry Long, who were praised by senior police officers and councillors who watched from the surface.

Both the BBC and ITV reported on the practice which helped UWFRA in its future rescues from tight potholes.

ALSO 50 years ago, it was reported that many people in Threshfield felt that a bypass for the village was ‘urgently wanted’. The village had been pressing for a bypass or many years and in July, 1971, with 33 children living there, the need was especially urgent.

Parish council chairman, Charles Atkinson, also headteacher at Upper Wharfedale School, said wide, heavy lorries were cutting the village in two. The traffic continued unabated at the weekend because of visitors. A year’s traffic survey was being undertaken by 15 year old, Susan Jacobs, a pupil at Upper Wharfedale School.