For this post we’re taking a bit of a break from the horror fiction.
Some of you may remember that a couple of months ago I received a strange package through my letterbox, I wrote about it here:
Well, reality slipped again this morning and I received another, slightly larger, unexpected parcel. All wrapped up in brown paper and tied with string, with a quote from Confucius in place of the usual postage stamp. This had to be from the good folks at Soddenham, Norfolk.
I carefully placed it on the table (after listening to it to make sure it wasn’t ticking) and gently teased open the knot in the string. As the brown paper unfolded I was confronted with, what I thought at first to be, a beautiful handbound notebook with an oxblood cover. A paper label adorned the cover bearing the Soddenham crest.
Along with this was a beautifully typed letter from, no less than, the chairman of the Soddenham Historical Society and Curry Club himself, Mr. Les Taret!
On opening the notebook I discovered that – no, it wasn’t a notebook at all! but a beautifully made presentation case containing samples of genuine Soddenham lichen, one piece of Extra Virgin, pre-harvest lichen (still on the branch) and another of pure ground lichen powder in a tiny glass phial.
Perhaps I should explain a little about the importance of lichen to the economic history of Soddenham. Soddenham was once a major centre for lichen farming in the UK, their lichen orchards were famed for the quality of their produce and they exported it all over the Empire for the manufacture of spume. You can read more about it on this fascinating article on the Soddenham website here:
Sadly, due to the decline of the spume industry, Soddenham now has only one lichen orchard left, which is also the last one in England, as attested by the accompanying Certificate of Authenticity.
In conclusion, I would just like to say a huge thankyou to Mr Taret and the other members of the SHSACC, Mssrs. Pardow, Drewery, Dengue and Thule and to the treasurer, Ms. Smokepipe. Also to Mr. Furcleby, the last remaining lichen husbandman. Thankyou all, I shall treasure this artifact; myself and Mrs Nash may well brush off our old Pashley tandem this summer and take a trip across to visit your wonderful village to experience the orchard for ourselves.