Food for free

I’ve been foraging for Autumn’s free harvest again; this time for hazel nuts from Corylus avellana, a native shrubby tree abundant in wild places on Cardiff’s northerly range of hills. Hazel in Welsh is ‘collen’ and is derived from the same root as ‘callineb’, meaning ‘wisdom’ – ancient Celts believing eating the nuts gave one wisdom. Since I can always use some of that quality, and I’m a sucker for druidic mumbo-jumbo, I headed up to the rolling red sandstones of Cefn Mabli and collected a rucksack full of the blighters. Back home, after a knuckle-knackering session with the nutcracker, I had 200g/8oz of nuts (100g cost £1 in supermarkets), enough for a few crumble toppings when mixed with oats and even some fancy meringues if I can spare the eggs. This all fits with an abiding tactic of mine, one that I’ve stuck to as closely as possible for decades: NEVER SPEND ANY MONEY ON ANYTHING. If everyone had my levels of consumer spending the Capitalist merry-go-round would grind to a halt tomorrow. It isn’t miserliness; it isn’t poverty chic; it isn’t ecobabble sustainability; it isn’t even laziness. It’s simply that I have no interest whatsoever in any of their bloody awful “stuff”. Oh yes, I’m very cheap to run.