Having set my friends and family 'googling' for me this morning I set off to attend Marta's Festa della Madonna del Monte which is held on the 14th of May every year, details photos and links to follow.
Anne from the blog Anne in Oxfordshire and Leesa from News From France both came up trumps with loads of information on my mystery fungus. Thanks to these experts in Google Searches I present Clathrus ruber, a fungus, in the stinkhorn mushroom family.
Apparently these stinkhorns can be as good as their name and smell of rotting meat, luckily these did not do so but they were somewhat slimy. I also found it intriguing how they shrivel away and disappear completely. There one day and gone the next, which is why I think the other half did not believe me when I described the first one I found to him. It was no longer there!
It is all the wet weather we have had this spring that has caused this and possibly all sorts of other interesting fungus to pop up where one might not normally expect to see them.
I must keep a look out for more interesting specimens, if it ever stops raining long enough for me to go and investigate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_ruber More can be learnt at Wikipedia.
I am now going to get ready to go out again down to Marta for more celebrations. There is supposed to be a Firework display later this evening but the weather does not look very hopeful at the moment.
If you have five minutes to spare do take a look at the other blogs mentioned, three very different views of life in Oxfordshire, Paris and Sicily.