What Shall We Do Now? 169
through the hands of some one who knows how to tell a mushroom from a toadstool (which is poisonous). The tests of a mushroom, however, are worth learning. One is peeling. If the outer skin peels off in clean flakes it is a mushroom. The colour of the inside is another sign : mushrooms are either pink or purply-black. Very large mushrooms often turn out to be less valuable than they look, because their size means that they are several days old and probably have maggots in them.
If you are staying anywhere in the hop country (Kent, part of Surrey, and part of Hampshire), there will be hop-picking. Perhaps, if you really mean it, you will find some one who will let you pick into the same bin ; only, hop-picking being a serious business, which must be finished as quickly as possible, you will have to work while you are there. Drying hops in the hop oasts is more interesting. Fires of charcoal and sulphur glow all day and all night, making heat to pass through the hops laid in the drying chamber above. You may see beautiful faint dove-coloured smoke stealing out of the white cowl (which has been likened to a Quaker lady giving away tracts) on the oast's top.
Near the farm is certain to be either a pond or a stream. If it is a clean and high pond, not in a hollow surrounded by trees, it will be good to sail boats on. Sailing boats on inland water is much better than on the sea, because, with a pond, directly the boat is fairly started on its voyage you can run round the other side and meet it. Nowhere in the country is there so fine a pond as the one in Kensington Gardens, but with a very poor pond it is still possible to have a very good time. In buying or making a boat, be sure that the lead along the keel is heavy enough. So little do toy-shop people think of these things that they very often put no lead at all on their boats, and more often than not put too little. Once a boat is properly weighted in this way you are certain to have fun in sailing her, but otherwise it will be useless to try. In boat-sailing it is well to have a long stick with a hook
Ponds and sailing boats