Alfred’s Magic Mushrooms

magic mushrooms

My chum Alfred has reached an odd stage in his journey into psychedelic oblivion.

The truth is I think old Alfred was finding the whole gig rather tedious. Finding a four hour space in his fun packed day to watch undulating walls, geometric patterns and the odd alien spaceship somehow lost its appeal.  Its not even as if the wretched aliens actually abducted him, let alone confer on him the super powers he has so long suspected they possess.

The other downside was spending hours trying to dodge his rather conventional hausfrau, lest she realized he had taken more than a glass of sweet sherry and was, in a word, off his trolley.

Its just not the sort of thing you do in Downton, although I imagine its de rigeur in Made in Chelsea.  Jane Austen never wrote about tittering women out of their skulls on herbal remedies. My, how Mrs Bennet would have disapproved. Mr Darcy would never stoop to such iniquity. Although a dose of psychedelics might have improved Lady Catherine de Burgh and her awful clergyman sidekick.

But then, so far as we are told, Darcy wasn’t a miserable sod blighted by the noon day demon.

Alfred is taking a break to assess where he is. He now recognizes he will never find the Philosopher’s Stone and wouldn’t know what to do with it if he did.  Alfred is going nowhere and has nowhere to go.  Perhaps that is the big secret to happiness – realizing you are there already.

He has largely given up what irritates him to death.  “Other People” mostly. Oh, and the gym. He finally cracked when yet again some over enthusiastic fool smashed many, many tons of weights down on their frame and grunted loudly.  Alfred happened to be all too close and despite the fact he is deaf as a post, the shock was devastating.

Up in the stretching room, some other moron was smashing a medicine ball up and down on the floor and the whole room shook.  In the corner, another malign misfit smashed his fists into a punch bag, not forgetting to emit the customary animal grunt every time he did so. Well I say grunt, but Alfred says it was more like an orgasm really.  Perhaps it’s all part of gay rights or the gender thing.  God, poor old Alfred is just so out of touch with all that stuff.

Apparently Alfred spends most of his time outdoors and has largely given up the computer and Plan B – his forlorn attempt to find Eldorado.

Actually Alfred couldn’t give a stuff and that seems to suit him very well. The world is going to hell in a hand cart and as far as Alfred is concerned it can trundle on its way so long as it leaves him alone.

Of course it all might change; moods can turn on a sixpence. But perhaps the psychedelics have had some effect after all. Perhaps some annealing has taken place. Perhaps the neurons in his addled brain have been scrambled and knitted together again in a new and benign configuration, with different connections, unaccustomed thought patterns. Levity even.

No doubt Alfred will revisit the Magic Mushroom but perhaps for the time being, psychedelics can be left on the shelf in the larder.


  1. Philosopher’s Stone. Fiction, Rowling, JK. Tell Alfred. I laugh at my own dumb joke. But then I realize/realise that Alfred might be American. In which case it would be Sorcerers stone. Which annoys me.


    1. Ha ha ha… No Alfred in not American. Apparently his Jewish great Grandmother employed her sister (an ancestor of JK Rowling), in her East End womens clothing factory. JK ignored that side of her family in her TV show in favour of equally humble origins in Alsace Loraine.


      1. Interesting, I did not know that. Apaprently there is still some hierarchy when it comes to genealogy and which you ascribe more value to.

        I almost never mention my Polish grandmother for example. Ha ha.

        Also you were up early this morning… I have a 8 month old, so thats my excuse for commenting on your stories at 2am but since we are more… or less in same time zone why were you up so early?


      2. Down at our cottage in Kent apple picking in the garden! I’m rather keen on my Jewish great granny but can hardly remember her. A remarkable woman who started her factory aged 16 and ended up with 500 factory girls in Walthamstow, a bunch of racehorses and lord knows what else.


  2. I spent some time this morning reviewing your series of entries on Alfred and his struggles with finding some remedy for his circumstances, and it is clear from your attention to the subject that you are an empathetic and compassionate soul, whose own views run along the same lines as Alfred’s, and I find your commentary illuminating about these struggles and appreciate your interest well.

    What struck me today in reviewing these posts was that there seems to be a kind of subtext in all of your writing on the subject, which concerns more significantly, what it is that Alfred is trying to achieve beyond the relief from a debilitating condition. Were it NOT so that Alfred was so afflicted, he might very well be able to view his life circumstances in a wholly different way, and be able to glean some greater benefit when meditating on the state of the world and the meaning of our own participation in life itself. It would be advantageous to us all, NOT to have such potent challenges, but even with them, it is still an urgent matter to find some way to face our circumstances, whatever they are, at least well enough to manage some degree of equanimity in our lives.

    Those of us who are NOT challenged by depression or other mental afflictions still may struggle for other reasons to find a way to cherish each part of our lives, even when they may include experiences which are painful or unhappy. Since our lives are the sum of all our days, and not simply defined by any one particular time of our lives, it is important to take a wider view of life in order to appreciate the whole of it, and many times, opportunities for growth and enrichment necessarily include experiences which are painful or unhappy in some degree.

    It would be difficult to appreciate a relentless sequence of unfortunate events, to be sure, without being able to see some benefit at some point, but it would leave us equally off-balance to have a life containing only GOOD fortune also. We suppose, especially in the middle of misfortune, that we might rather have none of it, but in looking back, if we do so with an honest perspective, we can see how experiences of every sort formed us in ways that were equally important to our current well-being.

    Your contributions on the merits and liabilities and usefulness of psychoactive mushrooms or the active chemical element are reasoned and well considered, and we wish Alfred every success as he continues to search for solace, no matter where his path takes him.


    1. Alfred is currently sitting in a French hospital waiting for a surgeon who is operating on his mother in law who had an accident and broke her leg on the first day of her holiday in the grim Pas de Calais region of northern France. He feels rather like Vladimir or perhaps Estragon both of whom waited, in vain, for Godot. France always reminds Alfred of the existentialists and he has a horrible feeling he may be stuck waiting on Les Chaises for some considerable time. Albert Camus himself may well be pacing up and down the windswept local beaches pondering life’s mysteries. You are right of course; some measure of reflection is probably beneficial and inevitable. As Wittgenstein did, it is probably best to simply kick away the ladder. And to accept what is without too many questions.


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