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You Drive Me Apiarist.

December 1, 2014

 

honey bee close up

My granddad kept bees. It kept him out of Nana’s hair, I suppose. In fairness, it probably worked the other way around, but on my regular childhood excursions to Kent where they lived, I would quite often go and check out the hives with the old boy. I used to love donning the gear, the hat especially, as it prepared you for the sense of danger, whilst reassuring you that you were properly prepared. For an eight/nine/ten year old, it imbued an enormous sense of importance and, despite the fact I always managed to get stung, gave me a feeling of invincibility.

Of all of my childhood photographs, the one I’m most proud of shows me holding up a honeycomb frame covered in bees. Happy, summer days spent in the Kent countryside, hanging out with Granddad who inevitably, in my eyes at least, was an utter legend. Considering that I was a tearaway with an attention span that would make a goldfish look focussed, the calmness and serenity of the hobby was a huge part of its attraction. One of my main roles was to operate the smoke canister. The act of pouring smoke over the hive has the effect of calming the bees, which made me Minister of Calm. Me! I took the role incredibly seriously.

Granddad died when I was 15 and I haven’t been near a hive since. The nostalgia still burns though and, perhaps inevitably, I am a lifelong honey lover. When using furniture polish, it has to be beeswax and, in spite of the current trend for ‘flavoured’ candles, the traditionalist in me recognises that again, beeswax is where it’s at. And here are a couple of facts for you. Eating locally sourced honey can alleviate the symptoms of hay fever. Honey is the only foodstuff that will never go off.

I don’t know whether it’s my age or the eco-warrior in me, but recently I have found myself considering the possibility of following in Granddad’s footsteps. Surely we deserve an oasis of calm in our chaotic lives? The barest modicum of internet research has uncovered a local beekeepers’ association in my area, so I have no excuse not to probe a little further at least.

Maybe it’s just misty-eyed, sentimental romanticism on my part. But perhaps by becoming an apiarist myself, it would fulfil not only a therapeutic function, but also serve to help keep an ancient tradition alive. But maybe, just maybe it would give me something to share with my future grandchildren. If the experience was to be as rewarding for them as for the child I was…

…well, it’s a no-brainer isn’t it?

@devilsaardvark

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From → Bees, devilsaardvark

7 Comments
  1. Well roger me sideways and call me Susan…This thing’s still on!
    It’s been a long time, but I’m going to try and get back into the swing of this WordPress thing, mess with its mind and bring the whole system crashing down.

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