I have been extremely busy this week! My trip to Shropshire/Hereford was full on and fantastic.
My first stop was to visit Mike Saunders in his beautiful home. Mike is an ex Royal Navy retired Gentleman and current beekeeper. In his words Mike is the “Ludlow person coordinating a project to recover a "near-enough" native bee from the mongrels which form the vast majority of the managed honeybees in this country". After a three hour drive to get to Ludlow he sat me down with a welcoming cup of tea and biscuit and talked me through what it is he is trying to achieve. It was fascinating listening to his project and I very much hope to introduce him to The Chalfont Beekeepers Association, the club I belong to, by way of an invitation to come and talk to us about his venture.
In the evening I went to the Ludlow Beekeepers club and met some of their members. Always interesting to go to another club and see how they run things. Well, surprise - surprise, very much like we run ours! Listened to three very good talks about refining wax, cleaning equipment and making your own honey labels. It’s a funny thing, no matter how many times you hear a talk on something you have already heard a talk on, there is always something new to pick up and learn. Everyone of us has a different way of doing things so it is never a waste of time!
The following day I was at Trinity Primary School in Hereford. They had invited me to their school as they were having a plant and bee science week. I gave a talk to 90 school children aged 5 - 6. They came in groups of 30. I had 45 minutes with each group and I have to say, I have never talked about honeybees to such young children but they were amazing. They really engaged with me. They appeared to enjoy the session which included a hands on section where they could try on the bee suit and practice inspecting the hive. I gave a 30 minute reading from Betsie Valentine And The Honeybees to all 90 together and then later in the afternoon they returned in their batches of 30 for a question and answer session. What impressed me more than anything were the questions they asked. It proved they had listened and taken on board the things I had told them about the honeybees. My favourite moment had to be when I started to talk about the Waggle Dance. One of the little ones shot up his hand and said “Please Miss, we are doing a song about the Waggle Dance!” Then he turned to his teacher, Charlotte Bradbury, and said “Can we sing it for her?” Well I am not going to lie.. it brought a tear to my eye! I have heard the song performed before when I went to Boughton Primary School in Aylesbury last year when they were performing the same play as this the Trinity lot are about to put on… but it was (a) he was clearly paying attention to my talk. (b) his want to show me what they do and (c) the enthusiasm with which they performed the song on the spot! The teachers also enjoyed the day and two of them even bought a book… boom!