Sunday, 29 June 2008

Long Weekend

It's been a very long weekend here at Rock HQ, the wedding Friday night was just the start.
Saturday I should have been narrating at a dance show but work commitments kept me away from making a fool of myself in front of several hundred strangers. Tracey on the other hand had no such excuse so was busy most of Saturday marshaling children stage left and pushing them out into the spotlight right on cue. The show was a charity event raising money for Prostate Cancer Research. Unfortunately the shows organiser's father has this, as does Tracey's Dad. The show was a great success and raised a lot of cash for a very worthy cause.

The jobs have been piling up here so it is vital that we get them prioritised. I spent six hours cutting back the bracken, it's finally looking like I am winning the war against this invasive plant but it really is a struggle. The stables have been cleaned out, the pooh that the sheep produced and trod into the concrete while they were incarcerated awaiting shearing stuck to the floor with the tenacity of a limpet. So great is its adhesive quality I am seriously thinking of sending a sample to Loctite to improve its super glue. When the floor was finally cleaner, not clean, but cleaner and covered with a fresh bed of straw Trevor showed his appreciation by urinating all over the fresh straw on his bed. I was sure he was smiling at me when he did this. (You can tell we are all tired this weekend I even managed to catch the pocket rocket asleep this evening! See above )
On the subject of Horses I am told that tomorrow is the day that William has to be cleansed of Smegma again. Not keen on sharing this experience again I might find a crucially important job the other end of the farm when the bucket of soapy water appears tomorrow. Once was definately enough for me.

The garden is doing really well, not producing any food yet, other than the odd bit of salad and some highly dubious leeks that had a wood like quality that even I couldn't eat when I served them with dinner. Potential food abounds though and when I get a moment I shall have quick read of my "How to grow vegetables book" which unlike the "How to.." animal books seems quite accurate.

My main argument against these "How to ..." genres is that they seldom tell you what not to do. There are no bold italic warnings saying under no circumstances don't do this at this point or this might happen scenarios.

A case in point.

I am quite interested in keeping Bees. I am so interested in fact that I have several "How to keep Bees." books by several different authors. If there is an agricultural show I can often be found loitering around the Bee Keepers tent hoping a Bee Keeper will spot me as having potential as a Keeper and will impart years of wisdom in an easily understandable soundbite.
I am drawn to the arcane workings of the hive and watch with endless fascination the inevitable sample hive display with a glass side showing the busy workers attending the Queen.

Bee documentaries have held my attention as I gasp with awe at the complexity of the inner workings of the hive, the air conditioning provided by workers wing beats, the magical production of honey and the brutal race to be Queen. I have even gone so far as to phone local bee Keepers and ask the odd question about broods.

This interest in Bees has led to a quest for knowledge! I read and re read the "How to..." and I know for a fact it does not at any stage ever say, do not take the top off a hive.

I couldn't help it, I was curious. Beth and I were walking through an orchard owned by Bulmers, a well know cider producer and there were dozens of hives with Bees humming lazily in and out. Having already sampled a glass of the famous apple beverage I was perhaps less than cautious in my approach to the hive. A few Bees buzzed past, not unduly causing me concern, they were less than interested in me. All was well. It was late evening I rationalised to myself, they will be tucked up in their little Bee hammocks after tiring themselves out collecting pollen all day. Surely they wouldn't begrudge me one little look, a quick peek at their secret goings on.

I gripped the sides of the top and quietly lifted.

Things happened very quickly.

Beth shouted "Run" and disappeared from view through the avenue of trees with remarkable speed. I was suddenly the centre of an explosion of Bee's who seemed quite cross that they had a new sunroof. I couldn't chase after Beth as I was still holding half the hive. Ignoring the Bee protests, and that I was about to get more stings than the time I put the brush cutter through a red ants nest, and most of the ferocious little insects ended up, or down rather, my boots, I put the lid carefully back in place, as carefully as one might when the centre of a Bee whirlwind. I even managed to overtake Beth as I ran out of the orchard pursued by a few of the fitter workers intent on sacrificing themselves to ensure the hive is never bothered by me again.

My quest for knowledge regarding this matter is over. I now know what happens when you remove the lid of the hive.

You get stung.

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