I have really enjoyed you past two columns on bees.

I grew up on Glen Avon, our family property on Moncur Loch in Scotland; my Dad was an electrical engineer whose hobby was breeding roses and my Mum was a beekeeper. We had a greenhouse and a huge garden of vegetables and fruit-bushes and Mum had about 10 hives; we enjoyed spring and summer honey from our garden and in September, the hives were taken by truck to “the heather” for about six weeks.

Heather honey was darker, thicker and much richer than spring or summer honey and had to be “pressed” in muslin in a vice as opposed to being “extracted” (ie spun). Several times a year our back kitchen was honey central and we all left our shoes at the kitchen door, lest we traipsed sticky feet all over the house. My siblings and I were regularly dispatched all over the parish on our bikes with a jar of honey to a family in need.
Mum would show her jars of honey, honey combs and bees-wax sculptures a couple of times a year. As I think back, she and Dad were every bit as competitive about their bees and roses as I was about sports !

After they died, we took all the hives and related equipment to Nunraw Abbey near Edinburgh. A couple of our uncles were also bee-keepers and were used to moving the hives to the heather, but even so – wasn’t that an adventure !

Several times as I read your items I was reminded of the lack of information of bees, and I thought about my never being afraid of bees, of understanding their role and of knowing to grab the closest cardboard box, tarp, or my own jacket, whenever I saw a swarm. A bit ugly to look at, but then of course swarming bees don’t sting.

Thank you for a trip down “memory lane” Drew.

‘aye …

Mollie Cartmell, Peterborough

Honey Bee - Wikimedia

Honey Bee – Wikimedia

Categories: Columns

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.