My hero, John, called by this afternoon. He brought us a jar of his honey, as a thank you gift for letting him collect the bees. We have sampled it and it is truly excellent stuff.
We had a wonderful chat as he reminisced about farming in the 1930's and the great changes he has seen. It was fascinating stuff, he began working in farming when the power was supplied by horses, witnessed the introduction of tractors and so on to farming today with all the big machinery and technology which that involves.
John was born in Yorkshire and told us how he used to walk the two miles to school every day, only to have the first 15 minutes of every day designated for physical exercise - so after his young legs had walked two miles they would then have to do a series of PT exercises, followed by running twice around the playground at top speed. This was a small village school with one teacher and about 35 pupils.
We heard tales about his early days on a large estate - where, coincidentally, a friend of mine worked as a housekeeper, about twenty years ago. Small world!
Our talk moved on to cereal growing and John told us about how all those years ago a field of corn would be dotted with wild flowers, which aphids would live on, these in turn would provide food for young partridges. He also lamented the lack of skylarks and cuckoos, saying that as he used to work with the horses he would often hear five or six cuckoos and delight in the large number of skylarks.
He is a fascinating man with so many tales to tell, much wisdom to impart.
The bees quickly moved into their new hive and are busily working to make it feel like home.
Unfortunately, a couple of dozen bees got left behind. They are not at all happy. They are miniature kamikaze bees. This afternoon they stung my daughter on the head as she got out of her car - no provocation at all.
This afternoon, while we were working in the vegetable garden, George got stung on the ear. Another one pursued him into the polytunnel, followed him to the greenhouse and was hell-bent on getting him... I'm keeping antihistamine cream and tweezers at the ready....