John, the beekeeper, got into the celebratory spirit for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, ten years ago. He played the part of Compo, ( 'The Last of the Summer Wine') in a show which was held at the Village Hall ....and yes, that is Norah Batty next to him, the wrinkled stockings are a bit of a giveaway! Our village really knew how to have fun in those days.
The village still knows how to have fun, but a certain something has been lost, which is a shame...not that I am offering to dress up as Norah Batty, or anything!
John is 95 now, which means that he was 85 when he played the part of Compo. Ten years on, he is still going strong and putting people many years his junior, to shame. He called in to the Byre recently and I asked his permission to take a photograph to share with you..
and collects swarms when the call goes out - keeping busy and keeping active.
Conversations with him are far-ranging and always interesting. He talks about the old days, modern farming methods, wildlife, nature, beekeeping... anything and everything, he has a fund of great stories and information. I love talking with him, he's an interesting man, who just happens to be 95 years old.
This handsome man was John's father - I think there is quite a resemblance around the eyes.
The photograph below shows John's mother and her two sisters. I think it is a wonderfully evocative photograph, taken well over a hundred years ago. Elegant young ladies.
His mother lived to be over a hundred and this one shows the celebration of her century. Good strong genes obviously run in his family.
Here he is presenting Princess Anne with a jar of honey. It was in the Bee Keeping Tent, at the Lincolnshire Show ...on a very hot day, if that poor man in the background is anything to go by!
I may well have already mentioned in a previous post that at one time John's 30 or so bee hives were producing over a thousand jars of honey.
I admit that I am not very good when it comes to understanding and adapting to new technology, especially if I have been comfortable with the old way...
John is passionate about wildlife and the birds which he feeds. He likes to photograph them, but can't sit there all day to do it, he is a busy man. So, he has an outdoor wildlife camera focused on his bird feeders, it has a PIR sensor and takes a photograph whenever it senses movement. So, he has been happily learning how to adjust the settings to get close-ups of the birds and has learned how to stick the SD card into his television, so that he can view the photographs he has taken. He takes it all in his stride and isn't fazed at all.
George goes along once a week to delete those which he doesn't want, then store the others, to ensure that the disc doesn't get too full. Ninety-five, and still capable of learning and accepting modern technology... that has to be amazing in anyone's book.
John, you are a marvellous man and I am so proud to be your neighbour.
Footnote: We have just returned from seeing John, and Arnold. Both are in fine fettle, John was keeping busy and is well. Arnold has been groomed, his feet have been trimmed - he was looking very handsome indeed - sleek and shiny, well groomed.
This photograph is the real Arnold - the horse who loves to roll in the mud and stand out in the pouring rain.
Sad to say, the young woodpecker which John had been photographing has been taken by a sparrow-hawk, while at one of his feeders.