Another year

I think that summer is a far better host to ‘new year’ than winter. If you’re lucky enough to be able to take time out to enjoy it, it offers a chance to stop whatever you were stuck doing for a little while and think about it. A reset, and chance to look backward on the last year and forward on the next. For me, winter is all about hard work, when everything’s an effort. Hardly the time to stop and think. I’d much rather do that basking under the sun than huddled round a fire.

And for me, this new year, the first in my third decade, feels definitive: I got married, celebrated my first year of keeping bees, two years living on our no-longer new boat, and three years working at Crossref. I have also not touched a single biscuit (cookie for the Americans in the audience) or can of IRN BRU (I couldn’t possibly explain, you’ll just have to try it) or anything overtly sugary for a whole month, which is, in its own way, an achievement to rival, if not best, any of the above.

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I got a BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet

I’m sitting on the bus writing this on my BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu edition tablet. It promises ‘full convergence’ so, taking it on face value, I thought I’d start typing a blog post using the on-screen keyboard at work then continue with a bluetooth keyboard once I get home.

The tablet ships with LibreOffice, gEdit, mystery ‘browser’ and Firefox which might be used to access Google Docs. But I’m not using any of those to write this blog post. I am instead using the Notes app, for reasons I’ll come to.

These are my first impressions. All of them are honestly observed, but a couple turned out to be special cases. But they were all things I experienced.

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Save Aldershot Leopard Barn

None of the regulars I speak to at The Old Pump in Aldershot have a bad word to say about “hapless” Sandra. She’s has been a well-liked member of the community since before it was known as The Old Pump, before when it was known as the Pumping Station and before that, when it actually was the pumping station for Aldershot’s sewage system. “Some things never change,” they mutter into their pints.

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Unwelcome guests

Cooking an evening meal, I reach for the oregano and then for the thyme. As the herbs start to work out where they are, why they’re here and what they’re meant to be doing, a familiar but confusing aroma issues. This doesn’t smell so much of my dinner as my beehive. And not in that cooking-with-honey way. Continue reading

What a Difference a Week Makes

There are lots of kinds of beehives, but many of them have the same construction: a brood box, which is a large space for the colony to live, and supers, which are smaller boxes, added on top, in which bees make honey and which beekeepers sometimes have to take away for their own good (the beekeepers’ own good, not the bees’).

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Honey are not the only bees


This gallery contains 4 photos.

I’ve had my beehive for over two weeks. It’s full of honeybees, and getting fuller. In that time my neighbours have had two nests of very different varieties of wild native bee: leafcutters and bumblebees. They’re not camera-shy.