When I visited my parents at Christmas I re-discovered a book. It was given to me by my great-uncle Ronald.
The Golden Throng: A Book About Bees.
Thick paper, full of black-and-white slightly glossy plates and breathless wonder about these creatures. Printed in 1942, when a bit of breathless wonder wouldn’t have gone amiss.
I remember being given this book as a child. We visited regularly and he showed me his beehives. I remember the room where he kept his equipment, being shown how a smoker works, and the smell of everything. Sometimes we went home with pots of honey.
I’ve always loved bees. But in getting this book down from the shelf I found an inscription in the front dated 1995 (which would make be aged 9). It’s pretty clear from the wording that I showed a serious interest in bee-keeping. The inscription ends with:
Remember the advice given to me, by the old beekeeper who started me off, by giving me one of his hives, in his old Cheshire manner of speech: :
‘Remember that bees does nothing invariably’
It hasn’t come a great shock to any of my friends (or at least, it shouldn’t have) that I have decided to try my hand at bee-keeping. But it was a surprise to me to learn that I really made the decision a long time ago, and I’ve spent twenty years waiting to get around to it.
I hope one day I’ll be able to return a pot of honey to Ronald.
Read more about my bees.