13 June 2012

visiting the queen


In fact, he goes off to visit the queen every Tuesday night at his beekeeping class.  Five queens to be precise, in each of the hives that sit on the school rooftops.  He comes back with tales of drones and workers, queens and princesses. Of how hard the summer has been with some hives across London collapsing, though the ones on the school rooftop are thriving.  I hear about the Isle of Dogs bees flying across the Thames to Greenwich Park to collect pollen - they missed the horse chestnut this year because the blossom was out but the bees were still sleepy with the cold; the excitement of trying on the beekeeper suit; the beekeeper's calm confidence around the bees, and how in turn this relaxes them. And how it is the whole hive that is the organism, not the individual bees, working in an orchestrated way, the original co-operative.

Above the old Co-op building, Bow Road - I love this!
Now, when I look across the allotments to the plot opposite, full of phacelia, love in a mist and pink knautia, alive with the buzziness of bees, I wonder how far they have come, what their honey will taste like, and whether it is remotely possible that one day there may be honey for tea from the rooftop bees for us.

5 comments:

Jill said...

That plaque is absolutely wonderful even if it now sits above a Costcutter store!Very William Morris.

Jill said...

Sorry I meant Eric Gill brain numb with the cold!

millefeuilles said...

How wonderful! My friend who is in the tricky process of purchasing a house is dreaming of doing such a course and owning bees. I must point her in your blog's direction.

One of my small regrets this spring is that with the heavy rainfall we've been having our lavender bushes are very slow indeed at blooming and consequently we are missing out on the merry bee dance I enjoy so much.

Stephanie

monix said...

London bees produce some of the best honey. My daughter kept bees in Ealing and we had wonderful honey from them. She has moved her family and bees to the Oxfordshire countryside where the fields are full of yellow rape flowers; the honey from this is so granular that the bees cannot feed on it and it isn't very nice for us either.

I live in Devon but it is your blog that I come to for interesting pictures of nature and wildlife. Townies might think twice before longing to move to the country!

Liz said...

How wonderful to have an apiarist in the family! Nearest I'll get is being a former member of the Busy Bee Club. (Remember that?)