I spent all day Friday and Saturday at the National Honey Show, held once again at St George’s College, Weybridge, Surrey. I was staying with my son, Tom, and his wife who live only 6 miles away so I was able to arrive early and relaxed each day instead at the end of a long drive. I got there just after nine am and, having booked in, made my way to the large lecture theatre 15 minutes early for the first lecture. It was packed out! I managed to get a seat at the back but there were scores of people who, although on time, had to stand for an hour while Professor Tom Seeley delivered his lecture.
If I can read my notes I shall do a series of blogs covering each lecture I attended over the next few days, so this one is about the event as a whole.
After the lecture I looked at the honey. It looked like honey. That took all of five minutes. Then I went to the trade stands in a separate building on the far side of the car park. As usual when beekeepers are gathered together, nearly every car was a hatchback or an estate. I noticed a couple of them had the letters BEE in their number plates.
I had an errand to perform. My Mother died not long ago and left me and other family members a bit of money, not a fortune, of course, as she never had a fortune in the first place and the cost of her care in the old folks’ home took a large chunk of what she had. Nevertheless, it will come in useful; however, I thought it proper to make a donation to charity in her memory. The charity I chose was one I have supported for years: Bees for Development, so I made my way to their stand, dug out my cheque book and made out one for them and handed it over. They gave me an invitation the the reception that was being held at the end of the day, sponsored by E H Thorne (Beehives) Ltd. Among the presentations was one by the Trustees explaining that any donations pledged by the end of the month (midnight on 31st October) would be quadrupled by donations from philanthropists channeled through an organisation called ‘The Big Give’. So I asked for my cheque back and, using Tom’s computer later, went on line and made my pledge for the same amount on their web site: www.thebiggive.org.uk . They don’t ask for bank details or suchlike at the time but will ask for your money as Christmas approaches. I got an instant text message from them on my mobile phone confirming that they had received my pledge. If you fancy pledging a donation for this very worthy cause, do it NOW to take advantage of the promised multiplier.
Next day I showed Helen and Nicola the message and they seemed mightily impressed and pleased. They gave me a tear off sticky label with a message about the charitable opportunity. Having nowhere better to put it, I stuck it on my forehead. If you have such a wide open space, you may as well make good use of it! The girls seemed amused by this and Nicola took a photo which, she says, may appear in their Journal in due course.
Nicola challenged me, offering a cup of coffee as a bribe, to do a circuit of the hall while wearing it. I did so and attracted some attention with a number of people actually reading the label. If you’re reading this, Nicola, you owe me a cup of coffee!
I saw that Jerry Burbidge of Northern Bee Books had a modest stack of ‘Getting the Best from Your Bees’ on his stand. I counted 9 on my first visit and only 3 on my last, so I’m guessing he sold 7/10 and still has a few left if you want one. Every time I was nearby I lurked for a while to see if anybody would like me to autograph one for them as they bought it. I signed only one: for Kevin Lincoln. I hope you enjoy it, Kevin!
As usual, the place was full of Irish visitors and contestants, most of whom I know from Gormanston so there were many handshakes and ‘How are you?’s. The Scots were there too, in the shapes of Enid Brown and Lorraine Priestley. I even saw another person from Dorset!
I spent a bit of money on the stalls: renewing my membership of the Central BKA; buying a roll of tamper evident labels, some metal corner supports, and a trapezoidal bee escape from Thornes and some Christmas presents for small people from other stands.
That’s all for now. More tomorrow. If you’re reading this before midnight on 31st October do consider making a donation as part of the Big Give.