A few days ago I found a message on my answerphone from Geoff Stubbs (of whom I’d never heard) of the ‘Purbeck Journal’ (of which I’d never heard) saying he’d been put in touch with me by a beekeeper (of whom I have heard but to whom I can’t put a face) as they were looking for somebody to do a series of articles about bees.

I rang back and we chatted. Geoff had done his homework by looking at this blog and likes my style, commenting on my juxtaposition of the expressions ‘Portland’ and ‘normal people’. As it happened I’d ventured into Purbeck only a day or two previously. I commented on a floral gwyle down which I’d ventured and he knew it as the adjacent farm had already been featured in the magazine.

The magazine comes out only twice a year and he’s looking for bee-related articles of between 500 and 1500 words.  Hmmm.. I wonder how many I’ve just written?  I’ll have a count. A mere 169 to the full stop before this one. So I have room to expand.

Geoff said he’d send me a couple of copies of the magazine so I’d know the style at which to aim.  They arrived yesterday, editions 2 and 3, and I’ve been skimming through them.  They’re the glossiest magazines I’ve ever seen! The title is: PURBECK!  Each edition has a stunning cover picture by different local artists of instantly recognisable coastal features, Stair Hole and Old Harry Rocks. I must brush up on my painting skills!

The magazines contain some quite weighty articles and the two together weigh a pound and three quarters, with over 100 pages in each.  It’s not often that I can find time to read books that long, however as lots of the space is taken up with pictures I expect I’ll manage.  A picture is alleged to paint a thousand words but can be absorbed much more rapidly.  Hmmm… I wonder whether, if I include pictures in my articles, it’ll count towards my word target – I’m up to 344 now.

I think I’ll spend a bit more time in the Purbecks, maybe cycling around the Arne Peninsula, and visiting old haunts before deciding what to write. I used to live in the Purbecks, at the back of Bindon Abbey and Wool was my first school.  I passed by that way to reminisce last week. Our farm cottage, on the end of a terrace of 4, now has square window panes rather than the diamond patterned ones I remember. I expect they have piped water now. We did then, but all 4 houses had to share a single tap by the roadside. The outside traditional brick shithouse was of the bucket and chuck-it type. Unless Father had his bean trench open, the contents went into the stream at the bottom of the garden.

Apart from that, things don’t seem to have changed much in the last 60 years, except that the old oak tree across the road seems to have got a bit smaller, but maybe I’ve grown a bit!

525 words including this one. I’m there! (527).


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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  1. The way you are going Chris you will end up working for the United Nations..

  2. Randy says:

    Never doubted you were not a journalist, now are they going to pay you? I get a lot of requests for image use, many want to publish for free. Not letting anything go in something people and advertisers pay for and not get some payment. Enjoyed your 527 words.

  3. Margaret Johnson says:

    Make sure they pay you the going rate, in my limited experience of you as a bee keeper and internet journalist you are worth a lot more than most.

  4. Marcia says:

    Congrats to you – I do enjoy your writings and quirky sense of fun ! I have written acouple of bee related articles for different publications – I always have to watch that I don`t go off on a crazy tangent . .

  5. I’m planning my crazy tangents in advance, bearing in mind that very few of the readers will be beekeepers.

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