After the Spivak lecture I thought I’d go and look at the honey on show. It looked like honey. I bumped into Trisha Marlow from Ludlow, whom I’d met at Stoneleigh. Her first words to me were: “Are you behaving yourself?” I always behave myself! I’m sure she’s a teacher! I kept running into her the rest of the day. Maybe she’s keeping an eye on me just to make sure I do behave.
I went to look at the inventions and craft work, which are always interesting although I don’t always agree with the judges. For instance they gave a prize to a honey label for Shropshire honey. It was for a pound of honey but had the weight only in metric. It claimed to be Produce of England but was from hives of native bees on the Welsh border, so there must be Welsh honey in it also. Worst of all, the largest feature on the label was a cartoon of a creature that looked almost completely unlike a honeybee! I saw the same labels in the background of a photo of a child who was tasting honey. I think it may have been the same photographer (Trisha!) who took one of a covey of people wearing space suits and hedgers’ gloves – not a good advert for ‘native bees’.
I left the show to venture into the sales hall across the way. The first person I bumped into was David Charles. In chatting, he mentioned the poor quality of discussion on the BBKA Facebook page. I told him that the remedy lay at his own keyboard and he should contribute something better. I introduced him to the boss of the site, the aforementioned Trisha, who just happened to be lurking within arm’s length, buying exam papers at the BBKA stand. She said almost the same as me!
I found the Bees for Development stand and paid my sub. It’s gone up £1 to £26 this year. Trustee, Bob Spencer told me that they’ve been busier than ever with their good work but that their income was down rather. Then I found the Central Association of Beekeepers stall and renewed my sub, a mere tenner, and continued on my way. The biggest stall was Thornes’ and I spent some time browsing but didn’t find anything I couldn’t do without at a price I could afford.
Northern Bee Books also had a large stand of new and used books. I think I already have copies of most of the old ones. I looked in vain for a stack of my (co-authored) book ‘Getting the Best from Your Bees’. On a later browse, Jerry Burbidge saw me and told me that there had been a couple of copies at first but they must have soon sold. He will definitely get some more in!
Back to the main building to grab some lunch – spiced up fish-cakes, chips and peas. This made me a little late for the next lecture, especially as couldn’t, at first, find the upper room, so I stood at the back for a while until I found I was swaying on my feet and then went outside, found an easy chair and placed it within sight and sound of the speaker through the open door. I had missed a bit at the start and may have nodded now and again during the talk but here’s the gist of it: the speaker was Alan Brown of the University of Aberdeen. His subject was ‘Controlling varroa mites with gene knockdown: hype and reality.’ Reducing the 75 minute talk to a sentence: it works but they don’t yet have a delivery method.