The last few days I have been busy delivering Yellow Pages (for non UK readers, it is a commercial telephone directory). It doesn’t pay very well – less than the ‘minimum wage’ but it is interesting and gets me to places in the back of beyond that otherwise I would never see. One farm track was a mile long, just to deliver one copy!
One of the villages I did this morning was Compton Valance, about 4 miles from home. At one of the cottages behind the Church there was a girl doing some gardening so I handed the book to her. Just round the corner, where I handed a book to another person I noticed a parked car bearing a magnetic placard advertising Honey Bee Gardening and giving the name Natasha and a local phone number. The person to whom I handed the book told me that the house next door employed a gardener, so I put 2 and 2 together and, on re-passing, hailed Natasha by name.
She guessed that I had read it on the car. I told her that I was a beekeeper. She is not, but has done a course on beekeeping and, if she had time, would like to keep bees. She asked me whether I had taught a class at Maiden Newton School. That was well over a year ago! Natasha told me that her daughter had been in the class and had loved it, especially the honeycomb that had been dished out. 30 kids on a simultaneous sugar high is a memorable event!
Not long after that, as I was driving past a convenient lay by my portable telephone rang and I was able to park and answer. It was a customer who has been demanding that I sell her all my honey. I explained that I have been too busy to do any extracting and, anyway, I would have to keep some back for rent. As she was desperate and would be very happy to have the honey in the comb and never mind the packaging, I agreed to let her have a frame of honeycomb to process herself.
She intended to visit her property in Maiden Newton this afternoon so I said I would try to get one for her. I took a short break from my deliveries as my route took be past home anyway and, for the first time since taking it, took a peek at the honey stack in my conservatory. I chose a fat comb on wide spacers from the top box and put it on the scales: over 4 pounds and 9 ounces. I found some clingfilm and double wrapped it, dropped it into a plastic bag and went round the corner where I hung it on her doorknob. So much for the Labelling Regulations!
This evening was the AGM of the Dorchester & Weymouth BKA, held at Wyke Regis Working Men’s Club. Despite the offer of free food and a drink and being able to pay the annual subs at last year’s rate, only 23 were there. The youngest (and smartest dressed) person present, Nicky, is 50 next birthday. We ought to do something about getting younger members.
We have over £3,000 in the kitty. I know the County Association is similarly well-endowed and I guess (without knowing) that the other branches have a healthy surplus also. So there’s probably the biggest part of £20,000 in Dorset acting as cushion stuffing for Treasurers. There must be a better use for it! Thinking as I type, maybe we could combine to create a local ‘Beekeepers’ Credit Union’ that would enable Treasurers to share a cushion and perhaps finance projects such as ‘start up’ funding for beginners; branch/ county apiaries/ conferences/ lectures/ or a donation to Bees for Development.
Oh, as part of the business of the meeting, they had election of officers. I’m the new President!