Last evening I got thoroughly lost in the back lanes of West Dorset, driving in circles for 20 minutes in search of Whitchurch Canonicorum Village Hall. Eventually, passing the Five Bells for the second time, I called in and got directions from the landlady. I found it. The car park and the road were full and I had to drive up a lane to find somewhere to park a quarter of a mile away. Luckily I had a torch in my pocket.
The reason for my mission was to attend a lecture organised jointly by West Dorset and East Devon BKAs, the lecturer being Norman Carreck and his subject is as heads this blog. The hall was crowded and, it being a few minutes past the official GMT starting time (local time in W. Dorset is about 12 minutes behind GMT) most of the seats were occupied but for a couple at the front. I took one and Norman took the other while the Chairman chatted.
‘I hear you’ve taken up smoking.’ I muttered to Norman, having been tipped off by his spouse, Andrea. He wants to have a go at gravad lax and other fishy recipes involving smoking, having been given a book on it for Christmas. I recommended that, whilst down here, he visits Bridport Harbour where fish is landed daily. Liz Moxom, the landlady of his B & B for the night, also is an experienced smoker and may, by now, have given him some guidance.
The talk began. Unfortunately it was a powerpoint and so the lights went out so I couldn’t take notes. As many of the pictures were extracts from learned papers with small print that I doubt if many could read, and Norman read aloud the relevant bits anyway, the powerpoint was rather pointless and less powerful than it could have been if he had kept the lights on and talked to us, maybe waving his arms around or displaying a graph on paper.
Nevertheless, it was an interesting talk and lasted well over an hour including question time, many of which were asked by me. The two main points that I took away were that local bees are best and that selection against colonies susceptible to chalkbrood also selects for hygienic traits that may assist against Varroa.
Norman recommended local breeding groups and I took the opportunity to announce that a few of us (Liz & Bryn were there too) are in the early stages of starting such a group, in case anybody wanted to come and join us (nobody did).
Afterwards there was tea and cake, and cake, and biscuits, and cake while we mingled and nattered. As a result my scales tell me I’m a pound heavier this morning!