I unpacked in my cubicle. The bed didn’t look very comfy, however in an adjacent cubicle with no bed there was a mattress on the floor, so I put it on top of mine which made it very comfortable. I found a plug hole in the wall at the end of the dormitory and put my phone on charge, although I didn’t expect to use it much while there.
I went downstairs to explore. First I went along to the far side of the castle to see whether the bees were still occupying their usual spot in the side of the tower. They were!
Then I went along the corridor to look briefly in the traders’ rooms. I saw that Ben Harden had 5 copies of ‘Getting the Best from Your Bees’ (written by me and Dave MacFawn of S.Carolina) on sale. There was no beekeepers’ lounge this year but there were some comfy seats near the entrance so I bagged one.
I tested my tablet computer. There was no internet signal save for a secured one for which a password was required. I had downloaded some of my Kindle books onto it recently but couldn’t discover how to get at them and there was no 14 year old around to ask for help. Then a chap came and sat in the next chair and started chatting. He’s Irish but lives in France and works in Hungary. He doesn’t yet have bees but is keen to learn. We nattered until dinner time.
After a long queue, I got soup, steak and chips and pudding: all very tasty and fattening. As I was eating, sat next to Jan, Ettamarie came up to me, accompanied by a granddaughter, Jessie, and we had a good natter.
After dinner I noticed a lady with red hair, dressed as a witch (minus the pointed hat) who seemed familiar, so I asked Michael Gleeson whom she was: Maraid Dineen, Dodie’s daughter! I soon saw her, sat in the foyer, and said ‘Hello’ and we had a good chat. She’s now retired and living in a cottage with an acre of land in the Midlands of Eire. Back in the good old days, when Dave Cushman was with us and the Cock (the oldest pub in Ireland, allegedly) was still open half the night, Maraid would sing a good song in the early hours. Dodie used, for many years, to run the Honey Show. This year, for the first time, Maraid had some entries of her own.
Only about an hour after dinner was the big speechifying session formally to open the event. There was a Government Minister, a lady President of what appears to the the Irish equivalent of the WI, Eamon Magee and Eddy Murphy from Northern Ireland.
Then came the wine and cheese with lots of nattering. I had another chat with Ettamarie and Jessie; a brief one with Claire Kehoe and a longer one with her Dad, Tom, who, sadly, has dementure and keeps repeating himself, but he seems very cheerful.
A lady caught sight of my name badge and spoke. She’s Jenny Stein (I hope I’ve got the name right!) an American living in Cork. She has been following my blog for a couple of weeks and was surprised to see how old I am! It seems that I write younger than I look!
Roger Patterson cornered me and told me of the proposed BIBBA meeting to be held on the Isle of Man. I’d like to go, as I thoroughly enjoyed their frolic with COLOSS last year at Llangollen, but it might be difficult to drive there and I know of no flights there from local airfields. Roger is looking for speakers and thoroughly bent my arm and ear in an attempt to persuade me to agree to give a talk but, despite his flattery and persuasiveness, I kept my head and refused.
It was an enjoyable evening with the wine flowing freely and I must have got through the biggest part of a bottle of red before heading for my bed at about 11pm.