We booked in and were each given a file containing a notebook, a programme for the week, leaflets and catalogues and a half-inch thick paperback book entitled: GORMANSTON The Summer Course in Beekeeping A HISTORY by Jim Ryan. There was also a strap to go round the neck with your name and room number.
We had to go along to the rotunda where a member of the staff issued you with an electronic key with your room number on. I saw from the list that I was sharing a room with Brian Dennis and someone else who’s name I didn’t recognise. I know and like Dennis but was not enthralled at sharing a room with him as he is a smoker and the scent of smoke makes me think about starting again (I last lit my pipe, a long clay ‘churchwarden’ in October 2016).
I got to the room (No. 70A) first, although I had already seen and spoken to Dennis, and found it had 3 sets of 2 bunks with no privacy and one wash basin but no loo. I thought I’d better wait until the others arrived before bagging a bunk so just left my case and rucksack on the only chair.
The tablet computer was getting a signal but needed a password so I went downstairs and asked. november. It was december last year. I wonder what next year’s will be.
Between showers I went around the grounds and checked that the bees in the castle wall were still there. They were flying strongly. I’d post the photograph I took but have forgotten how!
At 5pm we were queueing for dinner. Opposite me was a German with a Hawain mother, Hans Kern. He isn’t a beekeeper yet but wants to learn. The main reason he came was that he loves Ireland (especially the surfing) and spends as much time there as possible. A lady in our conversation told him about my (co-authored) book: Getting the Best from Your Bees and he said he’ll buy a copy! I later checked and Ben Harden still had a couple of copies.
Dinner was chicken with veg, including the circular chips that I like, soup and chocolate cake with cream. The reading on my scales that morning was 15.3 and I wondered what it would be when I got home. I gained 5lb last year!
It was during dinner that I noticed that my room number wasn’t the same as the room number on my name card, 72A. Maybe they had a bit more space than they had thought and spread us out a bit; or else they had made a mistake and will move me. Wait and see. Nobody else had moved in when I got back after dinner.
At 7pm we assembled for the grand opening by the Minister of Agriculture. It was the 5th FIBKA event he’d attended this year! Philip McCabe told us that Denmark is bidding to host the Apimondia of 2021.
After the speechifying there was lots of wine, cheese, natter and chatter. Over the course of several hours I must have had the equivalent of a bottle of red! That may have been a contributing factor to, when I got back to my room and took my shoes off, I slipped on the polished floor and banged my head! It bled a lot and I wrapped a towel round it before going to bed. I slept reasonably well considering ‘strange bed syndrome’ and the aching head. Maybe the alcohol helped!