Sunday 4 September 2011

Books and bees

Last Tuesday with the novelist Meg Rosoff I took part in an event in the BBC Literary Proms series - a discussion about William Golding as man and writer, recorded earlier in the evening in the Royal College of Music and broadcast in the interval of Tuesday's promenade concert. Ian McMillan chaired it and in the audience question-and-answer session afterwards I discovered that one of Golding's ex-pupils was present - Peter Hodgman, who was taught by Golding at Bishop Wordsworth's School in 1957. He had some fascinating memories.
The bee news is good. As the season is so early I put mouse guards on all three hives on 7 August, as a safeguard not just against mice seeking winter quarters but also against wasps seeking honey. The mouse guards restrict the entrance to just a few holes and make it easier for bees to keep wasps out. So far I have not seen any wasps up by the hives which is a relief. Last weekend I put clearing boards under two supers. I took them off the hives on Wednesday and when I extracted them yesterday I found I had 35 lbs of beautiful dark amber late honey which smells wonderful. Very cheering. The new colony is thriving and I gave them one of the emptied supers to clear any remnants of honey out of. They seemed keen, and it will add to their winter store. The other two hives are well stocked for winter. Both have a full super in addition to the honey in their brood chambers.