Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bees and books

It has not been a good honey year for me - so far. The weather was the main problem. The oilseed rape came into flower ridiculously early - in April - before the bees were ready for it. Then there were too many days of rain and wind. Also the honey seemed to set solid in the frames unusually quickly - perhaps because of dips in temperature - so I found myself trying to extract solid, crystallised goo. Very disappointing. Harvest so far is 60lbs which is very poor for three hives. The bees seem OK, though, and will have plenty stored away for the winter. My loss is their gain. The new mesh floors seem to have worked well and I notice the bees have taken to going in from the back as well as the front. Some creature - badger? fox? crow? - pulled the mesh floors right out several times. Can't think why, because whatever it was did not get at the brood chambers. I've driven a stake in immediately behind each hive, which has stopped it.

Book festivals continue. Last Wednesday, 21 May, I was in Dublin for the Writers' Festival in conversation with Selina Guinness. On Friday 30 May I shall be at Hay-on-Wye, on Wednesday 4 June at Salisbury Arts Centre, on Saturday 7 June at the Dovedale Festival, in conversation with Lucy Hughes-Hallett, and on Tuesday 17 June at The Writers Centre Norwich, talking to D.J. Taylor.

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