The organisers had originally assumed that we were going to bring a hive full of bees, and been Very Excited about this… until we pointed out the health & safety implications! (Of course our main concern was the risk to the bees from comb collapse, lost foragers and general stress, but sometimes one simple point is a more effective argument than many!)
It was a Very Hot Day, over 30C; we had to move our sunshade at one point to stop some sample comb from melting. But to put this in context it was 10C hotter in France, which must have been unbearable. Several people assumed I was very hot in the suit, but it’s a ventilated one and with just shorts and T shirt underneath I was fine: it was a very thorough test of this style. Mine came from Mann Lake; other manufacturers are available these days.
Keith brought along some honey and it sold out – the reputation of local honey for curing hayfever meant it sold itself!
We had 5 types of “hive” to demonstrate different beekeeping styles: a section of a hollow log, a skep, a small TBH nuc, a Warre and a conventional polystyrene nuc with frames. With veils for kids to dress up in, samples of comb, solid wax, close-up pictures of bees, a sample of propolis to smell and prism viewers to look through and “see what a bee sees” there was plenty to engage visitors and talk about.
The church fete itself was exactly how you imagine an English village fete to be – a band, stalls like a coconut shy and others selling books, plants, jams; archery, the Womens’ Institute, tea and cake, vintage cars, pony rides, a vicar and a chap in a boater hat. On returning home there was an Agatha Christie (Poirot) program on TV which featured a fete almost like it, except the modern one also had a Mindfulness tent and a mass Tai Chi session!