Sunday, 19 April 2015

Last week at Nelson House

Last Sunday was the first of the practical beekeeping sessions at the West Norfolk & King's Lynn training apiary.

Training apiary
Now it may look like a benign day in the photograph but what you can't see are the winds that were a steady 30 mph and gusting 50. The bees weren't going out in that and if we'd opened up the hives they would have been blown away and may not have been able to return. However there were lots of other things to learn so we went up to the rather smart portacabin for some hands on demonstrations.

First was how to light, and keep lit, your smoker. This is very important to keep your bees quiet.

Lighting the smoker
It is not, as I had initially thought, the smoke itself that subdues the bees. Bees are originally from Africa where forest fires are common. When the bees sense smoke their instinct is to save the colony and to do this they need food and so they glut on honey. And like all of us after a heavy meal we feel a bit dozy and slow down a bit.

Smoking equipment
Our other project was assembling frames of which there are two types - those that hold the brood and where the queen lays the eggs and smaller ones where the honey is stored. They come flat pack and have to be assembled (apparently this is how I will be spending my winter evenings!). Fortunately my upholstery skills came in useful when hammering in the small tacks.

Frame assembling

While I was away with the bees Andrew started the really tricky floor tiling in the wet room. This is a challenging job as the tiles have to go in the drainer, there is a slight slope on the floor so that water will drain, we have put down underfloor heating and to add to his problems we decided on a diamond bond as the room is L-shaped and this works best. He was very even tempered as several tiles were broken in the attempt to get some very complicated cuts done. But his perseverance paid off.

Tricky tiling

Tuesday was a glorious day and we took advantage of the longer evenings and snuck off early to Old Hunstanton beach.

Old Hunstanton beach
Mortimer was delighted with his first evening trip of the season.

Mortimer enjoying himself

The view while we ate our fish & chips
We were introduced to Toby, Patricia and David's new trainée guide dog puppy.

And spotted this rather odd nesting site by a local pigeon.

Pigeon nest
And finally, although it's not quite finished, we're really enjoying meals in the refurbished garden from.

Not a bad week :-)


  1. My goodness, you've got no time for a spring break. What will those bees do? And the house?

  2. Well something had to give - and as usual it was the housework ;-)