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I am going to buy Sarah a bonnet for Christmas. It will go well with any of her personalities – Miss Muffett, Bo Peep, Red Riding Hood. And now Apiarist. Yes, while our animal count presently hovers (get it?) at 36, by summer it will be 250,036. On Friday, brother-in-law Zim delivered four hives, thus setting a rational seal on Sarah’s recently completed Bee Keeping Course.

I should have known of course. Bee Keeping Course means getting some bees and by a miracle of synchronicity, Zim and Poppy are off abroad for a while, meaning the four hives that lived on top of their London gastro pub need a home. Us.

I put quite a few obstacles in the way of this idea, and for a while was fairly certain I’d made it through without yet another set of creatures to look after (and, in my case, to build things for). My main argument was that we have a perfectly happy colony of feral bees that have been living undisturbed by man or disease for at least twenty years in an old oak tree.

I had counted without Sarah’s ferocious determination when she wants something. She should have been a lawyer. The evidence in favour of new bees mounted fast, mainly because people who keep bees seem to be keen on offering up their bee-wisdom copiously on on-line bee-forums. ‘Go for it’ seemed to be the main thrust. I am uncertain about the scientific rigour of this argument but it hasn’t stopped the arrival, two days ago, of the hives plus assorted kit, and Zim. Zim was extremely pleased his family had found a new home in between two wild flower meadows, and with more of his family too. We nearly got offered the cat as well!

The upside is that, provided Sarah enjoys dressing up like an astronaut, mucking about with huge quantities of mysterious equipment, and dealing with the inevitable occasional genocide, we will get some very unusual honey made from wild flowers. Lots of them. Has to be better than whatever they foraged in central London. Hydrangeas? Florist’s shops? Old McDonald’s meals?

 Anyway, at least I will be able to watch Sarah get a real bee in the bonnet I am about to buy.

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