People and Personalities
I like to think of myself as a friendly easy-going chap, although family members might point out a slight tendency towards occasional rants and intolerance. Over the years, I have evolved. I used to hold the view that people are always out to get you. They stab you in the back or make fun of you. My default state was “untrusting”. Thankfully I like people now (in small, manageable doses).
According to the Myers-Briggs personality types I am an INTJ. The “I” stands for “introvert”, so I naturally tend to try to merge into the background rather than draw attention to myself. One of the unexpected things I have found since keeping bees is that I have met a lot of interesting people and made some new friends. It seems that bees bring people closer.
Bee Inspector Visit
Of course, the interviewees for my book are all fascinating, beautiful people; that’s a given. Today I was reflecting on some of the other people that I now know because I have bees. For a start, just today, I met our seasonal bee inspector at one of my apiaries. It was great chatting to her about bees and beekeeping as she went about her work. What’s more, she displayed a keen interest in my book, so perhaps I will sell some copies!
Farmers are Fun
The landowners at my apiary sites are farmers, and I like farmers. I didn’t know this when I was working away in finance and IT in the corporate world, but now I do. The farmers and their staff at my apiaries are always good for a chat. Maybe there’s a little bit of farmer in me. On my father’s side, we were mainly “agricultural labourers” in County Tipperary until the potato famine caused us to flee Ireland.
Who are you gonna call?
This year a house near to my apiary was under serious inspection from scout bees. That allowed me to meet the neighbours, one of whom is allergic to insect stings. I noticed a wasp nest on their property, so I called out Chris of Paul Jones Pest Control, who is a great character. He zapped a couple of wasp nests and somehow hung up one of my nucleus boxes onto the side of the house that looked like it was soon to be home to a swarm. It turned out that the swarm never arrived, but I gave the neighbours some of my honey as a peace offering, and now they have become customers. Walrus Honey is dangerously addictive!
Cup of Tea and a Chat
A friend introduced me to a lovely couple in Lower Peover who have one of those incredible insect-friendly gardens that they sometimes show to the public. They wanted honey bees, so I provided them, and do the beekeeping. It’s worth it for the joy of a cup of tea and a chat, and to experience the beautiful environment that is their garden. These people, in turn, introduced me to a guy who wanted to keep bees on his land, which is part of the Tabley Estate. I invited him to help me out with my bees, to see if he was serious, and he was. He bought a couple of nucs off me and is now another new beekeeper that I have helped to get started.
Another beekeeper that I got started a couple of years ago told me about a possible apiary site near to where she lives. I contacted them and worked my walrus magic, and now I have a lovely new apiary on the edge of a garden centre. I’m going to be moving nucs there, and in the spring they’ll move to full-sized hives. That will be my third apiary; the empire expands!
The Life I have Chosen
When I started keeping bees, I had no idea how many benefits they would bring into my life. It’s not always easy to get things right with bees, and it certainly isn’t cheap, but I’m living the life I have chosen, and I’m loving it. As somebody probably once said, “if you look after the bees, they’ll look after you.”