I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

I only have a small group of friends, most of whom really started out as my wife’s friends and I adopted them, but there is one chap who I found all by myself. He is the only person mad enough to have asked me to be the “best man” at his wedding many years ago – a duty I was honoured to fulfil. I was actually the “best walrus” but nobody seemed to mind. Twenty odd years ago we were very keen on hill walking and have scaled most of the big hills in the UK, the Crib Goch ascent of Snowdon being one of my favourites, but that all faded away as young walruses were born and family life took over.

Anyway, my friend Jonathan stayed with us this weekend along with his wife and daughter, and very pleasant it was too. Yesterday we reawakened memories by going for a quick jaunt up Kinder Scout in the Peak District which was just about the right level of exertion for two 54 year old gents who haven’t donned walking boots for many a year.

Walrus on Kinder Scout
Walrus on Kinder Scout

Afterwards we popped into “The Old Nags Head” pub in Edale, a place bursting with rosy-faced hikers downing pints of real ale and warming themselves by the open fire. Very English, and very enjoyable. I had a Diet Coke as I don’t drink alcohol and after lugging myself up Jacobs Ladder a diet is something I probably need to consider seriously.

Things are finally moving on the “Interviews with Beekeepers” front. It takes time to set up interviews with busy beekeepers but next weekend I’m off to Bonny Scotland to meet Murray McGregor who has a vast operation which I am keen to find out about. I have booked a room at the Lands of Loyal Hotel which, at least from images on the internet, looks very cosy indeed.

Lands of Loyal Hotel
Lands of Loyal Hotel

I also have a trip to California lined up in April to meet two big names of the beekeeping world, Randy Oliver and Ray Olivarez, and I am trying to arrange a visit to New Zealand to meet Peter Bray of Airborne Honey. I have been to San Francisco in the past but this time on my California visit I’ll be based in Sacramento. All very exciting. It’s going to be a very busy year coming up! I am sure that the wisdom, stories and experience gleaned from all of my interviews will result in a book for beekeepers everywhere to treasure. That’s the plan.

As the festive season is almost upon us I wrote an article called “7 Gifts for Beekeepers” which has just been published online. I don’t know how many people know beekeepers but it is a popular and growing hobby so hopefully some of my suggestions for Christmas gifts will be helpful. Apparently authors can actually earn money by writing such things but my primary motivation is to try to generate the odd new visitor to my humble blog, tucked quietly away in a dusty corner of the internet.

In my part of the world the sun goes down at around 4pm and as I am not known for my early rising there is very little daylight to enjoy before the darkness returns. I am not a big fan of Winter. Bah humbug. The time has come to take my two beagles for a wander around the Mersey Valley. The mission is to tire them out and try to stop them rolling in something disgusting and smelly. Rarely do I achieve the second part.

Have a great week!

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