After sacrificing his career and being an extraordinary “papa poule” (i.e. French for Daddy Hen or stay at home dad) for more than a decade, MJ needed something else in his life to fill the void. Indeed the children had flown from the French nest in the South of France to pursue careers in London.
Whilst still being supportive of his working wife, watching the grass grow was not his ideal occupation. He was always keen to do something worthwhile that he could get truly stuck into.
About that time, there was a large amount of news, articles and publications about bees, their important role in our
environment, pollination and effect of climate change. Didn’t Einstein say that in the event bees were to disappear the world would die within two years?
Listening to a young girl (visiting for a passing week-end) talk about her own parents’ preoccupation with the bees, he was hooked and is still dangling.
Humble beginnings and night to remember
Beekeeping for Dummies was quickly acquired, as if one were able to learn about the bees as one can about operating computers, and off we went on a journey of discovery.
MJ first bought two hives, some frames to support the bees and some other basic essential equipment. Then he ordered two queens, each with a nucleus of bees. We had to wait until the following spring for the queens to be born. Collecting them was a definite high point!
The bees had to be collected at a location 40km away from our home and we had to ensure that on the long trip back – with the two precious hives in the back of the car – the journey would be uneventful and with no escapees.
It almost worked! Alas, we made it all the way to our driveway, by which time it was almost dusk and we were only 20 meters from our destination, when all of a sudden MJ saw two big wild boars staring him in the face. I cannot tell now who was more terrified, MJ or the wild boars.
We sat in silence for a few minutes not knowing what to do next, as the bees in the back of the car were getting as anxious as we were. We were totally outnumbered by thousands of bees and facing two large wild animals.
Fortunately for us the wild boars eventually dispersed. What a relief!
When we finally had parked the car, MJ poured himself and enormous scotch before unloading
his precious cargo and finally opening the hives.