I don’t make lists. I think it’s something on the Y chromosome, next to the gene that dictates that never mind how inaccessible a swarm may be – I WILL GET THOSE BEES!
So I find myself up a willow tree overhanging the Thames, reaching for a swarm, wondering whether I can swim in a bee-suit.
It’s not that I particularly want the bees. Half the time it’s caste headed by a virgin queen that will almost certainly abscond 12 hours after being hived … but there are expectations of me.
A worried member of the public has taken the trouble to call about a ‘huge’ swarm of bees in their garden, so I show up in white bee-suit looking like Egon from Ghostbusters (only with less hair). Clearly something is supposed to happen.
Usually I am so relieved that they really are honey bees, and not wasps or bumble bees, that I manage to hide my disappointment over that ‘huge’ swarm being the size of a tennis ball.
I should walk away – but I’ve been offered tea and cake, and people are so nice and genuinely interested in the bees, and I do look like I mean serious business, what with the white suit and all that gear ….
Except I forgot the secateurs, or the sponge I use to block the nuc box entrance, and the sheet I bought to wrap the swarm in is too small, or I forgot the string to tie it together.
Fortunately most folk are only too happy to help, so ladders get borrowed, boxes are recovered from the recycling bin and shoe laces are donated. But there are occasions, usually when you’ve just caught the mother of all swarms, when the the bees are not securely contained when I put them in the car. They’re getting out.
I drive off fully-clad in bee-suit, slightly uneasy as to the legal position of driving in a veil, with Gozer and all her demons alongside trying to get out of their box.
A police car pulls up alongside me at the lights, and the officer looks me up and down. But I’m not worried, because let’s face it …
Who’s he gonna call?