This year, I stepped down as the MC for the Bermondsey Street Dog Show to make way for someone “younger, and more beautiful“. As you can imagine, that left the field pretty wide open.
Anyhow, I said “Ciao” to the dog-collar fashionistas at Holly and Lil and wished them all the best. Instead, I set up our first ever Bermondsey Street Honey stall at the Bermondsey Street Festival. Only to be ambushed by youth and beauty in the shape of my wife, Sarah, and my sons, Xander and Maff.
My ambition for the 2014 Festival was to set up a a bee-educational stall, generously donated by the organisers at the BSAP. The observation hive full of live bees from Neckinger nuc caused a stir, but there were plenty of questions about beekeeping paraphernalia like my smoker, a dis-assembled beehive, propolis, a pollen-tasting, my “little box of tricks” for Queen management. In uniform, white bee-suited, I was charmingly assisted by the doyenne of SE1 beekeeping, Nikki Vane, as we dispensed beekeeping chatter .
So with Sarah and the boys running the Bermondsey Street Honey stall next door, Nikki and I really brought the bees to the Street. Think of it like this: we were the museum, they were the gift shop.
Speaking of which, here’s a quick line-up of our Honey and related products:
And we were proud to host Sarah’s celebrated mineral-rich Salts (available at the Bermondsey Street Deli):
Bottom line: we had a blast getting out onto the Street with our Bermondsey buddies. Thank you BSAP (especially Angela, Lucy and much-missed Lara), for organising this sensational annual event. Hat-tip to the delectable Louisa McCarthy for permission to use her photo of our “barrer boys” (so we won’t be consulting our lawyers about her allegation about Bermondsey Bees’ use of child labour on our stall, after all). Kudos to Wilkes McDermid, who got up close and personal with the bees from Neckinger hive, which were on display in our glass observation hive. Wilkes shot time-lapse images, then speeded them up, to eye-catching effect.
And let’s not forget the star of the show. I intercepted Queen Grunhilde as she went for her afternoon constitutional, looking winsome in Green, this year’s Queen-marking colour.
My one regret ? I can’t help thinking that Neckinger Hive must have been a little disappointed with the day’s outing. After all, being shepherded into a new observation hive must have got their hopes up. You can imagine the excited chatter: “I do like a nice day-trip to Brighton” or “Perhaps we’re going to meet the Queen” or “Don’t you just love a mystery tour?”. Think how let down they must have felt when their excursion ended with them parked on our bee-education stall, next to the Bermondsey Street post-box and slap bang opposite their apiary !
Never really in doubt, but taking the bees to the Street really was a bundle of fun. Although, as I carried the bees up four flights of stairs to their rooftop as dusk fell, I couldn’t help but reflect on the answer I gave to Hannah Rhodes of Hiver Beers when she asked me: “What’s your single favourite thing about bees ?”
My answer was: “They live outside. Generally“.