Denise: A complaint today from a neighbour about the mess the geese leave. The sillies get it in to their head to have favourite places to camp. For a few days – or even weeks – it will be on a certain hillock. And then it will be down in a little gully by the sea. And then for a while it might be right outside someone’s gate. Now they are perfectly within their rights to graze wherever they want on croft land, and I’m within my rights to let them: but let’s face it who wants to have to pick their way across a carpet of goose mess (it’s little more than pulped grass, but for all that the brain still registers Ughh!) between car and front door. But the problem in the end is not actually the geese themselves, but the creeping ‘urbanisation’ of rural life.
Jonathan: Parked at Morrison’s supermarket car park in Welwyn Garden City. There’s something calming and reassuring about being settled amongst the comings and goings of so many people. After a walk around the pleasant leafy suburbs of Panhanger, I settled down to read some short stories (Katherine Mansfield – The Dolls House; Susan Glaspell – A Jury of Her Peers), drank a glass, of wine with some cheese and biscuits, and a little nap. It’s turned decidedly cold and blustry. To save money I’m ‘camping wild’ for a couple of nights – hereabouts that means car parks of 24/7 supermarkets or nearby where the delivery trucks park up.
Jonathan: Last visit home – back in mid August, I divided the bee colony that survived last winter, in the hope of spreading my risk this coming winter. It was already late in the year to do this, but I had so little opportunity earlier. I divided by moving the queen and a good supply of grubs and house bees, and some workers, to the new hive, and ensuring a good supply of day old eggs in the old hive, which the workers could convert to queens. To be successful this would also require the new queen to be mated, which means enough drones being raised as well. With just these hives, and none others anywhere for possibly 60 miles across the sea, I can’t go on interbreeding like this, but I am planning to get new queens and brood stock next year, and can then resume a proper breeding programme and gain critical mass. I’ve not been home since I made this division, but Denise has been reporting consistently much less activity from the new hive compared with the old, and I’m wondering what this signifies. Have too many bees drifted back to the old hive? Perhaps the queen has drifted back too – maybe I should have clipped her wings? There’s nothing I can do until I get home a week from now, and then it will be October and if there aren’t two fertile queens at work, ie one in each hive by now, then I’ve no choice but to re-unite them again. A pity, but at least I should be no worse off than I would have been had I done nothing at all. I shall be glad to be soon – just five weeks now! – at home full time and this sort of problem should not arise again.