Sunday, 21 June 2009

Busy as a Bee

I can't believe it, another month has gone by without blogging. Never mind, better late than never.

So, what has happened in Us-in-France land? Well, both of us are working very hard at the moment, and Ian being the good and lovely person that he is, helped out a French lady next door to where he is working and was given a lovely bouquet of flowers and a four leaf clover by way of a thank you.

Of course, he gave me the flowers and they lasted for ages in our sitting room.

I had a fabulous bee-experience this week. Some clients of mine keep two hives of bees, and they had sent me en email telling me that the bees were in mega production and they needed to collect and spin the honey, did I want to help them do it. Well, I jumped at the chance. Before donning a bee suit Gary showed me the inside of a spare hive that he had in the garage and explained what we were going to do. I donned a bee suit and off to the hives we went. We had to approach the hives from behind so we didn't look threatening and lifted the roof off of hive 1. It was incredible to see. Inside the hive there are different 'layers' called Supers. The Supers hold the frames that the honey is made on. We had to take some of the frames out as they were completely full and replace them with empty ones. I hadn't know what to expect and had been a little apprehensive - would I be covered in bees?! Not at all. The bees occasionally bump into the netting that is held away from you face, and none landed on me at all. It was wonderful to see them all working away.

Unfortunately the house was experiencing a power and we couldn't spin the honey, as the spinner is electric, but I was shown how it would work. I have been visiting these clients for almost 2 years now and each time learn a little more about the bees. I am really considering keep a hive myself.

This weekend is the nationwide Fete de la Musique, where towns and villages put on concerts. We went to the Chez Adie bar in Droux last night with our good friends Juley and Paul. Some other friends were going to be playing in a band during the evening. It was brilliant. There was a big outside bar, a bbq where you could bring you own food to cook, a stage and lots of musicians and dancing. The atmosphere was great with children playing and lots of people we knew. A group of people were line dancing in front of the stage, Juley and I considered trying to join them but they looked so good we didn't want to muck it up for them, apart from that I have 2 left feet!

Juley is a girl I met through the book club in Le Dorat. It is incredible that she and Paul only live 5 miles from us, and we clicked instantly. They run a B & B just outside Nantiat. Take at look at their website www.villechenoux.co.uk the only thing is, the pictures don't do it justice. It is truly gorgeous, they have worked so hard on it. The four of us had a great time last night, we laughed, chatted and danced (a bit) til almost midnight.

Ostensions

Ostensions is a religious fesitival unique to this region which happens once every 7 years. This year marked the 50th Anniversary in Le Dorat 1659-2009. The final day on June 6th was marked by a huge parade. All the local village had formed a Guard and had to march into the town by way of Portes. These are huge gates in the city walls that in the past would probably had have portcullis's. Only one of the original Portes is still standing but the town have built replicas around the town. The Guards enter the town at the Porte in the direction of their village. They all carry rifles and a banner with their village name. There are lots of children in costumes and some of the adults carry their churchs' religious relics. They are met at the Porte by other Guardsmen who check that their weapons are not loaded. They then proceed into the town and head for the Cathedral which in Le Dorat is called a Collegiale. The are announced and all go into the church for a long service. There was a brass band and soldiers on horseback as well. The town has been decorated with bunting everywhere and banners. After the service all of the guards from the different villages march through the town to the main square where a stage had been erected and various churchmen make a speech. I love the fact that such an old tradition is still being carried out and that the town was full of people watching and supporting it.

10 comments:

Pearly Queen said...

I want to get some bees too!

Debra in France said...

Hi Pen, they would do well in your garden. Your situation is very much like Gary's, with lots of open countryside around. We'll have to look into how much it would cost to set up a hive.

Maggie May said...

Brilliant to read about the bees and to find you didn't even get stung once! Good for you!

Living the Dream said...

Hi Debra, good to have you back again. I am assuming the bees aren't in trouble over here like they are in the UK. There have been so many lost by a mysterious decease and they are worried about the bee population.

Debra in France said...

Hi Maggie, I was so thrilled to be able to help out. It was fascinating to see the inside of a hive. Gary is so knowledgeable, having kept bees for years, he puts information across in such an interesting way.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh I couldn't do the bee thing - I love them but I am not keen on the buzzing! Nice to see you back.

Debra in France said...

Hi Hazel, I have seen reports from the UK and USA, it is very scary isn't it. I don't know about the bees over here, but I have planted more bee friendly plants this year.

Hi MOB, I don't have a problem with insects but was concerned that I would get stung or covered with them. Neither happened and I felt far more comfortable being so close to them than I thought I would. They really didn't take any notice of us.

aims said...

The festival and bee keeping sounding marvelous.

My aunt had hives and loved it. She said it was very calming and of course the benefit of honey.....

farming-frenchstyle said...

Lucky you. I fancy keeping bees when we are sorted out here, but really need some advice. Will have to consult Amazon for a book on beekeeping I think.

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