Thursday 17th May 2018 – The Shilling Bees
Welcome to a new year at the Hermitage Sisterhood, we are very late reporting in this year. I’ve been dying to get the General moving and get on with our story but the old bird has been dragging her feet, although she’s blaming it on the weather. We certainly had a late start this year, the Beast from the East caused The Sisterhood a lot of anxiety and the General was distraught to report that four of our sisters’ families perished in the cold. Really, it’s unheard of to lose so many families down here in our little Hermitage. However, I’m pleased to report that your all favourites are still here. The Ginger Queen next door, the Polyhive Queen on the top row, the Cherryburn Queen and of course me – The Shilling Queen, as you no doubt remember I’m the daughter of the Happy, Hippy Queen who succumbed to old age last year.
We’ve gone from not seeing anyone almost all winter, although the Doctor came to check on us when the General was sunning herself in warmer climes, to a positive festival. More visitors than Windsor for a Royal Wedding! For reasons known only to the General she decided to combine the first apiary session with the first beginners’ session. Oh, it could so easily all have ended in tears but with sterling service from The Doctor, Trog and The Groundsman who expertly dealt with the beginners while The General coped with the others, disaster was narrowly avoided.
I must say that the visit was just in time. We’ve been cooped up in our little houses trying to keep warm and suddenly the sun shines and the yellow peril erupts along with all the fruit blossom and Hey Presto! we’re getting a bit overcrowded. The General was very quick to give us, the Polyhive and the Cherryburn bees another bedroom for all our new babies.
We’ve had a week or so to catch up and today we had a visit from The Man from the Ministry. All the regulars came to see what was going on. The Under Gardener came early to cut the grass so we looked our best. The Groundsman was also early to meet the VIP, Aye Aye Captain, The Wee Dentist, The Wylie One, The Farmer and The Doctor were all here too. The General bustled around introducing us and allowing the Man from the Ministry to go through all our houses with a fine tooth comb. He was more thorough than an estate agent. I thought we would be having ‘for sale’ signs slapped on us any minute. As it turned out I wasn’t far wrong. My new bedroom with me in it was moved to the top row to continue expanding my family, while most of my babies were left behind to raise a new princess to continue our illustrious line. The Polyhive queen made a similar move along the row, although she’s now in a lovely cedar box instead of the prefab. The prefab (sorry Polyhive) bees will be raising a new princess too. I think the Cherryburn Queen will be moving soon too. The other four families are still happy in their houses for now.
The Man from the Ministry gave us a clean bill of health, well he found a bit of chalk brood and sac brood but nothing serious. He said he was very pleased to meet us all and that we were very well behaved. He was very hot on his cleanliness and washed his gloves and tool before he moved on to each new family. He was full of very good advice and all the gang enjoyed his visit.
The General says we are having another lot of apprentices on Sunday and she has put the sliding floors in so the apprentices can count the pesky mites that drop onto it. Her next job is to select a family to go on in the charabanc to the County Show – I wonder who she will choose……
May the river provide.
The Shilling Queen