Here are two photos, not of bees, but of East Riddlesden Hall, a National Trust property 20 minutes or so from our house.

Beardy and I almost got married here. It has a large barn suitable for a knees-up, and we booked a date, only for them to ring us up and tell us they had double booked. Never mind, we got married at Fountains Abbey instead, and it was beautiful (if a tad damp – I wore blue wellies under my wedding dress).

Today was the first of a series of six trips to East Riddlesden hall, for a beekeping course.

A dozen or so of us met over tea and Yorkshire parkin. I’m not sure what I was expecting; what I got was a description of some useful kit for beekeepers (including air freshener and hair rollers), and a video about the life of a bee colony.

What I didn’t get was any kind of introduction, course outline, or information about what we would and wouldn’t cover. I learned, for example, that we need to bring a pin hammer next week, because we’re going to be building frames; but I have no idea if the frames will become part of our own hive, or whether we’re building them for the Hall’s apiary.

I also discovered that each of us has been allocated a local mentor, which sounds great, but I have no idea who my mentor is, how often we’ll be meeting, or when we start. However, the fact we’ve been told to buy a beekeeping suit, smoker and hive tool suggests that the course organisers are working on the assumption that it will be possible for all of us to keep bees, even those of us who live in a very exposed, windy location up a steep hill…I view this as a positive sign!



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