A review of our Taster Day by Heather Short:
I was lucky enough to take part in the Meon Valley Bee Keepers Association Taster Day in June – and what a wonderful day it was. I must admit I was a bit worried beforehand – what if everyone knew lots (I didn’t), what if everyone else knew each other (I didn’t know anyone else who was going) – and what if I got stung! I needn’t have worried; Jean and Gill, who ran the day, were hugely knowledgeable and answered all our questions, everyone was very friendly – and no-one was stung!
Due to a double-booking at the East Meon Village Hall, we headed off straight away to the idyllic location where the beehives are – imagine a perfect countryside setting with wonderful views and that was it! After drinks and biscuits (huge thanks again to Jean and Gill for catering throughout for me with gluten-free goodies!), Jean took us through her presentation – without a projector or video, of course, but with loads of advice and so much patience in answering all of our many questions. I soon realised that there is lots and lots to
learn about beekeeping – but that it is all fascinating. The morning flew by…
Gill arrived with lunch and her delicious homemade elderflower cordial – I hadn’t expected the day to be such a foodie experience too! Over lunch, we all chatted about why we were there (one couple had won the day in a charity auction and everyone else, except me, had been given it as a present), why we were interested in bees, where we might keep them and
oddly how several of us were not that keen on honey!
After lunch, Jean and Gill went through essential beekeeping equipment and demonstrated how to light smokers – Jean is a real expert! Then it was on with the beekeepers’ suits – trying to find the right size and length was challenging for many of us and it was a surprise to find that not all outfits are white – I found a very nice pale blue one… Jean and Gill showed us how careful we had to be with doing up the outfits, putting on gloves, etc. – if there is a gap, a bee will find it.
It was a gloriously warm, sunny day and being in a beekeeping suit was very, very hot, but of course, essential. We were split into two groups so that Jean and Gill could each show us the structure of the hive, what to look for, how to handle the frames – and then we could each have a go at removing, inspecting (both sides) and replacing a frame – what a wonderful experience, – and I was so glad to be wearing the suit and gloves – despite the heat!
Carefully taking our gloves and suits off, well away from the bees, felt wonderful in the strong sunshine – then more drinks and cake and sadly the day was over – but most of us were determined to find out more and so I hope to see several familiar faces on the theory course next February.
Thank you so much Jean and Gill for such a perfect day.
If you are interested in our Taster Day for 2024 please fill in a general enquiry form in the Contact Us section and we can add your name to the mailing list.