Tuesday 22 September 2009


We take our evening walk along the path to the north of the allotments and back through them. It's about an hour these days at Meggie speed, and just about at her limit. She gets home OK but shortly afterwards, is lame, favouring her front left foot. Dad bathes her in salty water and nibbles very gently around with the scissors, but can find no sign of grass darts or other injury.

At the allotments, Scott-the-bees has relented and decided to bring back the bees, but as long as he can site them slightly differently, in a disused, brambly bit more off the main pathway and out of the sight of the herberts who kicked over the hives last time. Practically speaking, you can't just move a hive 30 feet to the side. The rules of thumb say move hives either less than three feet, or more than 3 miles.

Bees have a strong homing instinct and build up a good visual map of their patch as they fly to and from from the hive, and their territory can be 3 miles or so in radius. So if you move them less than 3 miles, they will come across bits of the "map" they recognise and fly back to the old location, milling around uselessly confused till they either swarm and are carried off, or they just fade away and die. 3 feet, they can cope with because as they fly back in to land at the old site, they spot the new location.

So moving a hive 30' has to be accomplished by moving them 3 miles out, then keeping them there about a week, while they forget the old map, then moving them back to 30' from the start point, where-upon they fly about as if they never knew the old map anyway. Also, of course, individual bees don't live very long, and you'll get a good % turn-over, so many bees now foraging are young and never knew the old map anyway. Clever stuff. So we currently have no bees, while they're on their holidays at Scott's house.

Meanwhile, good news from the Diamond camp, as the single word "Remission" is flying about in texts and emails. We can not be sure (nobody can) what this means in terms of final outcomes for the poor patient, but it has a much nicer ring than "Complete renal failure" and "hospice" which were the story a few weekends ago. Hang in there, Diamond.

Rumour has it she's well enough to be allowed out at the weekend, and is dreaming up foods she's going to have that she'd not been allowed (fish fingers, Diamond? ... are you sure? She says it's like soul food, the food of your childhood, like Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup, or Salad Cream. Mind you, it's Mum she's sending out to buy the fish fingers because she knows Mum will head for Marks and Sparks - she doesn't want any "chav fish fingers!").

There is also talk of a possible trip to her beloved Poros Island (Greece). That would be quite a "home-coming" to see. Diamond has been going to the same place in Poros since she went with her Mum as a teenager, she knows everone, and quite a few of the guys who are now cafe owners, she bounced on her knee in nappies when their Dads owned the cafe. They have been kept in touch and up to date on Diamond's progress, of course, and the Jungle Drums are thundering. Half the village will fall on her neck as she arrives.

Happy Days

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