One of the things we’ve missed since taking on the Weymouth house restoration project is the bees. In Martinstown, just outside Dorchester we had our own hive in the front garden – wonderful for observing the little critters and very easy for working on the hives – but our seaside renovation means we ‘re bee-less this year (there are still loads of Bees in Weymouth – though not in our garden!)
Hunting wild honey is an ancient practice – but beekeeping itself – farming bees for honey production using traditional “skeps” or hives also goes back as far as ancient Egypt. As a tradition, beekeeping has to be one of the oldest there is.
In Dorset we have a healthy number of British Beekeeper Association affiliated clubs where you can learn about beekeeping and get lots of experience in hive and honey. There’s something very British about the white suited beekeepers in the garden though slightly alien looking when they gather en-masse. (Steve is in the middle of the picture wearing the yellow marigold gloves – not the same ones he wears when washing up our vintage china though!!)
Steve and I got involved in the Dorchester and Weymouth branch – under the tutelage of our friend Jenny Eddisson and the well known Dorset Beekeeper Chris Slade. Chris’s Bee Blog is one of the best to follow for really detailed observation of hives and the problems you might encounter.
Of course the benefits of beekeeping include all of the gorgeous honey, candles and other products like MEAD. This Vintage was made in 2009 and drunk at the annual beekeepers gathering. We love the golden colour and honey taste.
Wax candles are another product from honeycomb and smell gorgeous – but PLEASE don’t use candles in teacups. Beeswax or otherwise, we see this all over the place and it simply ruins the china. Though some people say you can use the teacups afterwards, we’ve not found this to be the case. If we are to conserve our vintage teacup heritage (and still use them for drinking from) then we need to use cups as they were intended (not just for decoration!). Do you want one lump of sugar in your waxy tea or two?
If you’re interested in bees or joining a Dorset group to find out more then the Dorchester and Weymouth Beekeepers Association is a great place to start – happy honeying!
This weekend is packed with vintage events that make perfect days out in Dorset, ideal if you want to dress up in your 1940′s victory rolls or just spend some fun time out and about getting all nostalgic. I’m not sure if its the sunny weather or the effect of last week’s V.E. Day anniversary but its all happening if you know where to look… here are a few of the gems we’ve spotted…
13th May Brownsea Island at War
Guided walk exploring the island’s war time history 11am-12.30pm, 2.30pm-4pm at the National Trust’s Brownsea Island. (Get the ferry from Sandbanks, Poole) Usual National Trust entrance charges.
Brownsea Island is best noted for its scouting history (and as Enid Blyton’s Whispering Island) But, this guided walk looks into the island’s war time history. During WW2 large flares were placed on the western end of the island in an attempt to draw bombers away from the port of Poole. The decoy saved Poole and Bournemouth from some 1,000 tonnes of German bombs. The island is a super place to escape – red squirrels abound and the wildlife and history is fascinating. Take a picnic or call into the National Trust Cafe for a cream tea. For more information contact the Brownsea Island Property Office , 01202 492161, email@example.com
Sunday 15th May Transport of Yesteryear – Jubilee Clock, Weymouth 10am-4pm
A display of classic and vintage vehicles and a chance to meet club members from the Dorset branch of Transport of Yesteryear. Vintage Motorcycles are also expected at the Pavilion.
Sunday 15th May Antiques Fair – Kingston Maurward 9am Unfortunately we don’t know very much at all about this event as the promoters seem not to have put up any information apart from a poster outside the venue - but its at The College of Agriculture, Kingston Maurward, Dorchester. I’ve hunted for a bit more news and apparently there will be Antiques, Antique Furniture Paintings Graphics China Tableware Ceramic Decorative Articles Sculptures Glass ProductsWatches and Clocks. Let us know if you’ve been to one of these and if you have to pay to get in!