June 7 – continue assembling the frames – why can’t I hit a nail straight?- and make a sugary solution that is the bees’ welcoming meal. You dissolve a bag of Tate and Lye [can't be Silver Spoon, because that's from beet and bees have to have sugar from the cane] a bit at a time in loads of water until it is clear; takes ages and lots of stirring. I try to finish this before the TV crew arrive. I had a call yesterday from Roots and Shoots asking if they could pass my details to BBC London News which wanted to film a new young(ish) urban apiarist. Keeping bees is, allegedly, the latest fad. Why not? So here they are, the slick TV presenter and the gentle cameraman, to film me and my bees. The Live Bees travelling box (perfect for TV) goes down well. They film me assembling the frames, wrongly – but you can’t see that I’ve done it the wrong way round on film – and I give some spiel about wanting to keep bees because it’s my contribution to saving the planet. Well that is partly true, but it sounds stupid. Then I get togged up, light the smoker (they love that as well) open the hive, put in the extra frames I’ve just made, and tell them about my neighbours reaction. ( I did tell them this morning and they were fine about it, actually they were half asleep so not sure they understood what I was talking about).
After a couple of hours the filmcrew leave and I open the hive again and put the feeder on top hoping that I’ve placed the piece of cardboard in the correct position to stop the bees drowning in the solution. I’m still amazed that the bees don’t cover me from head to foot, but they are far too busy.
Although I can now assemble frames, it turns out that I still can’t set my video recorder so I miss the bee report on BBC London News. I try to download it, but my computer skills aren’t up to much either. A friend comes to the rescue and I eventually see it. Brian downloads it in Cape Town but all he says he can see are the yellow Marigolds. The cameraman kindly agrees to send me a video.