And finally… un-bee-lievable
A third-generation beekeeper has hailed an “un-bee-lievable” gesture by Tayside civil engineers and groundworks specialists Kilmac.
Stanley-based John Graham welcomed managing director Athole McDonald and his mum and Beautiful Perth trustee Barbara to a “Bee Experience Day”.
And he was stunned when Athole - impressed with the work John is doing to spread the beekeeping gospel - offered to dispatch a Kilmac team to improve access to hives on a field near his West Park home.
John (62) is treasurer of the Perth and District Beekeeping Association, which is keen to promote the craft and its educational spin-off benefits.
“I am keen to educate youngsters in particular about the vital role played by bees in the environment and the ecosystem,” explained John, of Graham’s Perthshire Honey.
“We welcomed Athole and Barbara after he was successful in a charity auction run by a local Rotary Club and afterwards he indicated that Kilmac would like to support our work by making the hives I keep in a field by the house more accessible.
“The Kilmac lads have put in a ton of work. You might say it was a hive of activity while they were here!
“Getting into the field was a bit of an obstacle course before and now it’s easily accessible for anyone, including the disabled, keen to see the bees at close quarters.”
John said: “We spend a couple of hours going over aspects such as health and safety, pollination and the important role bees play in the ecosystem.
“Then we have a soup and sandwich lunch before I give them a proper hands-on experience at the hives.
“They don a protective suit to handle the frames and get a close-up view of the bees. It’s all perfectly safe.
“Just one of the hives has around 50,000 bees so it is quite a sight.
“That’s the highlight for everyone but they also seem to enjoy tasting several different types of honey before selecting their favourite for pancakes that my wife Deirdre makes!”
Kilmac quality manager Jimmy Riddoch and Perth labourers John Livingstone and Ryan Duncan certainly got a “buzz” out of their latest project.
“We cleared out some old shrubs, put up a new 25-metre fence and gate, and created a mulch path to give John and visitors easier access to his hives,” said Jimmy.
“It is the first time in all my years on the job that health and safety has involved an assessment of bees!
“I had to confess to John I prefer maple syrup to honey – maybe because I was badly stung by wasps when I was a kid. John branded me a traitor!
“I was initially a bit wary, but the bees weren’t interested in us.”