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Astrange noise – I paused with my hand on the latch of the ‘hangar’, the old horse shelter at the back of the barn where we normally take our morning coffee and pain au chocolat in the cool shade overlooking the garden. I gently opened the door only to be met by thousands of bees. They took no interest in me whatsoever, but swirled about in a vast, busy cloud. It was soon obvious that the focus of their attention was the old cognac barrel standing by the wall, and more specifically, the open bunghole in its side. The swarm was looking for a home, and indeed had now found one.