Day two, and the bees were well established chez-eux. After consulting Pages Jaunes, we got in touch with a local bee-keeper, Marcel Lemaitre who wanted the swarm. He arranged to come early the next morning while it was still cool and the bees would mostly be in bed – I mean in barrel.
Day three: The archetypal little white Renault van jolted and squeaked up the drive, driven by Marcel’s son, Stéfane. After they put on the full bee-keeper’s garb, they lit the smoker and walked gently over to the barrel. While Stéfane puffed, Marcel stuffed a rag into the bunghole. Lifting the barrel, they gave it a gentle shake. Nodding approvingly at the overall weight, they set the barrel, now humming loudly, in the back of the van.
Apparently, old cognac barrels are often used as temporary hives round here in Charente, and this one will be left undisturbed until the spring, when the bees will be relocated to a normal hive. I’m promised my barrel back, plus a jar of honey in the fullness of time. I’m sure it will bee good... Peter Adeline Charente Today’s views – it’s cloudy and snowy out there. Get those goggles out, wrap up warm and dream of lots of stops for mugs of hot chocolate with Chantilly cream
Jeannie Clark @frenchfuse
Reached the five-year milestone and told ‘all clear’. I know it isn’t a guarantee, but feel as if I can make plans now #BreastCancerSurvivor
Ian Moore @ianmodmoore
Just had my wife on the phone asking me to ‘talk’ to my son as he screamed the dentist’s down. Like taking a hostage call.
A beautiful crisp, chilly but sunny start to the day and some snow expected in the next few days – I love all the seasons in Burgundy!
But you are French, it’s easy for you to stay slim. Yeah right. As if. The writer of our Star Letter this issue wins a Surprise Box worth £29