A soupcon of idiocy

Improved apiary

Improved apiary

My first hive of bees became known, collectively as ‘The Mabels’ .  I think that was down to my husband, a Scot.  They seem to like playing with language which is why he calls the chiropractor a chiroprodder; the cash machine the wongamat and is fond of phrases such as ‘that is VNI’ – and when you ask what that stands for, he answers ‘very nearly interesting’  – a very useful thing to bring out if someone has bored you for a very long time and you cannot get away..

So when, shortly after I got my first bees and he was asked to help with feeding when I was away for a few days, the fact he had called one Mabel morphed with the idea of ‘mabel syrup’ – and the name stuck.  When I acquired a swarm last year it seemed entirely proper they should have a  name, too and for some reason lost in the mists of time, the Normas was the allocated colony name.    This year I have my name down for a nuc so I can plan their name in advance and given the last two, it has to start with an O.  I have a granddaughter called Olivia and a beekeeper friend called Olwyn.  Neither seemed quite right.  I enlisted the help of the internet and quite fancy the name Odette.  That was the name of one of the famous female spies during the war, I believe.

I remember reading the book by Leo Marks called  Between Silk and Cyanide.  It gives information about his role in codes during World war 2 and working with Violette Szabo who was a spy.  Merged with that is the memory of the story of Odette , another spy working with the French resistance during the war.  And now I find that Odette means ‘ruler’ – a sort of female equivalent of Odin.  How appropriate for a predominantly female colony of bees.  Unless I come across a more suitable name.

During the war, the spies used poems as keys to some of their codes and Leo Marks wrote some of these himself.  Somehow I find this one particularly powerful.  I am not sure I’d be allowed to write it in full due to copyright issues but perhaps I can find a link.   It ends talking about peace in the long green grass so that makes me think about my apiary!


About apiarylandlord

Definitely past it - whatever it was - I may have blinked and missed it. New to beekeeping and totally entranced by the experience. That is probably all you need to know until I work out how secure this blog is. Great fan of recycling - see ilovefreegle.org to find your local group. Save things from landfill. Pass on your surplus, locally, for free or ask for things you need in case you can have someone's cast off again for free.
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