Working with Dennis

Dennis and I were busy repairing a tractor in the workshop when our boss came in. He stood there a few moments then said, “Would you like to have a change of jobs?” It was hot in the workshop and a chance to get out in the fresh air was welcome.

We said we would like a change to the outside. He then said he wanted us to take a lorry load of bees to Stalisfield where his farmer friend had offered him a field of white clover in bloom. White clover is one of the best honey producers known.

After cleaning up we got the lorry out, filled it with fuel and set off to collect the hives of bees. The boss was already there and helped us lift the hives on to the lorry. The hives were already heavy with honey and were difficult to handle. Then suddenly one of the hives came apart. Our boss did not stay long as he was allergic to bees.

Having loaded all the hives that the lorry could take, Dennis and I were covered in bees. It was now 6.00 p.m. so we decided to take the load to Stalisfield. Off we went and all went well until on approaching Eastling I noticed a trail of bees following us. We decided to stop and investigate. As the pub was close by we could safely stop there giving other road users room to overtake. By this time the bees had caught up with us and were flying around like a small cloud. It appeared that a gentleman had decided just then to go home from the pub. He came down the step and started to walk across the car park. He had two sticks and the moment he saw the bees; the bees made a formation attack on him. He, not liking the look of things, threw both his sticks in the air and legged it for the pub door which he just made without his two sticks. There must be some remedy there for doctors to investigate as a possible cure for all leg complaints!
Dennis and I then decided that the Queen must still be in the hive which we had attended to; if so, the bees would follow us. Off we went driving slowly so the bees could keep up with us, and in a long black cloud they followed us. I then saw a cyclist coming towards us and I wondered if he knew what to do. No need to worry; he was a countryman. He stopped and stood still and as we and the bees went by they ignored him.

When we arrived at the farm, the farmer was there and told us where to go. We unloaded the hives with difficulty with the following bees flying around us all the time. At last we were ready to go home and have a rest.

On arriving at my home, I stripped off and hung my clothes on the washing line then brushed the bees from my body. My wife then said, “Your hair is moving”. So outside we go again where she gently combed the bees out of my hair; they would almost certainly find their hive.
Two days later; the boss again came to the workshop. He asked us once again to go to Stalisfield. The hives were overflowing with honey. It was spreading all over the ground. We took some “supers” which were extensions to the hives. We took the roofs off the hives and surrounded by bees we managed to get the extensions all fitted, and all the honey was returned by the bees. This was all done in a day; they call them worker bees. The hives were so heavy we had to take a lot of the honey off before we could lift the hives on to the lorry.
PS. As a young boy I would go to see my grandparents. My Grandpa had several hives of bees. He would sit and talk to them. When he searched the hives for Queen Grubs he would be talking to them all the time to prevent swarming. Like me he never wore any net protection.

Don Sattin

Working with Dennis