Well - okay - it is a bit too big, but I'm not the world's best laundress, so it will shrink :) This is me trying on my bee suit the night before my first practical bee handling class. Sadly I forgot to take my camera with me, which is a shame as it was a glorious day and a wonderful setting. Our group visited the apiary at Edinburgh University and our teachers were the marvellously Gothic F and her charming partner M. F and M, who both work at the campus, have only been bee-keeping for a year and they have 5 hives. They have a fantastic set up and we were soon gasping in wonder as we saw the inner workings of a bee colony. We were taught how to light and operate the smoker, open the hive and handle the frames properly and everything we have learned so far in the theory classes suddenly made sense. I felt very secure in my bee suit and hood, despite bees buzzing around and landing on me; I feel that beekeeping will be a very mindful occupation. Next week we are heading off to another apiary, so I will try to take some photographs.
Meanwhile we have been considering the best place to site a couple of hives and have identified the bottom left hand corner of the garden. It faces south east and is sheltered, but not a frost pocket. There is also a high wall which would direct the bee's flight path straight upwards, so they would be less likely to come into contact with anyone on their way in and out of the hive. My only worry was that my neighbours Mr and Mrs Mac would not be keen. I saw them out early on this morning, so took the chance. They are used to me and my schemes, so when I called over the fence - " Er... Hello- can I run something past you?" they looked at each other and shook their heads - "Go on then." Anyway - they were all for it - hip hip hooray!
Realistically it will probably be next year before I get any bees, but we can be working on the site and getting the hives and equipment ready over the Autumn and Winter. That will give me the chance to complete the course attend the EMBA Winter lectures and be in a position to start next spring. Wow!