19 Feb 09
Imagine a glorious sunny day, turquoise blue skies, frothy white and pink almond blossom all around, the petals floating to the ground in the gentle breeze. This was how our day started.
On hearing a truck trundling down our usually quiet track we chatted to the driver. He owns the many beehives that are placed in the almond field next to our land. He very kindly moved them last year to the other side of the field so they wouldn't bother us - no worries we said, we love bees and are thinking of getting a hive or two ourselves one day.
He continued on his way saying he was just going to check on his bees. We unloaded the car and got to pounding the last few tyres for the round room.
Here I am innocently pounding away next to an almond tree in blossom which is full of happy buzzing bees.
I hope you enjoyed that introduction. We did. Very soon things started to get a little tricky...
Dave went to get some water from our little water tank. He came back and all hell broke loose. Aaaaaargh he squeaked whilst throwing the water pot into the air. I look up surprised, the water pot crashed to the ground, spraying water all around and Dave danced and shrieked waving his hands in the air. "Ouch, ouch" he started whimpering, "get it off me". I ran to help and saw a few bees buzzing around his head, one was stuck to the back of his neck. I quickly knocked it off which seemed to do no good as it came straight back like a demented torpedo - then it's friends turned their attention on me. One flew straight at me and stuck in my hair, it was my turn to yelp and dance. In fact I ran off in a stupid and vain attempt to run away from it.
Picture the scene, Dave trying to get the sting out of the back of his neck, me running around in circles with one bee stuck in my hair buzzing wildly and at least 2 others chasing me. I'm not going to go into more detail, suffice to say I eventually stopped and let Dave get the bee out of my hair. I administered the sting stick remedy we had with us which quickly got rid of the searing pain in Dave's neck. We carried on pounding.
But it kept happening. The bees seemed to have a morbid desire to land in our hair and try to sting us. We wondered if we were bothering them working so close to the blossom tree, then we thought we'd go and see the bee man to see what he was up to and what he thought. BIG MISTAKE!
As we wandered down the track closer to the field I noticed more and more bees swooping past us in both directions. Then zonk, one landed in my hair, Dave tried to help but more bees kept arriving until Dave yelled "RUN!" and we legged it back to our land. But not before we'd noticed the bee man all done up in his bee keepers outfit with the lid off one of the hives. Know we knew what was up - he was pissing them off and we were getting attacked for it. What to do?
We decided to have lunch, we'd done 3 tyres after all and with one more to go felt a slightly early lunch was in order. Dave had 2 stings by now, I miraculously had escaped any so far. And the bee man would surely be finished soon, wouldn't he?
It's no good trying to hide under your hat Dave....
Lunch started out feeling fairly relaxed. We were sitting in the dug out earthship so were mainly below the flight line of the bees. Then a few started to get interested and one flew down straight into Dave's hair. He yelped, dropped his plate and threw his cup of tea over his shoulder. Never fear, with the aid of my fork I hoicked the little blighter out of Dave's hair and ran away. The bee followed me for a while then got bored and buzzed off. Now I don't know if it was the shock, or the events that had just happened but we both started laughing hysterically. In fact, I was crying with the effort of laughing and trying to swallow a mouth full of coleslaw that I'd shoved in the second before the attack. We could laugh because Dave hadn't been stung again.
After lunch we decided to go for a walk up the hill in the opposite direction of the hives to get some respite from the bees. Does anyone know what the range of a honey bee is because those little blighters were everywhere. And again we were ducking and diving and fishing bees out of our hair with our forks. We'd had the presence of mind to take them along with us - they make very useful tools for ridding your hair of bees ya know.
By the time we'd got back down the hill we'd decided to give up and go home. Dave had been stung for the third time and I had had so many near misses I didn't want to push my luck. Plus they'd started to get really determined now. We quickly packed up the car (dodging the kamikaze bees all the while) and left.
We still love bees. They were only angry because their homes were being messed with - and a sting is much worse for them than it is for us. But the whole experience has left me wondering if we ever will get our own bee hives. At the very least the next time we see the bee man heading for his hives casually saying he's just going to check on them, we'll be battening down the hatches - lets hope we have some by then!