Yesterday a sapeur pompier rang the door bell and I hurried out to open the garden gate as he stood outside in the sunshine. He saw my bemused look and waved a copy of the calendar he was carrying. The penny dropped and I invited him in explaining that I was having a hard time realising that Christmas was approaching, he joked that they had decided to come round in the spring this year!
Just before Christmas every year the pompier comes with his calendar and you make a donation and receive the calendar. It is all in a good cause for their benevolent fund. Out of our local group of about thirty but there is only one full-time professional, the rest are part-time volunteers. In France they are more than just fire fighters and are often the first at the scene to deal with any accidents.
This means that we will be receiving another calendar soon from our factrice or post lady who provides a brilliant, personalised service but this time the thank you will go straight to her.
It has reminded me that Christmas is fast approaching and I still have not made my recommendation of Dave Goulson’s superb book “A Buzz in the Meadow”. He is very readable author and he will tell you more about bumble bees and other insects that you really didn’t realise you wanted to know about – until you read his book.
For me the best bit was to find out more about his house in France and the surrounding thirteen hectares of land he hopes to make into a wildlife preserve. He writes candidly about his unorthodox renovation of the house and the species rich environment he has uncovered. The saddest story was when he decided to share his passion for butterflies with the locals by advertising a guided walk. No-one turned up except one English lady and her daughter who lived near by. I have to sympathise with him as I meet very few local people who are interested in what the British call, in general terms, “Nature”. Some have worked all their lives in the open and never have noticed bees or dragonflies and shy away from snakes and lizards. Enjoying nature seems to mean walking outside and enjoying the scenery but not being aware of life – plant or animal, with the exception of some large furry animals.
Goulson writes that his goal in writing this book is to make you go out and get down on your hands and knees and look. He feels that if we learn to value what we have we will make an effort to preserve it.
I’m sure he would enjoy watching the queen bumble bees visiting my Salvia.
I’m sure he would be interested to see a worker bumble bee with pollen-laden legs on the Salvia in this picture taken on the 26th. November 2014.
The pollen laden legs mean that somewhere there is a bumble bee nest that is still active and raising young. However, next week the temperatures are set to drop and it looks as if winter will begin in December.