The rain continues and the sky is more often grey.
The Seudre is full and flowing, at the end of our garden.
More and more puddles are appearing in the low lying parts of fields. That’s the gloom but…
My surprise arrived with the copy of my son’s new novel God of Thieves. The actual arrival of the book was no surprise as we had ordered it with the intention of giving it pride of place in the book cabinet.
It was when I opened the book that I uncovered my surprise. It had been dedicated to me.
To say I was touched is too simple, even glib. In fact, the words of the dedication resounded in my head triggering off an explosion of emotion and memories. It is true I have enjoyed discussing the characters with him enormously and I feel I know them all personally and there is a definite female thread running through the book, or should I say books as this is the first in a Trilogy.
As a mother your pleasure comes from giving without any thoughts of recompense.
The recompenses can be very private and hidden from view from the rest of the world. I talk of those boxes, you know the ones. The ones with the carefully folded papers now growing brittle with age that contain the school magazine with a five year old’s published poem or a card with that special writing. Not for the general public.
Here was a public acknowledgement as if it was being shouted to all the world. But thankfully it is hidden graciously, tucked delicately into the book only to be read by those who actually care.
This is Diavosh and I in October, relaxing before his final push to publish God of Thieves.
If you are still interested to learn more you can check out this interview.
Of course, should you wish to purchase the book, it is available in Kindle and paper format on Amazon UK and Amazon USA
I promise; I promise, this will be my last post on behalf of Amelia who will return back home tomorrow. However, I could not resist sharing with you all, my visit today to the Fête des Abeilles – The gathering of the members and the friends of the Association of Apiculture of the department of Charente Martitime, where we live. By this time of the year, that is to say the summer solstice, we should have really nice weather, and we have had two or three days when the temperatures soared to about 30 C [that is about 86 F]. But sadly today was not one of those and although it was not cold at all, we had a drizzle most of the day. But it did not deter the people and they came to see the main attraction which was the extraction of honey. For me, however, the great excitement was something else that I had never seen at close quarters.
They had chosen an interesting location which is a center recently opened to study and shelter wild birds along a corridor of the busy motorway A10 which runs between Bordeaux and Paris.
On one side is a forest and the several acres of land was purchased partially because it has a lot of lime trees, in full flower at this time of the year.
Those perfumed flowers produce some of the best honey I have ever tasted. For that reason, different members of the association of apiculture have left some of their hives in that center.
The extraction was demonstrated by one of the members who had opened one hive and had removed a few of the elements. He first showed how with a special knife the waxy coating was to be removed.
They were very keen to encourage and educate the participants, specially the curious young children.
Several children participated in the preparation of the elements for extraction. They even placed the elements in a transparent extractor and were in a practical manner taught how the centrifugal force works.
But as I said for me the absolute excitement was being able to see her majesty the queen bee in her court. She is not normally removed from her hive, but this day when Michel had removed one of the element for transport in a glass hive, he had not noticed that he had also transported the queen. She is in the middle, larger than the others with a prominent back – may be it is there she wears her crown!
Michel assured me that a separation of a day should not disrupt the harmony of the hive. I was so absorbed by the events of the day that I did not notice until I was leaving that there was another queen bee amongst us.
And so, or as they say here “et voilà”, I thank you for all the encouraging comments that you wrote for the last few blogs and I leave you in the good hands of Amelia. Au revoir – K
It may not be the New Year, there are still few days left of 2012 but it is not too early for me to have started my reflections on the past year with WordPress.
Early in 2012 my son suggested I started a blog as a way to create a journal of the garden and to reach out to other interested gardeners to share experiences, hopes, successes and disappointments that only other gardeners would appreciate. It seemed a reasonable proposition but it soon took on a life of its own.
I realised that a picture was worth a thousand words, so my interest in photography which had languished for many years was rekindled.
I enjoyed taking pictures of my flowers but as I looked for photo opportunities, I started to see more than flowers.
I always loved my bumble bees but I paid more attention to them the more I photographed them.
I enjoyed noting the different species that visited the garden and was delighted when I found two bumble bee nests in the garden.
I noticed lots of solitary bees in the garden as well as the honey bees and started to follow some of the amazingly interesting and informative “bee blogs” on WordPress such as Aventures in beeland, Miss Apis Mellifera and Beelievable to name only a few. I have to admit this has sparked another interest and I would love to be brave enough to embark on keeping bees myself.
They keep me company in the garden and in my walks in the surrounding countryside.
It is often only when I review my photographs that I see something I had not noticed when I took the picture. This bumble bee seemed to be carrying a lump of pollen stuck to its head. I had seen them dusted over with loose pollen but never with such a strange package attached to them.
I discovered that this bumble bee was on a special pollination mission and had been selected by an orchid to carry its pollen to another orchid.
Orchids have evolved a special method of transporting pollen for cross fertilisation between plants by insect vectors. Instead of releasing their pollen to the four winds like say the grasses, orchids have compressed bundles of pollen that will stick to the insect pollinators who will pass it onto another orchid that they visit.
This I would never have known, nor recognised on my bumble bee if it were not for WordPress fanning my interest in bees and bumblebees and the Bumblebee Conservation Organisationfor supplying me with the information.
WordPress has stimulated my interests in photography, bees and nature but none of this would have been so enjoyable without all my gentle WordPress friends whose interesting blogs and helpful comments lighten and brighten the year.
I live in the country, not too remote but very quiet. I reap the benefits of this situation by enjoying a large garden, having my choice of a multitude of walks or cycle rides straight from my door and the sound of silence of the countryside.
Last weekend it was time to appreciate civilisation, to explore by metro, to soak in some culture – to see crowds of people!
There were certainly plenty of people;
so many people wanting to see the same thing.
Many of the people, like me, go to Barcelona as they are attracted by Gaudi’s style and architecture. His distinctive style of Catalan architecture and his love of nature has produced remarkable buildings and influenced the architecture of Barcelona.
Designs from nature are used by other architects such as this art nouveau letterbox by Lluís Domènech i Montaner; an example of catalan Modernisme on an originally 15th. century palace, Casa de l’Ardiaca.
Across the road in the cathedral I was surprised to see white geese in their special courtyard. They are kept in honour of the cathedral’s patron St. Eulalia. One goose for each year of the virgin martyr’s short life.
There are always plenty of refreshments available in Barcelone, the coffee and pastries are excellent.
A little away from the main tourist sites I enjoyed an excellent three course Catalan meal for 9 euros 50.
The evenings can be as full as the days.
There is so much to see walking in the streets, like these beautiful balconies on the Casa Terrades.
Green parrots nest in the palm trees, they were the only birds I saw except for pigeons.
Walking in Ciutadella Park I noticed there were very few flowers in bloom at this time of year in Barcelona. I had hoped I might see some different bees and butterflies but I did not see any. I imagine that Barcelona does not have sufficient water to support the size of the population that it shelters and to water flowers.
I had a marvellous time, I love Barcellona – the architecture, the people, the atmosphere – but I had never realised how we appreciate nature in words and culture but in truth we marginalise it and exclude it. We profess to love and admire nature. Artists glorify it in their paintings and sculptures, but we cannot coexist side by side. The city, so full of life and bustle from the human point of view, seemed so barren and empty.
We walk most days in the countryside around the house and each day we see something new and different. Watching the trees and the fields you see the seasons change and it leads you through the year. We often pass this field and watch the barley growing. I took my first shot at the end of April and yesterday was a hot, sunny day and the barley was mown.