Orpington Branch Newsletter December 2000 by Frank Chappell.
KENT BEEKEEPERS` ASSOCIATION
Orpington Branch Newsletter December 2000
This is my last chance to remind you about the Christmas Party which is on Saturday December 9th at the house of Gordon and Jaqui Harradine - if you don’t know where that is please let me know and I will tell you. You need to have tickets in advance and either Tony Trinick (01689 820838) or I (01689 821858) can supply. The price is £6 a ticket and those who have been before will know what good value this represents. If you can bring a bottle then so much the better.
Don’t forget about renewing your subscription if you haven’t already done it. We only order enough copies of "Beecraft" and the "Kentish Bee" for our paid-up members since the publications cost us money. So, if you haven’t paid you will start losing out very shortly.
We had three entrants for the National Honey Show this year, one of whom, Tony Trinick, entered for the first time and won a First! He entered the Novice Class and was very happy to receive the winner’s card and prize of £6. With this encouragement, I hope he will become a regular competitor at the shows. Marjorie Trenear had no luck this year with her mead, but I managed a Third for my Dry Mead and a Highly Commended for the Sweet. My entries were actually the same ones that I used for our own show since I don’t have any more mead left, apart from some dregs in a jar which were used for topping up. I am not very enthusiastic about making mead since it doesn’t appeal to me, but I am pleased that the two jars I made a few years ago have won some awards. The judges didn’t like my honey. This year I had found twelve jars with the same mould number and had ventured into the class for twelve jars of honey as for sale. I found that the honey in these jars had set with quite a bit of frosting, but I could not be bothered to warm them up and get rid of all the bubbles on the top, so I entered them as they were, though with not much hope. My expectations were realised and there was no award. It was noticeable that all the other entries were of clear honey.
One exhibit was of beekeeping equipment which had been constructed from readily available hardware such as plastic swing bins, storage boxes and washing-up bowls, and thus relatively cheap. On show were a settling tank, a honey strainer and a wax melter. Another exhibit showed how to transfer wild comb into frames. Lengths of binding twine were stapled at one side of the frame, and after inserting the comb, they were stapled at the other side. The stapling made the job much easier. On the Thorne’s stand, they were showing plastic foundation. This comes from America and is already coated with beeswax and seems a bit pricey to me at £1.40 per sheet for BS Deep and £1.20 for BS Shallow. A good honey flow is said to be required, so maybe the bees are not too keen on it, but I wondered whether the plastic part could be used as a mould so you can make your own foundation.
The following was reported in the "Telegraph":
"Prisoners serving life sentences are being trained as beekeepers to help to counter a decline in honey production.
The Portsmouth Beekeepers’ Association requested their help because the numbers of people trained to mind hives had fallen.
Stuart McLean, governor of Kingston Prison, Portsmouth, Hants., said: "The bees are really important to the local ecology. The prisoners don’t leave the building but this way they can do good in the community without actually bothering anyone.""
Finally. A Very Happy Christmas and an even better New Year to you all.