Upon putting my ear to our beehive yesterday there was a heavy silence coming from within, although one or two bees flew in and out of the entrance porch. Nevertheless there was no humming at all.
This morning I did the same. Silence. And it came to me that perhaps the bees had succumbed to the long sleep. I felt the need to have a look inside the hive, but didn't.
It has been very cold here. Winter cold. With heavy rains interspersed with patches of sunshine but which do not carry sufficient heat to warm the air. Last night I put the electric blanket on. Today I am of the mindset that perhaps it would be a good idea to put some thermals back on again. For the bees, I think, without an established hive to support them comfortably, that the stress of being relocated to here, plus the shock of a new hive to get established, plus the very cold weather, well.....I think that they are no more.
Plus: I ordered a queen for them from the UK. She was put in the post on Wednesday with the Royal Mail's next day delivery system, so expected her to arrive yesterday. Halfway through the morning, with a flash of horrified intuition, I realised that I had not given the senders of the queen my telephone number which meant that the delivery people would not know where to find us. I order a lot of items over the Internet. As yet, I have had no problems. But always we are rung up by the delivery man for instructions as to where we are. It is the way down here in SW France. It is a sprawly countryside, with minimal, well spaced out villages and you can't find anyone unless you have specific instructions as to where they are.
Anyways, Hubs stepped in as I went into a spiral of panic, spent ages and ages first ringing Royal Mail in the UK, who said that the she had been handed over to the French delivery people (Fedex) and that she would spend three days in customs. (Next day delivery?) An ages and ages long search finally fetched up the Fedex phone number. No, not in their system yet. No, they don't deliver things, another company does that for them. Phoned them. No, no package for you in our system. Hubs at least got them to make a note of our phone number for when she does arrive.
It's not looking good. Three days in customs means that she won't start travelling down here until probably Monday. Looking for Wednesday then. A week in transit.
And so I am having an 'offload' moment with you. Was in the middle of washing up, which I find an endless repetitive cycle at the best of times, and I had a bit of a forlorn moment about my bees.
Ah well, talking to you has cheered me up. On the good side, at least I have gained bee-keeping experience, and a fellow farmer popped by the other day to say that he would put the rest of the fence poles in for us. He is doing that as I am speaking to you. It means that the last field will be fenced, the one I was cutting the fence line of, and that is a big step forward again for many reasons which I won't go into here. On the downside, the builder popped by as well, to say that he was six months behind schedule, and that he was not likely to do the work on the Side Barn any time soon. Means that we shall keep sleeping in the caravan, maybe for some of next winter again. I was feeling a bit lumpy about that, but am straightening my shoulders, lifting my chin and psyching myself into thinking good thoughts about doing so. But will fumigate it because I think it is getting riddled with other living beings, some of which come from Bools and Gus!
Ah well. Thanks for listening to me, and now off to do some shopping.
Lessons to be learnt: do not allow 'givey up' thoughts any headspace when things are not running according to plan.
And here is the poem which has kept me going through all of the years:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high'
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must - but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt -
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so afar;
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit
its when things seem worse.....
........THAT YOU MUSTN'T QUIT