It’s hard to believe that this week on the 23rd of April will be our one-month quarantinaversary. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back, pour a celebratory drink and hang up some home-made bunting, as we have all done insanely well to cope through an entire month of lockdown. For many people, seeing the gorgeous spring sunshine either through a window or out in the fresh air has been a real comfort to balance the uncertainty, loneliness and fear, not to mention illness. And without cars on the roads, birdsong has been a joy to hear. Especially over the sound of bickering children. Give me strength.
Normally at this time of year it’s foxes that tend to spoil the suburban peace at editorial HQ, however recently I’ve noticed another much smaller and noisier interloper coming to investigate my al-fresco dining. When the post-BBQ croque-en-bouche becomes overrun by furry buzzing, it’s time to divert the mini honey-monsters elsewhere. And I’m not taking about my junior editors.
Bees. Put away that fly-swatter, hide that sticky paper, get rid of that can of insecticide (also - aerosols, really? Hmph, no planet points for you). Seriously though, bees are to be cherished. Somewhere I read that they’re responsible for a third of our food, via their immense pollination prowess. I’m talking about apples, oranges, coffee, cucumber, potatoes...yum this is making me peckish! Now, the real sting in the tail (sorry) is that bees are under threat from urban development destroying the hedgerows and meadows they use as their pollination playgrounds. And since diet plays a key role in every illness we see in General Practice, we need to protect the little critters for our wellbeing. See how it all loops round beautifully to eco-health? My website overseer Dr Rob Guion breathes a sigh of relief...
Luckily there are lots of fun things we can do to look after bees. Try growing lavender, rosemary or borage on your windowsill, or let a corner of your lawn become feral - and by that I mean no need to trim; instead chuck down some wild flower seeds and watch it turn into a beautiful meadowy micro-wilderness. We can't get out to garden centres right now but many garden centres such Vertigrow, Dobbie's, and Deans and are doing online or phone orders, need our support, and will deliver to your door.
You could also make a bee hotel! Think of it as a slightly forlorn nod to the cancelled/uncertain holiday plans. Anyway check out this link. It's a great activity for kids as an alternative to the indoor home-school spelling-bee (sorry), as I can attest from the photos above. Although my junior editor has rather unorthodox ways of garnering clients to come and stay in his charmingly rustic establishment (explaining that bees don't like being chased, yelled at, or given impatient directions has had zero effect). And there’s even a phone network that sends profits to Bees. Remember the Ecosia search engine previously mentioned here? Well Ecotalk are similar. Plus they have a very cute icon for your home-screen. Sold right?
Admittedly the bee puns were poor today as I’m really just winging it, so I’ll quickly squeeze in one final fact instead: ‘dumbledore’ is an old Cornish word for bumble bee. Enjoy that awesome little wizardy fact with your next locally sourced pasty. Yum.