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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Uninvited Guests

Time was, A very sad little orphanI could sit outside the back of my house, in the dappled shade of a guava tree, enjoying a delicious coffee and reading a good book or writing in my diary. The only thing I had to worry about was the ants making their way up the legs of the chair and crawling all over me. I could get over that though for the pleasure of being able to just relax in the glorious African heat and feel at ease. No more though. I have new neighbours and not just neighbours across the wall, oh no, these neighbours have moved into my attic! Nowadays, if you spend more than ten minutes outside the back of my house between nine in the morning and five in the evening you are likely to get buzzed, bothered, barraged and maybe even stung by the hundred or so bees that have settled in the attic directly above my kitchen. They fly in and out of a hole at the rate of about four or five a second, seemingly all day long. They don’t seem to like me very much and I have been chased around my own house on three different occasions while checking on my laundry. I am not at all impressed, I can tell you!

Now in an ideal world, this wouldn’t be a problem. In my head, I see the bees and the giant feckin rats having a war in the attic and essentially wiping each other out. No more rats and no more bees seem like a wonderful outcome. Horrifyingly though, the two seem to be coexisting just fine. I know this because the rats are still doing their best to knock a hole in the ceiling and/or ensure I get as little sleep as possible. So I am left in a bit of a tricky situation. I quite like the idea of honey but I’m not so keen on being stung repeatedly for the next six months. The bees and I need to become friends! Apparently you doing this in much the same sort of style as you would with a girlie you are trying to convert into a “petite amie”. You bring them their favourite thing in the whole wide world! No, not diamonds or chocolate or flowers, well maybe flowers; I’m talking about honey. When the bees realise that you can provide honey, all of a sudden you are less of a threat and so don’t need exterminating. So we are about to embark on a black ops mission, code-named “Lets not get stung again because it hurts like a bastard”. A snappy title I’m sure you’ll agree. Time will tell what the outcome will be but one way or another, we need to deal with these unruly and very much uninvited guests.

To add insult to injury, last Thursday, upon my return home after a hard days toil I was unable to gain access to the house. Tamara, Mukanzubo dancerI could hear the noise even over the music of the ipod. The sound was the simultaneous beat of two hundred odd wings. A second swarm had arrived. I was beginning to wonder if I had missed a sign somewhere which read “Free Luxury Bee Accommodation” with an arrow pointed at my house. This time they were in my front yard. There was no way in hell I was going to risk going anywhere near them and so I had to just stop, wait and marvel at the sheer number of them and the noise they were producing. They disappeared from the sky but I could still hear them. I took a few steps forward and realised that they were sussing out the abandoned doghouse in the corner of the yard. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with two swarms to contend with when one is more than enough! Thankfully, the darlings decided the accommodation was not up to scratch though and so slowly dissipated into the last rays of sun of the dying daylight. I breathed a large sigh of relief and slowly made my way toward the door. A few bees still hung around, like ASBOs on a street corner but they seemed more intent on the doghouse than me. I was very, very happy to close the front door and feel the safety of the house engulf me.

Your unintended and hapless beekeeper in the middle of nowhere

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