Yesterday I came home to find a letter waiting. It had a nice surprise – I passed Module 2, which means I now have the BBKA’s Intermediate Theory Certificate. Please forgive me for posting about this, but I have so little going for me to show off about that I take every opportunity I get!
Of course, I’ve forgotten most of what I learnt already. I have the kind of brain which is good at cramming things in for the short-term, but bad at remembering things long-term. For instance, there are very few books or films I can recall the plot for and indeed sometimes I can pick up a book and not be sure whether I’ve read it or not.
Above is part of the exam paper. I did Q11, 13, 14, 15 and 16. You can see how lucky I was with the questions, I got away with writing lots about pollination and honey composition and not much about the tricky subject of extracting honey and preparing it for sale.
The Ealing Association committee asked me if I would do a talk at one of our regular beekeepers meetings, so I decided to do one about pollination and honey, with some honey tasting afterwards. I was very happy that lots of people brought honey along, especially our Chairman Clare Vernon. We must have had about thirty different honeys to try.
Emma took some lovely photos which show off the warm and glowing colours we had in front of us. She has kindly let me post them here – all of the photos below were taken by Emma. You can find her blog at http://missapismellifera.com.
The ‘Hunang’ honey is very special honey from Iceland. You can read about how it came to London in Emma’s blog post ‘Beekeeping in Iceland‘. I have been slow in eating it because I respect the effort the bees made in producing it in such cold, windy conditions, so want to savour it gradually.
I made some little honey cakes for us to eat. Elsa brought along lemon drizzle cake, plus we had breadsticks and baklava. Quite the meeting of hungry bears.
Here are Hanwell beekeepers Pat and Jackie.
At the end we all had a vote on our favourite. I was surprised at how different our tastes all were, some people loved a dark, strong honey which I didn’t like at all. And a gloopy honey from Texas really divided people too. However, some clear winners did emerge:
- Alan and Betty Gibb’s honey – full of deep floral flavours
- Kew Gardens honey
- Ivy honey – this was honey I bought from Stephen’s blog ‘In a Beekeepers Garden’, see his post ‘Late ivy honey harvest‘. It had a pale colour and firm texture, causing a lot of disagreement over whether it had been creamed or not.
Even though we had honeys from all over the world – including Turkey, Italy, Borneo, the U.S., Iceland, Germany – we picked three British honeys as our favourites! Are British honeys best?!
The honey tasting was definitely worth doing as at the end Alan and Betty gave me their jar of winning honey. Thank you!