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Trelowarren Honey made by Happy Bees

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Bees are our charming and necessary companions.

bee1They are out there pollenating like mad and making food happen, they cause us no trouble, they make honey, they offer us endless opportunities for metaphors about hard work and society, and of course they come in a mass of varieties. Trelowarren is the bee’s knees in wildlife so we have plenty of different types from the dear little solitary bees under an olive tree in the back garden which wrap themselves in cocoons that look like cigars, to the huge numbers of bumble bees that amble around on the flowering lawn. And of course we have beautiful honey bees.

After only three years we are 12/50 of the way through the Great Trelowarren Bee Plan. We now have twelve hives at Trelowarren with bees which Matt and Ollie have collected, for the most part, from Trelowarren.

The best bees (of course) come from the ceiling of one of the bay windows on the west side of the house. They have been there for living memory and beyond and as there is rather limited space seem to swarm at least once a year. There are also some good bees living right at the apex of Tregenna’s roof. They are well out of the way of anyone staying there and use the tree pollen around them. They too seem to be strong and relatively resilient to the pests and diseases that beset bees these days.

Yesterday was very warm and sunny and much to everyone’s delight a swarm was collected from the laurels opposite reception. They settled within easy sight of the doors so we could all admire their cone hanging from an branch and then in a most good natured and peaceful way allowed themselves to be put in a box and take to new luxury accommodation.

This year we expect to get close to 20 hives and so the five year plan is on course. Honey will be for sale in 2013!

Cury Horn Blowing Competition

Put away your cynicism and any chips that might have accumulated on your shoulder about hunting. The sound of a hunting horn (a relation of the bugle) blowing ‘home’ or ‘going home’ is one of the most atmospheric sounds imaginable.

So FV and I went to Cury Village Hall Saturday evening. The event was well supported and after a delicious supper with about twenty different types of quiche (courtesy of the ladies from the Supporter’s Club) Tony (the proper judge) and I were ensconced behind the rather damp curtain on the stage and ready for the professional class.

We asked for three calls: ‘leaving a blank cover’, ‘gone away’ (of course), and ‘the end of the run’. The first a nerve settling straightforward instruction, the second has to be filled with a kind of galloping excitement and the third is a real challenge as it has a prolonged tremulo note.

As you would expect the standard in the professional class was very high and lubricated by quantities of beer and whisky. The final contestant combined power with clarity and some artistry. In the last call not only did his note deliver on the tremulo but he also added considerable colour, fading in and out while allowing the overall fade to continue.

The amateurs had one stand out victor whose blowing was as good as the professionals and the ladies put up a good show having been forced to join in at the last minute. The juniors had a few basic farters and a couple of proper hopefuls for later years.

Then we had the hollering and the whip cracking competitions. Hollering is a lot more skilled than you might think. Volume is not all and it is from the view hulloa (pronounced ‘hulloo’) that we get the word Hullo, which, by the way, is the correct word for a greeting. Hullo = I see you. Hello = what a surprise.

Whip cracking (for which the contestants had to retire outside for the safety of the building while the judges stood inside the door), has to be sharp loud and consistent. All good and stylish cracks come from a lazy overarm arc ending with a deceptive flick of the wrist. Three mighty cracks that went off like shots and sent the jackdaws from their nests won the day.

So to the Cury Hunt – thank you for a lovely evening, thank you for a delicious supper, and of course thank you for indulging me in my long lost weakness for hunting horns.

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