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Today is Thanksgiving. So let's embrace our transatlantic cousins with a stars-and-stripes theme. After all, "The Mayflower" carrying the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in 1620 from Rotherhithe, just down-river from my Bermondsey Street apiary. And theirs was the first Thanksgiving Feast, in 1621. Honeybees arrived in New England just a year later - quite possibly from Bermondsey - and european bees soon became a tell-tale sign for native Americans of creeping colonial encroachment. And let's not forget John Harvard, who voyaged from his native Southwark to Massachusetts in 1637, cannily ensuring with his death-bed bequest "that the Colledge agreed upon formerly to bee built at Cambridg shalbee called Harvard Colledge." For me, that just about sets a solid foundation for a special relationship between old Bermondsey and the New World.

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A Food Furlong

Here at Bermondsey Street Honey, we scorn food miles. We deal in food furlongs. Last Saturday morning, we pitched the Bermondsey Street Honey barrow on the Bermondsey Square Market for the very first time. That’s just 220 yards, exactly a furlong (for younger readers, that's one-eighth of a mile) away from the Bermondsey Street Apiary. In that short distance, the honey has undergone a transformation from the honeycomb in my hives. First it's uncapped and spun out, then cold-filtered (three times at lower gauges), ripened, jarred and labelled and then transported over that single, flat furlong, to the spot where Bermondsey Abbey was founded in 1082. And there it is: a jar of award-winning Bermondsey Street Honey.

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Well, the bees have had the pollen and nectar from my crocus sativus. Now it's my turn! Eaco of the 120 bulbs which I planted in Septemberhas produced three vivid, crimson stigmas. Yes, I know that these resemble the wispiest "lip weasel" for all of Mo-vember, but the news from the Bermondsey Street Bees' allotment is that delicate saffron harvest has been picked, dried and is now ready for action.

Jose Pizzaro's Paella, anyone ?

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Bermondsey Street Honey Now Available!

As promised when I started Apis, subscribers to this blog will receive a preferential opportunity to purchase Bermondsey Street Honey. The bad news is that there isn't much to be had this year, given the poor start to 2013, from which the bees never completely recovered. The good news is that our honey won another gong at this year's National Honey Show...and that the bees are in great condition as we head into winter!

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Three times last week, it happened. That’s a record. Once walking the dog in the rain, once while reviewing a CV for a client and once when pouring white wine for Sarah’s friends: the question on everybody’s lips was : “What Do Bees Do In Winter ?”

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O For The Wings Of A Dove

As Dorothy Parker is reputed to have said (the origin of words, like bees on the wing, is impossible to attribute with absolute certainty): "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity". Bees re-awaken in me a child-like sense of wonder, criss-crossed with curiosity. And for that I thank them, from the bottom of my name-tagged, woolly socks.

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And Is There Honey Still for Tea ?

Yes, Mr Brooke, there is "Honey still for tea"! The BBKA survey reveals a recovery in 2013 honey yields over the disastrous 2012. From my point of view, the strength and condition of colonies as we exit 2013 gives cause for optimism in 2014. There! I said it.

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LBKA : A Stinging Rebuke

Call me old-fashioned, but when I come across wrongdoing in an organisation to which I belong, my hackles rise. Thus I felt duty-bound to blow the whistle on the demonstrably unpalatable activities of two recently-elected top officials of the London Beekeepers’ Association (LBKA) earlier this year. On 20th March 2013, I wrote an Open Letter of Resignation to the Committee of the LBKA), detailing the improper corporate governance by this small clique of senior officers.

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