My journey into beekeeping began over 20 years ago. A friend and I rented an allotment, it was our escape from young families as well as being productive. The allotment soon grew into a ‘women’s co-operative’ as many of our friends too needed some time to themselves and it was great fun (we were even interviewed for a daytime TV programme). At this time the Kingston Beekeepers Association moved the apiary onto the allotments and one of my friends suggested we join and learn to keep bees.
Our first year was spent learning with experienced club members and thereafter I’ve had my own hives. My first bees were ‘feisty’ to say the least – a real baptism of fire and prolific honey producers. Approximately 10 years ago I met Diane Davison and we now keep the bees together – sharing is a great thing to do as it’s a heavy activity involving moving boxes of bees each time we inspect them (on a weekly basis between spring and autumn), two pairs of eyes for spotting the queen, queen cups and any health problems, and at least 3 opinions when there is an issue! From the beginning I made candles, lip balms and leather/furniture creams as they are traditional and easy hive crafts. Diane and I developed the skin creams together as we realised how important the honey and beeswax are for our skin and used historically.
It took us 2 years of trials and errors to be satisfied with the consistency, efficacy and to have the certifications made. We still keep the bees together but Diane isn’t involved in the making now due to family commitments and I miss her!