I have a maxim, gained from my observation of the way the world works: “There may not be one single way to get it right. But there are lots of ways of getting it wrong.” It has served me well over the years.
That means it makes sense in life to continue to acquire knowledge and understanding. That way you’ll have more positive outcomes and fewer abject failures.
This applies doubly to beekeeping. So spending a Saturday in Mitcham and Tooting FC’s hospitality suite, courtesy of the Surrey Beekeepers Association, for a training session designed to prepare ambitious beekeepers for the General Husbandry Assessment (only 62 people in the UK attempted this rigorous examination in 2015) was a welcome masterclass in “getting it right”.
Alastair Welch, former bee-farmer and NDB Master Beekeeper, led the course, supported by Sandra Rickwood of the Surrey BKA. It was well-constructed, illuminating and admittedly quite challenging. Most of all, Alastair stressed that this was a serious practical and theory examination over a three hour period which is designed to probe every aspect of the candidate’s beekeeping, apiary management, honey and hive products processing skills.
In short, a daunting prospect. But I already know that, pass or fail, I’ll be a better beekeeper for taking Alastair’s course and honing my beekeeping to his exacting standards. At the very least, I’ll avoid some of the many ways of “getting it wrong”.
Thanks to Alastair for his kind permission for me to use his photographs – and to Sandra for organising an excellent learning experience. And, by the way, privet honey does not taste nice!