Sunday, 17 April 2011

Pas de Gall Bladder and an Artificial Swarm

'I don't think your gall bladder is to blame,' said the casualty doctor at the hospital yesterday. He had just performed something called Murphy's Sign Test, and my reaction had proved remarkably unreactive. However, my reaction to his poking of my stomach had been VERY reactive.
'I think you have a very bad case of gastro-enteritis,' he said. 'And you are looking very dehydrated. If you don't keen your fluids up we'll have to admit you and put you on a drip.'

He was very nice, this doctor. I had reached the point yesterday lunchtime when I could stand the pain/ yakking/ other unmentionables no more and a trip to casualty was called for if only to reassure me (and Andy) that I wasn't dying.

I explained I couldn't even keep water down. I explained that in the last 5 days I had lost 10lbs, which normally I'd be thrilled about, but was instead throwing me into a state of panic and frenzy.

The doctor explained everything in great detail and gave me some rehydration sachets. He raised his eyes to heaven when I told him I was a teacher. 'That's where you probably picked up the virus,' he said.'As for pain relief, you'll have to keep going with paracetemol even though it's not being very effective. Nurofen would be better.'
'I'm allergic to it,' I said.
'P'raps not, then,' said he.

So, I came home feeling wobbly and pathetic, I sat and sipped rehydration fluid all evening, which was like drinking a cross between salt water and glucose syrup in Ribena, and this morning I woke up after a full night's sleep feeling right as rain. Well almost. Still a bit wobbly and pathetic.

Well enough to potter in the garden, planting up my new herb garden and sowing some more seeds. Well enough to assist with a hive inspection. Well enough to be appalled at finding a hive bursting with bees and a sealed Queen cell.

'Bugger,' said Andy and I in unison. 'Our bees are going to swarm.'

We went inside to consult books and decide what to do. We called our bee mentors. They were experiencing the same. With the warm dry start to Spring we've had here in the South, we reckon 'bee year' is about 2 weeks ahead of the books. Which just goes to show you should garden and keep bees by the weather and NOT by what it says in the books.

'We've got to do an artificial swarm, haven't we?' we said. Our bee mentors agreed. That's what they were doing. And if the new queen didn't work out, at least we'd have the old queen in reserve and we could re-unite the hive. Hopefully, we wouldn't lose our bees.

So, we wrote step by step instructions on a large sheet of paper of how to perform the swarm, so we didn't make a mess of things. We gathered the necessary equipment - spare nuc box, fresh frames, bee brush, bit of grass to stop up the entrance, woodlouse to form the welcoming committee. We went out into the bees. There were gazillions of bees. They were not happy at being disturbed twice in one day. We were, as the old Eddie Izzard joke goes 'Covered in bees.'

But did we panic? NO! Did we experience Sod's Law in that Queen Philibert was on the same frame where the Queen cell was? YES! Did we stand and whistle for a minute or two until, fingers crossed, until QP moved herself to the adjoining frame? YES! Did it all go according to plan? HOPEFULLY! Well, according to the plan of Much Malarkey Manor whose Philosophie du Jour is 'If It's Meant To Bee, It Will Bee.'

I would say it's all part of a huge learning curve, except I hate that phrase. Let's call it part of muddling through life as best we can.

By the way, if you're puzzled about the Eddie Izzard thing, then his line is - 'I like my coffee like I like my women - covered in bees!'

I know, weird, isn't it? But that's Izzard for you. Best to just go with it. Like gastro-enteritis. And swarmy bees.


Olly said...

Ooh, sorry to hear about the illness, good thing you recovered in time to do the Artificial Swarm! I haven't done one yet (my queen inconveniently disappeared last year just as I was ready to do one). Hope it's worked ok!

Denise said...

Thank you, Olly. I had a bit of a set-back yesterday, but nowhere near as bad as it has been so hopefully I'll be rid of the gastric devil by the weekend.

As for the swarmy bees - well, only time will tell I suppose. Bees will do as they want. We had a vanishing queen last year, but luckily her replacement has been a good'un. Don't want to lose her, too, so artificial swarm seemed only course of action.