The Bees Like It

My sister sadly passed away six years ago. A friend of my brother’s, Louise Tiplady, a lettering artist made this wonderful print in commemoration of her life. My sister was a keen gardener and held dear a horticultural philosophy that Mum passed onto her. ‘The Bees Like It’. Good apiarian husbandry is as relevant today as it ever was.

And so it is that I associate bees with death. It’s an idea embraced in Celtic mythology too. These little creatures are seen as go-betweens, uniting us mortals with the spirit world. Now you’d think that they’d be busy enough already but there you go. Bees allegedly have extra duties. They have to be experts in multi-tasking between different dimensions. This is on top of , being top dog pollinators, making honey and looking after their own queen!

I was very taken by the idea that John Chapple, the official Palace beekeeper, carried out the centuries old tradition of ‘Telling the Bees’ on the day after Queen Elizabeth’s death. He tied black bows to the Buckingham Palace hives and knocked on each little home. He then advised their occupants in a soft voice of the passing of the Queen, reassuring them that the new King Charles would be a good master to them. Wikipedia says that sometimes the bees are invited to the funeral during this little ceremony. I’m not sure if Mr. Chapple extended this information but if they all turn up at Westminster Abbey you’ll know why.

Apparently if bees aren’t informed of the passing of their hive owner they take umbrage. They might stop producing any honey or clear off altogether. Let’s hope that King Charles takes his responsibilities very seriously and that the bees remain happy occupants of the Palace grounds.

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