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THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK

This children's book (3-6 years old) is based on a real story that took place in 2013 at our home in Bournemouth.

It all started long before when we decided to replace our old boiler in 2009 and remove our water tank out of the loft, replacing the lot with a combi-boiler. All the pipes were removed including the overflow that was coming out of the soffits on the side of the house. The hole left on the cladding was subsequently never filled due to the awkwardness of its location.

A few years later we started to see signs of honeybee activity coming from the loft. We discovered that they were coming in and out of our roof via that same small hole in the cladding. My Wife decided to call the council who kindly sent an expert down.

It turned out that the bees had managed to find themselves the perfect cosy place to build their hive inside our soffits. We never had any issues as such, but we could not do anything about it. We had a perfect peaceful coexistence, where we could not disturb them due to the height of the colony, and they did not bother us either. I was just gutted that we would never be able to harvest their honey!

In the summer of 2013 a swarm started to leave. The sky was black with bees frenetically flying around our house and soffits.  The spectacle was mesmerising and beautiful. They firstly hung outside the soffits then moved down to our Eucalyptus tree in the garden.

We called the local Beekeeper, but by the time he was about ready to catch the swarm with his paraphernalia, my Wife pointed out that the bees were looking as if they were leaving the tree and moving on.

The bees flew away into the next garden, but not knowing where they were going to end up, we all quickly left the house and walked one after the other in line on the pavement to see where the bees were heading.

The beekeeper with his kit, me with the ladder, my Wife and Daughter, and my In-Laws who happened to be around, all having fun and excited about the unusual events that were unfolding in front of our eyes. It must have been an amusing scene from the rest of the neighbours to see us strolling off on the pavement with all our gear!

We ended up crashing into the neighbour’s garden, someone whom we never met before. The lady was in her bikini and her husband was just coming back from a cycle ride, still in his outfit.

The Beekeeper explained to us how he was planning to collect the swarming bees then stepped on his ladder, grabbed a cardboard box with one hand and proceeded to saw the branch where the bees had settled on, with the other.

He put the branch on the floor and covered it with the box, leaving enough space for the bees to come in and out and regroup safely. We left the bees settling down under that box for the rest of the day and on that same evening, the Beekeeper came back to collect and re-housed the swarm into a proper beehive.

It is only a few years after that event, while looking back at the whole experience, that the idea of writing a children’s story came to me. I thought it could help understand the importance of saving bees for our future and the future of our planet.

There it is! The story behind the book. I hope you enjoyed it!

J.R. Grailhe