I have wanted to try a top bar hive for some time. I find the lifting with a National really heavy, and the weekly inspections in May are almost impossible now. The woman who does my gardening gave me a swarm the other day and it transpires that they are thinking of getting rid of their bees because of complaints from the neighbours. Now I have some sympathy for the neighbours here as although they placed the hives on the roof of the garage it was very close to their neighbours patio. Even though, in theory, the bees should stay at hive height they often got blown down into the neighbours garden.Add to that several swarms this year, one of which inconsiderately installed itself on the neighbours swing and the  scene was set for conflict. So I gained a swarm and installed them in a Nuc, but my original hive was overfull and needed splitting to prevent swarming. I placed some brood, stores and bees in the National Deep temporarily while I wait for a new queen to arrive. She is due Tuesday. I bought a Top Bar hive off of them and today was spent, amoung other things, trying to adjust the comb to fit from a National to a top bar. The only way we could think of doing this was by cutting the comb out, and tying it to the top bar. This took some time and was a messy business. Now in theory a Top Bar hive should be much easier to manage. I am not sure I am too keen on the Natural Beekeeping method of simply accepting swarms as a normal part of beekeeping, I will have to learn how to manage the hive to minimise that risk, I have neighbours to think of as well!

On a second matter, as I am writing this I have noticed that I keep getting my spelling of amoung underlined in red. Now, I have always spelt ‘amoung’ as ‘amoung’ rather than ‘among’. I also have no intention of changing. Similarly I have always said ‘whilst’, spelt’ yaught’ as ‘yaught’ rather than ‘yacht’ and still refer to a Parliament of Magpies as the correct Collective  Noun. I keep being told that this spelling is archaic. Archaic it might be but it is within my lifetime, so its not THAT archaic. I was at school in the UK during the fifties where we were fed a constant diet of classical literature. Apparently the spelling of ‘amoung’ as ‘amoung’ was in popular use up until about the 1920s. Bearing in mind most of my teachers would have been taught then, and the books we read were classics, it is hardly surprising I was taught it was well!

I was somewhat irritated to come across a post of someone saying that the reason why ‘amoung’ was spelt as ‘amoung’ was because the reader was either ignorant or not a Native British speaker. I am highly educated, was born at Henley on Thames and I will warrant that I was speaking English before the person who wrote the post was even born. Even more infuriating I once had a paper  for publication returned from the referee (who was American) complaining about the ‘peculiar use of the English language’. It had in fact been checked by my son who proof reads for academic journals. The criticism went down like a lead balloon, I had difficulty not writing back to give that individual a piece of my mind. I have a Grammar School Education, a Grade A  ‘A’ level in English language, a Masters in Ethics and Law and no one had criticised my use of English before!

As for the Parliament of Magpies, I was taught that this Collective Noun came from the Interregnum in the UK  (1649 -1660 ). We didn’t like being a Republic!  Magpies lining up on a branch looked like a bunch of Puritans dressed in black and white. So I am afraid I have no intention of changing just because someone else has. It is amoung, whilst, yaught and a Parliament of Magpies! I like Collective Nouns, I have always thought you should have a Brace of Dentists, a Mass of Priests and so on….inventive suggestions for other Collective Nouns would be welcome!

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