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Beekeeper’s Notes: Bargain Hunt

Published on: 1 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 31 Dec, 2020

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon

I spent a couple of hours today (December 29) online at the sales of a long established beekeeping equipment company, Thornes. Some of the stuff in the sale is less than a third of the usual price so it’s worth doing.

But it’s no fun.

It wasn’t so long ago, less than 10 years, that the sales used to be held in a field behind the Thornes’ shop near Windsor.

There was a cordoned off area where the hives, frames, smokers, tools and so on were stacked. The canny beekeepers eyed up the deals to be had and positioned themselves as close as they could to the bargain most desired.

There was plenty of chat to be had but it was serious business; no jostling, civilised but serious. No-one wanted to miss out on saving a few bob.

At the appointed hour, there was a blast from a car horn and everyone piled in to grab what they could. It was all gone in 10 minutes.

After money was exchanged, the Thornes’ staff and the triumphant winners relaxed and there was a chance for a cup of tea and more chat about the bees and the bargains.

Sitting in front of a computer in a warm room is definitely more efficient and probably fairer but it isn’t an event. No laughs or gossip or entertainment or knowledge sharing.

I think there is a case, Covid allowing, to bring back events like that. It shouldn’t be all about efficiency.

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