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Beekeepers still sweet on big day without Bill

By Eddie McIlwaine

It won't quite be a honey of a day as the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers hold their annual show and conference at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on Oxford Island just outside Lurgan on Saturday, September 27.

For television's BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, a former president whose apiary is in Derbyshire, will be missing his first conference in 10 years.

On the day Bill will be involved in essential production work with the BBC and can't make the trip to the lough.

But the book Bill has written about bees will be available.

It's called The Beekeepers' Club: How I Stumbled into the Curious World of Bees and Became a Better Person.

And American authority on bees, Professor David Tarpy will be there at Oxford Island to create a buzz all of his own by telling beekeepers here about his experiences with the insects who make the honey.

The aim of the bash, explains Caroline Thomson, a busybee organiser, is to remind everyone that the bee is one of nature's wonders.

Globally bees are under threat of extinction, warns Caroline who claims that it is unimaginable to think that without apiarists (the folk who run the hives) there might be no bees in Ireland at all.

So this beekeepers gathering next month will explore the relationship between bees and their honey and us human beings.

By the way, if you happen to have an occasional ache in your limbs, try a tablespoon of honey mixed with teaspoon of cinnamon. Even if it doesn't ease the pain it will taste good.

Megan hits the right note

You could say that dancer Megan Muldrew, just 18, is the face of the Belfast Tattoo, which goes on at the Odyssey in Belfast this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (September 4-6).

Megan is one of the 32 young women who will be on stage at the event in a spectacular line-up each night. Watch out for the Sailor's Hornpipe.

From Armagh, this Portadown College ex-pupil is planning to take a nursing course at QUB.

She will keep her dancing as a hobby, as a member of a class in Markethill, along with her piano playing.

A berry nice time of year for tasty fruit

The blackberry picking season is in full swing — or it should be.

I wonder if people still go out in the autumn plucking the black berries from the hedges to make jam?

You've still got plenty of time to do the picking. Traditionally, your last opportunity will be on Michaelmas Day, which is September 29.

According to an old folk tale, this was the date on which the Devil was cast out of Heaven and cursed the brambles in which he landed, spat on the berries and made them inedible.

Ever since, it has been unlucky to eat blackberries if they have been harvested after September 29.

According to another piece of lore, Christ's crown of thorns was made of brambles and it was then that the berries changed colour from red to black.

Even to this day, blackberries are claimed to give people protection against evil spirits and vampires.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph