When we first came to France my sister lived an hour north of us and as the road to the ferry port when directly past her front door I used to see her quite regularly. Sadly, she and her family moved to Ireland and thanks to a new motorway we no longer had any need to take the "old" road. Which is a shame because driving through La Sarthe is particularly beautiful at this time of year.
Last night I received a telephone call from someone who had a problem with a swarm of bees that had decided his attic was the most perfect des res for bees. Or more particularly between the roof and the plaster board. Could I try and help? Well, of course I'll do anything to get more honey bees and off I went this morning all prepared. I knew they would be inaccessible and I was going to leave a bait hive in his garden. This is a small nucleus hive with frames inside but also a little closed tube of pheromone - dead sexy and irresistible to bees!
Long story short - they weren't honey bees at all but (I think) carpenter bees and of no use to me. It's always a risk that people mix up different types of bees; sometimes (as in this case) they just don't know or realise there's a difference...a bee's a bee's a bee; and sometimes they just hope you'll get rid of whatever it is for them anyway (which I won't!) as it saves them the cost of calling out the pompiers. He asked me what a honey bee looked like and as I find it very difficult to put that sort of thing into words I suggested we look around his garden as they would be sure to be out collecting nector - except in his lovely big garden he only had about three plants and they weren't the bees' favourites. Oh well; I can't live without flowers in the garden but I guess it takes all sorts.
But I wasn't too miffed at the wasted journey. He lived just off the road which I used to take to my sister and just passed the most beautiful part - a sort of wooded valley. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and all was good with the world!