Tuesday, 17 February 2009

On Bees

I hope you’ll forgive me if today I’m not quite ‘on form’. Last night, my sinuses flared. Left became right, up was down, and the spinning room became my new normality. The only stable thing has been Judy’s patience as she helps nurse me and get my passages flowing again.

I will say, however, that this sudden illness has given me chance to reflect on life and the hours I have to spend in dusty TV studios. I was lying in bed at nine o’clock this morning, a pack of hot oven-ready chips nestled against my aching brow, when it occurred to me that I could avoid these trivial complaints if I made just a few changes to my lifestyle.

‘Judy?’ I said.

She was busy preparing a bicycle pump fitted with twin nostril valves filled with Olbas Oil for immediate nasal relief.

‘Judy? Do you think we should get out of the city?’

‘Hmm,’ she said as she worked her elbow limber, ready for the all important hour of pumping. ‘You know my opinion on that. I’m going off to Cornwall to write erotic novels based around my heroine, the buxom eighteen-century courtesan, Jemima Flirt. You’re going to establish yourself as a star in your own right.’

‘But what do you think about Wales?’ I asked.


‘Well, it occurred to me that we could go to Wales and do something together in the fresh air. You know... Like keep bees. I’ve always wanted to do my bit to save the British bumble bee.’

She lowered the pump from my nose.

‘You want us to move to Wales to keep bumble bees?’

‘I thought it would be a pleasant way to enjoy your retirement. Of course, since I’m only thirty eight, I’ll have to carry on with my career. But I could commute to London each day.’

‘From Wales?’

‘I’d buy a helicopter. And I’d paint it yellow and black to honour the bees.’
She raised the pump. ‘I had my heart set on Cornwall.’

Well, I was no condition to argue. With two valves up my nose, I just lay back and hoped that the aching would ease and I would regain my equilibrium. Sinusitis is a strange condition, almost affecting the mind as much as the body. I’m prone to blockages around the inner ear, which I often attribute to my slightly skewed outlook. When you can’t be sure of a true horizon, the rest of the world takes on a different attitude. In fact, I would attribute most of success in life down to blocked passages and the transcendental quality of my catarrh.

After Judy had finished, I was naturally feeling a little dizzy. She climbed off my chest and began to dismantle the hand pump.

‘The thing about Wales,’ I continued, ‘is that we could establish an independent source of income. Richard&Judy’s Organic Honey would take the market by storm. And it’s not as though it would take up much of your time. You’d have plenty of time to write Jemima Flirt’s latest blockbuster.’

My dear wife sighed. Or I think she did. It could have been some sudden decompression of my right inner ear which had been whistling all morning. ‘Look, Richard,’ she said. ‘If you want to keep bees, you can keep bees in Cornwall.’

I fell silent. How could I tell her about the close encounter I had as a child with the rare Cornish killer bee? I could never keep bees in Cornwall. I could never trust them.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘it was just an idea... But what do you think about goats?’


‘Richard&Judy’s Organic Goat’s Cheese. It wouldn’t take you long to milk them in the morning. And then you could get back to Jemima Flirt. I’m should imagine, Jude, that handing goat udders all morning would put you in the mood for writing erotic fiction. I know it would work for me...’

‘Come on,’ said Judy, now just a little disgusted as she fitted the twelve inch attachment to the foot pump she’d brought in from the shed. ‘Let’s cut out this nonsense. Roll over so I can finish cleaning your tubes.’

Which, as a totally devoted husband, I did. Though, I confess, it did very little to ease the congestion in my head. The world is still spinning.


Rose said...


Anonymous said...

Top stuff ....funny ..cant you get a newpaper column someone must have asked you

I'm new to Blogging ..and after reading yours will have to try harder

Mennard (Twitter)

Welsh Girl said...

How can Judy not want to live in Wales, with bees and goats?

I could find a patch of hillside for you with a landing place for the bumble bee copter....

Persevere with this plan Dick. It's the way forwards. You could single handedly save the world bee population and be hailed as a global hero....

Dick Madeley said...

Bzzz to you too Rose. A very cheerful bzzz on this bright morning.

Mennard, thanks for that. A newspaper column? If only! Never been asked but I'd bite off the hand that offered me one.

Welsh Girl, I still dream of Wales but doesn't everybody. This patch of hillside, have you one in mind? My bumblecopter is on order but I now have to persuade Judy to upgrade her tractor license to a full pilot's license.

Tessa said...

Coughs politely..er, Welsh Girl? Dick IS a global hero. Everyone from Hong Kong to Kowloon knows that. Even the ferrymen.

Tessa said...

I do, however, take issue with the goats.

Simon said...

You should look North, my man. Seek out the rural idyll that is East Northamptonshire and think big. Goat's chees is so passe. You should go for Buffalo - it won't harm Judy's back so much with the milking, them being bigger.

You wouldn't be totally devoid of celebrity company either. Rowan Atkinson has been spotted in the local co-op stocking up on organic celery and the chap who played Eddie the dustman in Corrie was once rumoured to be buying sprouts on the Farmers Market.