Day 6

Tues 23rd April.
Staying with Alain.

The previous night, Alain had mentioned giving him a hand with his bees the next day. I was more then glad to help out, in some way it felt like I’d do some work for the room, and I was keen to learn something about beekeeping.
Alain’s family had their own chickens, he made, bread, honey, cider and Francoise (his wife) made their jams. He was ex-navy and in his retirement had taken to learning lots of little things. He’d helped a friend keep bees for 10 years before getting his own. While I was there he was working on getting a certificate that would allow him him to open his own bakery. He was leaving in two weeks to go to the south east of France for his exam.

I was amazed that they produced so much of their own things. Everything else around the table was locally sourced if it wasn’t from them or a friend. I later found out on the trip that this is a very normal way of life for most French families I visited in and out of cities.
Still, I couldn’t help but be impressed by it all.

Helping with the bees was interesting. I helped him expand the hives, which meant cleaning old compartments, reloading them with new sheets of wax, then Alain would add the to the most productive hives that had the best chances of making more honey. The Queen bee being the main catalyst for good production.

I could write lengths about the house, the family and the short but lovely time I spent there, one of the highlights was Alain’s tiny truck. Francoise told me he had filled out two licences by his stubborn driving and as a result had it banned. His tiny truck didn’t require a licence to drive it, having a top speed of about 40km (around 28mph).
His preference for parking it, was to make it round the corner of the drive of their house, then crash it into the bush, not using breaks.
Despite him doing this the first time, I still cracked up every other time he did it, which he got a kick out of.

We got back, ate dinner, had tea, and watched a documentary about Russain’s polluting the oceans with nuclear waste they new was harmful. It was all in French, I understood practically none of it…

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