Personal Experiences Story by Jalboh
Leaving my ‘Beginner’s’ series for a little longer, (or maybe for good??) this month I’ve submitted another of my ‘Personal Experiences’ stories.
Once, when I was young and just starting to become interested in bees, or rather, started thinking about all the money I could make if I WAS interested in bees, my dad was asked to take some bees out of someone’s roof. A task he had done many times before and had got to the point where he could (generally) do it quite quickly and with little fuss. This, however, depended on the weather and time of day etc.
At the time he was the postmaster in quite an elite neighbourhood. He was always very chatty and had a good old chin-wag with most of the people who came into the post office. He targeted the ‘snobs’ and often took wagers with colleagues that he’d get them chatting and laughing within a week, month, or whatever. Anyway, eventually he became known as ‘The Bee Man’ by those who didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t remember his name.
He often had people, who had heard of his interest in bees, come around to pick his brains on the subject. One of these was our local postman, a young (at the time) man 10-15 years older than myself. On this occasion, when my dad was asked to remove the bees from the roof , the young lad came along for the experience. He had quite long hair (a style that was just beginning to become popular at the time). My dad used to call him ‘Bushpig’ because he had a rather rough, clumsy air about him.
A woman had come into the post office and told my dad that they were going to have a very formal dinner on Saturday evening and were expecting some important business associates of her husband to be there and, as the bees were attracted by the light, they would be a nuisance, so could my dad please come and get rid of them. As I was quite young, my dad was glad of Bushpig’s help.
Saturday came and we all set out on our rescue mission. We were led, through the dining room, to the trapdoor in the passage. Remembering that, in South Africa, terrace houses are found in the older, poorer areas and most houses, even very posh ones, are single storey (‘bungalows’ over here). The table in the lounge was quite long and had about a dozen places set with the best silver and cut-glass wine glasses, flowers and silver serviette rings and more other things than I’d ever seen before.
To be on the safe side we went in and out through the kitchen so as not to mess up the dining room. The whole job went very smoothly and quickly and without incident – until Bushpig’s foot slipped. He missed the rafter and went through the ceiling landing right in the middle of the dining room table!