Sunday, 8 May 2016

Rescuing the bee

I spent a morning doing bits of admin before our attention was drawn to a sad-looking bee whom I found exhausted and sitting on the window ledge in the bathroom.

I can't bear to watch a bee in trouble, so I rushed to the kitchen and found some honey which I put in a little pile next to her. She immediately started to eat it, but ended up with her face stuck in it, so I was forced to repeatedly rescue her with the aid of a little comb. She then kept rolling over and getting stuck on her back which was really very distressing to watch. The poor thing was plainly at death's door.

We decided to leave her whilst we had our breakfast, and when we returned, she was looking perkier, but when she tried to fly, she merely dropped onto the floor. So out came the honey again and this time she seemed entirely content to actually feed from our fingers whilst sitting on our hand. She started to clean herself at this point which we took to be a good sign.

Ten minutes later, we opened the window, and a little later, she flew away happily. Bee officially rescued.

This afternoon I met young Ben from the cast of Brass at Hampstead Tube. It was the perfect day to visit the Heath: absolutely boiling, 27 degrees. Hotter than Italy. Hotter than LA. The Heath was rammed. The roads around the edge were gridlocked, and finding a parking space was almost impossible.

But something happens to London when it gets hot - particularly when it's a weekend. Everyone slows down a bit. Everything takes on a happy, hazy atmosphere. For some reason on days like this I always think about Adele's Hometown Glory:

"I like it in the city when the air is so thick and opaque. I like to see everybody in short skirts, shorts and shades."

I took Ben on a tour of all my favourite parts of the western side of the Heath. We walked up Heath Street to Jack Straw's Castle and beyond to the pergola which was, as ever, looking like the set of a Shakespearian play.

We crossed the road and wandered around Sandy Heath for a while before heading to the tree with the hole in it, which we sat inside for a while.

I think Ben was particularly impressed by the Vale of Health, that curious little encampment of wisteria-covered Edwardian houses in the middle of the Heath where the only sounds you can hear are the chirping of birds. It's where DH Lawrence and the Bengali poet Tagore once lived. It's also the home of a permanent gypsy encampment which seems to co-exist quite happily with, what has become, one of the most desirable set of residences in London, if not the world. I always have the somewhat romantic notion that both communities look out for one another.

We ended the afternoon back in Hampstead Village where we ate an apple pie and a cheese cake.

As I returned to the car, I noticed that the sun had started to cast rather beautiful shadows, so telephoned Nathan, told him to stand by, rushed to Tesco in Highgate Village (which had literally been stripped of food by a locust plague of picnickers and revellers) bought a few bits and bobs to snack on, collected Nathan from the house, and took him back to the Heath where we sat, on a rug, in the parakeet field, until the sun went down.

The day ended in front of Masterchef whilst orders for Nathan's latest sock "recipe" buzzed into his phone. The right person won Masterchef. And the right people are buying Nathan's design.

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