Monday, March 31, 2008

To Bee Or Not To Bee

Screencaps from Marie Antoinette

I have a love/hate relationship with bees. I'm allergic to them (or I was when I was younger, I hear it's something you grow out of) and everytime I was stung I would have to take a wretched tasting pink syrup. Like mechanics always have faulty cars, I have found it most likely that allergic people will continuously get stung by bees.

I lived in the middle of the bush in New Zealand, we had a 10 acre block to run on and over and through, and was used to seeing my Dad disapear into the trees with a Coke bottle filled with petrol to get rid of bees nests. I think the bees knew that I was no match for their pointy, poisonous bottoms.

One summer we got a phone call from a neighbour where we were warned that "the bees are coming" and we had about 10 minutes before the swarm arrived. I thought it was fantastically exciting since my grandmother used to tell us about the bombings in London during the war and how she would run to the bomb shelter in the backyard. Actually, the bombing stories made me irrationally fearful of any aeroplane that flew over our house being a Nazi bomber which was not helped by the Airforce doing practice flights over our area. But I digress.

After the ominous "the bees are coming" phone call we ran around the house, stuffing old towels up the chimney, closing every window and door and ushering the pets inside. Assuming the bees would move on, like drunks at the end of the night, we were fairly unconcerned. Only the bees decided to stay for the rest of the summer, hanging around like a carpet of angry, manic, yellow and black striped methamphetamine addicts.

Honey Bee Love→ If those bees were crystal meth addicts, then bumblebees are little men in adorable pyjama sets, lazing in opium dens in a Tintin comic (The Blue Lotus, if you're wondering!). I like bumblebees and their fuzzy coats, it's to keep them warm and you've got to respect an appropriately dressed animal.

Bumblebees are fairly interesting, as far as bees go. They leave their scent on the flowers they visit which wards off other bees and lets them know which flowers are worth their time. And they don't get too aggressive, unlike those wretched bees that kept me from cartwheeling across the lawn for an entire summer.

A Taste Of Honey→ My Dad was back in NZ recently and went to a really adorable cafe called BeesOnline and returned with a box of Organic Honey Snap Paks which are a single serve of organic honey equivelent to a serve of sugar. I used to despise honey, although I think it was hatred via association (because honey meant bees which meant stings which meant pain and swelling and nausea) but I'm starting to enjoy it. Alone it's just honey, but added to tea, on homemade banana bread (oh yum!) or added to cooking. My absolute favourite honey treat is baklava, a ridiculously sweet, addictive Arabic nut and honey pastry. Words do it no justice, you'll die of happiness and diabetes just by glancing at a piece.

Honey Doll→ Honey is also marvelous on the skin, I like to use a serve of honey with my usual cleanser, make a thick bubbly lather and leave it on my skin for a minute or two. It's moisturising, great dabbed on breakouts (it has anti-bacterial properties that work for all sorts of injuries) and tightens the skin.

Honey Hush→ And of course, there's the old honey/death link. The Egyptians, Romans, Eskimos, Chinese and oh just about every ancient culture known to man linked honey and death, placing jars of honey next to the dearly departed. Honey found in tombs of Egyptian royals is still preserved and there was a belief that if a body was immersed in honey the person would be revived. Personally, I can't think of a worse state to wake in that being covered in honey, although your skin would be magnificent.

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