The Importance of the Bee Population

Honey bee in cherry tree
Honey bee in cherry tree
I bound naked from the bed, brandishing the biography of Marcus Aurelius You can't just squash a creature that was once beloved of Apollo and which mankind has associated, since the beginning, with poetry and rhetoric and the gift of speech itself ... you cannot kill a bee The economic recovery is like the bee population
  Long before the alarm clock goes, the buzzing begins, and I am afraid my irritation sometimes gets the better of me. As soon as the sunlight hits the window panes, the dunderheaded insects conceive their lust to be outdoors, sticking their noses into the sexual organs of the flowers, and bonk bonk bonk they start to bash their furry bonces against the glass and buzz buzz buzz they go in frustration until I can take it no more. I bound naked from the bed, brandishing the 580-page biography (unread) of Marcus Aurelius; and just as I am about to give the brutes a drubbing they will not forget, I pause, and hold my hand, as an Inuit holds his club poised above the head of a baby seal when a Greenpeace activist shouts to him across the floes. I hear the voice of conscience, and Marcus Aurelius trembles in my grip. Whoa there, says the voice of conscience. You cannot flatten the most popular insect in world history. You can't just squash a creature that was once beloved of Apollo and which mankind has associated, since the beginning, with poetry and rhetoric and the gift of speech itself. You shouldn't murder a poor defenceless critter to which we have traditionally ascribed every human virtue from patriotism to thriftiness; and above all, says the voice of conscience, you cannot slaughter a member of a species now thought to be as threatened as the panda. No, friend, says conscience, savouring a rare moment of victory as I lower Marcus Aurelius, you cannot kill a bee. "Sorry, guv," say the pest control people when I mention the underfloor infestation. "We don't touch bees. They're protected." When I consult the Rentokil website, I find all sorts of advice about how to massacre wasps and ants, but not bees. If you are lucky enough to have bees in your house, says Rentokil, you must treat them as honoured guests. If you value the future of the planet, you will not touch a bristle of their buzzing little backs. As all bee experts will testify, there are good grounds for such restraint. The global bee population has recently entered a catastrophic decline, in a syndrome despairingly but vaguely known as "Colony Collapse Disorder". Thriving bee farms are being turned overnight into ghost towns as workers mysteriously desert their queens; beeswax candles are in short supply; the stocks of honey are running low; and with too few bees to pollinate the plants that make up the very basis of our agriculture, everyone is quoting Albert Einstein to the effect that if the bees go, the human race will perish four years later. In the great bee crisis, it is impossible not to see the metaphor. Since Homer compared the Greek troops to columns of bees issuing from a hollow rock, bees have stood for mankind's organisational ability. As Shakespeare puts it, they are creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom. Hive of industry; busy as a bee – for centuries these have been the clichés of human economic success. Well, look at the poor bees now, and look at the world economy. No one knows exactly what has gone wrong with the bees. Some blame the Varroa mite; some blame pesticides; some say they have been put off by all the genetically-modified crops; some say the bees are getting fed up of being carted around to fertilise the Californian fruit and nuts, and have gone on a kind of strike; and some say that their navigational technology is being jammed by humanity's increasing use of mobile phones. No one can say why they go off to die on their own, and no one knows exactly where they go – except me, that is. I can tell you that a small but noisy minority has junked the hive and come to live in our house, at least until first light, when they like to rise early and make love to the spring flowers. I have one on my desk in front of me. I am afraid that he has knocked his little bee brains out trying to fly through the window, but you can tell by the fat yellow pollen sacs on his legs that his last day was highly enjoyable. He has been out there pollinating and fertilising in a thoroughly promiscuous way, and later this year, I expect, there will be some apple or cherry that ripens entirely thanks to his efforts. And that is the point, my friends. The economic recovery is like the bee population, in that you never know exactly where it will turn up. Samson saw the bees swarm in the belly of the lion. Virgil described how you could restore a bee colony by beating a bullock to death and sticking it in a brick kiln. Unlikely though these may sound as places for bee generation, they are nothing like as inhospitable to nature as our house. If I were trying to breed bees myself, they would certainly go the way of our belly-up goldfish, or our hamsters, who all had shamelessly incestuous relationships before expiring of hamster Aids. Here is the most polluted, bee-hostile urban environment you could imagine, the air thick with hairspray and nit cream and the microwaves of umpteen mobiles and other electronic devices – and yet I am proud to say that it is also a refuge for some of the most vulnerable and vital animals in the ecosystem. I don't want to make too much of this. I will not claim that I have seen a bee revival, any more than I will claim to have seen the bottom of the market. But when I read the wrist-slitters and the gloomadon-poppers in the Financial Times, and their snooty refusal to see any hope in the recent rallies in stocks or in house prices, then I cannot help thinking of the people who are buying houses, and opening shops, with a determination and confidence that will eventually lead us out of recession; and I think of the amazing animal optimism that urges the bees to try living in my bedroom, and I put Marcus Aurelius back on the shelf where he belongs. [First published in the Daily Telegraph on 07 April 2009 under the heading: "Encourage bees to make our economy buzz again."  Photo by Cassie Peters.]

54 thoughts on “The Importance of the Bee Population”

  1. When the recovery occurs is of little consequence to Boris Johnson, who gets a quarter of a million pounds a year for writing his bit in the Telegraph and a few other columns.

  2. So many words, so little substance.
    Capitalism is not nature as god intended, it is one version of society as man intended, and a temporary one at that.
    If you want portentous overstuffed metaphors, try another tack. Capitalism is destroying nature, not mimicking it or obeyong its natural laws.

  3. Wonderful Boris! Thanks for your column about *me*. As you know Melissa in Greek = honeybee, so I have always had a soft spot for bees and have honey every morning for breakfast.

    Let’s all be busy bees and work ourselves out of this recession with confidence.

    – Off I go to Twitterland to tweet and buzz away there, busy as a bee of course – @Melissacw

  4. In Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry is persuaded by his advisors that the economy will run smoothly “like a hive of bees” while he is away fighting France. His Archbishop of canterbury says,

    “Therefore doth heaven divide
    The state of man in divers functions,
    Setting endeavour in continual motion;
    To which is fixed, as an aim or butt,
    Obedience: for so work the honey-bees,
    Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
    The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
    … I this infer,
    That many things, having full reference
    To one consent, may work contrariously;
    As many arrows, loosed several ways,
    Fly to one mark; as many ways meet in one town;
    As many fresh streams meet in one salt sea;
    As many lines close in the dial’s centre;
    So may a thousand actions, once afoot,
    End in one purpose, and be all well borne
    Without defeat. Therefore to France, my liege.”

  5. “Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
    In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
    There I couch when owls do cry.
    On the bat’s back I do fly
    After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily shall I live now
    Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”

    Where the bee sucks

    Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
    In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
    There I couch when owls do cry.
    On the bat’s back I do fly
    After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily shall I live now
    Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

    — William Shakespeare

    Ariel sings this beautiful song from “The Tempest”.

  6. ‘ I bound naked from the bed…’ This first line really made me feel dizzy. So he always sleeps in the nude then? It took me a few minutes to recover before I could read the rest of his essay.

    Boris’s choice of words is rather strange: bees making love to spring flowers, bees going on strike, his hamsters all had incestuous sex before dying of Aids… I suspect eccentric people are all like that – strange but harmless lot.

    Wonderful Boris! Thanks for your essay about *me*. Thankyou!

    Angela, it’s me. Having been excommunicated from this blog (?), I had to change my name by deed poll in order to get back in. Lovely poem, Angela, very Springy. There are lots of cowslips and wild primroses in my back garden right now. Their flowers are in many shades of yellow with lovely sweet scent. So English.

  7. Naked with Marcus Aurelius? What could be better, ha! Besides being impressed by yet another beautifully verbose column filled with gorgeous metaphors, I applaud you for remaining so positive about everything and not giving in to the doom and gloom surrounding us.

    Tyui, perhaps you should consider developing some sort of ambition and trying to get a newspaper column yourself if you’re so jealous about other people’s talents and money. Since you seem to think that money — and a lot of it — are so very important, why not do something about it instead of whining? Jealousy is never a pretty thing.

    And Little Richardjohn, you must work for New Labour if you think that capitalism is bad and not natural. What, pray tell, IS natural to you?

    Perhaps you’d like to live in a society like Russia where you have very little chance to succeed in life, unless you happen to work for the government where you’re given your very own lane to travel in while driving, one that’s not allowed for the simple and common minions of society.

    Sorry, but I’ll take capitalism any day of the week over its extreme opposite, namely the form of government that New Labour would love to bring in where they would have absolute control and power over the British public. But I suppose it doesn’t bother you to pay for Jacqui Smith’s porn and barbecue, eh?

  8. B-sting, there are lots of cowslips in my garden and primulas, and forget me nots, and also tulips, my favourite flower (half Dutch you see).

    The Mayor is probably such an innocent he does not realise that he is inviting risque remarks by mentioning he doesn’t wear pajamas. To the pure all things are pure. (Titus 1:15).

    I did miss you, because you are such an enthusiastic blogger, who obviously loves writing, your political stuff is sincerely felt and is your best work.

  9. Kristine, sweetheart, you don’t know the New Russia: it’s ALL ABOUT capitalism, unfettered by government controls. I’ve had some dealings with it, myself, and the smell of rotting, unused souls will keep you awake nights.

  10. However great their number, provided they haven’t gone to your house to die Boris, (you shall have to keep us informed) perhaps there is much to learn from their resilience to defeat.

    I hope the British prove to be AS resilient in times when governments administer to a Hangover, the remedy of a Scotch –

    “That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.”
    -Marcus Aurelius (can’t tell you what page it’s on of the 580!)

    About Boris’ bounding about ill-clad,
    “HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE”

  11. Capitalism’s honeymoon over?
    Bumbling banks no longer a-buzz?
    But Boris is still the bee’s knees.

  12. “He has been out there pollinating and fertilising in a thoroughly promiscuous way, and later this year, I expect, there will be some apple or cherry that ripens entirely thanks to his efforts.”

    Highly unlikely. The worker bees are all female. The males are drones and famously don’t do much other than impregnate the Queen.

    Otherwise, a highly enjoyable read. Well done on trying to raise people’s spirits. Good luck with your uninvited guests!

  13. Could someone confirm that Boris Johnson gets a quarter of a million pounds a year for his Telegraph column and some other journalism?

    How many homes does he have? Does he plan to send his children to Eton and encourage them to join the Bullingdon Dining Club?

  14. Hedgie: well-spotted! You made me laugh – thanks.

    Bees in the house must be a mixed blessing but just adds to my wonder at the people who say bee numbers are declining. I think our garden must have a sign over it: ‘UK bee refuge – all known types’. Perhaps the bees are just migrating? Presumably only those with a good education lodge chez-Johnson. Somehow, I think the honey recipe is going to be even more brief than the famous one for chutney!

  15. Talking about nature and gardening, folks. If you enjoy gardening, please do not stop just because of the recession. In fact, I feel peace and quiet when I stand in my garden and admire the plants; far way from the rat race and this dreadful recession.

    Go out and treat yourself to a few new plants- the thing is we can’t reclaim the expense like Jacqui Smith!

    New this summer:

    *Scented double Begonia: Bred by a Belgian man over a 30 year period, it’s pendulous, vigorous with peachy double flowers with a strong rose scent. Perfect for hanging baskets. Google: SCENTED BEGONIA

    *Climbing Fuschia: a fast grower, can reach 12 ft high in one season. Quite hardy, but best if grown beside a sunny wall. Available in Homebase by the name Climbing Fuschia ‘Lady Boothby’. Google: CLIMBING FUSCHIA LADY BOOTHBY

    *Fully hardy Gardenia: Yes, it’s true. Gardenia ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ will flower twice a year; in late spring and late summer. Multi single white flowers with the same strong Gardenia sweet scent. Available in Homebase this summer or by mail order from other firms. Google: GARDENIA KLEIM’S HARDY

    *Mimosa (Latin name: Acacia): this is my favourite tree. It always reminds me of balmy Australia and California and those quickies on the rocks. I have 2 big ones in my garden; acacia dealbata and acacia longifolia. Acacia dealbata has showy flowers, quite hardy while acacia longifolia is the hardiest but less showy. They are quite common in the UK now, especially in London’s warm gardens. Best grown on a sunny site. Available in Homebase right now or by mail order from other firms. Google: ACACIA PICS

    *Goji berry: The new super food from Himalyas. Well, it’s not new at all; in fact it’s naturalised in the UK, especially along the coastal regions; sometimes called The Duke’s Berry or Boxthorn.

    Now, if you’re in Brighton, walk past the Grand Hotel towards west, about 5 minutes will see a small park (on the same side of the road) overlooking the beach. Growing along the park’s surrounding metal fence is a mature hedge of Goji berry! Silver-green leaves with small white flowers which forms lots of sweet,red berries in Autumn. You can snap a few stems off, trim to about 6 in. long and insert them into the ground as you would raspberry cuttings. Tesco sells dried Goji berries right now. You can sow the seeds from these, but keep the young plants indoors for the first year just in case of the cold. Google: GOJI BERRY

  16. Only 2 bees in the house- yay! Bee numbers must be declining.

    Angela, I like your thought about the Mayor an innocent man and to the pure all things are pure. But who is Titus? You meant Gordon Brown? But you know that men who sleep in the nude must be very confident about the size of their wotsit. Mmm, just imagine you sleep beside a naked man, at night the lightening wakes you up, you are frightened, your hand just reaches to the front of his body and wanders around… You know, my uncle was killed by lightening one day in the field; taking the whole force in his zipper. Poor thing.

    You know, Boris always reminds me of those European children living with their parents in Africa. With their blond hair burnt by the fierce African sun, spending their play time in the open wild with animals and insects.

    I love gardening- it’s so English. To me, Roy Lancaster is one of the best plants writer. His writing is like poetry ( in fact, English is one of the best languages in the world if you can master it ). He writes regularly in the BBC ‘GARDEN Illustrated’ monthly magazine whose cover’s photos are works of art in themselves.

    As Boris was talking about doing your bit to help businesses pick up in this recession, maybe he should front some fashion advertising campaigns for, say, M&S, D&G or Versace. They like classy people like Boris and he can model classy suits. He would be perfect with his uncoventional classy looks.

  17. “Electric cars for capital, says Boris”

    It doesn’t matter what the cars run on, they still stop children playing out in the street or walking to school.

    The Conservatives haven’t got a clue on transport and [Ed: inappropriate words]

  18. The Beatles had a good thing going with Honey Pie …

    Honey Pie

    She was a working girl
    North of England way
    Now she’s hit the big time
    In the U.S.A.
    And if she could only hear me
    This is what I’d say.

    Honey pie you are making me crazy
    I’m in love but I’m lazy
    So won’t you please come home.

    Oh honey pie my position is tragic
    Come and show me the magic
    of your Hollywood song.

    You became a legend of the silver screen
    And now the thought of meeting you
    Makes me weak in the knee.

    Oh honey pie you are driving me frantic
    Sail across the Atlantic
    To be where you belong.

    Honey pie, come back to me.

    I like it like that,
    Oohh, I like this kinda, hot kind of music.
    Hot kind of music, play it to me,
    Play it to me Hollywood blues

    Will the wind that blew her boat
    Across the sea
    Kindly send her sailing back to me.

    Honey pie you are making me crazy
    I’m in love but I’m lazy
    So won’t you please come home.

  19. Boris,
    Wonderful article, thank you very much from the bees and a bee keeper.
    However, you seem to be in error on one small point. The poor bee on your desk was a “she” not a “he”. The worker bee is a female and the drone (a male bee) does not forage for pollen etc. In another place, I could tell you what a drone actually does !!!!
    Don’t worry I will still vote for you, keep up the good work.
    Michael

  20. “Boris Johnson accused of trying to make political capital out of Bob Quick resignation”.

    To me, the announcement on the Today programme sounded pompous and insincere.

  21. Don’t go to that Brighton sea-front little park to nick a few Goji berry cuttings; you might get yourself nicked. Chinese supermarkets in London’s Chinatown sell Goji berry stems in bunches. Fresh, straight 12” long stems with green leaves. They call it Koo-Kee, and they cook the leaves like we do spinach or add them to their soups. You buy a bunch, cook the fresh leaves. Then cut the soft top-ends off to shorten the stems to 7” long, stick these cuttings into pots of compost or stick them into a well prepared veg bed in your garden and water them. There you have it.

    Goji berry grows wild all over the hillsides in Tibet where the monks swear they eat a handful of them sweet, juicy berries every day to boost up their sex life. I think it’s cheaper than Viagra really.
    —-
    ” I am being picked on just because I am a woman! “, protests Jacqui Smith, Labour Home Secretary, on her expenses fiddlings (Daily Mail 8/4/09).

    This thick skinned, light fingered woman is a disgrace to women. Did you see her appear on numerous TV Breakfast shows yesterday to declare that she was not going to resign as she had not done anything wrong? She had a full make-over, a new hairdo, ditching her glasses, yet was still looking so desparate!

  22. You said: Female bees go out to work and the male bees just stay at home?

    Are them male bees on jobseeker’s benefits, too; like those under-house-arrest-terror-suspects in the UK?

  23. ” It was Saturday morning in late Fall when I found a lonely bummble bee on my bedroom windowsill. He was motionless. His back was covered with pollen. I flicked my finger at him gently, trying to wake him up. He waved his feet at me a few times then just laid there quietly beside the old, potted white Geranium which was struggling to carry her last blooms while the year was coming to an end.

    I looked outside through the window. Grey, grey sky. A gentle shower was dampening my back yard. An old, muddy Magpie was staring at me from the black and white Silver Birch trees whose small, golden leaves were saying good-byes to their mothers then danced their last dance slowly onto the wet grass below. My dying Sunflower just stood out there beside a rock boulder, with its heavy, brown head down, like a commemorating soldier. Bleak.

    I wondered why this bumble bee had got his pollen from. He might have made a long, long journey in search for any remaining flowers and on his way back, he became exhausted and got lost… I honestly did not know how to help him. Instead, I decided to leave him there and let him recover in peace.

    On Sunday morning, I got up naked and went to check on my bumble bee. He was still asleep on the windowsill. A white Geranium petal had fallen onto him, covering half of his body, trying to keep him warm. I flicked my finger gently at his little head to wake him up. He had died.

    Old white Geranium by Hildagarde, 10/4/09
    ——————
    Folks, someone said English was a beautiful language if one could master it. My first attemp at writing, inspired by my hero Boris Johnson. I welcome your comments- any; bad, good, destructive or constructive! Now I can understand why Boris preferred to call his worker bee ‘he’- writers are like artists who like to be creative. They don’t like to be restricted by laws, even by laws of nature. By calling his worker bee ‘he’ instead of ‘she’, his bumble bee became more soulful. I couldn’t call my bee ‘she’ as it would have ruined the story.

  24. Hildegard: you mean goji/koo-kee really is edible? Having valiantly worked my way through a packet of goji berries from the health-food store in the ‘just eat them’ manner advised by the manager, who was himself munching some of these sawdusty, red, shrivelled, chewy, dried berries, I had to admit that love of food outweighed a love of potential health benefits and never bought any more. I couldn’t even summon up the enthusiasm to try rehydrating them and putting them in bread or cakes. As for finding them lurking in yoghourt – I had more respect for my dentist. Where should one buy the berries, what should they look like and what on earth makes them a pleasure rather than a penance?

  25. Gill, the Tibetan swear they eat a handful of Goji berries every day to boost up their sex lives. The fresh, sweet berries they gather from the bushes taste much better than the dried ones sold in packets in the UK. Searching on the internet, I have also found Goji berry juice sold in 1 litre cartons. I don’t understand why it is not available in the UK. Take tinned Passionfruit pulp ( one brand is even made by Princess, the same firm that make tinned Pilchard, tinned Sardine that we see on sale in Tesco and others )- supermarkets in other countries sell them but not in the UK. Why not? Just think we could make iced passionfruit pulp drinks in the summer!

    I would suggest we soak the dried berries in a small bowl of water and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes until they are soft, taste first, if not sweet enough then add some sugar. You could soak them first then smooth them up in your food mixer ( minus the soaking water ) with strawberries, fresh milk and single or double cream. A Goji berry smoothie. Oh, yes. That reminds me, you can buy Goji berry smoothies from any smoothies kiosks in any big shopping centres near you nowsaday, Gill. They mix Goji berries ( they only use dried Goji berries ) with frozen/fresh strawberries or raspberries, milk, single/double cream… Very nice. Do try it at home.

    By the way, dried Goji berries in packets are much cheaper in Chinese supermarkets than other health foods shops like Holland & Barret or English supermarkets.

  26. For each glass of smoothy ( without other fruits added ), add a generous pinch or one tablespoon of dried Gojiberries ( no need to soak them beforehand ). If your smoothy contains other berries, then use only half tablespoon of dried Gojiberries. Enjoy!

  27. Most people will never come into contact with public school boys in the course of their lives.

    So it’s interesting that those that do so often don’t like what they find. Alan Bennett, the Yorkshire playwright, recently spoke about the public-school louts he encountered at Oxbridge, and against public-schools. He was probably referring to people like those of the Bullingdon Dining Club at Oxford which Boris (and David Cameron) was a member of.

    Groups of public-schoolboys like these who only mix with their own at university must indeed be disspiriting for non-public-schoolboys at Oxbridge, St Andrews, Edinburgh and probably others.

    It’s wrong that Boris Johnson and David Cameron try to sweep this under the carpet. Better to apologise.

    No doubt other Yorkshiremen who weren’t silver-spooned through life would feel the same way about such people if they were unlucky enough to encounter them. They would recognise that a certain number of people at public-schools turn into the Bullingdon types.

  28. Hey, thanks for all the information on goji berries. I didn’t know they were what the Americans call wolfberries. I’ll see if I can find some decent ones somewhere in the area and try again.

    Hasn’t today been wet? Won’t have done the bees much good but I see Obama is cautiously optimistic about signs of recovery in the economy and, locally, I heard two people this morning discussing new business projects while they munched their hot cross buns.

  29. GOJI BERRY PLANTS by mail order from one of the best and reliable flowers & vegetable seeds/plants companies in the UK – Thompson & Morgan

    http:www.thompson-morgan.com/fruit1/product/p82004/1.html

  30. Why all this fuss about Bob Quick flashing secret file on terror suspects in front of the journalists accidently?

    So what if the police have caught or might have not caught them because of Quick’s blunder?

    These terror suspects will accuse the police of racism, breach of human rights, sue and win and be cleared and be classed as under house arrest terror suspects and be paid long term jobseeker’s allowances and other social benefits funded by the British taxpayers; just like the other terror suspects before them. That’s all ! Read:
    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/93565/TERROR-SUSPECTS-GET-JOBS-BENEFITS

    Jacqui Smith is spending millions and millions of taxpayers’ money on her new anti-terrorists advertising campaign: ‘If you suspect it, report it to the police!’. Why? What’s for? Report them so she can pay them jobseeker’s allowances and other social benefits i.e child benefits, housing benefits… until they die?!

    The Sun, Fri 10/4/2009, page 2: ‘ SMITH IN RANT ROW ‘
    Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has been blasted for allowing a notorious hate preacher to speak at a taxpayer-funded venue. Al-Qaeda supporter Anwar Al-Awlaki will deliver a video rant at a London event sanctioned by Labour-controlled Tower Hamlets Council. Shadow security Minister Dame Pauline Neville-Jones said: ‘She’s done nothing to stop it despite her tough talk’.

    Tony Blair has told how his belief in God gave him the courage to launch the war on Iraq. Gee, he must have munched one koo-kee berry too many. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2370990.ece

    Don’t get me wrong, folks. British soldiers have been doing a great job in Iraq and on other war fronts. But it was Tony Blair, his spin doctor Alistair Campbell and Bush who falsified and sexed-up their WMD report. Dr. Kelly was ‘silenced’ for revealing the truth to the press.

    They said they wanted to get rid of the terrorists? If so, why is Labour government paying these torror suspects jobseeker’s allowances and other social benefits long term?

    If they are not terrorists, why are they still put under house arrest; wasting police time keeping watch on them – all funded by the taxpayers? They must be made to go out and find work like everybody else.

    If they have strong links with Al- Qaeda like what MI5 think, why didn’t the police jail them?

    Talking about cushy British jails:

    A Latvian immigrant man came here as a new EU citizen, did some crime and has been in jail ever since. And he enjoys life inside so much that he wrote to his younger brother in Latvia and told him all about it: nice, free meals, well equipped free gyms, TVs, DVDs, no hard labour… unlike their gulag camps back home.

    His younger brother was so impressed and decided to follow his older brother’s footsteps. He bought an one-way coach ticket to England to start his new life as another new EU citizen. Two days later he raped an English teenaged girl on a railway platform in order… to be arrested by the police and get sent to jail! And he got his wish.

    Both brothers are still in the same Belmarsh gulag.

  31. Mel, I just love that song from “The Tempest”, it is so beautiful and embodies spring.

    I also love Boris’s article. Some of the Mayor’s articles on the economy are hard to understand but the use of “praeteritio” (which is now a very big thing with me) makes his meaning clear as crystal. Like many of the bloggers here, I love gardening and gardens and what is lovelier than sitting in your garden on a sunny day and watching the bees buzz and bumble around the lavendar and roses. Watching them induces a peace and happiness that is positively Zen like.

  32. B-sting, if you like the thought of the Mayor as a child with his blond mop, have you read his biography (“Boris” by Andrew Gimson) or Stanley Johnson’s new book? There are such screamingly funny anecdotes of in the first book and also pictures of toddler Boris. In Stanley’s book, it is about his life, and a devilishly dashing life he has led.

    Our Sunday papers are polluted by news of another Labour scandal. Damian McBride has resigned because of the smears he was discussing with Derek Draper. Labour always seem to drag politics down to the lowest, seamiest depths, while Mayor Boris inspires us with beautiful articles on the economy, with reference to bees and nature, and plans to lay on a St. George’s Day week of fun. David Cameron inspires us with his speeches and impeccable manners, and his straight and direct style.

    When people say to me why are you such a passionate Tory supporter, this is why, because it really is a case of the mud or the stars.

  33. Boris, I thoroughly enjoyed your bee analogy and agree with all the comments on gardening. The stresses of life in the legal jungle are soothed when I work on my vegetable plot.

    By the way, the programme on oratory”Yes We Can! The Art of Oratory”, enthusiastically described by members of this website is repeated tonight on BBC2 at 12 midnight. You can tape it if you missed it, it was very enjoyable.

  34. In a nutshell, read a Boris Johnson article and you end up feeling heartened and much better and more hopeful. Read a Labour article or about one of their sleazy scandals and you feel a helluva lot more desperate and far worse.

  35. Derek Draper’s wife, GMTV’s Kate Garraway, should tell her viewers how many times she had seen that film ” VERA DRAKE ” before she decided to keep her baby. At least twice.

    ( And if her husband, Draper, knew about this at all, we’re sure he would have told his friend Damian McBride and they both would have informed News Of The World straight away! )

  36. Lo and behold I got the most giant plump bumblebee in my bedroom at the weekend – there must be a bee invasion sweeping across the country!

  37. Mel, Boris’s article is so imaginative, it makes me think of all the most beautiful quotations about bees in Shakespeare. (Shakespeare used bees as imagery more than any other image.) Below are the words of Queen Titania, in thrall to Oberon’s naughty spell, that she should love Bottom the Weaver, even though he has the head of a donkey. (Whom of us has not fallen victim to the same spell, albeit briefly?) Titania exhorts her fairies to…

    “Be kind and courteous to this gentleman.
    Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes,
    Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
    With purple grapes, green figs and mulberries;
    The honey-bags steal from the humble bees,
    And for night tapers crop their waxen thighs,
    And light them at the fiery glow-worm’s eyes,
    To have my love to bed, and to arise:
    And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
    To fan the moon-beams from his sleeping eyes;
    Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies. ”

    What lovely names the followers of Queen Titania has… Peaseblossom, Puck, Cobweb, Moth and Mustard Seed! But instead of rejoicing in the beauty of our gardens and the delights of butterflies and bees, we are brutally faced with headlines like “Vile smears on Tories”, “This Squalid Affair”, “Mad Dogs Trained to Maul” and “Gordon’s men use the dark arts!”

    “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Puck, Midsummer Nights Dream.

  38. tyui, in answer to your post way back about how much Boris Johnson earns for his writing, I am in no position to confirm categorically exactly how much the Mayor is paid.

    All I will say is that if someone has the talent to command a huge amount for their writing, they deserve every penny. The people who pay these sums out are not fools, they don’t pay large fees for blond hair and a winning smile. The fee has to be jusified by massive sales, so all power to anyone who commands them.

    Yup, any extremely well paid journalist is worth every penny, and it makes such a refreshing change from taking undeserved public money.

  39. An admirable article that put me in mind of a poem by Normand Rowland Gale:

    Bees

    You voluble,
    Velvety
    Vehement fellows
    That play on your
    Flying and
    Musical cellos,
    All goldenly
    Girdled you
    Serenade clover,
    Each artist in
    Bass but a
    Bibulous rover!

    You passionate,
    Powdery
    Pastoral bandits,
    Who gave you your
    Roaming and
    Rollicking mandates?
    Come out of my
    Foxglove; come
    Out of my roses
    You bees with the
    Plushy and
    Plausible noses!

  40. I Dont really need to no dat u was naked in ur bed. lol. tnks for da imporance of bees article minus the naked in bed stuff, u helped me so much. (y) x

  41. The worker bees are female Boris. The wisdom of bees and selfless working for the benefit of the colony can not comparable to the selfishness of man.

  42. The worker bees are female Boris. The selflessness of bees is not comparable to the selfishness of man.

Comments are closed.