CAME IN THROUGH THE BEDROOM WINDOW . . . They did. It was a double-hung, wooden framed sash window with the swivel-latch down below; you know the type. So they broke a hole and un-swivelled the latch and hey presto – a relatively quiet night entry achieved around the back of the older style home on a big and bushy section. Bold burglars. A lap top, a camera and some junk jewellery stolen the owner tells me. Ah dear, and we all keep so much personal stuff on our lap tops; the inconvenience factor alone is immense.
Bold indeed, because of the bees. Bees? You ask. Yes, bees. Very busy bees, and hundreds of them – right outside the very window I am to repair. Their hive is in the adjacent bush that even now brushes up against that window. It’s a hot day and their buzzing is loud – they must have been sleeping the night of the break-in. I quickly decide to do most of the work from inside, carefully removing the damaged glass while the owner, a somewhat delicate but well-preserved older woman, nervously flutters a tea towel about me trying to prevent . . . well, you can guess what she was envisaging – a house full of buzzing bees. Honey bees don’t worry me though; they have their own agenda and will remain about their business as long as they are not threatened. She’d had the curtail pulled across, but was now fluttering a tea towel in an attempt to keep them out. This, I was not happy about – thinking of the ‘red rag to a bull’ scenario. I tactfully ask if she could make a cup of tea while I deal with the job in hand, assuring her I’ll try not to trap any bees inside.
Removing the old putty was the high point on the danger register. I manage to do it all from the inside, but as bits of hard old putty shot off into that bush my palms began to get sweaty and I imagined I detected waves of disaffection in their busy, buzzing tone. The sweaty palms may have been from the gloves I was wearing . . . plus the towel I’d wrapped around my face – there’s a proper time and place to test theories on bee behaviour, and this wasn’t it.
That done, all that remained was for the pre-cut glass to be tacked and puttied into place. Unfortunately, this had to be done from outside. Well, time for a pause and a cup of tea out in the kitchen and a bit more reassurance – for both of us.
Needn’t have worried, the bees largely ignored me, some alighting on me while I worked but then carrying on with their job in hand. Funny critters, talk about work-a-holics! Inspirational in a strange sort of way. The two or three that had entered the room were happy to leave it when I opened the newly glazed window. And as I drove off I wondered what our honey stock was like at home. I could have . . . hmmmmmm.