My Favourite Visiting Author of Marlborough LitFest
I had been asked to have the author of the 2017 Big Town Read to stay at my B&B, and was delighted to be able to offer her a room.
‘I’d better read her book before she comes’, I thought, and so picked up a copy of The Bees by Laline Paull.
‘Oh, my goodness! This really isn’t my usual choice of genre’ I thought, ‘but I must persevere so that I appear knowledgeable when she stays with me’. So I battled through the first chapter or so wondering how anyone could write a book from the point-of-view of a bee!
Gradually I relaxed into the story and I became familiar with my surroundings; I began to feel at home in the beating heart of the bee hive and I got to know my fellow bees.
I became the constant companion of the Flora 717 and she worked ceaselessly to keep her home pristine, working with thousands of other workers to ensure the hive was exactly right for the queen to lay her eggs.
I learnt to understand their language as they communicated through dance, working together as though they were just one organism on a mission to achieve perfection, and I became a follower of their religious sect, trying to keep up with their rituals and rites.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. I worked alongside Flora as she survived innumerable threats from her queen’s guardians, taking personal umbrage from their unreasonable attacks on her when she was ‘chosen’ to be fertile too.
Once she began foraging, I flew with her into the open space outside the hive, enjoying the early abundance of flowers, and later, searching for the last blooms of summer - and facing even greater dangers outside the hive than in.
And as the days shortened, so did the energy of Flora 717, until she quietly rested as the rest of the hive swarmed away into a tree.
‘Ah, I’m smitten!’ I couldn’t wait to meet Laline, and she didn’t disappoint. What a charming lady. I was thrilled to host her stay in Marlborough and her talk in the Town Hall was excellent.
Formerly of Kennet House B&B, Marlborough
Now running 1 The Paddocks B&B in Aldbourne