Oh What A Night!October 20, 2014 // No Comments
20th September 1989 heralded the start of something new and exciting. Some thought it would never get off the ground, or at best be a flash in the pan!
20th September 2014 was an equally memorable occasion. SAIF’s 25th Birthday Party and what a party it was!!! Everything from the food and entertainment to the company was brilliant, with many commenting that it was the best SAIF event that they had ever been to! The occasion was relaxed, with only a welcome speech by Alun and a toast to SAIF given by myself. No other speeches were given and no raffle held other than an informal collection to win one of my award winning (5th place) jars of honey, which raised £1100 for Crisis, my charity this year. I would like to thank all the SAIF staff for making it happen and everyone who attended for making it such a fantastic night. Mary even lost her voice for three days after. Bliss!
My first event of September was to attend the opening of John Whitehouse’s new offices in Newton Aycliffe nr Darlington. It was a lovely day with many people attending and having a look around John’s very smart premises. I even had a go at riding the motorcycle hearse, and what a challenge that was! My hat goes off to those riders. The day ended by enjoying a meal with John and his family before catching the last train home. This gave me an opportunity to call at the Tower of London and see for myself the poppy installation, ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ to mark the 100 anniversary of the outbreak of the 1st World War and to highlight the 888,246 British military lives lost. It’s a very moving spectacle and given the time of 11.30pm it was very quiet and gave me time to reflect on all the lives lost and how we, as a profession, played some small part in the lives of the bereaved at that time and to remember absent friends and family now.
The following week I attended the 21st birthday of the opening of A B Walker & Son Ltd in Bracknell and our SAIF executive meeting, where it was announced that we have now passed 750 members for SAIF, which is great news and we are still growing. I also attended the Essex regional meeting at Chelmsford, which was well attended and again the members raised a good sum of money towards my charity, Crisis. The following day I was in London for a meeting with the Trading Standards Institute to see how we can benefit from becoming members and to strengthen the name of SAIF with the public. I was then off to Tiverton for another regional meeting which, although numbers were lower than other regions, the response and questions from those attending made it one of the better meetings this year and after months of trying, Bob Tomes of Colourful Coffins finally won the honey!
Saturday 27th September and it was train time again, this time to Durham where I attended the NAMM conference banquet and was pleased to welcome Keith Rackham as their new president. I will also be attending the ICCM, CFSMA, a joint BIFD/BIE/NAFD meeting in Ireland and the BIFD conferences this month which will keep me very busy and fighting an expanding waist line!
This month is honey extraction month. I enlisted the help of an old friend to help with the collection of the supers from the hives and no one got stung! Then the really hard work began. First the frames had to have the wax cappings cut off to expose the cells full of honey. I then placed them into a centrifugal extractor which is hand cranked to remove the honey. The honey is finally filtered and placed into large buckets and allowed to settle. This took us most of the day! Next we took the empty frames back to the bees for them to clean out any remnants of honey. I can never resist knowing how much honey we have taken off, so out came the bathroom scales much to Mary’s annoyance! After weighing all the buckets, we have a total of 120lb of honey, which is fantastic for the up and down year that we have had, and one hive is still producing honey!
All that now remains is to start to jar up the honey and decide what and how much to enter into the National Honey Show at the end of October.
Next month I hope to see you at my own regional meeting in Maidstone and the SAIF Education Day in Leicestershire which I hope you will be able to attend as we have some great sessions lined up bringing a wealth of knowledge to you and your staff.
Dedicated in memory of my Granddad.