15 MARCH 1957, Page 27


Protest about the habits of bees appeared in my newspaper the other day. Living close to his neigh- bours, a beekeeper cannot expect to be entirely popular, and white articles on a line seem to have a fatal attraction for bees, which soil the linen, leaving a stain that sometimes makes it necessary to repeat the washing. I recall an acquaintance who, in addition to being a police officer, was also an ardent bee- keeper, but found his life made uncomfortable by the protests his neighbours made concerning the care- less ways of his bees. One day I met him as he left his office with a particularly grim look on his face. `Murder?' I asked. 'I'd like to,' he replied. 'Three ladies called on me this morning with bedsheets in their hands. Since they say my bees soiled them they expect me to have them laundered. Do you see what it means?' He found no consolation in my flippant remarks about the prisoner being innocent until

proved guilty, or the fact that bees carry no owner's nameplate. He eventually solved his problem, I believe, not by giving up his bees, but by moving his home!