The year was not without its frustrations, to put it mildly, but we were able to end on a high note. December’s online talk by Brigit Strawbridge Howard, held in collaboration with Dean Forest Beekeepers, proved exceptionally popular with members, many of whom got in touch to say how much they enjoyed it. More than 50 members of the two organisations attended the Zoom webinar.

Brigit is a naturalist, wildlife gardener and the author of Dancing With Bees, an account of her re-discovery of the natural world, which led her to take up the plight of pollinators. Her fascinating talk focused mainly on some of the UK’s 250 species of solitary bees, which are vitally important pollinators. These include some species which create their nests in empty snail shells, and cuckoo bees, which lay their eggs in the nest of a host species. She highlighted the way that different bee species are able to pollinate particular flowering plants, largely governed by the bee’s tongue length, and the symbiotic relationship between bee and plant, with each depending on the other for its survival. The talk was accompanied by an impressive array of pictures. Our thanks to Jon Axe, chair of DFBKA, for organising the event.

Holding it online had the advantage that we didn’t need to leave our homes on a winter’s evening. But we earnestly hope that before the new year is much older we will be able to return to the Mackenzie Hall for our meetings where, during the interval, we will be able to enjoy tea, cake and a chat!