Bill Turnbull is always a great newsreader so it was with intrigue I picked up The Bad Beekeepers Club by him. ‘Hello. My name is Bill and I’m a bad beekeeper. A really bad beekeeper.’ So begins Bill Turnbull’s charming account of how he stumbled into the mysterious world of beekeeping (sometimes literally). Despite many setbacks – including being stung in the head (twice) on his first day of training – beekeeping somehow taught Bill a great deal about himself and the world around him.
Bill chronicles his mishaps – and brief triumphs – with great humour. For those who know nothing about beekeeping, you get a sort of beginners guide to beekeeping- parts of the hive, different types of bees that make up the colony, how to remove and extract honey etc. All intertwined with his own experiences, mishaps and occasional triumph over adversity. There is also a chapter devoted to stinging, or rather the nature of how he has been stung, and this chapter in itself is worth the price of the book alone.
At the same time his stories highlight the very real threats to our bee population, and what we can do to create a better environment for these vital and rather wonderful creatures. Fascinating and hugely engaging, The Bad Beekeepers Club is a universally appealing story about a very singular passion.
For those who know Bill from his daytime job, this is not an autobiography; it is about beekeeping, so any references made to his job (BBC Breakfast), Strictly Come Dancing, etc are from the view point of how they impact on his beekeeping and vice versa. In addition, the problems facing bees worldwide and the measures being used to combat these problems are discussed, but not in such a heavy handed way, that you want to flick past those pages and get to the funny sections again.
All in all a very, very funny and witty book that this reader would recommend to anyone regardless of how interested or not they are in bees.