25. Extra Money
David Cramp | On 04, May 2013
As our house building project progressed, it became rapidly obvious that the general rule of estimating expenditure and then doubling the figure was wrong. By the time we had put the poles up and covered and retiled the roof, and enlarged and roofed the chicken house, we were running at estimate x 4 and after completing the plumbing arrangements and actually getting to have a shower, it was estimate x 6.
Sale of produce and other income didn’t nearly begin to cover this and the whole situation was getting worse. Thankfully, the building materials supply company was never in a hurry to be paid but when on one occasion I went in to their office to pay a bill and they had to look for it in the ‘unpaid historical bills’ box, I was severely embarrassed and thought I’d better do something about it. But what?
There is quite a distance between deciding to earn more money and actually getting a job, but taking to heed Lord Tebbit’s advice to “get on your bike” I managed to get an interview with Dorset Police to be a seasonal Police Traffic warden in Bournemouth. I scraped together the flight money, flew to the UK and was accepted for the role along with a couple of others.
In a sort of way I was hoping that they would turn me down and then at least I could say to the family “well I tried but never mind”, but to my surprise, they took me on and I knew that this was going to make things complicated and that Anna was going to have to come into her own as a solo beekeeper for a while.
Lucy was then 5 and so she would have to start learning as well! After all, it did mean extra money and even if only to avoid bankruptcy, that money was going to come in really handy – and we really needed to do something about the sitting room.
I worked it out that if I split my hives and bred new queen bees and got them all housed and settled in time for late May, they could build up on spring and early summer flowers and may even produce surplus in the autumn. The larger colonies could stay as they were and take in early plum and apple and build up pollen on gorse and rock roses and Anna could sort out any swarming problems and add boxes as and when required.
I could then go off in June for 5 months and return in time for any harvest. Simple! But of course it’s never that simple. But on one glorious early June day, we tripped down to Seville airport and leaving Anna and Lucy with about 10 pesetas, I flew off into the blue to dress up in a smart blue uniform and meet the people of Bournemouth.