Tag Archives: bees


The book Secret Florence (Niccolo Rinaldi)  has been useful in exploring this city, and also in explaining some of the things I’ve seen.

For example, I’ve passed this fine statue of Ferdinando I in the Piazza Santisimma Annunziata quite a number of times. It wasn’t until I was flipping through Secret Florence that I became aware of what was on the pedestal.


It’s a swarm of bees around the central queen bee. This apparently is meant to symbolise “the State as a community, as a place of industry and disciplined organisation, … the supremacy of the queen bee (a symbol of the authority of the Grand Duke Ferdinando)” But, hey, we knew all that, right?


You can test your powers of concentration by counting the number of bees, without pointing to them, or touching them. Parents here  are said to reward their children if they can do this. I’m not about to bribe you, though.


The book says there are 91 bees, but you have to determine whether or not this includes the queen bee. Have fun!


Filed under Florence

The death of a bee

I read recently about the death of  37 million bees in Ontario,  Canada. (I wonder who counted each little bee body?)

Their deaths were attributed to the proximity of genetically modified maize, and the use of a particular pesticide which damages the immune system of bees, and affects their sense of direction. This is disturbing news, if it is accurate. We depend, more than we know, on these busy little pollinators.

I have to report on the death of one little bee here on the streets of Florence. It wasn’t nasty pesticides that caused its death. No, it seems to have been fire. Poor little bee.



I forgot to mention that the Italian word for these 3 wheeled vehicles is “ape”, which is pronounced ah-pay. It means “bee”. If you’ve seen and heard one of these, you might remember the tiny engine sounded like a buzzing bee

Here is what a living one looks like.



Filed under Florence

It’s spring in Dismal Swamp

Another cheerful post for all of you. 

I cuss this tree in autumn as it drops nuts, leaves and branches all over the driveway. Then the new leaves and blossoms appear, and I forgive and forget.


Many of my trees and shrubs are going all out with blossoms and fragrance.


An old-fashioned, blowzy, fragrant rose.

The gardenia's fragrance helps me do my deep breathing exercises!

The fragrance of the gardenias helps me do my deep breathing exercises!

Even the azelias have earned themselves a reprieve for the time being.

Even the azelias have earned themselves a reprieve for the time being.

The native lilly-pilly blossoms are driving the bees crazy!

The native lilly pilly blossoms are driving the bees crazy!

It was market day in a neighbouring town. People were enjoying a rest, chat and snack in the outdoor garden of a tea-shop.


This lady on stilts was advertising the book sale in the community hall.


And, courtesy of a friend (thank you Colin), here is a cheeky Willie Wagtail playing with some Guinea fowl.

130928 b territory_colin-1

They are such delightful little birds.  http://youtu.be/izAWQvGx-CI

And, to ensure your cup runneth over, what better way to leave you than this:


Filed under Atherton, Australia