Story: The beekeeper’s hood and the corkscrew


The beekeeper’s hood and the corkscrew

A story by Jill Pratt about a beekeeper’s hood and a corkscrew.

One of the weird requests I had was a gentleman I didn’t know came in and asked me if I had a

beekeeper’s hood and I said, “Well no, I didn’t have a beekeeper’s hood but I did have a midge net that I

could lend him if he thought that would be enough.”

And I had this midge net that had been made for me by a company that I’d seen advertised which was solid

material at the back and the net across the face and I said to him he would need to wear it over a hat to

keep the net away from his face. “Yes, that would be fine.”

So I went up from the shop to the house and got the net and took it down and gave it to him and off he

went. And he said his bees were swarming and he didn’t really want to get stung but this would be fine.

And a few weeks later he came back and he came back with a bunch of flowers and a pot of honey and he

said he was the only one that didn’t get stung – of all the people that were helping him with these bees.

But the flowers and the honey I thought were such a nice thank-you because I had lent him this net and

that was what happened all the time. People would come in for something and I didn’t have it but maybe I

had it up in the house and I would go and get it and give it to them and the same thing happened with a


People coming through going to the Lonach Games in Strathdon had found their wine had corks and they

didn’t have a corkscrew. I did sell corkscrews but the only things left in the box were tin openers.

So I went up to the house and got our corkscrew and said ‘There you go, have the corkscrew. If you’re

coming back this way just drop it off.” And I thought well, if I get it back that’s OK and if I don’t, it’s only a

corkscrew. But, sure enough, they came back quite late that night, with the corkscrew, with profuse thanks,

so that was another thing that helped to make the shop the place I wanted it to be.

And another case was a German boy – well a young man – who had been camping. He had one night to go

and he had an egg to eat and he couldn’t eat the egg without salt and the only salt that we had was

obviously in the big household packets so I just nipped upstairs, put some salt in a little bit of paper,

screwed it up and said “There you are”. And he was so touched. I think he was on the verge of giving me a

hug – but didn’t. But I thought – that was normal. That was what you did if somebody needed something you

gave it to then – and what was a little bit of salt?

So it was good.