Monday, September 24, 2012

Honeybee Has Never Been More Fashionable

My honey addiction soared out of control after I first bought and devoured the most delicious honey ever from the Honey Bee Suppliers' stall at London’s Marylebone Market.

The Honeybee company is run by Viktor Zaichenko, a Ukranian bee farmer and his 'Queen Bee' English wife Lucy, who were married in 2009.

They are based in rural Oxon, but fortunately for honey crazed Londoners they also sell their wares at farmers’ markets besides Marylebone: South Kensington’s Bute Street Market, Brixton, Twickenham and Ealing Market.

 When I first met Lucy and Viktor at Marylebone, and impulsively bought four jars of their honey (Pure Oxfordshire clear honey, Creamed Cotswold honey, Pollen enriched honey and an actual honeycomb), I hadn't studied their informative Honey Bee Website . When I did it was an education.

They  started with just 29 colonies, full of varroa, and worked from a cramped garden shed and the back bedroom of their house.

Since then they have raised a numerous amount of Queen Bees and Nucs, and at this present moment they have 700 colonies, 'all strong healthy and productive and all free of diseases.'

Viktor has spent his entire life working with bees. When he was a small boy growing up in Ukraine, he learnt from his father how not to be a bad bee keeper.

 Victor, who took his degree in Zooloogy and Animal Science at Kiev University has ‘an excellent track record in treating bees with varroa and other related diseases, and a strong belief in breeding only from healthy and productive stock.'

 Besides  rearing and selling bees and flogging their honey in bulk, Honeybee also sell beehives which is very useful for the recent glut of amateur beekeepers, who keep bees in town as well as in the country.

 Lucy, who is in charge of the company’s sales and admin also develops her own skin care range, using royal jelly, bee venom, honey and other bee products.

 'I get the royal jelly straight out of the beehives and slap it on my face. It’s so much more natural than Botox,’ she quips.'

 She also makes handmade soap.

 ‘We are just about to start packaging the verbena and lemongrass, and the lavender and the rose geranium. We've been curing for a month, once they have cured they are ready but up till that point we daren't wrap them in case they go soggy. Soap making seems to be quite a science,‘ she says.

 When I ran out of my hoarde of honey, I immediately contacted Lucy on Honey Bee’s order telephone number: 0160 - 873 7190.

 As Honeybee weren’t going to be at Marylebone Market for another month, Lucy suggested I meet her at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington where she had just been enrolled on an anti bee venom course.

 Unfortunately for Lucy, she is allergic to bees which is ironic considering she is married to a bee farmer. As she almost died after her last bee sting, she was admitted onto the course, which is full of beekeepers.

 ‘They inject me with bee venom and I have a larger dose each week, so by the end of my sixteen week course, I will have the equivalent of 3 stings of bee venom in me. That will give me protection.’ Lucy told me before handing over my bounty at St Mary's: six jars of assorted honey in glass jars she had bought down from Oxon to London on the train.

 Fortunately, I had bought my shopping trolley with me and gingerly pushed my precious honey cargo all the way down Edgware Road, very careful not to bump into anyone.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Elvis Costello Warbles For A Good Cause Once Again

Elvis Costello, who habitually surrounds himself with seasoned musicians is headlining at  Preservation Hall Jazz Band's new West Coast venue -   The Chapel, 777 Valencia Street in San Francisco on Saturday October 6th in aid of the 6th Annual Richard de Lone Special Housing Project.

(The Richard de Lone Special Housing Project is a non profit charity with the mission of creating a state-of-the-art residential center in the San Francisco Bay Area for adults and children with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare and random genetic disorder, which Richard has).

 If you inspect the poster with a magnifying glass, you will see the 'Special Guests': Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Bill Kirchen, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be on the bill.
Buddy Miller

Jim Lauderdale

 Why am I plugging this interesting sounding benefit concert on the other side of the pond? Because Richard de Lone is my nephew and Austin de Lone, the veteran musician who is putting the show on is my brother-in-law, that's why.
The legendary Austin de Lone 

Also, my sister Lesley is the President of the RDSHP! And my talented chanteuse niece Caroline de Lone, who has known Elvis since she was a baby will undoubtedly make a guest appearance too.

Admittedly this plug stinks of Nepotism, but the concert is definitely worth going to if you are in that neck of the woods on (I repeat) Saturday October 6th.

So if you want to fly to San Francisco for this gig, Click on this link for ticket info: Ticketfly.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Arlic Dromgoole

Richard de Lone

Lesley de Lone

Caroline de Lone

Austin de Lone

Alistair Derbyshire 

Jeff Dexter 

Laura Boomer 

Stuart Anthony 

Richard Shakespeare 

Jay Dubber 

David Blyth 

Melody Boon 

Andrew O'Sirius 

Sam Cutler

Keith Williams 

Val Lownes 

Joanna Jacobs

Bruce Oldfield 

Jose Fonseca

Farah Damji

Angela Wayne

Caroline Guinness

Courtney Davis 

Alan Jones

Juno Gemes

Zelda Chesterfield 

Julian Isaacs 


Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop

Debby in Mill Valley

Roxana Melania Pirvulescu 

Tom Bushnell

John Bonehill