Posted in Art, Niamh Clune, story

Painshill Park & The Honey Bee Festival

Reading Biddle The Bee at Painshill Park during the honey bee festival








It was such a treat to read my Biddle The Bee story at The Painshill Honey Bee Festival at the weekend.Painshill Park is a beautiful, 18th century garden near Cobham, Surrey, UK. The landscape garden was originally created by the Honourable Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773. Over 80,000 visitors a year now visit Painshill Park with its iconic follies.

The Honey Bee Festival is hosted every year by members of The British Beekeepers Association. Sandra Rickwood and Marion Cooper of the Weybridge Branch of British beekeepers invited me to participate and read my story of Biddle The Bee. Marion Cooper helped with the final editing of the book, and I can honestly say that beekeepers are very particular that all the facts in a story should be absolutely correct! Biddle The Bee has their seal of approval! Phew!!

Biddle The Bee
And Papa jumped up, “Let’s waggle and jive! Let’s be like the bees when they’re in the hive. They buzz to the left, and buzz to the right! They’re dancing a map of their nectar flight, And showing each other just where they have been, To find the best nectar for feeding the queen!”
 My tongue is so long, like a straw, made to shloop! I prod and I poke; I probe and I scoop. I suck up the nectar for my honey tummy. I cook it; I mix it ~ sweet honey, so yummy!  I keep it and store it in my winter pantry, For when food is scarcezzzzz, and nectar is scanty!”
My tongue is so long, like a straw, made to shloop! I prod and I poke; I probe and I scoop. I suck up the nectar for my honey tummy. I cook it; I mix it ~ sweet honey, so yummy! I keep it and store it in my winter pantry, For when food is scarcezzzzz, and nectar is scanty!”

Biddle The Bee is one of a series of Pa Dug & Rosie books, all about how everything in the garden serves a purpose. In my attempt to bring poetry to science, I am thrilled to be involved in raising awareness of the wonderful bee who is under serious threat internationally from pesticides and loss of habitat. Bees are an incredible civilization unto themselves and many things upset their rhythm. As part of my research for this story, I visited an apiary. The fact that bees crawled all over me didn’t phase me a bit!  I trusted them, and they were remarkably calm ~ even when being handled.

Painshill Park is such a beautiful place. Songs from the book were sung, and children wrestled with deliberate tongue-twisters such as: “But the bee buzzed by on busy business!” Well! if you were aged between 3 and 7, you’d have fun pronouncing this! And, of course, we danced the Waggle Jive!!! Children love the musicality and rhythm of the rhyme and hearing it read with me imitating all the different voices…doing the bee voice is fun; doing this at my age is even more fun! And, of course, the little ones LOVE the pictures ~ Originals courtesy of Marta Pelrine Bacon and coloured with added graphics by yours truly!

Find Biddle The Bee HERE in Kindle (GREAT FOR CLASSROOMS). HERE (where the print version is cheaper than Amazon!)

Niamh Clune © 2014, words and illustrations, all rights reserved

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE.  Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.


When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

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