A sting in the tale

"And is there honey still for tea?"

“And is there honey still for tea?”

The world’s honey bee population is in decline, but there seems to be no shortage of bees in our valley in rural Mallorca. Quite a few of the farmers around here have hives and we’re used to seeing bees in our garden, which seems to be the equivalent of one of the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants loved by the Mallorcans.

Rosemary, lavender, lemon and almond blossom, and various other flowers on our land attract the bees, and – given their important role in food production – we’re happy to see them. We also have quite a few bird baths around our land and the bees seem to like these too.  On a couple of occasions we’ve even had a swarm pass through our ‘airspace’: once, a large dark cloud of buzzing bees passed right over my head. I wasn’t stung but it wasn’t an experience I’d like to repeat.

We don’t expect to see too many bees at this time of year, but on Friday afternoon – lured out by warm sunshine – one stung the back of The Boss’s ear. We were eating lunch on the terrace and a fly had been making a nuisance of itself around us. So when The Boss felt something land on his ear, he swiped at it, believing it was the fly. Sadly for both him and the bee, it wasn’t.  He managed to remove the sting and I applied Betadine liberally to the back of his ear. An Ibuprofen later, to reduce the inflammation, and we thought that would be it.

And so to bed . . .

On Saturday The Boss’s right ear had swollen and looked red and angry, but he wasn’t in any pain, so he decided to let things take their course. But by Sunday morning, the whole area around his ear, including his neck and part of his cheek, had become swollen and hard. We decided to get it checked at the new Hospital de Llevant in Porto Cristo, and planned to follow our visit with a coffee and slice of cake in a favourite little café there (Magrana). The Boss had expected to be given an injection or a course of tablets, so we were both quite shocked when the doctor told him he was in danger of losing the cartilage in his ear without the appropriate treatment! After a battery of tests – surprisingly, none of them ear-related – The Boss was admitted as an in-patient for 48 hours’ treatment, resting in bed and attached to a drip.

He’ll certainly remember the end of 2013. And, hopefully, he’ll be allowed home in time to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. It remains to be seen whether the oral antibiotics he’ll have to take for a few more days will be compatible with a glass or two of cava to see in 2014. What I can tell you for sure is that we won’t be joining the local community of bee-keepers any year soon . . .


On the eve of 2014, I’d like to thank my blog followers and readers for being interested enough to read about our life in rural Mallorca. I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year.


Another DIY project is finished . . .

DIY projects at our finca in rural Mallorca are usually fairly straightforward. The Boss is not one for starting a job and then leaving it halfway through to tackle something else – thank goodness. But our latest project – ‘refurbishing’ our garden path (here’s the previous post about it: https://livinginruralmallorca.com/2013/09/11/trying-to-prevent-weeds-in-the-mallorcan-garden/) – has been a protracted one.

An operation stopped work. The Boss went into the Juaneda Clinic in Palma to have his innards re-arranged, after sustaining a hernia while doing a previous DIY job. Yes, DIY can be hazardous to one’s health.

The patient has made an excellent recovery, partly because he didn’t have to have a full anaesthetic. He was given an epidural, which I must confess I thought was something given only to women in labour.  He still seems reluctant to talk about the experience of being aware of what was happening in the operating theatre. Which is fine by me; I’m not sure I want the gory details!

The Boss had made sufficient progress by this week to get ‘the itch’ to finish the path. Agreeing that he wouldn’t risk straining anything, we set about the task – with me once again wielding the shovel to lay the gravel. So many calories burned . . .

Another project finished. So what's next?

Another project finished. So what’s next?

The path is now finished and we’re very pleased with the new look. We’re not so pleased – nor surprised – to have already had to remove the odd weed popping up through the stones covering the weed-resistant membrane.  Is this a battle that can’t be won?