Cornish Pirates players clearly have much to occupy them away from their quite considerable rugby demands.
A few weeks ago, full-back Toby May was confirmed as a ‘Palleteer, his hobby turned small business seeing him recycle old pallets into anything from bits and bobs for the house, to furniture, and even bars for the garden!
Now, the latest player to reveal his passion and interest is back-rower Alex Cheesman. Admired for the way that he works hard when buzzing around the rugby field, during the summer the former ‘Wasp’ acquired a hive and bees from a local beekeeper who had tracked a swarm of Cornish Black Bees. It is said they are the best ones to have, being a lot more relaxed during hive inspections than the feisty Italian Black Bees that many beekeepers have in the UK.
Alex and his wife Abbie have always wanted to move towards a more self-sufficient life and bees are actually just one part of a modest set up that includes a greenhouse and a polytunnel for year-round growing. They grow citrus fruit, exotic plants, and have a good number of raised beds to nurture everything from kale and potatoes to yams and hops, a small establishing mixed orchard, plus a pond with their three ducks!
Being new to beekeeping, Alex commented:
We are on a steep learning curve and have found the local beekeeping community to be incredibly helpful during this process, in fact we have had some help from Gavin Cattle’s father-in-law who is a well-known beekeeper in the local area!
Our current routine is pretty low key, as we don’t disturb the bees during the colder winter months, although we still keep an eye on them. During the summer, however, we inspect the hive every nine days, looking to assess the health of the hive, honey production, egg laying and any evidence of a potential swarm.
We have found the bees to be incredible creatures and the more time we spend with them, the more amazing they appear to be. Although we are yet to meet any beekeepers our age, we are hopeful that the hobby will begin to catch on in younger generations not only for the honey but also for the many benefits bees bring to the environments we live in.
Phil Westren met up with Jamie Thomson and Matt Evans as they started their daily 7km runs
In just over a week more than 1,000 responses were received to questions
Welcome to the update from the Pirates Medical Room