I had a visit from the County Bee Inspector yesterday. (For anyone from overseas, we have a system in the UK of Bee Inspectors funded by the government, whose job it is to help and advise beekeepers, monitor disease, and so on.) It sounds a great system, but Bee Inspectors are pretty thin on the ground, I think we have half a dozen or so to cover four counties in this area, and this was the first time I've had a visit in the five years I've been beekeeping.
So I was very pleased to meet Robert, who examined my bees and took some samples to take away for lab testing, and was a fount of information and practical advice. He was completely non- judgemental of my somewhat ancient and rather tatty equipment, which was a relief, as I thought he might tell me to replace it all. Beekeeping can be quite an expensive pastime, one of the reasons I am keen to move to top bar hives, and pursue more natural beekeeping methods.
I was so busy with Robert that I forgot to take any photos, so here's a rather boring photo of one of my hives.