New beginnings




We recently moved. Upped sticks and moved our lives from the wild beauty of Mols to a pretty little village near Skanderborg. The landscape here is defined by trees and water, and huge fields of oilseed rape. It’s good beekeeping country.

Our new home has a name – Bakkegaard, which means ’Hill Farm’ in Danish.  It’s a place I hope will be a perfect base for pursuing a passion and raising a family. For the last thirty years it has been just that for the Sørensen family. My connection to Bakkegaard is that it’s where I started out on my journey into the world of bees and honey. I spent three very happy years working at Bakkegaard, with the owner Poul-Erik Sørensen, his wife Ulla and their small team of  happy beekeepers. Poul-Erik was a world renowed beekeeper, famous for his queen bees, with which he built a successful home-based business. Poul-Erik very tragically died suddenly just 12 months ago, which was a huge shock for anyone who knew him. He seemed too young to pass, his star still burned with great vigour.

I feel privileged to have known and worked with Poul-Erik, if only for a few short years. I’ve always believed that I couldn’t have found a better place in the world to learn the art of beekeeping. It was my extreme fortune that I found such a centre of beekeeping excellence was within commuting distance. The novice had found his master. Out here, I found, people seemed to be living amazing, authentic lives. Living out their dreams. Quietly, without fanfare. You wouldn’t know unless you came here and saw it for yourself. I found it revelatory and inspiring. Being around these people changed the way I think.

Now at the end of 2013 I found myself working once again at Bakkegaard, but now I have returned here with my family. Moving house always has a quite strong emotional element to it, and here it was especially so. I am very grateful to Poul-Erik’s wife Ulla, for giving us this opportunity to move here at this time, given all the events of the last twelve months. Ulla spent 30 happy years here with Poul-Erik, together raising a family and small business together. Both flourished.

As we look to the future, there is a lot of work to do now as this new chapter begins at Bakkegaard. A little honey company and two young children must be loved and nurtured through their infancies. How I meet these challenges will come to define my life over the next few years. That’s okay with me. I feel ready.

I take some comfort from thinking that it could have made Poul-Erik happy to know that Bakkegaard will continue to be a place where the life of the bee is central to everything.  A place where the smell of beeswax and honey still follows you around, a place where beekeepers still travel from far and wide to trade and talk bees. A place where knives, table-tops, fingers and faces are still sticky with honey, butter and breadcrumbs. A place where beekeeping books and magazines are still littered around, and a place where the shade of the linden tree in summer can still offer the contented hum of a thousand beating wings. Here’s to the future. A future with bees.

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