I don’t know about bees

I did tell you that there might be more today.

I was wandering around the garden with my daughter last night after a particularly energetic dodgeball practice session with both kids. Her shouts of excitement at seeing a “hover bee” alerted me to grab the camera and try to grab a few shots.

This task was made slightly more difficult by the fact that the camera was set up for vlogging and had a microphone and tripod attached, the Boy Wonder attempting to (re?)start his Youtube career.

This isn’t my SD card. Its volume is too small.

Still, I got something reasonable, considering how small and mobile the subject was:

…and then then came the dreadful moment when I was asked what sort of bee it was.

I don’t know about bees.

Thankfully, distraction – in the form of the beagle trying to dig up the herb garden – allowed me to temporarily evade the question, but the query will return and unless I do something about it, I’ll be stumped again.

Fortunately, the internet does know about bees.

And having chatted to the internet, it seems that this is a male carpenter bee (Xylocopa caffra). Apparently, “worldwide, there are about 500 species of carpenter bees representing 31 subgenera”. But I’m not sure how this “diverse, widely distributed group of solitary bees” has survived, given that this one flew around wasting copious amounts of energy, but notably, comprehensively failed to actually land on the flower in shot and eat anything.

Lion around

OK, we might be in Africa, but (generally) lions don’t roam the city streets. If I said that they did, I’d be… Well, I’d not be telling the truth.

Once again, I’m blogging from the stands at the local indoor trampoline park, but after a crappy week of feeling crappy, I’d rather be chilling in front of the football. This guy, from our Shamwari trip last April, has got the right idea.

But parental duties call.

The trampoline park is pretty much empty – most kids being in the middle of exams at the moment. The boy has worked hard this weekend, and is letting off some steam.

The DJ is taking advantage of the large, near-empty arena to injure those who have turned up with a Cuban/Carribean mix pumped out at 130dB. I’m no expert, but I think that Sean Paul may be “in da house (baby girl)”. (OK, I’m cheating: he’s told us he’s “in da house (baby girl)” several times already.)

It’s basically an offensive aural assault and I wish I was lion at home.


After the excitement of life earlier in the week, I have been brought back down to earth by a virus, which has been passed around my daughter’s class at school before taking residence – via her – with me.

A spot of enforced bedrest, then.

Nothing too hectic. Just a raging sore throat, a few aches and pains, and a muddled and befuddled mind: the usual symptoms of a mild viral infection.

Fortunately, all I have planned for today is bathing my son in the back garden and taking the beagle for a haircut before the school exams kick in next week. So we’ll be fine.


The good news is that we survived yesterday. And in actual fact, the whole thing was a huge success. A hot, sweaty, dusty success, but a success nevertheless.

The slightly worse news is that today is very nearly almost as warm. For the most part, I’ve been hiding inside next to a panting beagle, but parental duties called and thus I find myself writing this from a local trampoline park warehouse. This is essentially just a big metal box in the sun, full of people physically exerting themselves, and their air-con maintenance leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s basically just like a huge public sauna with neon rubber rugs and a hefty deep house soundtrack.


That comparison having been made, it should be noted that my favourite thing to do when I get out of a sauna is have a massive bottle of Milk Stout.

Or two.

And I see no reason to change things just because there’s not a copious amount of pine or a guy called Lars involved here.

Science ideas

via the kids’ Scout Group Facebook page…

I’m not sure if they’re trying to give them ideas or what?

But here’s the story of┬áDavid Charles Hahn (1976-2016), a teenager who – as the title suggests – quite literally built a nuclear reactor in his mother’s garden shed.

Spoiler: It would have been built in her basement, but he’d already blown that up.

If you’re wondering how he managed to get instructions on how to build a nuclear reactor in the days when the internet was only just starting up, well, he called up America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and they talked him through the step-by-step instructions. And told him how to isolate radioactive material.

Which was like this:

But being a breeder reactor, the amount of radioactive material increased, and after a month, he decided the danger to those around him was too great and began to dismantle it. But he was arrested in the process of loading the reactor into his car one night in 1994.

No criminal charges were brought. Amazing.

Hahn died aged 39 in 2016 after a short career in the US Navy, And no, his untimely death had nothing to do with his youthful exploits.

I’ve got a few spare days later this week – and I have an idea…