Bees mean business and we find out how much in @morethanhoneyuk #film #beekeeping #bees

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We all know there is a problem with bees. They have been reducing rapidly in numbers over the last fifteen years. We don’t know what has caused this to happen, but what we do know is that depending on the regions of the world, between 50-90% of the bees have disappeared!

Now either they are starting one mega colony which actually, we should all be scared of, or they are vanishing into thin air. The latter is much more likely. What we’re seeing is that billions of bees (for some unknown reason) leave their hives never to return. Here in the UK as well as other parts of Europe, this is being dubbed the “Mary Celeste Phenomenon” after the name of the of the ship who’s crew vanished in 1872.

In More than Honey, director Markus Imhoof uses this topic to shoot a global film to discover the lives of bees from around the world and the bee keepers who look after them in a number of different ways, shapes and forms. This film isn’t just observatory, it also looks at each of the bee keepers attitudes towards the decline of the bees and also how they are going for and against nature to maintain their on colony – whether this be right or wrong.Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 08.46.23

What is fascinating about this project is that you really learn so much about the intricacies of the bee community. Imhoof goes from the idyllic Swiss Alps to visit Fred Jaggi who maintains an age-old tradition of bee keeping in the way his father and his fathers father did. There is passion and also ruthlessness in which he maintains the best of his beehive by taking fearless measures such as decapitating the queen bee when she is seen as ‘lazily’ breeding half breed stock!

On the other end of the spectrum, from one man to a million machines, in the US we follow John Miller who maintains a schoolboy like level of excitement for his bees. Beyond all this however we learn how bees pollinate the trees that start the process for a multi million dollar almond business, and how the use of mixed chemicals to keep the trees ripe and fresh cause havoc amongst the bee community killing them stone dead once sprayed, something that could be avoided altogether if the process of the machines could change to night instead of day. However, John himself is not a big enough voice to make change happen alone and at the end of the day, as much as he loves bees, he loves his job more. Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 08.46.10

These are only a couple of examples of the protagonists Imhoof meets on his journey, from Arizona to Australia and China he has travelled around the world in search of the secret behind the bees decline. Although he hasn’t quite unraveled the answer, what he has done is create a compelling set of stories which can open the eyes of a wider audience to the importance of the bee community around the world. With John Hurt narrating, you feel (particularly during the expertly filmed close ups of inside a hive) that you are watching a mix of Attenborough’s ‘Life’ and an intimate portrayal of human passion and dedication to a species taken too far for granted.

More Than Honey buzzes into cinemas on 6th September and is on limited release.

4 Stars

The perfect sunny mini-break Majestic Gorges de Verdon #travel #holiday #france #placestovisit

Thinking of that perfect mini break away? Well, our travel writer Katrina Santos Baron shares her tips for a fantastic trip to the sunny and picturesque Majestic Gorges de Verdon.

You can find out more about Katrina and read oodles of her fantastic writing on her own blog Katscapades.

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Gorges de Verdon is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. It is located in the midst of the region of the French Riviera and Provence, about 2 hours drive from Nice or from Marseille. I’ve just ticked another item in my bucket list as we spent our whole Saturday at this majestic place. Five of us left Nice early in the morning, packed our food and mats for picnic and had our wishful thinking that the water’s gonna be warm enough to swim as it is not yet summer. We were lucky with the spring weather, sunny at 20ish degrees but the water was still ice cold.

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Crossed on foot by hikers all over the world, the Verdon has become a natural site protected since 19901. Although it’s much smaller than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Gorges du Verdon is deep, compact, wild and beautiful. From Castellane to the village of Rougons, the Verdon river flows clear and swift, and the road follows along the banks. At Rougons, by the Point Sublime, the river plunges into the narrow rock walls, and there’s no escape until it comes out the western end before flowing into Lac de Ste Croix2.

The place offers various activities for all ages to enjoy whether you’re with family, friends and/or partner. You may explore the area by hiking or cycling, look at the specular view from above through paragliding, climb the world-famous rocks, or camp amongst one of its sites. Water sports lovers can go canoeing, rafting, stand up water surfing, water bike paddle boating (like what we did) and others. Of course, swimming is a must if the water’s warm enough. We’d love to go back in few weeks’ time and try paragliding!

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If you would simply like to relax and enjoy nature’s picturesque view whilst having a picnic, Lac de Ste Croix is a perfect spot.

I’ve also put together some outdoor skincare tips plus quick-fix hairstyling for women:

I used Avène’s sunblock (from the goodiebag I got during my last visit at the Hydrocentre) and I must say it is the best sunblock cream I’ve ever tried. It Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 13.25.00is non-greasy and has a pleasant smell unlike other creams I used in the past. I love the composition, spreads easily without leaving white marks on my skin and it is very light considering its high SPF protection and water resistance. Of course my skin got oiler in the afternoon as I had a good-paddle-workout through the river so I sprayed Avène Thermal Spring Water and wiped my face with a clean tissue. I’m not a fan of make-up when actively doing outdoor stuff. For quick-fix outdoor hairstyling, I just braided my hair in the morning (it works better if you sleep with your braid overnight), loosened it in the afternoon and tied it back with a simple ponytail as it got warmer. Viola, no need for electric curlers! 🙂

For more information on how to visit the Gorges de Verdon, see below:

Information

Here are the principal places for information about the Verdon Canyon. The Office de Tourisme or Mairie in other villages of the region also have information on the Gorges de Verdon.

Aiguines (83630)
Tel: 0494 70 21 64; Fax: 0494 70 20 41
Email: verdon.accueil@wanadoo.fr
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon
Tel: 0492 74 63 95; Fax: 0492 74 63 94
Castellane
Tel: 0492 83 61 14; Fax: 0492 83 76 89
Email: office@castellane.org
Web: http://www.castellane.org


Transportation Verdon Gorges

Bus

Marseille – Gréoux – Riez – Castellane Bus FH-27

LER line 27 (part A): 3 buses/day, between Marseille and Riez, trip time 2 hrs. Stops: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Venelles, Meyrargues, Peyrolles, Pont Mirabeau, St Paul-lez-Durance, Vinon, Gréoux-les-Bains, St Martin-de-Bromes, Allemagne-en-Provence, Riez.

LER line 27 (part B): 1 bus a day between Riez and Castellane (via the Gorges-de-Verdon), trip time 1h30. Stops: Riez, Roumoules, Moustiers-Ste-Marie, Lapalud, Rougon, Pont de Soleil, Castellane.

• On the LER website (http://www.info-ler.fr/fr/lignes-horaires/carte-et-fiches-horaires-n287. , select Ligne 27: Marseille / Greoux / Castellane to display the bus schedule PDF.