Do you remember, a few weeks ago, we were talking about Sweet Chestnuts and how Dr Edward Bach thought that the flowers were a handy thing, for someone who felt seriously – and I mean seriously depressed, to have around? Well, if you look at the picture, you can see the new nut and the remains of the flower, so everything in our tree seems to be working properly. The Romans planted the trees all over southern Britain, but they don’t do so well father north (except for the one growing in a hedge, along the margin of a field, just up the road from me). This made it difficult to have a decent battle round here. You see, you need a good bowlful of sweet chestnut porridge before you feel up to taking on a screaming horde.
We had quite a few Roman Legions around here – when they were the in thing – so the Roman quartermaster was constantly filling out long, involved requisitions (in Latin, naturally) explaining why he needed yet another delivery of sweet chestnuts.
The trouble was, those Brittunculi (or ‘wretched little Britons’) tended to go more for mead – made from honey collected by bees from the heather – as a pre-battle pick-me-up. The bees seemed to be totally unimpressed by the might of the Roman Empire and brazenly collected their loads of pollen with a complete lack of discrimination.
You can imagine how frustrating this must have been for the Roman generals – knowing that every bee that flew past was bringing comfort to the enemy. It’s no wonder they built Hadrian’s Wall, is it? I’m sure the bees soon learned to use the gates.