The GuardianThe Guardian

‘He passed the bee baton on to me’: People who inherit hobbies

By Clea Skopeliti

08 Mar 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

How to spend our free time is a sometimes daunting question. Having an interest in common with a loved one can bring people closer together. The Guardian writes on the gift of sharing a passion.

It’s fair to say Alasdair Friend didn’t always picture himself as a beekeeper. But when a diagnosis of motor neurone disease meant his father was no longer able to tend to his hives, Friend resolved to carry on his passion. He was not without doubts at first: “I remember driving back with this actively buzzing box of 40,000 bees and thinking, what have I signed up for?”

Now the proud owner of no fewer than 10 beehives, Friend, 57, who is a teacher in Edinburgh, still has the descendants of the bees he brought home two years ago. “Although they are pretty feisty at times and cause me moments of panic, I love carrying on with his traditions,” Friend says. “Each year I take the hives to the Cairngorms to collect heather honey to exactly the same place he brought his hives.”

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