42 queen bees showed up on Thursday morning. I hadn't been expecting another load of queens, and when they arrived I wasn't sure I'd be able to find a use for all of them .. we didn't have terribly many queenless hives left and not enough boxes to make terribly many splits (ie, making two hives out of one original, for which you of course need a new queen, as well as a bottom box). And we're getting these queens for $12.50 I guess, which is a really good price, but that's still $525 in queens and one doesn't want to waste a number of them.
And it only occurred to me a little later that if I hadn't found a use for them all by the end of Saturday, I couldn't take the day off on Sunday -- since they don't do well when not installed in a hive there's no way I can take a day off leaving queens yet to be installed somewhere.
And thus began a frantic effort to inspect as many hives as possible to find places to put the queens. And I thank my lucky stars I didn't have to see Greg all of last week because he probably would have just used half of them to kill and requeen hives that weren't doing terribly well -- but the thing is the queen is by no means necessarily the problem with every weak hive and a lot of good queens would be wasted that way. So anyway I was able to pile through hives by myself to sort it all out.
Saturday morning I still had 12 queens left. I skipped "smoko," the mid-morning break you get even if you don'[t smoke, and I skipped lunch, and by around 3pm I had used them all and added four or so more splits to the growing line of new hives (26 this week).
Unfortunately, by the time I HAD eaten and showered and recovered from my day, I wasn't in Bundaberg itself until 6pm. I was once again intent on staying overnight in a hostel in town to be able to go out and drink and socialize with people other than my alcoholic roommate and crotchety coworker.
Unfortunately nearly all the hostels' receptions closed at 6pm. In one of them there was still someone sitting at the reception desk but she pointedly ignored my tapping on my window and finally waved me preemptorially away (the hostel staff in this town seem to be infamously callous and rude).
It was beginning to look like I might have to just head right on back to Moorpark! A whipped out the laptop and broadband modem and started calling down the list of hostels, starting with those with the most stars. Most didn't answer.
One near the top of the list I had skipped over because it was just a bit out of town -- East Bundaberg Backpackers. They actually answered their phone, and said they don't usually take one nighters but if I came right over they'd fix me up. Long story short, having to resort to calling them was the best thing to happen to me in that town -- Christine, who manages it with her husband, was and is soo nice, and all the backpackers actually seemed really happy there (as opposed to the "serving time in the gulag" atmosphere in the other hostels I'd been in in town). Everyone was all hanging out together for the Saturday night and a whole bunch of us went out to the one club in town (the Central). Altogether it was just fantastically fun.
Also they had a young cat hanging out on the premises. I forget his name though. I miss having a cat about.
Sunday morning I called the guy about the room for rent in town... but it turns out someone already took the room. So instead, after having breakfast in town, I spent the day driving around the area being touristy. First I headed up to Port Bundaberg / the Port Bundaberg Marina to look at the boats, then followed the coastal road up to Burnett Heads, where the Burnett River meets the sea. Walked around the jetty there, and saw a sailboat with tanbark sails that tugged at my heartstrings.
From there my plan was to head clockwise around the "peninsula" -- it's not really a peninsula but as there's no bridges across the Burnett past Bundaberg, and the sea is on the other, it, well, sort of is. Passed a turnoff for the Mos Repos turtle rookery and decided to check it out. No turtles were rookering, since I guess they do that at night, but it had some very nice beaches (pictures tomorrow maybe).
Continued on to the town of Bargara. I called that fellow who lives there who I'd met in Brisbane but he was busy. Had lunch there, and determined that they didn't seem to have a nice beach. The beach in front of my front door may well be the best one in the area!!
From there I headed back to Bundaberg, but stopped at "the Hummuck" on the way -- apparently it's the remnants of an inactive volcano, and is the reason this whole area sticks out from the sea.
Arriving back at my place in Moorepark I was immediately reminded why I wanted to move out -- I walked into the house and immediately wanted nothing more than to get out again. It was hot and stuffy in here and Sam was running his rice cooker again, a thing which seems to take hours and makes a constant loud hissing noise.
I stuck around just long enough to drop my stuff and change into swim trunks and I was back out the door again. Walked down to the surf, wasn't sure I was going to go swimming, but the water was so warm and inviting I just kept walking out until I was floating in the surf beyond the breaking waves. Probably swam around out there for at least an hour, maybe closer to two. The sun was just setting when I went out, slowly did the backstroke watching a trilobite shaped cloud turn yellow pink and orange and findally dissipate amid the stars and giant fruitbats of the night sky. Was reminded why I don't want to move out.
I am seriously considering moving into the East Bundaberg hostel though. It would be a 20 minute commute as opposed to my current 4 minute drive, and rent would be $160-170 a week as opposed to 100 here, but it seems like it would be such a fun place to live. Wouldn't be able to go on random sunset swims anymore though.
Also found myself actually NOT dreading another week of work starting tomorrow ... until it was confirmed I'll be working with Greg again tomorrow. Its not even not getting along with him so much as things don't get done right when he's around. He doesn't understand that I'm supposed to be in charge, and he doesn't seem to understand a lot of important things about good effective efficient beekeeping. It drives me insane the amount of time that gets wasted working with him and things that get done wrong. Though Trevor did give me permission to say that he (Trevor) said anything I'd like to pretend he said about what we need to do, so that should help.