A Typical Sunday – Hill Reps, Mile Runs, Sterilising Beekeeping Hardware, Cars, Cakes and Curries

We had quite a productive day on Sunday. It started with my usual run and swim, but this week I did it in Aberystwyth as the pool in Machynlleth was being used for the Dyfi Dash. We had to be in Aberystwyth for 11:30am anyway for the Sport Relief Mile with the Scouts so the original plan was that I would drive in at 7am, do my usual run until the pool opened at 9am, I’d then swim for an hour or so. Anna and Morgan would then drive in and we’d all meet up for the Sport Relief Mile.

Segment Hunting

This plan was dashed when I discovered that the MOT on my car had expired a month ago, putting my car out of action. I know it still goes, but now that I knew it had no MOT I couldn’t really drive it on the road. So, I went into Aberystwyth in Anna’s car, hunted down a Strava Segment on my run and then went for a swim. I’m pleased to say that I did manage to get the Course Record on the Strava segment. It was on a steep but fairly short climb called “National Library Short-but-sharp Hill”  which goes from the Cemetery in Aberystwyth up to the National Library. My previous best on this, having only ever run it a few times, was 2:13 but the course record was 1:49.

I was due to do 90 second hill reps today so this climb was a little long for that but I did my first 4 hill reps on it anyway and then did the next four at 90 seconds as planned. The first run up the hill was just to get a feel for it and my time was 2:03. I’d already beaten my record and was now in 3rd place on the leaderboard. Time for my 2nd effort and a proper stab at the Course Record. This time I went flat out and managed to complete it in 1:43. Hooray, a new Course Record, knocking 6 seconds off the previous best. This had finished me off though and my next efforts were only 2:10 and 2:13 respectively. It was on with the run though and another 4 shorter hill reps before heading to the pool.

I just couldn’t be bothered in the pool though and rather than doing the prescribed 3 sets of 10x 100m I only did one before heading to the sauna. I did meet a student in there though who was a runner and studied Film, Theatre and Drama. She is making a film for her dissertation that involves interviewing runners whilst they run. Naturally she wanted to interview me, so you never know, I may be featured in a film sometime soon!

Sport Relief Mile and an Aberystwyth Picnic

I then drove back home and collected the others. Morgan had friends sleeping over so they came along to the Sport Relief Mile with us where we met their Dad and the rest of the 2nd Borth Scout Team ready to run the Sport Relief Mile.

That didn’t take too long so we did some shopping, had a picnic lunch overlooking the sea and then headed home to do some beekeeping work.

Sterilising our Beekeeping Hardware

We’d obtained a huge silage bag and a jar of acetic acid in preparation for sterilising all of our equipment. We weren’t disturbing the bees today as I had topped up their feed a few days ago and all was looking OK with them. It was also quite windy and therefore quite cold in our garden so we left the bees alone. Instead the plan was to sterilise our spare hives and frames and get them ready for the beekeeping season. If the bees get through the winter we are hoping to ‘make increase’ this year and end up with 4 colonies.

Morgan and I had already collected the spare hives from our out apiary and we had a few at home too, so had about 5 hives in total to sterilise. We weren’t worried about anything in particular from a contamination point of view but just thought it would be a good idea to sterilise them and make our apiaries as hygienic as we could. It has to be better for the bees, it should limit any disease and infection and it’s also nicer from our point of view to work with nice clean beekeeping equipment.

We brushed the brood boxes, supers, frames, crown boards, plastic queen excluders and roofs of the hives off, then stacked them up inside the silage bag. Open tubs of acetic acid were then placed on top of these and the bags were sealed up and bricks placed on top of it to keep it from flapping about too much in the wind. The acetic acid fumes are heavier than air so should sink down through the hives, killing of any bugs as it goes. We’ll leave them sealed up in their giant black bag for a couple of weeks and will then remove them and allow them to air for at least a week before we use them.

Sterlising Bee Hives

Sterilising Bee Hives

Hopefully we’ve done it in time and the bees won’t be swarming until this process is complete. Once done, we should have plenty of nice clean beekeeping hardware to cope with swarming and make increase later in the year. Some of the hives didn’t need cleaning so we have those stacked up ready for use just in case we need them before the sterilisation process is complete. Also, the acetic acid corrodes metal so we didn’t put the floors into the bag as they have mesh floors made of metal. We scrubbed these ourselves and piled them up to dry.

Hives

Hives

Some of the frames were looking a little old and dirty, so we’ve kept them to one side and will be putting them through the steam wax extractor. This will melt the wax and sterilise the frames at the same time so that we can put new foundation into them. It does mean that we also have a bag of frames ready for wax extraction.

Frames for Wax Extraction

Frames for Wax Extraction

Hopefully it won’t be long before we’ll be needing all this kit.

Cars

Our jobs for the day weren’t over yet though. Next it was time to prepare my car for selling. I know it sounds a bit drastic – no MOT, I know, I’ll sell the car – but it wasn’t quite like that. The reason I checked the MOT was because I was thinking of selling it to get a new car anyway, but now that I knew my car was without an MOT selling it and getting a new one was a high priority. The car therefore needed a clear out and I had to remove the roof rack and bike rack. All of which was easier said than done. The roof box brackets had rusted quite convincingly and weren’t going to budge and the back door doesn’t open too well so the bike rack wasn’t coming off without a fight either. I got there in the end though and cleaned out the interior. It’s actually looking quite nice now so it’ll be sad to see my dirty old 4×4 going.

The idea of a new car was to budget a little by downsizing to something cheaper to run, less expensive to tax and insure, cleaner and less expensive to get through the MOT. Now that it has to go fairly urgently though I don’t have the luxury of shopping around and all that we have managed to find that is suitable is just as expensive to tax, insure and run so it may not have worked as we had hoped. From a financial point of view it might make sense to MOT my current 4×4 and hold onto it for a little while longer, but it does have a few cosmetic issues these days and a new shiney car would be nice.

Cakes and Curries

After all this work it was time to for a cup of tea and a packet of Jaffa cakes and to start thinking about dinner. We already had loads of Cod Curry leftover from the day before when I’d been experimenting with a new recipe, along with rice and home made naan breads so most of it was sorted. We had a new recipe that we wanted to try for pudding though so we set to making a delicious Gooey Butter Cake. Needless to say dinner was quite a feast and I ate far too much of that Gooey Butter Cake.

 

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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