Surviving an attack by the stinging bees
Bee is also easy to spell and having a name like that gave me a hell of an edge early on at school; Michael Merryweather was all over the shop name-spelling wise until we got to junior school, whereas I was in good shape from day one.
Itís also a great name for things like web searches. I like to keep track of my various quotes in the media (sort of an ego thing really, I know that, but Iím just like everyone else in that respect, thatís all) and putting Ďbeeí and Ďpensionsí into a search engine usually does the trick.
This morning when I did it, though, I got a funny one come up from the Times newspaper. It was a piece with the heading ĎPensioner survives attack by 3,000 beesí. Well, needless to say it wasnít anything to do with me, but I read it anyway, Iím not that egotistical.
What happened was, this 88-year-old guy disturbed a hive of 3,000 bees while he was gardening (like, someone counted them, Iíll bet) and then managed to get stung more than 400 times in his efforts to get himself out of there.
Not only that, but the ambulance and paramedic crew who turned up to help him were attacked by the swarm too and got into a fair amount of bother themselves.
Everything turned out alright in the end though after a safe transfer to the local hospital for treatment. There was no mention in the article of any injuries sustained by the bees, but obviously the 400 guys who did the stinging wouldnít have made it back.
My understanding is they get just the one shot sting-wise and thatís their lot. For some reason 400 of them thought it was worth using up their one big sting just because some unsuspecting pensioner knocked into their hive in his garden.
It set me thinking though. Itís one thing for one pensioner to survive an attack from 3,000 bees, but that doesnít mean the whole UK pension system itself will survive intact after a sustained attack by one bee. Thatís my game plan anyway.
First published in Pensions Management, August 2003