Home and Away by John Home

Home-and-Away-2THome and Away
£10, published by Live Wire Books.
ISBN 978-0-9553124-6-5

Available from the Bee Craft Shop

This is a book written by one of the few fully commercial beekeepers in the UK and it is a fascinating read. John starts by describing his experiences between retirement from commercial beekeeping in 2005 to the present day. He tells of his adventures helping Bees Abroad with its work in Kenya and Uganda.


It is not until you read a book like this that you realise how lucky we are in this country with the everyday facilities that we take for granted: running water, sanitation, electricity and a good road infrastructure. Reading John’s account brings home how basic life is in Africa but, in spite of these apparent deficiencies, the people there manage to survive very well and even develop their businesses.


Bees Abroad is a charity that aims to alleviate poverty in developing countries, mostly in Africa, by helping to introduce beekeeping as a simple and inexpensive way of providing nutrition and earning income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities. Both John and his wife Mary make regular trips to Kenya where they provide training and support for the many beekeeping groups they have helped set up in various, often remote, areas.  


Home and Away looks back over John’s life setting up Fosse Way Honey, a commercial beekeeping enterprise he started from scratch. It is an amazing story of dedication and much plain hard work. This book is written in a very readable style that makes the reader reluctant to put it down. By the late 1970s, Fosse Way Honey was a fully established beekeeping business run by John, mainly on his own, with occasional help with extraction and packaging of the final product. John makes most of his own beekeeping equipment, breeds his own queens, finds sites for his colonies and does the delivery to and collection from the sites himself.


His hives were located in more than 30 different locations spread all over Warwickshire and the Derbyshire heather moors, moving to the Vale of Evesham and the Kent fruit orchards to fulfil pollination contracts. John reckoned to harvest around 10–12 tons of honey a season. He then went on to find outlets to sell his honey and the growing range of bee related products including candles and beeswax furniture polish.  


Reviewed by Andrew Gibb

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