Last week I should have been in Oxford for a gathering of gardening bloggers, but I've had some horrible gastro-intestinal bug, and spent most of the weekend on the toilet. I'm still not right, but I did manage to check the bees yesterday. All four hives look healthy, with small amounts of brood, eggs, and reasonable quantities of stores. There aren't as much of the latter as I'd have liked, but they'll be OK if I keep an eye on them, and probably feed syrup next spring. This year they've gathered plenty of pollen, which provides most of their nutrition; honey is just a source of carbohydrate. This time last year, the weather was so awful that much of the ivy went unpollinated, resulting in a shortage of berries. The bees hardly managed to forage at all. It's going to be interesting to see whether they come out of the winter stronger than last year, after going into it well fed.