Where The Bee Sucks . .

. . or ‘Sips’ or ‘Sups’ and is first line of Ariel’s song from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. It is also the reason for the Bard’s reputation for bawdiness and the cause of many a ‘six of the best’ across the backsides of smutty-minded little grammar school oiks! Let me explain – it was the habit of printers in days of yore to elongate the first ‘s’ of a word so that it looked much like a lower-case ‘f’. If you carry out this substitution in the first line of Ariel’s solo you will quickly understand the delight found by low-minded little brats and the ready use of the cane by teachers of Eng. Lit. For those of you who struggle with these things the following may help to enlighten you (you are, of course, welcome to view the original if ever you visit):



That said, how on earth I got here and what it has to do with this post is a mystery!

This post is actually about orchids; something this old ‘Boffer’ takes great delight in without pretending to know much about them. They are, just like we humans, complex and amazing in their variety; dependent upon ‘substances’; many are scroungers who sponge off others; charming deceivers well able to propagate across ‘races’ and decidedly promiscuous!

I could go on about the 26,000 odd naturally occurring species; the fact that if David Attenborough had bothered to look around when he was ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ he would have seen teeming orchids being trampled underfoot – they have been around doing their thing for a very long time. Here in Turkey there are some 150+ species – European varieties as opposed to the more exotic tropical sorts. Some might think them drab and insignificant, or not see them at all and pass them by with no more thought than the dinosaurs – they would be missing so much!

I started to ‘hunt’ orchids around Okçular about seven or eight years ago and there is hardly a season that goes by that I do not ‘discover’ new species – not new to science, just new to me. So far I’ve spotted and photographed 36 different species – a remarkable number – this year has seen two more added, one of them (Ophrys homeri) very rare here in Turkey with (as far as I can discover) only two other sightings.

Ophrys homeri – Homer’s Orchid

Often lumped together as ‘Bee Orchids’, Ophrys are mistresses of deception that entice male insects with sexy good looks or exotic scents that drive these silly males into a frenzy of sexual desire – a case of ‘Wham-bam thank you Sam!’ (I just knew I’d find a link between smutty oiks; Shakespeare, bees and orchids)

Ophrys sicula

a Tongue Orchid – Serapias politisii first spotted last year – this photo taken a few days ago just over the garden wall

ophrys mamosa005_1

Ophrys mamosa

For those of you who are getting bored with orchids, my bug-crazy, 13 year-old grandson arrives next week. We are going to be attempting to collect the dried-up skins of dragonfly nymphs of a very rare species of damselfly for researchers in Holland, so I’ll be boring you with that next! Oh! Wish us luck.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

13 thoughts on “Where The Bee Sucks . .

      1. Hi Alan. Loved this post and the pictures are beautiful. Wish you a very happy time with your Grandson. Best wishes. Mary

  1. Alan, It was hard for us to get behind the laughs to the orchids! All lovely, but that last one, the orphrys mamosa – that’s my favorite. Your grandson is one lucky guy. You’ll both have a blast.

  2. . . me neither, and once I learned how to read Shakespeare’s stuff (and poetry in general), like you the light was ‘lit’!

  3. Your orchids and truly beautiful and stunningly sexy. I can just imagine what Georgia O’Keefe would do with them. I am glad your insect-obsessed grandson is coming, I love your super-close up insect photos. I as just telling my 13-year-old daughter the other day — who has absolutely zero interest in insects — that ants, spiders and termites — are some of the most fascinating creatures on the face of the earth.

  4. Hi Alan. Finally booked flights and will be at the Mandalinn from late on Friday 25th April until Monday the 3rd. Do come in for a drink if you and Janet are passing by. I am hoping to get out to walk the valley but have not been too well this winter so will take each day as it comes. Looking forward to seeing Peter and Dee. Hope you are having great visit with your Grandson. Best wishes. Mary x

    1. Hi Mary – what a pity, we’ll be in Iran during your time here (18th April-5th May) – next time! Visit has gone great, thank you.

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