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Barbara Elkins - The Next Chapter

  • I’m Barbara Elkins. I’m a bee keeper. And that’s what I’ve done in my sort of semi-retirement that I’m in.


    I love bee keeping because it gives me a lot of functional exercise. There’s lots to learn. It works on lots and lots of levels bee keeping for me, I absolutely adore it. Because I’ve decided as I’ve got older that all I want to do is things that I really love and I’m passionate about. And it’s been wonderful for me - I don’t have any problem getting ten thousands steps on my Fitbit.


    What I do is I usually will smoke the bees a little bit and then I’ll go and inspect the hive and look through it to see whether I can get a frame that I think I can take out that I can extract honey from and then it’s very lightly sieved and then bottled.


    When I retired, I thought I’m going to keep doing this even more so because I love playing around and being creative with it, so now I have my own label, Grandma Bee’s. I never expected my kind of hobbies to turn into such a wonderful thing that they have. And actually I feel more healthy and well than I’ve ever felt in my life.


    The money doesn’t drive me; the most important thing for me is to do something now, in this moment. It motivates me to be in the world.


    I think in retirement it’s really important to do what you love. Go and talk to someone about the financial part of your retirement, someone who understands you and who understands where you want to go. Don’t go and talk to someone who’s just going to overlay a plan on top of your life.


    I think the key to retirement is to keep looking forward, not to just stop, just keep on going, because it’s a journey. 


When Barbara retired from the manufacturing industry, she was already thinking ahead. She wanted to spend her money, her skills and her time wisely and she followed her passion for bee keeping and now runs a successful business called Grandma’s Bee. Grandma’s Bee produces over 60 varieties of homemade jams, honeys and chutneys which Barbara sells at the local market each Sunday. Always thinking ahead, Barbara is already planning an expansion of Grandma’s Bee.


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