RADOVLJICA, Slovenia My phone trills, breaking the Bee Museum's hush. Despite a buzzing tape-loop, the exhibit halls echo silence and desolation. I race for the lobby, scratching down my editor's instructions.
As Edward says: What a weird way to make a living.
I return to find him contemplating a figural beehive, a life-sized wooden sculpture of a Janissary (a celibate Christian soldier in the Ottoman Empire). Insects entered through a bellybutton aperture. Honey oozed from a spout in the groin.
And our job's strange? Imagine the poor keeper who harvested that hive...
The museum also boasts a huge collection of folk art (the painted front boards of bee-boxes). A quick survey reveals that the Slovenian mind works in strange ways:
1. A bear in a rooster-drawn chariot
2. Rabbits carrying a funeral bier
3. Giant snails treeing a tailor
4. A fox shaving a hunter
Apparently this last cartoon illustrated the local proverb "to shave (i.e. pull) someone's leg".
We leave no wiser about the Balkans, but much amused.