Some say that the further North you go in Britain, the friendlier folk are. Now I'm not going to be drawn into internecine war on this, but I do tend to agree. Certainly, our recent holiday took us up through Northumberland on the way to Scotland, and we met some charming people during our travels.

However friendly the people were, the animals were friendlier yet. En route to the third campsite (Selkirk) we stopped near Wooller to take a hill walk by West Horton. The walk was pleasant enough, despite my girlfriend freezing in terror at the sight of an adder which poured its way through the heather in front of my feet, but the best encounter was during the walk back down toward the car.

The walk was enlightened by a honey bee, who accompanied me for about a mile along the road. Bees, I know, are frequently attracted to yellow clothing, but my fleece is purple, and the only yellow about me was a tag hanging from the collar. This little creature flew several times around my head, hovered before me as if to take a close look at my face, then landed on my back and sat for a while as I walked, before taking off and flying round me again. I have little fear of wasps and bees (wasps have crawled over me on many occasions without stinging), in fact I have quite a fascination with the little blighters. This, however, was the first time one of them had such a fascination with me.

I could quite clearly see every feature as she flew about, or sat down on my sleeve - her little furry body, each tiny hair quite distinct. Her pollen-laden legs, her bright compound eyes, her strong transparent wings - all of this she showed to me. For about fifteen or twenty minutes, we kept up this mutual observation and closeness. I fancied that she had quite taken a shine to me, and when at last she flew off into the fields, I missed her. I have never known such attention from any insect, and am still curious as to what caused her fascination.

I am well aware that a worker bee is a neuter drone. (sui says "worker bees are actually undeveloped females, as in preteen"). However, I find it hard simply to refer to Eerriicc as "it" - after all, in terms of her lifespan, the time we spent amounted to the human equivalent of one to two weeks.