My Year – 2017/18

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Hello, everybody in Beds YFC, and indeed to anyone else who may be reading this! I have some news which I know you’re all going to love: I’ve been asked to write a column about my YFC year for the rally programme, so here I am, and if it goes down well, there’s every chance you might be treated each year to some utterly senseless drivel from yours truly, as it may become a permanent fixture.

Anyway, 2017/18 was surprisingly eventful for me, starting with the small matter of the Ploughing Match after party, where the theme was to wear an awful shirt. I wore one with rather an inappropriate slogan involving a toaster and a slice of bread, that I bought during my Sixth Form years, which got me into a bit of trouble after wearing it to present in front of history students who were still in Year 7, and during a parents evening in which I didn’t exactly cover myself in glory. Next up was winter sports, and I was involved in Woburn’s ultimate frisbee campaign. We won overall, but little did any of us realise that it was merely the start of our journey all the way to the top, but more on that later.

Next up was public speaking. I was tasked with the nigh-impossible job of convincing the audience, a large portion of whom were of the Baby Boomer generation, that Baby Boomers have squandered their children’s future. Not one to balk at a challenge and as someone who likes to talk and often gives what’s often been described as a blunt, scathing take on things, whether people around me want to hear them or not, I gave it my all. I proceeded to blame them for pretty much everything, be it exorbitant house prices, the global banking crash, tuition fees and even increased threats to national security. Safe to say, based on the questions from the floor and the fact I was unable to convince the floor to vote with me, I think they found me most disagreeable. But it’s not as if I’ve never experienced that before, most in Young Farmers who’ve discussed politics with me, WILL agree with me in this assertion, somewhat ironically!

Around this time was the Beer and Sausage Festival which I always look forward to, as it’s a good excuse to broaden my beer pallet, expand my stein collection and it’s also pretty much the only party where most of the playlist contains music and bands I really like. This has a lot to do with me and the man, the myth, the legend that is Mr. Tom Harwood having several shared interests on the music front, in particular 90s rock.

Fast forward to January, when I went to Val D’Isere for the NFYFC Ski Trip, which was just mental, and about which I also wrote a piece, which you can see in last year’s programme. But as soon as I came home, it was all hands to the pump for the drama preparation, which turned out to be a success, as Woburn won it for the second year running! I only had a minor role, as a scenery shifter who kept delivering props from the wrong play onto the stage of Cinderella, but I had a good time, and a few commented that my lines got the biggest laughs. I threw in a few unscripted lines, which a couple in Woburn said put them on edge, due to me ad-libbing lines of a, shall we say, questionable nature during rehearsals and of course, the jokes I told during Biggleswade YFC’s Take Me Out the year before…which leads me to my next point:

I volunteered myself for Take Me Out once again, for the second year running. Although I gave a comedy performance that everybody seemed to enjoy, I almost didn’t even get that far. Whereas the year before, everybody left their lights on for me, this year it nearly ended in disaster, as I almost got a blackout! So I was particularly thankful for Alexandra Smith for taking pity on me, and humouring me by leaving her light on, and being the only one to do so, which meant I didn’t have to walk off stage dejected. I did suggest that going forward, Biggie, or indeed anyone else willing to take it on, should mix things up a little and do their own version of Channel 4’s Naked Attraction, instead. Although this doesn’t appear to have been taken up. I can’t fathom why.

Anyway, next up was the County Ball, which is always a really nice night, made even nicer as the venue didn’t run out of beer for us, like the year before. I think they sorely underestimated how much we can put away, and so they made sure not to make the same mistake again this year!

After that, it was the big one. The event everyone had been waiting for: The Annual Convention. This was my first, and as things stand, only AGM in Blackpool, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The fancy dress night was my personal
highlight. The theme was glow in the dark, so I went all out and wore tight, bright green and pink beach shorts, metallic gold trainers with lights around the edges and a tank top with the words “I HAD FUN ONCE, IT WAS DREADFUL” emblazoned across it. Going to Blackpool, I went in relatively well-dressed, in a polo
Shirt and jeans. Leaving Blackpool, I left barely able to function, wearing a shirt much too big for me which I can’t even remember how I acquired, stained with goodness-knows-what on it. Which is why 10/10 would go again.

Swiftly moving on, it was full speed ahead for the rally prep. On the day, I took part in the Situations Vacant competition, which they ran for Seniors this year, and was also the scene of an earlier YFC triumph of mine, back in my first full year (16/17). I made it all the way to the nationals, but was unable to take part due to being there for the Radio Show. It was at the Rally, I saw my entry for yearbook cover which I did for pre rally. I submitted some artwork which was, upon reflection, somewhat disturbing, as it involved a man in a burger, about to be devoured by a cow with glowing red eyes. The judge’s comments were simply “I am not sure this is really the appropriate image to promote Young Farmers” and to be honest, I haven’t stopped giggling about it. The rally was a memorable one for me this year, because it was hosted by Bedford but won by Leighton Buzzard. I’ve only been in YF since 2015, so this is the first time I’ve ever seen a club host the rally and not win it.

Now, back to the small matter of ultimate frisbee. I mentioned earlier that Woburn qualified for the regionals back in October, and when the day came around, all opposition was blown away by stellar performances from everyone all round…even me! In fact, I even scored the winning point in the last match, to cement our place in the Nationals. It was as lucky a point as you’re ever going to see, as I fumbled the frisbee and it almost slipped out of my hands, but I just about managed to hold on. It was the only point of the match, which is rare for Ultimate Frisbee, but the win was all that mattered. We were through to the nationals! When we turned up for it, we looked severely underdressed for the occasion. All other teams were wearing matching shirts with names and squad numbers at the back, we just decided any black shirt would do. There was me, in an old Woburn shirt twice my size, my brother Rob, in his outrageous bright blue hair, and one of us even turned up in a sombrero and sandals, while struck down with the hangover blues! This gave us the appearance of a scruffy, rag-tag band of misfits who looked like we were only there for a laugh, and to broaden the competition. But after turning in one plucky, determined, swashbuckling display after another, we ended the day as national champions. Football may not have come home that summer, but Frisbee definitely did. Years from now, I hope all of you in Beds YFC will be telling your children and your grandchildren about the day Frisbee came home. We often sang it during the day, but few of us actually believed it would, which made it that much sweeter.

Anyway, I think I’ve about covered all the highlights for now. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this, and if enough of you have, I might well be back next year. I just wanted to say as well, that this year I came to realise just how big a social circle I’ve managed to build in only the 3/4 years I’ve been in Young Farmers. There was a moment in which it hit me that it’s not just a social circle I’ve built here, I’ve been able to cultivate a strong circle of support, empathy and understanding with so many people here. People whom I know have my back, as I would have theirs, and long may it continue.

Here’s to another eventful year.

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