Was guest speaker and award presenter at Abermule YFC's annual dinner dance last night. Seem to be spending a lot of time with YFCs at the moment - and very happy to do so. I owe the organisation a lot. In the recent Islwyn Davies Memorial Lecture, entitled 'The Culture of Montgomeryshire', the speaker, Paul Loveluck of Wales Tourist Board/Countryside Council/National Museum fame described the YFC movement as a 'finishing school'. Nice description and apt. But in my case I'm not sure that it actually 'finished', but it certainly transformed.
Last night's do was in the Community Centre, the scene of what (with typical modesty you might snidely remark) I can only describe as personal triumphs. Abermule is in the middle of Montgomeryshire, and the Centre was where all county YFC competitions used to take place. The stage on which I stood (mouth dry and knees shaking) to win my first public speaking competitions is still there. The clock on the far wall, which I imagined speaking at, is still there. And my seat last night was in roughly the same spot that I sat, when my nom-de-plume, Taurus ap Thomas was called out as the winner of two eisteddfod chairs - when, by tradition I had to be dragged up protesting to the stage. But I digress - as Frankie Howard used to say.
On yesterday's edition of Dau o'r Bae on Radio Cymru, we were asked where we might find a Welsh Obama. My fellow panelist, Myfanwy Alexander suggested that he (for he read she) might be discovered within the Young Farmer's Clubs movement. There is just so much wonderful talent there. The thought that immediately entered my mind why any of these talented young people would want to become politicians, bearing in mind the bucketfuls of contempt that would immediately be poured upon their heads. Another panelist, Daran Hill, normally a man of great wisdom completely lost it. He mentioned Kirsty Williams. Only other person I've heard say that was Mick Bates - and I think he was joking. Will Daran's reputation for good judgement ever recover I ask ?
Anyway, congratulations to Robin who organised last night, Rhiannon who chaired it with authority and charm, Ella for introducing me through poetry, and Luke, Glen, Abbie, and Mathew who got special awards. There were other performances worthy of mention as well. Dylan - in recognition of his retaining the title, Stud of the Year. Gareth - for completely forgetting about the 'Grace' until we were into the main course. And Roger Jones - for his contribution to the livestock industry. The mountain of food he managed to build on his plate at the buffet was a masterpiece of constuction. There were 71 people there, and it was exactly the same mix of wild youth and wise heads that I remember from decades ago. In fact today's wise heads were the wild youth of then. That's how the YFC movement works.