Clunton and Clunbury,
Clungunford and Clun.
Are the quietest places
Under the sun.
A E Housman - from 'A Shropshire Lad'
However, tonight Shropshire Young Farmers proved that was not the case. Take an audience of over 700 people, enthusiastic amateurs, some beer and much earthy humour and we have: A Good Night Out. Sophisticated it was not, in tune and choreographed - hardly - but Alan and I, cynical ex townies had a real laff!
This was a fundraiser for the Air Ambulance* held in the marquee put up for the YFCs' President's Ball which will take place on Saturday. The marquee was packed - audience scrubbed up and eager for the show to begin. Chirbury and Marton were scheduled to do their 'turn' fairly late on the bill and as the show started well over an hour late, this was going to be a long evening.
50% of the audience would, on the whole, have felt more at home sitting behind the wheel of a tractor than here on the wobbly folding chairs. The two farmers seated behind me - and whose conversation I tuned into - had the most enlightening and indepth convesation about potatoes and their cultivation. You do learn something everyday. This was followed by an equally detailed analysis of Oil Seed Rape. At last, at long, long last, the first club - Clun, took to the stage and the evening was underway.
The theme, not suprisingly, was rural with a hint of Country and Western (the audience really loved that). Between the Young Farmers' performances we were entertained by Three Men in a Bow Tie - who turned out to be 2 men and a woman - but we didn't have a problem with that. They were very entertaining and could sing in tune. We had singing and dancing, pratt falls, bawdy jokes in the Chaucerian manner, jokes about sheep, jokes at the expense of Craven Arms......fluffed lines - Chirbury and Marton had ingeniously taped their words to the bottom of wheelbarrows (props) and thus avoided those embarrassing moments when minds go blank. We had a good time.
And then at last with much applause it was all over and we could descend on the scrum that was the supper table and the Young Farmers could seriously address the beer.
And at last, home through the night and the quiet lanes to our end of Long Mountain. So quiet that in the half hour's drive we met one car. Shh! let's keep it that way.
*..... and if you live in these remote parts you'll appreciate that this is a Very Good Cause. Support it.