I am delicate after an evening’s hospitality from East Lothian branch of the National Farmers’ Union. Though blowing a hoolie outside, the 150-strong annual dinner inside the Maitlandfield roared with cameraderie. And, since members apparently lead double lives as prop forwards, Nico’s big function room was bulging at the seams.
Amidst a background hubbub a decibel or three beyond that requiring ear protection, many made me welcome: Johnny Watson of Skateraw with big ideas for a tourist gateway; Billy Logan of West Garleton who built a major supermarket supplier within a decade; Jim Wyllie of Ruchlaw who has farmed the gamut—from fruit to pigs to arable; Bob Simpson of Castle Mains who keeps Walker supplied with tatties while he manages local Scouts, coaches kids’ rugby and lobbies tirelessly for his village.
My preconceptions went out the window. Accents were a broad cross-section of our county. Bloc loyalty to any political party was nowhere in evidence. And, though talk did sometimes turn to prices, I found these stewards of our beautiful countryside more full of lively good cheer than of bean-counter fixations. Hope I get invited back.
East Lothian President: Stuart McNicol, Castleton, North Berwick