Four months in (or a full term) and here are the eagerly awaited end of term reports for 2014 SFYL competitors, comments gratefully provided by Leonard Godiva Rasputin Heavens, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of the UK Finding Organisation, referred to occasionally as ‘The UFO Club’ by knowing wags and those who can’t be arsed to keep a self-found list.
Richard began 2014 with high hopes for the year; his arch-rival and self-finding nemesis Stephen Blain having acquired a pocket-sized person during the latter stages of 2013. Would he ever have a better opportunity to claim the no.1 spot? Unfortunately, Richard’s mind has wandered somewhat this term, namely to Thailand, Morocco, Yorkshire. One feels he will need more than one vagrant seaduck to make up his losses so far. C+
By his own exemplary standards, this has been a poor start to the year for Steve. He may justify this by way of recent family additions, but he must appreciate that personal lives must be left at home, or at least upon entry through the self-finding door. Fiercely proud, he will not give up his crown without a fight, but by way of mitigation, is getting his excuses in early. C+
Following his habitual slow start, it has been an excellent second part of the first term for Matthew and he has handed in some excellent fieldwork. Popular with his fellow adversaries, many harbour fears that he will have his eyes turned in the coming months, namely to a moth trap situated in an Upper Caldecote garden. B+
Andrew has spent the latter part of this term occupying the naughty step, with persistent rumours of psychological harassment towards other competitors tainting his excellent results. There is a suggestion that Andrew is operating within his comfort zone, but there is no doubting the quality of his work. Must grow out of his Machiavelli hero-worship. B+
Roger is another who knows his subject area (Henlow and environs) intimately and has unearthed some excellent finds, but he must realise that he is allowed to find birds outside of TL13. Perhaps he needs to buy my book ‘Finding Birds in Bedfordshire’, signed copies available from LGRH Publications for the discounted price of £149.99 + £35.16 postage and packaging. B
The class ‘quiet man’, John has produced some excellent finds so far this year, but has found the ‘easier’ work more taxing. Some commentators believe that he has missed several key birds this year, due to receiving persistent text messages about mixed–singing Chiffchaffs, hybrid aythya ducks and Common Gulls at Marston Vale Country Park. If he can avoid these unwanted distractions, John could have an excellent year and be a serious contender. B+
No-one is more surprised to be top of the class than Darren, but he must understand that texting kisses to his teacher will not be tolerated. There is also a suggestion that his score has been achieved with an element of subterfuge and by copying the previous years’ work of his fellow competitors. May succumb to perennial seasonal adjusted disorder or habit of disappearing up his own arse for prolonged periods. B
Martin started the year in the manner of a startled hare, but has been rather lax of late and has been quietly reprimanded by fellow competitors for keeping his work close to his chest. As a result, I have marked him down for this infelicitous secrecy. There is also a suggestion that his recent self-finding form is directly correlated with the sympathy he feels for the erstwhile manager of his pet football team. Until he hands in his work, judgement is suspended.