Last Wednesday I headed down to Tunbridge Wells after work to have a go at my second #30before30 challenge - taking part in a Beetle Drive.
Setting off I had absolutely no idea what to expect and talking in the bar at the Constitution Club before hand with a few of the others taking part, I was none the wiser as everyone seemed to have a different idea of what the rules were!
However, one thing seemingly everyone we met before settling down for the Beetle Drive were agreed on was making my girlfriend, Lauren, and I feel incredibly welcome. None more so than Phil Leng, a member of the event organisers, The Oddfellows, who I'd had all the previous correspondence with in the build up to the night.
For those of you that don't know about The Oddfellows (like me prior to the evening), they are a not for profit society that look to bring people together to do fun things like race nights, quizzes and, of course, Beetle Drives! In addition, they also provide members with care advice and support in times of need.
Now, I know what you all really want to know - what the hell is a Beetle Drive and how do you play? For starters, it has absolutely noting to do with driving VW Beetles or Liverpool's most famous band. Nor does it have anything to do with eating bugs I'm a celebrity stylie.
The objective is to complete the Beetle before anybody else. A simple enough task you would have thought, however it is made more complicated by the fact that you can only draw parts of the beetle when you roll the number corresponding to that body part.
To make things even more complicated you can only draw certain body parts after you have certain other parts. For example, you can only draw the beetles antennae after you've drawn the head and you can only draw the wings and the legs once you've drawn the body.
This can make the game incredibly frustrating as you can go ten or twelve goes (or even the entire game as I did once) without rolling a two - the number needed to draw the body which you have to get before you can draw any other beetle part.
You play each round with a partner in a table of four and the game ends when anyone on any of the tables completes the Beetle. You then tot up your scores (based on the amount of parts you manage to draw before the game stopped). If you score more than the pair you were playing against, you then move on to another table with your partner whilst the losers rotate a seat at the same table to ensure that you have a new partner in the next round.
This makes for a really social game as each time you're playing with someone new. I only moved tables once in the nine rounds which, if you've been following how the game works, will tell you that I didn't do very well! Scoring zero for one of the rounds was the obvious lowlight but I did get very close to winning one of the rounds and I've got to say when you're in with a chance of winning it does get exciting.
The beers flow throughout the game which seemed to vary in terms of intensity depending upon who you were playing with. Some were fiercely competitive and were virtually picking the die up from the table before it had stopped spinning for the go of the previous player!
One guy who'd enjoyed a few too many beers was a little over zealous in his efforts and repeatedly rolled the die off the table 'slowing the game down' during one of the rounds and scuppering any chance of us had of winning that round.
In the end I didn't do as badly as I thought I did, finishing just below half way despite my nil points round. Lauren faired even better finishing in the top five or six. More importantly we both really enjoyed the game and the hospitality of both the Oddfellows and the members of the Constitution Club.
Phil was a fantastic host, giving me and the challenge a wholly unexpected and incredibly generous introduction prior to the game starting whilst everyone taking part were keen to offer their help with the challenges - a member even went out of his way to drive us back to the station!
At the end of the evening, they also presented me with a cheque for £100 to put towards the challenge - an extremely generous gesture which only further goes to underline just how nice this group were. The Oddfellows even recorded a video of me receiving my cheque which can be viewed here.
I'd like to say a huge thank you to Phil, the Oddfellows, the staff at the Constitution Club and all the Beetle Drive players for a fantastic evening. If all the challenges go as well as this one I'll be a happy man!
So, that's now two challenges down. Only another 28 to go!
Don't forget that you can help me complete a number of the challenges:
Follow me on twitter to help me reach 30,000 followers.
Make a donation to help me reach my £30,000 target.
Do you know someone called Andy Jackson that would be willing to meet up with me? Drop me an email at: AJackson@beatingbloodcancers.org.uk