QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry
Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide
with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club,
unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Owing to the fact that club officers are likely to be
changed at the forthcoming a.g. M., the usual list has been omitted from this
b. B.

Editorial

How Big Is The B.E.C.?

At the time of writing, rumours have it that the membership
of the club is falling.  If this is
really so then it is something of which we should perhaps take note.  However, it is always difficult to predict
just how many members, who have ignored all the warnings will still pay their
sub eventually, and it may well turn out that by the time of the dinner that we
are once again back up to full strength.

Rumour also has it that some members have objected to the
various letters which have been sent out. If these objections are based on the actual wording of such letters then
it is probably due to the fact that those who have had the job of composing
them are not professionals at this art! If, on the other hand, it is the letters them¬selves which have been
objected to, then one must, in my opinion, bear in mind the fact that committee
must have as much information as possible in order to balance the books in
these inflationary days.  We hope that
members will perhaps take this point.

Back Again

Your editor has recently received a letter from Sybil who is
now back in the locality and writes to say that she will be pleased to see any
club members who would like to look her up. Her address is 9 Beverley Close,
Critchill
Park, Frome,

Somerset
.

It’s a Ruddy Fine Song

Correspondence is still arriving on the somewhat
controversial subject of reviving the old Hunters Singsong and there is one
aspect of all this which has not so far been mentioned by any of the
writers.  In the days when the singsong
was a regular Saturday night affair, there existed a hardcore of those who knew
the same words and the same tune to any particular song.  On occasions, they even sang it all in the
same key as well.  When, as often
happened, a group of people arrived with a rival version, they usually got the
chance to sing it afterwards and a general decision was made as to which
version would be sung in future.  By this
sort of process, for example, a later version of ‘Cathuselum’ was adopted while
a later tune to ‘The Portions’ was not. With so many different versions of ‘they words’ now current, any would
be sing song revivalists face a problem of discipline which I imagine will
prove near enough impossible to solve in practice.  In fact, it was the gradual breakdown of the
system of having an ‘authorised’ version – leading to the shouting matches of
the Hunters singsong in its final death throes which drove many people – myself
included ¬back to the ordinary bar and out of the back room.  Would anybody like to comment on this point
of view?

No Election

News has just arrived that there will be no election this
year for the new committee, as there are only nine candidates.  This has, of course, happened before on a
number of occasions, although one always hopes that it will not become a
habit.  It now remains to be seen if the
new method to be used for the selection of the club officers will produce any
surprises.

Catching Up

In an attempt to catch up with this volume by the Christmas
edition, an effort is being made to publish (i.e. to have printed the editions
ready for collating and distribution) by the following dates.  Sept., Oct 22. Oct., Nov 10.  Nov, Nov 19 and Christmas, Dec 3rd.  This means producing two pages of B.B. on
every working day between now and December 3rd! It will be interesting to see if this can be done!

“Alfie”

 

Club Officer’s Reports – Climbing Report

The Official report for the Annual General Meeting

This year has seen a certain trend away from local climbing,
due largely to the closure of Cheddar Gorge and most of the
Avon
area.  Particularly regrettable has been
the loss of the tea wagon and car park, which provided a valuable focal point
for evening and weekend meets, especially ‘en famille.’  At the end of 1974, considerable interest was
being expressed in the

Wye
Valley
cliffs, less at
Wyncliffe and Wintour’s Leap than at a new crag, the Seven Sisters.  Many of the new routes at the latter site
have been disfigured with painted records of first ascent dates, gradings etc.
– a practice also in evidence at Symond’s Yat. Not yet in the guidebooks is ‘Pulsator’, a VS worthy of note in a lean
year.  The antics which accompanied its
inauguration are best forgotten, however.

A visit to the Dewerstone at the beginning of January was
far warmer than expected and the granite a welcome change from the ubiquitous
limestone.  As the year has progressed,
trips have become fewer.  One trip to the
Lake District collapsed from lack of
support.  This was a mini-bus venture,
promising a round trip at £3 to £4 a head, a fee which, perhaps surprisingly,
was claimed to be beyond the pockets of most.

Morris and hang gliding have claimed a considerable
following recently and it is unfair to lament the reduction in climbing
activity when the social life of club members is so obviously flourishing.  Some have even returned to the troglodytic
activities from which they once progressed en route to the crags.

This report is, unfortunately, being prepared before return
of the summer Alpine meet, so that achievements will have to wait until next
year for inclusion.  A
Matterhorn
trip was apparently planned, and a report of this and other ventures will be
most welcome in the club journal, providing the handwriting is up to standard.

And so, reluctantly, to the subject of new blood, quickly
disposed of by putting out that there has not been any.  This may be due to the club reputation for
sitting in car parks (yes, it does have such!) and it may be due to the lack of
club facilities for climbers, or to the tendency now prevalent for young
climbers to attend the ‘Outward Bound’ style courses and shun the easy going
camaraderie of the club.  It is painfully
obvious that climbing has become very much a ‘sport’ of late, prey to any
number of silly arguments and political style wrangles.  The competitive gymnasium approach does not
really suit this club, and any recruitment drive must be very care¬fully and
selectively planned.  If anybody has any
ideas on recruitment or would be willing for example to instruct beginners in
rather more than what to shout and when, please use this magazine to publicise
them.  We do not want to turn into a
training school, but a little more activity might be healthy.

 

Financial Statement for the Year to 31st July, 1975

Subscriptions


 


 


 

£278.37

Belfry

Receipts


 

£537.58


 


 

Less
expenditure

(rates 2
years)

(Gas)

(Electricity)

(Water rate)

Insurance, 2
years)

(General
Expenditure)

£109.57

£  41.52

£  77.14

£  13.92

£117.83

£  53.23


 


 


 


 

£413.21

£124.37

Carbide &
Spares

Receipts,
spares

Carbide


 

£  16.75

£    7.40


 


 


 


 

£  24.15


 


 

Less
Expenditure


 

£    0.92

£  23.23

Profit on
purchase of rope for members


 


 


 

£    1.82

C.C.C.
Permits etc.


 


 


 

£    4.90

Annual Dinner

Receipts

Less Cost


 

£312.00

£301.50


 

£  10.50

Publications

Sales of
Surveys

Sales of
Publications


 

£  32.34

£131.85


 


 


 


 

£164.19


 


 

Less cost of

Surveys

Publications

General
Expenditure

£  49.50

£  70.31

£    4.63


 


 


 


 

£124.44

£  39.75

Income Tax
Refund

Donations

Repayment
I.D.M.F. Grants

DEFICIT FOR
THE YEAR


 


 


 

£    6.00

£  14.75

£  90.00

£  56.49


 


 


 


 

£650.18

 

Belfry
Alterations, 1974/1975

Postage and
Stationery

B.B. Postage


 


 


 

£265.59

£  22.50

£  77.47

Telephone

Charges

Less Contributions


 

£100.54

£  73.50


 

£  26.74

Tackle

Expenditure

Less Fees


 

£111.01

£    2.90


 

£108.11

Car Badges

Purchase

Les Sales


 

(Badges and
Ties)

£34.82

£    4.75


 

£  29.87

B.B.

Expenditure

Less sales


 

£  16.37

£    0.25


 

£  16.12

Public
Liability Insurance

Library

Ian Dear
memorial Fund Grant


 


 


 

£  55.00

£  13.78

£  35.00


 


 


 


 

£650.18

 

General
accumulated fund @ 31.7.74

Interest from
Building Society Account 1975


 


 


 

£708.14

£  14.58


 


 


 


 

£722.72

LESS DEFICIT
FOR THE YEAR


 


 


 

£  56.49


 


 


 


 

£666.23

 

Ian Dear
memorial Fund, 31.7.1974

Interest for
year 74/75


 


 


 

£356.16

£  26.76


 


 


 


 

£382.92

Less Grants


 


 


 

£  60.00


 


 


 


 

£322.92

 

Lloyds Bank
Limited

Cash in Hand

Building
Society Account


 


 


 

£200.87

£  50.78

£414.58


 


 


 


 

£666.23

Notes:

 

1.                  This year’s subscriptions account revealed that
the receipts are £100 down and those of last year.  This is partly due to a drop in new
membership, but mainly to a large number of members not paying this year’s
sub.  After inspection of the membership
list, I was disappointed to find that the majority of these non- paying members
are relatively old members of the club. 

2.                  The deficit on this year’s account is basically
due to the committee’s decision to invest some capital in improvements within
the Belfry.

3.                  The Belfry account should show a further credit
of £140.  Unfortunately, many, cheques
were received too late to be entered in the account.  It would have made this year’s statement show
a credit.

B. Wilton, Hon.
Treasurer

 

Club Officer’s Reports – B.B. Report

The current volume of the B. B. can hardly be classed
amongst the better ones.  It has been
late for most of the year, it has missed one issue, it has come out in a
variety of covers, or with none at all, and it will probably have less pages
than last year.

The main reason for this state of affairs is the attempt
which is being made to keep production costs down while at the same time
honouring the wishes of the club as expressed at the last A.G.M.  This means that we have to rely on the good
offices of members to produce covers, get paper cut to size, produce masters
and so on – the alternative is for us to buy all these things, and put the cost
of the B.B. beyond the club resources.

Members see the snags without seeing the advantages.  An estimate of the cost of a year’s
production of the B.B. was made last October and came out at £110.  This does include postage, envelopes, staples
etc.  A similar estimate was made last
January and the figure had risen to £132. By March, the figure had become £164 and at this rate, a figure
estimated next January might well reach the £200 mark.

Knowing that we already had enough paper donated for this
volume, I actually put in a figure of £32 for the cost of production of this
volume.  Since then, I have received
further donations to the point where I decided to pay the remainder out of my
own pocket this year.  Hence the cost of
production of volume 29 will be NIL.

At the last A.G.M., the subject of the B.B. was discussed at
some length.  I am in a position to put
various figures to the club at the A.G.M. if required to show the actual
economics of the whole situation.  The conclusion
I have come to is that volume 30 (for 1976) should continue to be produced
monthly.

Thanks should be given to Garth Dell, Chris Batstone and
Gardon Tilly for their efforts in keeping production costs down.  Also to the regular contributors – especially
‘Wig’ for keeping the contents going.  If
we are to keep the B.B. afloat, we need more effort in both these
categories.  DONATIONS OF PAPER ARE
ESSENTIAL and articles on interesting subjects are, of course, always
welcome.  In common with many journals,
inflation is hitting the B.B. hard.  As
far as I know, the B.B. is the only caving journal to have passed its 300th
edition, and it would be a great pity if we had to chop it drastically, or even
cease publication altogether after nearly thirty years of production.

*****************************************

Donations of paper, masters and any useful material are
always welcome.  Ask Alfie for details if
in doubt.  All contributions are also
welcome from small items. This size to long articles – and anything in between!

 

Club Officer’s Reports – Tacklemaster’s Report

Graham sends this in as he says for the benefit of all those
who do not attend the A.G.M.

I could quite easily repeat myself and just copy out from
last years report what I said about the treatment of club equipment, and cite
examples of members not taking care of tackle. However, if you want all that, just look out your October ’74 B.B.  The library holds a copy if you are new to
the club.

Ladders and ropes are still missing after a year and can
probably be written off, but tackle seems to turn up in the most diverse and
peculiar ways: “I was given this by a bloke in the pub.” or,
“Our club’s been using this rope of yours for years – do you want it
back?”  These two examples give some
idea of what goes on.

Whilst on the subject of ladder, there are many ways to roll
one up, but only two or three are really good ways.  Generally, if I get to the store frequently
enough, ladders incorrectly rolled have been put to rights.  All that any borrower has to do is to roll
the ladder the way he found it.  If YOU
cannot do this, then don’t be too proud to ask someone else how it should be
done.  We all had to learn sometime.

Fortunately, things are better than they seem.  All ladder is now repaired or remade and we
have something approaching a thousand feet available for use.  We have an excellent stock of lifelines, both
polypropylene and nylon including Viking quality nylon.

A large number of tethers are being made using Englefield
clips on the ends instead of ‘C’ links. These clips are compatible with ‘C’ links and also somewhat
stronger.  They do have the disadvantage
that a karabiner will not go through them. Because of this, some tethers will still be made with ‘C’ links.  We are no longer using splicing to make eyes
on the ends of wires, having gone over entirely to Telurit ferrules.  Samples made on our machine have been tested
to destruction.  The Telurit did not fail
and the wire broke at its normal maximum load. On regular occasions samples made on our press will similarly tested to
destruction.  If anyone else wants to use
the press, they will have to have lessons from me first.

The current policy of not using rope for S.R.T. (Single Rope
Techniques or abseiling and prussicking) will, I hope, continue.  Most members who use S.R.T. are of the
opinion that it is safest to climb on rope whose past history is thoroughly
known.  Such knowledge is only possible
if the rope is owned and cared for by the individual who uses it.

Many members have bought their own ropes in the past.  If YOU own some and it is now worn out, or
you no longer dare trust it, please don’t destroy it, for it could still have
plenty of useful life as a digging rope. Become a donator to the club. (Hint, hint!)

The reserve tackle (ultra lightweight tackle and long
lifelines) has hardly been used this year. I would like to think that increased use of S.R.T. is the cause, but it
seems that few people are making trips that require such equipment.  Reserve tackle is specifically for trips off
Mendip, so that the ordinary store is not unnecessarily depleted at weekends or
at peak periods. 
Yorkshire
trips used to involve tackle every month of the year.  Not so now!

In contrast, digging tackle has been in use continually
throughout the year.  Members should
note, however that as with other equipment, the borrowing of digging tackle
must be noted down in the tackle book in the usual way.  Digging ropes are not numbered, but borrowers
should indicate how many are in use.

Finally, my apologies to anyone who borrowed standard ladder
recently just after it had been remade, who then had the dreaded
rung-slip.  All these ladders have rungs
fixed with Allen screws, and these need re-tightening after the ladders have
been stretched after load.  The matter is
being rectified, but if it makes you feel happier, I’ll lend you an Allen key
in return for a pint!

 

African Journey

Malcolm Jarrett sends in this
account from foreign parts and says that he hopes to be back on the Hill for
Christmas.

After all attempts to arrange a holiday to coincide with the
Pyrenees trip had failed due to my work in Saudi Arabia, I decided to visit
East Africa, as it is only 200 miles from where I am working.  My employers paid all my air fares and
several other friends were also visiting
Kenya,
as I intended to do, but I received a note from a friend suggesting that I
should meet him in

Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia
where
I was due to change planes.  He was
passing through on his way to
Nairobi from

Cairo
.

From reading the press, and from hearsay,

Ethiopia
to be in a state of
turmoil and closed to visitors from my little grey hole in the desert.  It was not possible to get a yellow fever jab
or even a visa so on arrival at Addis, I fully expected to be told to go on to
Nairobi by air.  Even more intimidating
were the hordes of Chinese in their flat ‘ats and grey suits.  No place for wealthy capitalists, I
thought!  So for half an hour, I tried to
make one of the gentlemen smile.  Not a
muscle twitched.  Obviously they knew the
evils of smiling at white devils and paper tigers.  Eventually I reached the head of the queue
where my wad of sterling banknotes eliminated any problems of entry.  Within half an hour I was out of the airport,
which subsequently became something of a record.

Immediately, I met my friend, Ian Coward, a college friend
and occasional Belfry visitor and we hitched a lift into central Addis.  Despite military government, the city seems
to work as well as any other although there are massive numbers of beggars and
lepers in the streets.  After two days we
were ready to set off for

Nairobi
.  Catching a bus in Addis is not too easy.  The stock answer to any question is “The
bus goes now” and timing can be a problem as some Ethiopians work to a
clock six hours different from local time.

Eventually we left the dank city at dawn and drove south to
the town of

Dilla
.  Apart from two brief checks there was still
no sign of tension and soon we were travelling through

Ethiopia
‘s lake
country, part of the rift valley system. There are still some volcanic springs in the area although we did not
have time to visit them.

From Dilla we caught a bus to Vabella, another 210 km south
and the limit of the regular bus service. We got there in the early afternoon and decided that there was time to
travel further.  We found the driver of a
truck going south, but he didn’t seem to know if he was going that day or the
next.  Ian and I spent some time taking
photographs of local children and then to our surprise, the truck went racing
out of the village square.  We then heard
it stop and found it at a store loading maize. The driver seemed to be totally uninterested to all around him.  This we later ascribed to a local drug, which
seems to impart a sense of timelessness to those who chew this leaf.  Eventually, and for no obvious reason, the
truck left.  The roads deteriorated now and
there was no more tarmac although the road had been graded in preparation for
tarmac laying.

A further 100 km brought us to Mega, a small hill town.  Gradually, the countryside was becoming less
cultivated and termite hills became more common together with some small bush
fauna.  After an overnight stop at Mega,
the truck driver offered us a lift to Hidi. This village did not appear on the map and few people knew where it
was.  We accepted the lift as the bus was
not due for three days and continued south in the company of a goat and five
small children.  The road got steadily worse
and unfortunately the goat’s nerves could not stand the vibration, so it made a
nasty mess of somebody’s shoe.  Seeing
how uninhibited the goat was, one of the small children let fly.  This started quite an argument between the
children’s mothers, but neither child nor goat seemed very moved.

Hidi was in the throes of market day.  The market seemed to serve a social function
more than anything else.  It can’t have
had much business, as everybody was selling each other the same things.  People carried spears everywhere and wore
simple blankets.  I had my first fresh
milk for four months – straight from the camel very good too!  We also tried an evil brew made from coffee
beans fried in butter and floated on warm milk. This is, apparently, brewed for various pagan ceremonies but I dread to
think what they might be.  We slept in
the truck that night, to the sound of ritual dancing which was interrupted by
the return of our travelling companion much the worse for chewing ‘chat’ (the
leaf mentioned earlier) and drinking tej (honey beer).  Hidi was very pleasant, but still a long way
off the main road and mil from the

Kenya
border.  Our truck driver seemed uncertain about where
he was going and his sense of time had now vanished completely.

The day after our arrival at Hidi, a

Toyota
truck arrived.  This was quite an event for Hidi – two trucks
within twenty four hours!  What was even
better was that the

Toyota

was returning immediately to Moyale.  Was
this our chance to get to the Kenyan border, we wondered?  Our hopes flagged again when so many people
leapt aboard that the truck could not move. Then our original driver decided that he, too, would go to Moyale –
mainly because there was nowhere else he could get fuel.  Ten minutes later, he scrambled into the cab
and raced off across the village ‘square’. We chased after him, only to find that he had decided to take tea at a
different house.  Another ten minutes
elapsed, followed by another mad dash across the village.  Ian and I decided to get back on our truck
anyway and this was just as well because the next time he drove off it was on
the road to Moyale – for two minutes. Yet again we stopped, and out came the driver who held some sort of
ballot (based on how much cash rather than how many hands) to decide finally
where we were going.  Eventually, Moyale
was chosen and off we went to the border.

We reached the border in mid afternoon and passed through
into

Kenya

fairly quickly.  Immediately after
changing our money, we had the pleasant surprise of finding out that all the
beer in

Kenya

has a government price control.  This was
excellent news, so off we went to sample ‘Tusher’ lager.  Kenyan beer is an interesting
phenomenon.  Quite often we had it so
cold that the barman had to search for a bottle that was still liquid.  Pouring Tusher is a real art.  Even the best pour can result in a Watney
Factor (ratio of head to liquid) of unity, and a real ‘barmaid’s pour’ can
achieve a frightening Watney Factor of nearly infinity!  Indeed, whilst experimenting with ways of
eliminating gas by shaking in an exclusive

Nairobi
hotel, a large proportion of a half
litre bottle scattered the barmen at a range of six feet.  Eliminating any gas ingested, in a civilised
manner, is very difficult.  Quite often
towards midnight, the unwitting drinker opens his mouth to expound on some
topic, only to release a fortissimo belch.

Moyale had only one bar, as it was predominantly a Muslim
town.  Fortunately we met a customs
officer who offered us his room, so we went to bed – Ian under the mosquito net
and myself on the concrete floor.  As
Ian’s luck would have it, this was the only place where we encountered
mosquitoes.  Whilst he slept peacefully,
I lay in terror while the little malarial kamikaze pilots dug into me with
their proboscis.  Nightmares of ‘O’ level
biology came to my mind, and for the next few days I was very thorough in
taking my malaria tablets.

The Kenyan side of Moyale seemed to have many trucks, and
after a short search we found a land rover going to Isiolo, nearly into

Nairobi
and well onto
tarmac roads.  Unfortunately, he
disappeared and we opted for a lift on a truck full of empty oil drums.  In the general haste to board the truck I
forgot my camera.  After several days
without a wash, the smell of diesel fuel made a pleasant change.

After losing my camera, I should have realised that it was
not going to be a good day, and sure enough, things rapidly deteriorated.  The ageing Ford truck stopped several times;
stricken by asthma and eventually it spent more time stationary than
mobile.  The driver realised that all was
not well and headed for the

village of
Soldo
(sorry, Sololo –
Ed.).  Many of his customers opted to
remain on the main road and whilst they were dismounting, our land rover sped
past on its way to Isiolo!  The truck got
within sight of Sololo and expired.

By this time it occurred to Ian and I that neither of us mew
anything about the carburetion of diesel engines.  The Kenyans attempted a number of curious
stunts some falling little short of religion in their execution. Three
supercilious whites standing watching didn’t help.  Eventually, some time after it became
obvious, they realised that the fuel filter was blocked, and got us back on the
road.  Most of the travellers had lost
interest by now, and vanished into the village, so we had a fairly quiet trip
to Marsabit.  From Marsabit to Isiolo we
got a lift in a government land rover. From Isiolo to Nanyuki we travelled by taxi and then arranged another
taxi to

Nairobi
.
Just South of Nanyuki we crossed the equator in heavily overcast
conditions.  The taxi drivers are only
supposed to take six passengers but at nightfall they completely flout the
regulations.  By some sort of instinct
the taxis meet in garages and we transferred to other taxis, all for an
inclusive fare.  Eventually we reached

Nairobi
with 13 people in
a Peugeot 404 – and a chicken.  The
chicken arrived totally exhausted and collapsed in a heap asking to be curried.

So.  We had made it in
exactly the time budgeted. 

Nairobi
looked
exquisite.  After four months in

Saudi Arabia
,
anywhere that offers fish and chips, beer and ham sandwiches is heaven.  The next day, we met two friends within two
minutes of our previously agreed time and, along with two otters, decided to go
south to
Tanzania to see the

Serengeti
Game
Park

and the Ngoro Ngoro crater.

We travelled by bus down to Arusha at which place we
fortunately met an Australian who was drilling for water near
Lake
Victoria
.  He offered us a
lift through the game park, past the Ngoro Ngoro crater and down
Lake Victoria in exchange for a few beers.

Next day we set off for Serengeti, where we had a fine time
in the reserve, seeing many animals and finally the Ngoro Ngoro crater.  This crater is of massive size and I guess
big enough to hold

Birmingham
.  The Tanzanian government runs tourist hotels
which cost £15 a night and have excellent views and cuisine. Naturally, we
didn’t stay at them, but we used their bars as there was still price controlled
beer!

 

We tried to stop the night at a lodge, but they had never
seen B.E.C. type people.  They found it
impossible to see why we ate nothing; drank several pounds worth of beer and
refused to pay a pound each to camp.  As
the police post was miles away, they couldn’t do much and left us alone.  Next day, we carried on our pub crawl,
occasionally noticing wild animals and getting lost, arriving late at night at
Mwanza, a town well endowed with bars and situated on the South Eastern edge of
La Victoria.  Here, we reluctantly parted
company with our Australian friend.

After two days in Mwanza, I had to rush back to Arusha in
order to fly back to work.  (Another
reason being that Kenyan beer is cheaper) “Only 12 hours” said the Asian travel agent – rubbing his
hands as he took the money.  So it might
have been if the bus hadn’t broken it’s suspension at 1 a.m.  Fortunately another bus came along with a
spare part and some string and the problem was solved within two and a half
hours.  We spent this time speculating on
whether the driver would be crushed to death when the jack collapsed (he
wasn’t).  At last after twenty three
hours and a few more bits of we arrived back in Arusha.

This bus journey had much in common with others
East Africa.  The
driver often went for a spin around town before leaving.  In one town, the locals derived much pleasure
in seeing two of us chasing a bus down the high street.  They all knew it had only gone to re-fuel!

So there we were back in Arusha. I got another night bus to

Nairobi
, and the others
went off to the coast.  I arrived back in

Nairobi
at 7
a.m. after a two and a half hour customs stop. Despite what African people said to me, they did seen to favour me at
customs posts – or was it the subtle smell from my rucsac?  I decided to spend my last night of freedom
in a luxury hotel and I arrived fresh from the bus looking as if I had been
down Manor Farm in the digging days. Next day I got up at 5.45 a.m. and went to

Nairobi
airport only to find that Ethiopian
Airlines had sent too small a plane!  So
here I sit, at their expense, in an international hotel.  Tomorrow I have another night in Addis and
eventually I might get back to

Saudi
Arabia
, but that could well be another
story!

Editor’s
Note:     Malcolm
says that he will be at

Box 42,
Kharis Mushayt,
Saudi
Arabia
until December 15th.  As far as the membership list is concerned,
his

Birmingham

address is best for the time being.

 

Letter to the Editor

Dear Alfie,

Having noticed Sett’s letter in the last B.B. referring to
the traditional Hunters Saturday, I thought I might set pen to paper to stir
the controversy.  Not that one can
dispute the fact that they ‘orrible words is fast fading; at least all but the
more ‘orrible which need no effort to remember, but to argue that the cause
should be laid against us and not Hunters.

Historically, as many members will recall, the ‘Cavers Room’
of Hunters, which has now been modified to become the lounge, was the second
port of call for Saturday night bar room mountaineers, the first being the old
hatchway to get beer.  The bar was then
considerably smaller and catered for local customers, tourists and only a few
cavers.  Thus, with the majority of
cavers being in their ‘own’ room, when any singing started, the natural thing
was to join in and one learned the words along the way.  In the summer the tourists came for miles to
park their cars near the open window and giggle at those rude fellows inside.  However, at the time it was the practice to
revert instantly to a rendering of ‘Sospan Fach’ whenever Ben appeared.  Later on this practice ceased and Ben was
known to complain about the uncouth behaviour of some cavers.

When Roger modernised the Hunters, he recognised our need
and set aside rooms in the remoter parts of the pub where we could gather and
sing, but, unfortunately in some respects, he also enlarged the bar.  Nowadays, on any evening it is normal for us
regulars to go to the bar rather than to the caver’s rooms – and in the bar we
stay glaring at any intruders and only leaving for the calls of nature or time.

Still, on odd occasions such as when Maurice turns up and
feels in voice, we lobby known aficionados and adjourn to the back room to
sing.  Admittedly we are not always very
successful, we have such complexes now that we automatically forget either
words or tune (even both).  We often
repeat a song for latecomers but we can still run the course of a Hunters
singsong when we have a mind to. Practice is obviously what we need and if the Belfry after hours is the
only place we can get it, then, when you’ve got it organised, count me in.

Yours Argumentatively, Mike
Wheadon.

Editor’s
Note:     As I typed this, I was assailed
by the horrible feeling that I had done it before.  It may have appeared in the July B.B. (A copy
of which I do not beside me as I type this). If, in fact, it has achieved the
dubious distinction of appearing TWICE in the B.B.  I trust that all will accept my apologies.

 

Monthly Crossword – Number 60 

1

 

2

 

3

 

 

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

14

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Lead another way to master
cave? (6)
4. Alternative word. (2)
7. Did Ursus Spelaeans find its way round caves by taking these? (8)
9. Barrow this on Mendip. (4)
10. Its presence really upsets 7 across. (4)
12. Swollen ‘O’ was the foundation of many a caver’s garb in days gone by. (8)
14. Thus. (2)
16. Colour band in Rod’s bacon once – also describes a later barbecue
occurrence. (6)

Down

1. Short Cuthbert’s title. (2)
2. May have its uses in caving but surely not on lifelines? (4,4)
3. A hundred of these near the Belfry. (4)
5. Wookey, for example? (6)
6. Initial part of cave perhaps. (8).
8. Proceeds in this manner often underground. (6)
11. Do caves contain lots of this? (4)
13. Briefly all right. (1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

U

 

D

 

 

B

E

D

S

S

T

R

A

T

A

 

R

 

E

 

A

 

 

T

R

I

P

D

R

I

F

T

S

 

P

 

 

 

N

 

A

 

S

 

 

 

S

 

C

R

A

W

L

S

T

U

F

A

 

 

I

 

S

 

M

 

S

L

U

M

P

S

S

P

O

T

 

 

S

 

S

 

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registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.

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