QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Dilemma

Our esteemed Hon. Sec. puts his finger on a weakness in the
system we use to determine who does what on the club committee.  In his secretarial column this month, he
suggests that comments would be useful, so here is the editor’s comment which
is not, repeat NOT the official view of the committee but merely the editor’s
opinion as a club member.  Since we have
had no election for two years, and thus many of our current members have never
voted, I feel that Mike’s point is of importance this year.

At one time, when the club was much smaller, all the
officers were elected by show of hands, one at a time, at the A.G.M.  Later, when we decided to allow members to
vote by post if they wished, it was thought to be too complicated to elect each
officer because of all the possible permutations (“I would like A to be
Hut Warden, rather than B, but if B gets elected, then I would like A to be
Caving Sec.  On the other hand if C gets
to be Caving Sec, then …” – and so on.) So we adopted a system where we elected nine blokes to run the club and
left them to sort it all out.  Even more
recently, we have gone in for a secret ballot amongst members of the
newly-elected committee to avoid any embarrassment during the voting.  All of this sounds fine BUT, as Mike points
out, there are snags.

Many people, for instance, hold the view that if a man is
elected to the committee, he should be prepared to take any job he is
offered.  In practice, this is not so and
Mike is by no means alone when he points out that he wishes to take on no other
job than that of Hon. Sec.  He suggests
that

Barrie

feels the same about being Hon. Treasurer and I might add that I cannot
nowadays see myself doing anything other than my present jobs.  I should not be at all surprised if there are
not other members of the present committee who hold similar views.  Thus, in practice, voting for some people is
mainly done on the understanding that they will do certain jobs when elected –
whatever the club’s system might imply.

To my mind, even worse trouble occurs when somebody gets
elected to the committee who, through no fault of his own, upsets what would
otherwise be a natural choice of jobs for people.  When this happens, other members of the
committee are then left with no job to do. This is not just a theory, for I found myself in exactly this position
after being elected to the committee in the election of October 1967, when I
came third in the poll and finished up five minutes after the start of the
first committee meeting with nothing whatever to do.  As a result, I did not seek re-election in
1968.  I am not, of course, claiming that
this did the club any harm, but there could well be times when considerable harm
might be done.  For instance, a man could
be doing a particular job pretty well, but the committee might elect another on
the basis that they thought he could do the job even better.  The first man (I ought to add that wherever I
have written ‘man’ it implies ‘person’) might not feel able to take on anything
else, and might resign or not bother to stand next year.  The second man might not be able to stand
again, and the result would be the loss of a good club officer.

Thus, I feel that members, when voting, should consider who
is likely to be asked to do each of the main jobs, and what will probably
happen if there are two natural contenders for anyone job.  The result might well be a committee having
people in it who have come high up in the voting only to find themselves
redundant.  In this case, the committee
may well be forced to co-opt straight away. If a person is so co-opted who has just lost out in the election, the
committee might well feel that they have gone against the wishes of the club –
yet what else can they do?

As I see it voters must consider this point in particular,
when they choose who is to be on the club committee.

Raising The Tone

Both readers who do the Monthly Crossword will be pleased to
see that this month’s crossword is much better than usual.  Many thanks to Margaret Innes (Angus’s wife)
for having sent in a crossword which not only fits the current series, but is
much better composed than is my usual rubbish.

Annual Dinner

A full-page advert for the dinner will be found in this
B.B.  It only remains to add that the
A.G.M. will be held at the Belfry, starting at 10.30 (I presume, unless you
hear to the contrary) and that as many members as possible are urged to
attend.  Mike tells me that this year it
will be run strictly according to the book (which means that I don’t have to
write the minutes, thank God) and that he will be formally handing over the
meeting to the Chairman when elected who, according to tradition, will later
act as M.C. at the dinner.

 

The Growth Of The B.E.C.

The third part of a series in
which the membership figures for the B.E.C. over the years are examined to see
if any conclusions can be drawn from them, and if it will be possible to see
why the club has had periods of prosperity and periods – like the one in this
article of relative decline.

PART THREE – BAD PATCH……(1951 to 1957)

Our last article left the club with its membership way up
above the predicted value.  The impetus,
it is true, was beginning to slow up, but there appeared to be nothing to worry
about.

This month’s graph is, however, a sorry-looking object.  In contrast with the expansion shown in last
month’s article, the club actually – and steadily – DECREASED in size from 1951
to 1957.  At the start of this bad patch,
the club had 131 members, which put it at 12 above the predicted level, while
at the end of the bad patch, it had sunk to 117 – or 27 members short of those
predicted.

Now, it is important to realise that the figures can show
why this happened in terms of how many people joined the club, and how quickly
or slowly they dropped away again.  What
the figures cannot do is to tell us WHY. That is something we have to make our own intelligent guesses
about.  During the expansions of 1946 and
of 1948/9, it was not difficult to see the cause.  The decline of the club from 1951 to 1957 is
much more difficult to pinpoint to any cause.

The figures show that we cannot blame the decline on the
effect of the 1948 batch (which was disappearing rapidly) because this effect was
near enough balanced by the 1946 group (which was hanging on despite
everything) and these two effects cancel each other out.  Equally, the decline cannot be blamed on the
lack of new members (who were arriving in average quantity throughout the
period of decline).  The decrease in
membership was simply due to the fact that greater than average losses occurred
in nearly every batch.  In other words,
members suddenly began to leave the club earlier than one might expect, and
this did not depend on how long they had been members.  For some reason, the club had stopped keeping
its members happy – old and young alike.

In 1953, the club discovered a major Mendip cave right on
its own doorstep AND negotiated an access agreement which, in those days,
virtually meant that any caver ‘who wanted to explore Cuthbert’s regularly had
to be a member of B.E.C.  One might
reasonably expect that this would have given membership a boost, but IT HAD NOT
THE SLIGHTEST EFFECT.  Indeed, the year
following the discovery of Cuthbert’s was the worst of the whole period.

What happened in 1951, which suddenly caused members to be
dissatisfied with the club?  Why did this
even more dramatically stop happening in 1957? External events nave been looked at, but nothing appears to fit these
dates.  At the end of this series, a
theory will be advanced to explain all this, but in the mean time, readers may
like to speculate – in the B.B. if they wish – on what factor or factors could
have caused the bad patch, which ended so suddenly in 1957.

 

Secretarial

It is to be hoped that we are now over our BB production
troubles and it will be possible to produce a regular secretarial feature
carrying current information.  News on
the membership front includes: –

The return of Bob Cross (680) both to renewal of membership
and to Mendip Area.  His address is, once
again,

42 Bayham Road
,
Knowle, Bristol BS4 2DR.  Then there is
the Palmers – Mike moved his address some time ago and each time I remembered
that I’d not published it, it was too late for inclusion anyway, you can find
him at Laurel Farm Yarley Hill, Yarley, Wells – tele Wells 74693.

New Members – Some of these new members now seem like old
members so I might have included their names and addresses previously.  If I have, here they are again and if not
-then my apologies for the delay.

912 J.E.K. Turner           Orchard Cottage,

92 Church Lane
, Backwell,
Avon BS19 3JW
913 K.S. Baker 36 Northumberland Road,
Redland,

Bristol

BS6 7BD.
914 B.J. Workman         Moreland, 11
Bath New Road, Radstock,
Avon.

915 C.M. Smart             15 Timor Close,
Popley
Islands,
Basingstoke.
916 J.
Wilson   

6 Sparrow Farm Road
,
Stoneleigh, Epsom,
Surrey KT17 2JL.
917 B. Hervin     75A Murhill, Limpley
Stoke, Nr Bath.
918 R.H. Round            

131 Middleton Road
,
Banbury, Oxon.
919

T.L.

Temple
            2 Larch Close, Lee-on-Solent, Hants.

920 N. Holstead             75A Murhill,
Limpley Stoke, Nr

Bath

921 P. Rose      2 The Beacon Ilminster.
(tel 2612).

The AGM will be upon us in a few months and I would like to
take this opportunity to remind all members (just in case the BB should drift
again) that nominations for candidates for the committee are needed to be
received by at least the end of August. The club constitution rules that unless they specify otherwise, the
present committee members are automatically nominated.       The Club held no election
last year, the vacancies in the committee being filled by the only nominations
received by the closing date.  It is time
we had an election.

I have not yet canvassed the committee to see if all are
willing to seek re-election but it is hoped that I shall be able to broadcast
this news soon.  I after much
consideration I decided that I will seek re-election and it has presented me
with something of a dilemma.  Some time
ago Mike Palmer devised and introduced a system where the newly elected
committee held their own ‘mini election’ to allocate posts.  This system must be adhered to until or
unless the A.G.M. allows any departure from it – hence my dilemma – for with my
decision to seek re-election goes the decision that I wish no other post than
that of Secretary (Barrie I think feels the same about the Treasurer’s job) and
there are several posts on the committee for which I would have no competence
e.g., Hut Warden.  This statement, were
it followed by my election, would imply that the club membership was satisfied
with my performance of the task and would therefore over-ride the ‘mini
election’ – perhaps the AGM should consider this and comments in the BB would
be welcomed.  Incidentally, if anyone
else is interested in the Secretary post, it at present includes the Minute
Secretary duties and Membership Secretary in addition to General Club
Correspondence.

I see that I’ve now left an embarrassingly small space for
our Editor to fill so I’ll save him the trouble.

Pete and Joyce Franklin are busy on a Magnum Opus for Dinner
Entertainment.  Any budding thespians
wishing to audition for parts should ring

Bristol

683084.

Chris Batstone is fed up with washing up hence the removal
of most of the general utensils about the Belfry.  Kettle, Teapot, Mugs will remain and he will
try to keep one of everything else available.

Hut Fees are rising and from August 1st the rate will be 30p
Members 45p for Guests. Trip leaders are requested to see that Shower fees are
collected.

 

Snow and Ice in
North Wales

A short article sent in by our
Climbing Sec. Russ Jenkins, which shows that the B.E.C. still goes climbing –
at least, it did last February

Around midnight on Friday, the 11th of February, we arrived
at Helyg, the climbers hut in the

Ogwen
Valley
.  The three of us, Kangy; his friend Mark James
who is headmaster of Brockworth Comprehensive School near Gloucester, and the
prospective liberal candidate for the Cabot Ward of Bristol, together with your
Climbing Sec. had estimated that the second week in February was usually O.K.
for snow and ice in Wales.

After breakfast the usual low cloud had drifted away and
snow could be seen above the Heather Terrace in Tryfan.  Mark and I were both giving new boots a first
outing and we set off for Tryfan, the base of which is about a mile and a half
from Helyg, past William’s Farm.  After a
steady ascent to Heather Terrace (for the combined ages of the three of us
amounted to well over a hundred years!) we could feel the cold from the
snowdrifts.  We were on the shady North
Face and so decided on North Buttress – a route of 750 feet to the summit
ridge.  This was first climbed at Easter
in 1899 by the famous O.G. Jones Abraham Pulterill.

The first patches were interesting as they were running with
water, but eventually we were forced off the rock and had to kick steps up a
sixty degree slope towards the summit. It then began to snow, and the exit ramp
to Adam and Eve was like a skating rink. A pause in the lee of the two rock boulders for raisins and biscuits,
and then we were off down.  We lost
height rapidly by glissading a derriere using our cagoules as toboggans.  Down past the snow line we tramped, down Cwm
Tryfan, past Williams Farm and back to Helyg and later to the pub.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we crossed the A5 in the
opposite direction and made for the Carneddau. Shunning the new tarmac strip up to the reservoir, we used the
conventional route and we were soon up once again to the snow line.  After the now familiar and much sought after
raisins, we began to slog up to the summit ridge between Carnedd Dafydd and
Carnedd Llewelyn.

The weather closed in and the clouds descended and it began
to snow.  We were soon kicking steps
again, except that where my four stone lighter companions were only sinking
down a foot with each step, I was going in about two foot six on occasions.  The weather improved after we got to the
summit and the view made it all worthwhile. There was a cornice on the ridge and the views of Pen-yr-Oleu-Wen and
Tryfan were superb.  We scrambled off
from the ridge and skirted the lake on its other side and then back down the
hillside to the hut to complete a round trip of about six miles.  My feet were sure glad of a rest!

Helyg is a male only hut and the rate is 50p a night.  The hut is well appointed, with a drying
cupboard powered by a fan heater and the resident Hut Warden lives in a small
room – or large cupboard – suspended (!) over the kitchen.

 

Committee News

Applications for membership were accepted from Anthony
Jarratt, Trevor Hughes and William Collis. It was agreed to continue the removal of utensils from the Belfry.  Work on the bunkroom is to go ahead, and it
was hoped that it would be in a reasonable state before the International
Speleological Conference.  It is planned
to fit out the bunks gradually with police type mattresses.  These are very expensive but are almost
indestructible.  There is to be some
modification to the shower arrangements, but the matter of the central heating
is now at a standstill, since no scheme within the financial capability of the
club had so far been proposed.  Since the
meeting,

Barrie

has managed to find a source of cheap paper for the B.B., which has finally
overcome the problem we have had this year of having to buy paper at full
retail prices.  Graham reported that all
the new ladders which were planned had now been made and that Mike Palmer had
supplied us with ‘C’ links.  It was
agreed that the fee for anyone using the Belfry for protracted periods of time
will be £8.00 per week.  The committee
were to point out to the local council that the signpost to Priddy Pool was
incorrect – and suggest that they refer to the O. S. map for the location of
Priddy Pool.


 

Fifth

Col
umn
– A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

One of the brighter aspects of fancy dress parties is that
we are sometimes treated to the response of the we-eg at the Hunters when odd
members turn up in unusual attire and on the 2nd of July, on the way to a
housewarming at Yarley, we were treated to some rare sights, such as Liz in a
mattress cover and fangs with Martin in soda sacks and more hair than
usual.  Amazing!  They must be saving up for a new car or something.  Then there was Derek Targett, superbly
realistic as a werewolf, whilst Tom Gage was a rather black skeleton and
Colleen a very presentable ghost from BRI (chains and all – could be described
as looking flushed!).  Graham W-J turned
up as some sort of extremely warm-blooded sea monster and John Dukes the usual
corpse.  Graham, of course, we expect to
drape himself from head to foot at the drop of a beret, but it was quite warm
and with top coats on all the others looked rather limp when they left.  The actual party, by the way, was a success.

The club has suffered recently from a lack of expeditionary
spirit, but cheer up; things are improving. There seems to be a move afoot to infiltrate the
Midlands.  Jon-Jon and Richard were recently in
Scratching-land, and only last weekend, Barrie and Brenda joined the
trekkers.  The Dooleys and Butch now hold
the key to this territory and are prepared to issue passports for an
appropriate fee in used notes of small denomination. 

Barrie

treats the whole thing rather lightly by declaring that, although all pubs are
on the way to the Hunters, this particular route is rather lengthy.

Some things, never change, do they?  One of our members passing through Sutton on
the way to Hunters decided to call in at the Collins residence only to find him
in a mildly inebriated state flat out on the kitchen floor with a young lady in
his arms (shocking).  Sett was asleep in
another part of the cottage and the only survivors seemed to be Sally, Jan and
Graham.  I comment on this only because
the visit was made in the evening – and it was at lunchtime that all the drinking
had been done.  Shame of it was that Sett
was seen briefly at Hunters later that day getting carry-out lemonade.  Talking about Hunters, one or two of our
older members have been dropping in recently and Maurice Iles has been seen
with either a recorder or a shillelagh stuffed into his hip pocket.  Could it be that he is joining the M.C.G.
Penny Whistle and Squeezebox Band?  The
same weekend saw Chris (Evening) Hall returning to wonder who everyone was, and
Sid Hobbs rabbitting on about what we need are very extreme right wingers to
resolve a certain industrial dispute. Another rare sight for Saturday night was a brief visit from Alan Thomas
but it seemed O.K. for he was chaperoned by Bob Cork.

The recent news of devaluation in

Spain
has sent a surge of blood
running in the veins of a few of our more affluent members.  Of course, Butch is going on an expedition
with a neighbouring club, so really he can’t be accused of profiteering,
especially after his magnificent walk (sponsored) over half of

Somerset
to aid the trip.  Martin and Liz are off to Costa Fortune where
he is going to do some diving.  What a
year it will be for postcards!

Finally, I must mention our Hon. Sec. – Mike W who is
reported to be going to an Open University Summer School with Maureen (that‘ll
cramp her style!)  The subject is
drama.  Think what an asset his dramatic
fits will be to future committee meetings! – enliven them no end!

Having a page of this B.B. to produce in time to get the
whole thing in print, it struck me that it has been some time since anyone
broke into verse in the B. B. Reading in ‘Fifth Column’ that our Hon. Sec. has
spent a week at Open University Summer School studying drama, one can perhaps
imagine what we may well be in for at the A.G.M. when the report of the Hon.
Secretary comes around.

According to the custom of the
years
I now must make report upon our club.
Friends! Romans!, Countrymen!, lend me your ears!
To sleep – perchance to dream – aye, there’s the rub.
If music be the food of love, play on.
The quality of mercy is not strained
It falleth as the gentle….. wait! tis gone!
That lately in my mem’ry was contained.
I have it – …as the gentle dew from heaven

But what comes now? I swear I lately knew.
(These one week courses should last six or seven)
What comes – no, ‘cometh’ after ‘gentle dew’?
Upon the earth beneath.  It is twice
bless’d.
(I wonder why? I’m beggared if I care
I reckon that I’ll have to scrub the rest)
So thus I end.  What say you from the
chair?
You ask me why no news of club I bring?
Like ruddy Shakespeare says – the play’s the thing

(With suitable apologies to Mike Wheadon, Will Shakespeare
and all readers)

 

Monthly Crossword Number 76

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Across (Passages)

1. (and 22). 

Milton
’s
Swildons?  (8,8)
6. Grow dripping, perhaps, from ancient 10 down. (3)
7. (and 6 down). Overpopulated section of St. Cuthbert’s. (6,6)
9. Brother 7 across. (4)
11. Old unit?  Sounds like golden oldie.
(3)
13. When the pub has no beer, the outlook is…(Doctor needs hearing aid). (5)
14. Not to be confused with 8 down. (1-4)
15. Popular cave, lacking gravity and clergy, provides singular fare for horse.
(3)
17. Prickly bit, caves name.  (4)
19. Drives muddles men underwater. (6)
21.  Eastwater-without-a-river is French!
(3)
22. See 1.

Down (Pitches)

2. Hopefully rise this when
sumping!  (3)
3. Belfry Bulletin taken to heart by ancient priest. (4)
4. Priddy fair is here!  Look for
paddy’s. (5)
5. River crossing on Mendip. (8)
6. See 7 across.
8. Last passage in Read’s Cavern. (3,5)
10. Top gear for cavers. (6)
11. Initially men recovering others….. (3)
12. ……others use them initially to get….. (3)
16. Liquor and curtailed A.G.M. somehow inevitable over the years! (5)
18. Only seen on the Mendip hills after abominable night on the tiles. (4)
20. Start Sidcot taking two directions, understand! (3)

Solution to No. 75

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Club Headquarters

The Belfry,

Wells
Rd
, Priddy, Wells,

Somerset
. Telephone WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J.
Collins

Minutes Sec      M.
Wheadon

Members           C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes,
R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             M.
WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe,

Bath
.  Tel :

BATH

713646

Honorary Treasurer             B.
WILTON, ‘Valley View’,

Venus Lane
,
Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele :

TEMPLE
CLOUD

52072

Caving Secretary                TIM
LARGE,

15 Kippax Avenue
,
Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             R.
JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend,

Bristol
.

Hut Warden                        C.
BATSTONE,

8 Prospect Place
,
Bathford,

Bath
..

Belfry Engineer                   J.
DUKES,

4 Springfield Crescent
,
Southampton. SO1 6LE  Tele : (0703) 774649

Tacklemaster                     G.
WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’,

Stonefield
Road
. Nap Hill,
High Wycombe,
Bucks. Tele : (024) 024 3534

B.B. Editor                         S.J.
COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol.  Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Publications Editor              C.
HOWELL,

131 Sandon Road
,
Edgebaston,

Birmingham

17.  Tele : (021) 429 5549

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA

WILTON
  Address as for Barry

 

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin,
including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the
committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy
of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be
checked in the time at his disposal.

 

© 2024 Bristol Exploration Club Ltd

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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