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Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

August in the club year seems to coincide with the 'silly season' of the newspaper, but us birds are more fortunate because, since we are a group, we can eavesdrop in all sorts of unexpected places.  It could even be that you're not safe even when you are on holiday.  One of our group was list¬ening in to a conversation at the Hunters the other day, when Tom Gage (who does NOT qualify for our MCP award this month) was saying that there is beginning to be a regular gathering taking place once again every Thursday at the Seven Stars.  Amongst those attending are Nigel Jago and a few lapsed members.  The editor (an MCP if there ever was one) has sabotaged our efforts yet again by actually getting out an issue of the B.B. on time.  The speed between the July and the August issue were so fast that we did not have time to draw breath and really observe the scene.  After all, a fortnight  is not a very long time, even for Mendip, so we had nothing really to report for, the August issue.  Besides, most sensible folk were away watching the rain at the seaside.

Preparations for the A.G.M. and dinner seem to be progressing apace.  Recently, Peter Franklin was ‘scene’ at the hunters and, although he seemed to have left his casting couch at home, he was getting lots of offers to appear in his latest dramatic epic.  There certainly seems to be lots of talent of offer for this show. Nominations for the committee are rolling in.  We see from the last B.B. that the present lot are all prepared to stand again and, on disbandment of this year’s committee we have decided that they should be given our MCP award for the month (nem. con.)  Anyway, the election should provide some fun, as so far ther are thirteen candidates (unlucky for some?) and the A.G.M. will have to be quicker than its usual six hours.  After all, the B.B. seems to have finally got to grips with the printing situation and the Hut Engineering surely can’t take up too much time.  The only ‘burning issue’ seems to be our continued lack of central heating.  Perhaps we can expect Mike to be contentious as usual.

Collectively, we are widely (or is it wildly?) experienced as a bunch and we are surprised at the democracy of our club election.  Whilst it is the major event in any democracy it seems weird that we, the membership, have to vote for nine bodies and still run the risk of getting a square peg in a round hole - or getting someone in a job they do not want to do.  In our experience of similar organisations, we remember that a person had to state his or her case and the post or posts to which they aspired.  We could then exercise our right to elect them to exclude them from these posts. This seems to be a particularly important point when considering the post of Hut Warden, where the person doing this job needs to be present on Mendip most (or preferably every) weekend. We have come to the conclusion that the reason why there have been so few nominees at recent elections is this very fear that they will be lumbered with a job on the committee they neither want nor are competent to do.  How's that for a bit of contention, folks?

It is clear from the Mendip scene at the moment that the universities have got rid of their students for the summer vacation, and we have seen one or two of the lesser-known drop outs around again.  For instance, Maryon Barlow was seen recently, as was Mark Shearman.  Then very briefly, there was Chris Greenall and Richard Barker and the UBS of Sandi.  Strange to say, the OCL has not been seen, but Barrie tells us that he's certainly the first with his dinner booking so we shall see him there.

The Bishops are back in residence after their trip to Spain.  (Liz slightly the poorer after contributing to HM Customs) where, from Martin's appearance, there was a slight shortage of sun.  Their reappearance serves to remind us that the Phippen and Co. are back - folk is running riot again and even Zot is getting to be a regular with his Stradivarius permanently tucked in his beard.

Last, but by no means least, a brief mention of the new daughters of Tony Corrigan and Dave Hatherley. Welcome!