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Practice Rescue, St. Cuthberts, 5th. December '81

by Kangy

Our Caving Sec., one Martin Grass,
Communicating with a mass
Of letters sent by H.M. Mail,
Began his letter with a wail:
"Dear Leader," said this dismal screed,
"I implore, indeed I plead,
That you should give a little time
To practice rescue in the grime.
The venue for this practice, grave
Is down inside St. Cuthbert’s Cave.
Please join our dedicated men.
Meet at the Belfry, half past ten."
The lunatic then finished raving,
"See you there, I'm yours in caving."
My conscience pricked, my unease spread,
I slowly climbed out of my bed,
I found my gear, I filled my lamp,
I found my grots all green and damp.
I sighed for signs; no sign was sent,
So to the Belfry, soft, I went.
 
The day was bright. The sun shone down.
The cheery banter cleared my frown.
The plan of action - B.E.C.
A simple one, "Let's wait and see."
So to the tackle store we went,
For practice rescue equipment,
To nothing find but canvas sheet;
And Martin's nicely written whine
Attracted a huge crowd of nine.

A full scale rescue wasn't on;
Such small resources would be gone.
We then accepted, with a chuckle,
To pull a victim through a ruckle.

Our interest was on the wane,
Then interest rose as in walked Jane,
And Grass announced, with wicked leer,
"Look out, lads, our victim's here."
The team would in September meet
To tie Jane in a carry sheet,
And many hearts concealed a hope
Of getting in a practice grope.
 
The Entrance Rift was swiftly dammed,
The team descended, just as planned,
And plunged into September's maze,
Where Herr Blitz wandered round for days,
And Graham of the Cerberus
Reassured and humoured us
Emerging high up in the rift
To climb into September's gift.
To those of you who've never been,
This is a jewel which must be seen
To be believed; it is so fine
A silence fell upon the nine.
We tied Jane in her carry bed
And listened carefully while she said
That one arm tied was quite enough -
The one left free could get quite rough.

An injured victim in a cave
Needs a willing, personal slave,
To watch for points like mud in eye
And soothe the victim's every sigh.
Admittedly the case we had
Wasn't really quite as bad,
But Sister Rachel, full of love,
Promised vengeance from above
And, stationed by the bottom rope,
Protected sister from a grope.
Here W-J. announced his part
Emotion would, not rule his heart.

The carry party giving up
Gripped the sheet and picked her up,
Letting her slide down the fault 
That led from that delightful vault.
Our heros with consummate ease,
Dragged poor Jane across their knees,
Avoiding a constricting crack
By sliding her across Bolt’s Back.
At one point, sideways in a slot,
The sages thought, she'd had her lot,
But a bod with cunning brain
Thought of string to take the strain,
And yet another rope, whose ends
Were neatly threaded where she bends,
Was passed amongst the balanced rocks,
Avoiding all the bigger blocks,
And given to our sweaty crew,
Who lifted, and then pulled her through.

And so, by dint of back and rope,
As Jonathan hauled hard in hope,
We brought her, with her groaning muted,
Through that ruckle convoluted.

The moral of this practice drastic
Is “Make your drag sheets out of plastic"
One that slithers round the bends
Makes itself a lot of friends.
In spite of gorgeous covering fat
Jane would've liked a karrimat
To shield her wotsit from the rock
And insulate from thermal shock.
Her Whillans harness gave her hell,
But then it would a bloke as well.
Apart from that she said that she
Was pulled out most considerately.
Another hope, this most sincere,
Apart from one involving beer,
Is, if a caver comes to harm,
We pray they'll have Jane's wit and charm.