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Dear Sir,

As a member of the offending family (letter to the Editor, B.B. V35, 10/11) may I first offer my apologies to Bob Hill and anyone else who was offended by our dealing with our children's nappies in the main room of the Belfry.

As far as I see it, Bob's complaint is that he dislikes children's pots and dirty nappies being in the same room as cooking and eating facilities.  However, I too have a problem, that of wishing to attend the Belfry (on fairly rare occasions) as well as keeping my family together.  As is the case with many other family member, we do not have the freedom to tolerate our children; we have a full time responsibility to look after them and their every needs.

Whilst at the Belfry, we usually camp in the Snake Pit in order to stay together as a unit but, particularly in the middle of Autumn, we find it necessary to use the main building for everything else but sleeping, in order to keep the children warm enough. We therefore find it necessary to let the children use a toilet in the Belfry.

We have four places to choose from:

The toilets themselves are too large for the children to sit on and the rooms are too small and draughty for the children to use a pot;

The shower area is large enough but is far too cold and draughty to leave a child on a pot (for up to half an hour, seriously - children cannot control bodily functions in the same manner as adults);

The sleeping quarters and the main area are left as the only reasonable places.

We nearly always choose the main area because it enables us to supervise the children while we continue to do other jobs round about us for that lengthy period.

I might add that our fairly wide experience of families suggests that whilst some do banish their children (and “minder”) to some far corner of the house most use the kitchen or living room to carry out this task.  We have one friend, a real stickler for cleanliness, who feeds her child whilst the child sits on her pot.

When we deal with our children's nappies we ensure our hands are washed before continuing with other chores - I wonder how many people staying at the Belfry wash their hands after using the toilet and before they use the utensils?

Frankly, I am amazed that Bob should take exception to our child-management when the Belfry is kept in the manner that it is.  I know it is a lot better than it was ten years ago when I first joined the B.E.C. but you could hardly call it hygienic with its usually dirty toilets and sinks, work surfaces and tables and its unaired bedding.  I do not complain about these things, nor do I get upset at the bad language which seems to be a part of Belfry life, even though I attempt to shield children's ears from it.

It also seems a pity that Bob did not mention his feelings to us, and suggest a suitable alternative location at the time, as the general consensus seemed to be that this was an amusing sight, not a distasteful one.

I sincerely believe, Bob, that once you have children of your own, your views will alter considerably unless you wish to become a hermit!


Ian Wilton-Jones.
30th December 1981

Dear Ed

After reading Bob Hill's letter to the Editor, in the October/November B.B., may I also express my ‘surprise and dismay’- though not with the same self-righteous, hypocritical attitude that Bob feels.

I have only been staying at "The Hut" for a mere ten years now; I am a newcomer.  During the many happy hours I have spent at the Belfry, I have seen many incidents take place, most harmless, some dangerous, some requiring action by the Club committee.  And so, personally, the simple, natural act of a young, nursing mother (herself a long-standing and friendly member of the Club) of placing her infant upon its potty, then changing its nappy, is the least of my worries about the Belfry.

Bob goes on piously to say "apart from the hygiene aspect, as the main room is also the cooking area, etc."  Well, I hope that he remembers this the next time he is involved in a "Belfry Operation" on the Belfry dinner table, or joins in a "Honk Competition", such as last month's.

Just spare a thought for the young child listening to your language, or worse, witnessing the "Coital Activities" that some younger Club users feel they cannot go without in the Bunkroom on a weekend.

I must be amongst the last to throw any stones, and perhaps Bob, too, should remember the old maxim about Glass Houses.

Yours defensively,

"Mr" N.,
Nig. Taylor.

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      GU21 5JU

23rd December 1981

Dear Graham,

I am taking the unusual step of writing to you as Chairman and Editor concerning the supply of tackle. I find it incredulous that tackle (lightweight expedition ladder) is not available to members as it is locked away even within the tackle store!  I have attempted to contact John Dukes both at home and at work to no avail.  This has led me to the distressful action of the forcing of the lock.

I feel that if tackle is not available to all members at any hour of the day or night then there is something wrong with the Club.  At the very least, hut warden should have access to all items of club property.

Finally, please find enclosed a cheque to cover the cost of a new hasp.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Smart.