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Open Letter To the Club

Editor's Note:     This threatens to be a B.B. written entirely by Nigel Taylor!  In this open letter, he has some forthright comments to make on the Long Term plans.

The Long Term Planning Committee have done it again!  Yes, they have produced - not a representative report but another diatribe! They have completely missed the point, or rather the points of necessity.  A detailed account has been drawn up, telling us how more paper talk and ensuing paperwork will be created - and this is capped by a list which is not so much 'Long Term' as short sighted!

Now to the 'winter of my discontent':-

List 1 contains the order of priority of items in groups, and my comments are as under: -

  1. Comfort.
    I thought the B.E.C. was a caving club, not a ruddy 5 star listed A.A./R.A.C. hotel.
  2. Rubbish storage and Waste Disposal.
    This itself is rubbish, since we now have 4 dustbins and I personally come up midweek if the local farmer cannot undertake the job on the fortnightly dustbin day.  Furthermore, I have recently been pressing the new Mendip District Council to drive up to the Belfry to pick up the bins.
  3. Cooking Facilities and Food Storage
    With 8 gas rings and one grill, and one new oven, are they really that bad for a hut which sleeps a maximum of 25?  In any case, the utilisation is usually in the 80% bracket with a fair proportion of the users not even contemplating cooking each and every meal.  As for food storage, what have successive committees done about the lockers?  (First mooted by me over 18 months ago at a November Committee meeting.)
  1. Eating.
    How does the sub-committee propose to improve this?.....Aaaaagh…….an answer emerges…… intravenous feeding!
  2. Washing up, crockery storage, etc.
    What is up with the shelves and cupboards Norman Petty made?  They open the doors?  Or their eyes?

That has withered away the first 5 ludicrous and apparently highest priority items.  Having scrubbed these erroneous 'priorities' one is then left with something of substance from which one may prepare a sensible list ( if one is to have such a list at all)

    1. (No 8) Washing self and Shower Facility.
    2. (No 9) Charging Facilities.  Surely this is a vital requisite for a caving hut in these days of frequent digging and caving trips?
    3. (No 7) Changing and Drying of clothes.  The need for this is plain for all to see and comprehend.

4.       (No 6) Workshop facility.  For the lifeblood of a caving, climbing - or even canoeing club, a place where tackle, digging gear, tools, canoes or whatever can be made - bearing in mind the communal skills and knowledge - producing a product in a sensible and well-equipped area at the club H.Q.

5.       (No 12) Administration Facility.  In this day and age, when large clubs must need to run their huts on business lines (especially when one is dealing with monies and goods belonging to the club, let alone the £15,000 or so of club hut) the need for proper administration facilities rears its ugly head, let's not play the ostrich!

6.       (No 14) The Loft.  Ideas for improvement to this are often aired down at the Belfry. I refer the reader to the B.B. Number 303. (See, Editor, the B.B. is used for references!)  The club is wasting valuable, utilisable space up there and if it embarks on extraneous expenditure on the sub-committee's proposals then such potential will be wasted due to lack of funds or their allocation.

7.       (No 13) The Library.  Here, only a carpenters skill and club finance are the requisites to transform this 'near shell' into the condition merited by both its content and the valiant efforts of the club librarian Dave (Wig) Irwin.


8.       (No 10) Sleeping Accommodation.  Here there is even less scope for the necessary improvements to be made.  However, I feel that women club members might prefer, or deserve, better feminine conditions, yet, to back track, we must not forget that this is a caving club and basically composed of males (But perhaps I'm just a Chauvinist pig!)

9.       (No 11) Parking.  Even though I realise that soon we can expect club members Range Rovers; Lamborghinis; Daimlers; Rolls and the like will be replaced by perhaps H.S.125's S.A./B.E.C. Concorde’s and an array of resplendent V.S.T.O.L. craft, I feel sure that there are not many of us who would like to see a shiny NICE macadam or LOVELY concrete car park, of course resplendent with DIVINE tints of white or yellow lines.  Besides, I, for one, don't want to have to read the club Car Park Attendant's Report before the next A.G.M. - I will find my own tedious enough!

One last point - I wonder if the sub-committee could be kind enough to tell me why in the May B.B., No 319:-

Three further lists will be compiled:

1.                    First to show order of priority of groups of items.

2.                    Extent of improvements as costings of expense & labour.

3.                    (Last but not least!)  Order of priority of items.

Please, oh PLEASE, what's the difference, between list 1 and 3, or is it to cater for inflation presumably mentioned in the intervening list 2 perhaps?

I know it is easy to knock a subject as I have just done but I hope the reader; the sub-committee and the general committee will appreciate that I have endeavoured to put forward counter-proposals in this letter, and I will also have shown this letter to the sub-committee's chairman Graham Wilton-Jones to give him a chance to challenge any points that I have proposed.  This letter is not under any circumstances to be taken as an attempt to challenge either Graham's views as chairman, nor for that matter to challenge the integrity of the general committee or any of its officers.  This meant purely as a thought-provoking article on points which the editor invited comment!

It may be questioned as to why I did not put these views forward as Hut Warden, well, this was not possible.  The committee, for some reason, decided that the Hut Warden should not have a sub-committee say in the proposals.  I say this in answer to several queries raised to me on this point.  So I must further stress that these are not the B.E.C. Hut Warden's views, but my own - purely as an interested member and regular user of the Belfry.

Yours in the Club Spirit,

Nigel P. Taylor.

Editor's Note:

As Nigel points out, I invited comment, since the way the club decides to spend its money on the Belfry is a subject which should interest most - if not all - B.E.C. members. Perhaps other members might like to make points - if not to the B.B., then to Graham who, I am sure, will be pleased to hear about as many points of view as possible to help him in what is after all, a very difficult job.

Another Reminder about the A.G.M. and Dinner


A.G.M. starts at 10.30 a.m. at the Belfry.

Dinner will be at the Blue School at WELLS – just down the bottom of Rockham.