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Bi-Monthly At Last?

No, your editor is not breaking faith with the great majority of club members who still vote regularly for a monthly B.B!  In spite of brave promises to produce the full twelve separate issues for this year, a combination of circumstances has finally made it prudent to catch up by telescoping the April and May issues together in this slightly enlarged number of the B.B.

The basic reason is quite simple.  In these days of high inflation rates, we can either say, "To hell with it" and keep pushing the subs up to meet ever rising costs, or try to keep the subs reasonable and use our ingenuity to make our money go further and further.  On the whole, the committee incline to the latter idea, as being more in the B.E.C. tradition of doing things.  For example, at current rates, the B.B. should cost about £160 to produce for this year (NOT including postage but we are managing to do it for just over £30.  This means that we rely increasingly on members who can provide materials and services for us, BUT it also means that we have to wait on occasion until such things become available.  This has tended to increase the natural delays associated with the B.B. - hence the present state of affairs.  Hopefully, we will grow more cunning and not have to do it again.

Club Finances

The Hon. Sec. and Hon. Treasurer have recently reviewed the financial state of the club.  This was done so that, if there was a need to increase the annual subs, matters could be put in front of members in plenty of time for discussion.  Their report will be published in the B.B. shortly, but meanwhile their recommendation is that subs should NOT be increased for the next club year.  The argument is briefly that we can continue to pay our way for one more year at the present rate, although this will leave the club with very little money 'put by' for a rainy day.  However, since money loses in real value even if invested, there is no point in saving it and this asking members to pay more so that their money can be put away to lose in purchasing power.

Belfry Alterations

Following an urgent need to improve the toilets at the Belfry, plans were produced and modified by getting as many people's opinions as could be done in the short time available. The result can now be seen at the Belfry and consists of moving the girls' bedroom to where the changing room was; making a passage from there to the living room, with toilets etc. leading off it; making a new changing room and slightly enlarging the men’s bed room. The whole scheme has cost remarkably little and has been got on with very smartly - thanks mainly to John Dukes and 'Butch'.  The general opinion is that this will constitute a great improvement to the Belfry.

Half Time

Our Hon. Sec., writing in 'Round and About' this month(s?) reviews progress made by this years' club committee at its mid-point in the club year.  Having seen nearly all the club committees in action since 1953, I would like to go on record by stating, as a personal opinion, that this present committee is one of the most effective we have ever had over this long period of time. If we can keep going with committees of this calibre, we will have little to worry about as a club.

Bridge That Gap

Once again, we have at least one item in this B.B. on the caving political scene.  In this connection, I recently had the experience of attending a meeting of the executive of the National Caving Association at Stafford in the capacity of an uninvited observer. The meeting I attended might not, of' course, have been a fair sample of what their meetings are usually like. Even so, one thing which struck me was the degree of quite fundamental difference of opinion as to what the N.C.A. ought to be doing.  Some of those present were very much in favour of the N.C.A. doing more and talking less, which sounds fine on the face of things.

Others, however, pointed out that rushing into things without considering all the possible effects was bound to do more harm than good, especially since there were few things on which all round the table agreed about. This fact is very plain if you read what has been written and then attend the odd meeting as I have done. For instance, there has been a lot of talk at N.C.A. level about the need for money to run the N.C.A. and to do all that it wants to do.  On the other hand, when the delegates to the last meeting of the Southern Council were asked to suggest what the N.C.A. could conceivably WANT any money for, nobody - I repeat, NOBODY, was able to advance a single reason.

This does not mean that the N.C.A. is necessarily wrong, but it DOES mean that the Southern Council, for one, do not understand what the N.C.A. is on about.  The urgent need is for more and greater contact; for more communication for greater understanding.  This MUST occur unless we all want to see a complete stalemate occur. One would imagine that this would be obvious to all.

Present signs, I am sorry to say, are not good.  It is well known that informal discussion over beer - or even coffee - can often achieve more that many hours of formal meeting.  This was completely absent on this occasion.  So much for greater understanding. Communication, as Tim Reynolds pointed out, unfortunately means more paper, but is essential at this stage of the game.  The meeting came out generally in favour of less.  So much for communication.  As far as contact is concerned, as an example, I left the brilliant sunshine of Mendip that day to spend it amongst the hazy weather of Stafford, which at least showed willing.  Regrettably, the N.C.A. Secretary said that, if she happened to be on Mendip when a Southern Council meeting was taking place, and if she didn't happen to be going caving, then she would come to it but she said that it was no part of her job, as she saw it, to make a definite point in attending.  One is tempted to agree with the N.C.A. Chairman, Dick Glover, when he said at the meeting that he saw little future for the N.C.A. under the present circumstances.

Climbing Secretary

Following the recent resignation of Gerry Oaten as Climbing Secretary, the Committee are formally asking for any volunteers for this position, and this item should be taken as the notice to that effect.  For many years now, the climbing section, although small in number, have enriched the club out of all proportion to their size, and it would, I feel, be a very great pity if the position had to go into abeyance by default.  How about it, you climbers?

Club Ties

Unhappily, the enquires about getting new stocks of club ties, coupled perhaps with a choice of colours, is not going too well.  We cannot find a supplier who will produce a woven tie in quantities less than 200 (we used to be able to order 3 dozen at a time).  Since club ties sell slowly, this would be far too much money tied (note clever pun) up.  Suggestions for a cheaper, printed tie (like the W++++x) or for a tie with a single motif have been made.  If you have any suggestions, please get in touch with Barrie or any committee member. Otherwise, the B.E.C. tie will have to be discontinued until times get better.  Just think - your tie could become a valuable antique!

Then Let Some Bold Caving Lad ...

Following Kangy's poem about the old Hunters singsongs, I sat down the other day to see how many titles of what used to be known as 'Hunters Filth' I could still recall.  I now have a list of 70 titles, which is available to anyone collecting such items!

B.B.'s By Air

To send a single B.B. by airmail now costs 7/- and the Postal Department now say that, unless any member is prepared to pay individually, they will have to send them by surface mail in future.