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Letter to the Editor.

91, The Oval, Bath.

Having noticed Sett's letter in the last B.B. referring to the traditional Hunters Saturday I thought I might set pen to paper to stir the controversy.  Not that one can dispute the fact that they 'orrible words are fast fading; at least, all but the more 'orrible which need no effort to remember. I would argue Sett's point that the cause should be laid against us and not Hunters.

Historically, as many members will recall, the 'Cavers Room' of Hunters, which has now been modified to become the lounge, was the standard port of call for Saturday night bar room mountaineers, after visiting the old hatchway to get beer.  The bar was then considerably smaller and only catered for local customers.  Thus, with cavers being in their 'own' room, when any singing started the natural thing was to join in, learning the words along the way.  In the summer, tourists came for miles to park near the open window and giggle at those rude fellows inside.  However, at that time it was the practice to revert instantly to a rendering of Sospan Fach whenever Ben appeared.  Later on, this practice ceased, and Ben often had occasion to complain about our uncouth behaviour.

When Roger modernised the Hunters, he recognised our need and set aside two rooms in the remoter parts of the pub where we could gather and sing but unfortunately, in 'some respects, he also enlarged the bar.  Nowadays it is normal for us to go to the bar, only leaving it for the calls of nature or 'time'.

Still, on odd occasions such as when Maurice IIes turns up and feels in voice, we lobby known aficionados and return to the back room to sing.  Admittedly, we are not very successful.  We have such complexes now that we automatically forget either words or tune (or both) but we can still run the course when we have a mind to. What we obviously need is practice, and if the Belfry after hours is the only place, then count me in.

Mike Wheadon.