QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Owing to the fact that club officers are likely to be changed at the forthcoming a.g. M., the usual list has been omitted from this b. B.

Editorial

How Big Is The B.E.C.?

At the time of writing, rumours have it that the membership of the club is falling.  If this is really so then it is something of which we should perhaps take note.  However, it is always difficult to predict just how many members, who have ignored all the warnings will still pay their sub eventually, and it may well turn out that by the time of the dinner that we are once again back up to full strength.

Rumour also has it that some members have objected to the various letters which have been sent out. If these objections are based on the actual wording of such letters then it is probably due to the fact that those who have had the job of composing them are not professionals at this art! If, on the other hand, it is the letters them¬selves which have been objected to, then one must, in my opinion, bear in mind the fact that committee must have as much information as possible in order to balance the books in these inflationary days.  We hope that members will perhaps take this point.

Back Again

Your editor has recently received a letter from Sybil who is now back in the locality and writes to say that she will be pleased to see any club members who would like to look her up. Her address is 9 Beverley Close, Critchill Park, Frome, Somerset.

It's a Ruddy Fine Song

Correspondence is still arriving on the somewhat controversial subject of reviving the old Hunters Singsong and there is one aspect of all this which has not so far been mentioned by any of the writers.  In the days when the singsong was a regular Saturday night affair, there existed a hardcore of those who knew the same words and the same tune to any particular song.  On occasions, they even sang it all in the same key as well.  When, as often happened, a group of people arrived with a rival version, they usually got the chance to sing it afterwards and a general decision was made as to which version would be sung in future.  By this sort of process, for example, a later version of 'Cathuselum' was adopted while a later tune to 'The Portions' was not. With so many different versions of 'they words' now current, any would be sing song revivalists face a problem of discipline which I imagine will prove near enough impossible to solve in practice.  In fact, it was the gradual breakdown of the system of having an 'authorised' version - leading to the shouting matches of the Hunters singsong in its final death throes which drove many people - myself included ¬back to the ordinary bar and out of the back room.  Would anybody like to comment on this point of view?

No Election

News has just arrived that there will be no election this year for the new committee, as there are only nine candidates.  This has, of course, happened before on a number of occasions, although one always hopes that it will not become a habit.  It now remains to be seen if the new method to be used for the selection of the club officers will produce any surprises.

Catching Up

In an attempt to catch up with this volume by the Christmas edition, an effort is being made to publish (i.e. to have printed the editions ready for collating and distribution) by the following dates.  Sept., Oct 22. Oct., Nov 10.  Nov, Nov 19 and Christmas, Dec 3rd.  This means producing two pages of B.B. on every working day between now and December 3rd! It will be interesting to see if this can be done!

“Alfie”


 

Club Officer’s Reports - Climbing Report

The Official report for the Annual General Meeting

This year has seen a certain trend away from local climbing, due largely to the closure of Cheddar Gorge and most of the Avon area.  Particularly regrettable has been the loss of the tea wagon and car park, which provided a valuable focal point for evening and weekend meets, especially ‘en famille.’  At the end of 1974, considerable interest was being expressed in the Wye Valley cliffs, less at Wyncliffe and Wintour's Leap than at a new crag, the Seven Sisters.  Many of the new routes at the latter site have been disfigured with painted records of first ascent dates, gradings etc. - a practice also in evidence at Symond's Yat. Not yet in the guidebooks is 'Pulsator', a VS worthy of note in a lean year.  The antics which accompanied its inauguration are best forgotten, however.

A visit to the Dewerstone at the beginning of January was far warmer than expected and the granite a welcome change from the ubiquitous limestone.  As the year has progressed, trips have become fewer.  One trip to the Lake District collapsed from lack of support.  This was a mini-bus venture, promising a round trip at £3 to £4 a head, a fee which, perhaps surprisingly, was claimed to be beyond the pockets of most.

Morris and hang gliding have claimed a considerable following recently and it is unfair to lament the reduction in climbing activity when the social life of club members is so obviously flourishing.  Some have even returned to the troglodytic activities from which they once progressed en route to the crags.

This report is, unfortunately, being prepared before return of the summer Alpine meet, so that achievements will have to wait until next year for inclusion.  A Matterhorn trip was apparently planned, and a report of this and other ventures will be most welcome in the club journal, providing the handwriting is up to standard.

And so, reluctantly, to the subject of new blood, quickly disposed of by putting out that there has not been any.  This may be due to the club reputation for sitting in car parks (yes, it does have such!) and it may be due to the lack of club facilities for climbers, or to the tendency now prevalent for young climbers to attend the 'Outward Bound' style courses and shun the easy going camaraderie of the club.  It is painfully obvious that climbing has become very much a 'sport' of late, prey to any number of silly arguments and political style wrangles.  The competitive gymnasium approach does not really suit this club, and any recruitment drive must be very care¬fully and selectively planned.  If anybody has any ideas on recruitment or would be willing for example to instruct beginners in rather more than what to shout and when, please use this magazine to publicise them.  We do not want to turn into a training school, but a little more activity might be healthy.


 

Financial Statement for the Year to 31st July, 1975

Subscriptions

 

 

 

£278.37

Belfry

Receipts

 

£537.58

 

 

Less expenditure

(rates 2 years)

(Gas)

(Electricity)

(Water rate)

Insurance, 2 years)

(General Expenditure)

£109.57

£  41.52

£  77.14

£  13.92

£117.83

£  53.23

 

 

 

 

£413.21

£124.37

Carbide & Spares

Receipts, spares

Carbide

 

£  16.75

£    7.40

 

 

 

 

£  24.15

 

 

Less Expenditure

 

£    0.92

£  23.23

Profit on purchase of rope for members

 

 

 

£    1.82

C.C.C. Permits etc.

 

 

 

£    4.90

Annual Dinner

Receipts

Less Cost

 

£312.00

£301.50

 

£  10.50

Publications

Sales of Surveys

Sales of Publications

 

£  32.34

£131.85

 

 

 

 

£164.19

 

 

Less cost of

Surveys

Publications

General Expenditure

£  49.50

£  70.31

£    4.63

 

 

 

 

£124.44

£  39.75

Income Tax Refund

Donations

Repayment I.D.M.F. Grants

DEFICIT FOR THE YEAR

 

 

 

£    6.00

£  14.75

£  90.00

£  56.49

 

 

 

 

£650.18

 

Belfry Alterations, 1974/1975

Postage and Stationery

B.B. Postage

 

 

 

£265.59

£  22.50

£  77.47

Telephone

Charges

Less Contributions

 

£100.54

£  73.50

 

£  26.74

Tackle

Expenditure

Less Fees

 

£111.01

£    2.90

 

£108.11

Car Badges

Purchase

Les Sales

 

(Badges and Ties)

£34.82

£    4.75

 

£  29.87

B.B.

Expenditure

Less sales

 

£  16.37

£    0.25

 

£  16.12

Public Liability Insurance

Library

Ian Dear memorial Fund Grant

 

 

 

£  55.00

£  13.78

£  35.00

 

 

 

 

£650.18

 

General accumulated fund @ 31.7.74

Interest from Building Society Account 1975

 

 

 

£708.14

£  14.58

 

 

 

 

£722.72

LESS DEFICIT FOR THE YEAR

 

 

 

£  56.49

 

 

 

 

£666.23

 

Ian Dear memorial Fund, 31.7.1974

Interest for year 74/75

 

 

 

£356.16

£  26.76

 

 

 

 

£382.92

Less Grants

 

 

 

£  60.00

 

 

 

 

£322.92

 

Lloyds Bank Limited

Cash in Hand

Building Society Account

 

 

 

£200.87

£  50.78

£414.58

 

 

 

 

£666.23

Notes:

 

1.                  This year's subscriptions account revealed that the receipts are £100 down and those of last year.  This is partly due to a drop in new membership, but mainly to a large number of members not paying this year's sub.  After inspection of the membership list, I was disappointed to find that the majority of these non- paying members are relatively old members of the club. 

2.                  The deficit on this year's account is basically due to the committee's decision to invest some capital in improvements within the Belfry.

3.                  The Belfry account should show a further credit of £140.  Unfortunately, many, cheques were received too late to be entered in the account.  It would have made this year's statement show a credit.

B. Wilton, Hon. Treasurer


 

Club Officer’s Reports - B.B. Report

The current volume of the B. B. can hardly be classed amongst the better ones.  It has been late for most of the year, it has missed one issue, it has come out in a variety of covers, or with none at all, and it will probably have less pages than last year.

The main reason for this state of affairs is the attempt which is being made to keep production costs down while at the same time honouring the wishes of the club as expressed at the last A.G.M.  This means that we have to rely on the good offices of members to produce covers, get paper cut to size, produce masters and so on - the alternative is for us to buy all these things, and put the cost of the B.B. beyond the club resources.

Members see the snags without seeing the advantages.  An estimate of the cost of a year’s production of the B.B. was made last October and came out at £110.  This does include postage, envelopes, staples etc.  A similar estimate was made last January and the figure had risen to £132. By March, the figure had become £164 and at this rate, a figure estimated next January might well reach the £200 mark.

Knowing that we already had enough paper donated for this volume, I actually put in a figure of £32 for the cost of production of this volume.  Since then, I have received further donations to the point where I decided to pay the remainder out of my own pocket this year.  Hence the cost of production of volume 29 will be NIL.

At the last A.G.M., the subject of the B.B. was discussed at some length.  I am in a position to put various figures to the club at the A.G.M. if required to show the actual economics of the whole situation.  The conclusion I have come to is that volume 30 (for 1976) should continue to be produced monthly.

Thanks should be given to Garth Dell, Chris Batstone and Gardon Tilly for their efforts in keeping production costs down.  Also to the regular contributors - especially 'Wig' for keeping the contents going.  If we are to keep the B.B. afloat, we need more effort in both these categories.  DONATIONS OF PAPER ARE ESSENTIAL and articles on interesting subjects are, of course, always welcome.  In common with many journals, inflation is hitting the B.B. hard.  As far as I know, the B.B. is the only caving journal to have passed its 300th edition, and it would be a great pity if we had to chop it drastically, or even cease publication altogether after nearly thirty years of production.

*****************************************

Donations of paper, masters and any useful material are always welcome.  Ask Alfie for details if in doubt.  All contributions are also welcome from small items. This size to long articles – and anything in between!


 

Club Officer’s Reports - Tacklemaster’s Report

Graham sends this in as he says for the benefit of all those who do not attend the A.G.M.

I could quite easily repeat myself and just copy out from last years report what I said about the treatment of club equipment, and cite examples of members not taking care of tackle. However, if you want all that, just look out your October '74 B.B.  The library holds a copy if you are new to the club.

Ladders and ropes are still missing after a year and can probably be written off, but tackle seems to turn up in the most diverse and peculiar ways: "I was given this by a bloke in the pub." or, "Our club's been using this rope of yours for years - do you want it back?"  These two examples give some idea of what goes on.

Whilst on the subject of ladder, there are many ways to roll one up, but only two or three are really good ways.  Generally, if I get to the store frequently enough, ladders incorrectly rolled have been put to rights.  All that any borrower has to do is to roll the ladder the way he found it.  If YOU cannot do this, then don't be too proud to ask someone else how it should be done.  We all had to learn sometime.

Fortunately, things are better than they seem.  All ladder is now repaired or remade and we have something approaching a thousand feet available for use.  We have an excellent stock of lifelines, both polypropylene and nylon including Viking quality nylon.

A large number of tethers are being made using Englefield clips on the ends instead of 'C' links. These clips are compatible with 'C' links and also somewhat stronger.  They do have the disadvantage that a karabiner will not go through them. Because of this, some tethers will still be made with 'C' links.  We are no longer using splicing to make eyes on the ends of wires, having gone over entirely to Telurit ferrules.  Samples made on our machine have been tested to destruction.  The Telurit did not fail and the wire broke at its normal maximum load. On regular occasions samples made on our press will similarly tested to destruction.  If anyone else wants to use the press, they will have to have lessons from me first.

The current policy of not using rope for S.R.T. (Single Rope Techniques or abseiling and prussicking) will, I hope, continue.  Most members who use S.R.T. are of the opinion that it is safest to climb on rope whose past history is thoroughly known.  Such knowledge is only possible if the rope is owned and cared for by the individual who uses it.

Many members have bought their own ropes in the past.  If YOU own some and it is now worn out, or you no longer dare trust it, please don't destroy it, for it could still have plenty of useful life as a digging rope. Become a donator to the club. (Hint, hint!)

The reserve tackle (ultra lightweight tackle and long lifelines) has hardly been used this year. I would like to think that increased use of S.R.T. is the cause, but it seems that few people are making trips that require such equipment.  Reserve tackle is specifically for trips off Mendip, so that the ordinary store is not unnecessarily depleted at weekends or at peak periods.  Yorkshire trips used to involve tackle every month of the year.  Not so now!

In contrast, digging tackle has been in use continually throughout the year.  Members should note, however that as with other equipment, the borrowing of digging tackle must be noted down in the tackle book in the usual way.  Digging ropes are not numbered, but borrowers should indicate how many are in use.

Finally, my apologies to anyone who borrowed standard ladder recently just after it had been remade, who then had the dreaded rung-slip.  All these ladders have rungs fixed with Allen screws, and these need re-tightening after the ladders have been stretched after load.  The matter is being rectified, but if it makes you feel happier, I'll lend you an Allen key in return for a pint!


 

African Journey

Malcolm Jarrett sends in this account from foreign parts and says that he hopes to be back on the Hill for Christmas.

After all attempts to arrange a holiday to coincide with the Pyrenees trip had failed due to my work in Saudi Arabia, I decided to visit East Africa, as it is only 200 miles from where I am working.  My employers paid all my air fares and several other friends were also visiting Kenya, as I intended to do, but I received a note from a friend suggesting that I should meet him in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I was due to change planes.  He was passing through on his way to Nairobi from Cairo.

From reading the press, and from hearsay, Ethiopia to be in a state of turmoil and closed to visitors from my little grey hole in the desert.  It was not possible to get a yellow fever jab or even a visa so on arrival at Addis, I fully expected to be told to go on to Nairobi by air.  Even more intimidating were the hordes of Chinese in their flat ‘ats and grey suits.  No place for wealthy capitalists, I thought!  So for half an hour, I tried to make one of the gentlemen smile.  Not a muscle twitched.  Obviously they knew the evils of smiling at white devils and paper tigers.  Eventually I reached the head of the queue where my wad of sterling banknotes eliminated any problems of entry.  Within half an hour I was out of the airport, which subsequently became something of a record.

Immediately, I met my friend, Ian Coward, a college friend and occasional Belfry visitor and we hitched a lift into central Addis.  Despite military government, the city seems to work as well as any other although there are massive numbers of beggars and lepers in the streets.  After two days we were ready to set off for Nairobi.  Catching a bus in Addis is not too easy.  The stock answer to any question is "The bus goes now" and timing can be a problem as some Ethiopians work to a clock six hours different from local time.

Eventually we left the dank city at dawn and drove south to the town of Dilla.  Apart from two brief checks there was still no sign of tension and soon we were travelling through Ethiopia's lake country, part of the rift valley system. There are still some volcanic springs in the area although we did not have time to visit them.

From Dilla we caught a bus to Vabella, another 210 km south and the limit of the regular bus service. We got there in the early afternoon and decided that there was time to travel further.  We found the driver of a truck going south, but he didn't seem to know if he was going that day or the next.  Ian and I spent some time taking photographs of local children and then to our surprise, the truck went racing out of the village square.  We then heard it stop and found it at a store loading maize. The driver seemed to be totally uninterested to all around him.  This we later ascribed to a local drug, which seems to impart a sense of timelessness to those who chew this leaf.  Eventually, and for no obvious reason, the truck left.  The roads deteriorated now and there was no more tarmac although the road had been graded in preparation for tarmac laying.

A further 100 km brought us to Mega, a small hill town.  Gradually, the countryside was becoming less cultivated and termite hills became more common together with some small bush fauna.  After an overnight stop at Mega, the truck driver offered us a lift to Hidi. This village did not appear on the map and few people knew where it was.  We accepted the lift as the bus was not due for three days and continued south in the company of a goat and five small children.  The road got steadily worse and unfortunately the goat’s nerves could not stand the vibration, so it made a nasty mess of somebody’s shoe.  Seeing how uninhibited the goat was, one of the small children let fly.  This started quite an argument between the children's mothers, but neither child nor goat seemed very moved.

Hidi was in the throes of market day.  The market seemed to serve a social function more than anything else.  It can't have had much business, as everybody was selling each other the same things.  People carried spears everywhere and wore simple blankets.  I had my first fresh milk for four months - straight from the camel very good too!  We also tried an evil brew made from coffee beans fried in butter and floated on warm milk. This is, apparently, brewed for various pagan ceremonies but I dread to think what they might be.  We slept in the truck that night, to the sound of ritual dancing which was interrupted by the return of our travelling companion much the worse for chewing 'chat' (the leaf mentioned earlier) and drinking tej (honey beer).  Hidi was very pleasant, but still a long way off the main road and mil from the Kenya border.  Our truck driver seemed uncertain about where he was going and his sense of time had now vanished completely.

The day after our arrival at Hidi, a Toyota truck arrived.  This was quite an event for Hidi - two trucks within twenty four hours!  What was even better was that the Toyota was returning immediately to Moyale.  Was this our chance to get to the Kenyan border, we wondered?  Our hopes flagged again when so many people leapt aboard that the truck could not move. Then our original driver decided that he, too, would go to Moyale - mainly because there was nowhere else he could get fuel.  Ten minutes later, he scrambled into the cab and raced off across the village 'square'. We chased after him, only to find that he had decided to take tea at a different house.  Another ten minutes elapsed, followed by another mad dash across the village.  Ian and I decided to get back on our truck anyway and this was just as well because the next time he drove off it was on the road to Moyale - for two minutes. Yet again we stopped, and out came the driver who held some sort of ballot (based on how much cash rather than how many hands) to decide finally where we were going.  Eventually, Moyale was chosen and off we went to the border.

We reached the border in mid afternoon and passed through into Kenya fairly quickly.  Immediately after changing our money, we had the pleasant surprise of finding out that all the beer in Kenya has a government price control.  This was excellent news, so off we went to sample 'Tusher' lager.  Kenyan beer is an interesting phenomenon.  Quite often we had it so cold that the barman had to search for a bottle that was still liquid.  Pouring Tusher is a real art.  Even the best pour can result in a Watney Factor (ratio of head to liquid) of unity, and a real 'barmaid's pour' can achieve a frightening Watney Factor of nearly infinity!  Indeed, whilst experimenting with ways of eliminating gas by shaking in an exclusive Nairobi hotel, a large proportion of a half litre bottle scattered the barmen at a range of six feet.  Eliminating any gas ingested, in a civilised manner, is very difficult.  Quite often towards midnight, the unwitting drinker opens his mouth to expound on some topic, only to release a fortissimo belch.

Moyale had only one bar, as it was predominantly a Muslim town.  Fortunately we met a customs officer who offered us his room, so we went to bed - Ian under the mosquito net and myself on the concrete floor.  As Ian's luck would have it, this was the only place where we encountered mosquitoes.  Whilst he slept peacefully, I lay in terror while the little malarial kamikaze pilots dug into me with their proboscis.  Nightmares of 'O' level biology came to my mind, and for the next few days I was very thorough in taking my malaria tablets.

The Kenyan side of Moyale seemed to have many trucks, and after a short search we found a land rover going to Isiolo, nearly into Nairobi and well onto tarmac roads.  Unfortunately, he disappeared and we opted for a lift on a truck full of empty oil drums.  In the general haste to board the truck I forgot my camera.  After several days without a wash, the smell of diesel fuel made a pleasant change.

After losing my camera, I should have realised that it was not going to be a good day, and sure enough, things rapidly deteriorated.  The ageing Ford truck stopped several times; stricken by asthma and eventually it spent more time stationary than mobile.  The driver realised that all was not well and headed for the village of Soldo (sorry, Sololo - Ed.).  Many of his customers opted to remain on the main road and whilst they were dismounting, our land rover sped past on its way to Isiolo!  The truck got within sight of Sololo and expired.

By this time it occurred to Ian and I that neither of us mew anything about the carburetion of diesel engines.  The Kenyans attempted a number of curious stunts some falling little short of religion in their execution. Three supercilious whites standing watching didn't help.  Eventually, some time after it became obvious, they realised that the fuel filter was blocked, and got us back on the road.  Most of the travellers had lost interest by now, and vanished into the village, so we had a fairly quiet trip to Marsabit.  From Marsabit to Isiolo we got a lift in a government land rover. From Isiolo to Nanyuki we travelled by taxi and then arranged another taxi to Nairobi. Just South of Nanyuki we crossed the equator in heavily overcast conditions.  The taxi drivers are only supposed to take six passengers but at nightfall they completely flout the regulations.  By some sort of instinct the taxis meet in garages and we transferred to other taxis, all for an inclusive fare.  Eventually we reached Nairobi with 13 people in a Peugeot 404 - and a chicken.  The chicken arrived totally exhausted and collapsed in a heap asking to be curried.

So.  We had made it in exactly the time budgeted.  Nairobi looked exquisite.  After four months in Saudi Arabia, anywhere that offers fish and chips, beer and ham sandwiches is heaven.  The next day, we met two friends within two minutes of our previously agreed time and, along with two otters, decided to go south to Tanzania to see the Serengeti Game Park and the Ngoro Ngoro crater.

We travelled by bus down to Arusha at which place we fortunately met an Australian who was drilling for water near Lake Victoria.  He offered us a lift through the game park, past the Ngoro Ngoro crater and down Lake Victoria in exchange for a few beers.

Next day we set off for Serengeti, where we had a fine time in the reserve, seeing many animals and finally the Ngoro Ngoro crater.  This crater is of massive size and I guess big enough to hold Birmingham.  The Tanzanian government runs tourist hotels which cost £15 a night and have excellent views and cuisine. Naturally, we didn't stay at them, but we used their bars as there was still price controlled beer!

 

We tried to stop the night at a lodge, but they had never seen B.E.C. type people.  They found it impossible to see why we ate nothing; drank several pounds worth of beer and refused to pay a pound each to camp.  As the police post was miles away, they couldn't do much and left us alone.  Next day, we carried on our pub crawl, occasionally noticing wild animals and getting lost, arriving late at night at Mwanza, a town well endowed with bars and situated on the South Eastern edge of La Victoria.  Here, we reluctantly parted company with our Australian friend.

After two days in Mwanza, I had to rush back to Arusha in order to fly back to work.  (Another reason being that Kenyan beer is cheaper) "Only 12 hours" said the Asian travel agent - rubbing his hands as he took the money.  So it might have been if the bus hadn't broken it's suspension at 1 a.m.  Fortunately another bus came along with a spare part and some string and the problem was solved within two and a half hours.  We spent this time speculating on whether the driver would be crushed to death when the jack collapsed (he wasn’t).  At last after twenty three hours and a few more bits of we arrived back in Arusha.

This bus journey had much in common with others East Africa.  The driver often went for a spin around town before leaving.  In one town, the locals derived much pleasure in seeing two of us chasing a bus down the high street.  They all knew it had only gone to re-fuel!

So there we were back in Arusha. I got another night bus to Nairobi, and the others went off to the coast.  I arrived back in Nairobi at 7 a.m. after a two and a half hour customs stop. Despite what African people said to me, they did seen to favour me at customs posts - or was it the subtle smell from my rucsac?  I decided to spend my last night of freedom in a luxury hotel and I arrived fresh from the bus looking as if I had been down Manor Farm in the digging days. Next day I got up at 5.45 a.m. and went to Nairobi airport only to find that Ethiopian Airlines had sent too small a plane!  So here I sit, at their expense, in an international hotel.  Tomorrow I have another night in Addis and eventually I might get back to Saudi Arabia, but that could well be another story!

Editor's Note:     Malcolm says that he will be at Box 42, Kharis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia until December 15th.  As far as the membership list is concerned, his Birmingham address is best for the time being.


 

Letter to the Editor

Dear Alfie,

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 is fast fading; at least all but the more 'orrible which need no effort to remember, but to argue 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 second port of call for Saturday night bar room mountaineers, the first being the old hatchway to get beer.  The bar was then considerably smaller and catered for local customers, tourists and only a few cavers.  Thus, with the majority of cavers being in their 'own' room, when any singing started, the natural thing was to join in and one learned the words along the way.  In the summer the tourists came for miles to park their cars near the open window and giggle at those rude fellows inside.  However, at the time it was the practice to revert instantly to a rendering of 'Sospan Fach' whenever Ben appeared.  Later on this practice ceased and Ben was known to complain about the uncouth behaviour of some cavers.

When Roger modernised the Hunters, he recognised our need and set aside 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, on any evening it is normal for us regulars to go to the bar rather than to the caver’s rooms - and in the bar we stay glaring at any intruders and only leaving for the calls of nature or time.

Still, on odd occasions such as when Maurice turns up and feels in voice, we lobby known aficionados and adjourn to the back room to sing.  Admittedly we are not always very successful, we have such complexes now that we automatically forget either words or tune (even both).  We often repeat a song for latecomers but we can still run the course of a Hunters singsong when we have a mind to. Practice is obviously what we need and if the Belfry after hours is the only place we can get it, then, when you've got it organised, count me in.

Yours Argumentatively, Mike Wheadon.

Editor's Note:     As I typed this, I was assailed by the horrible feeling that I had done it before.  It may have appeared in the July B.B. (A copy of which I do not beside me as I type this). If, in fact, it has achieved the dubious distinction of appearing TWICE in the B.B.  I trust that all will accept my apologies.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 60 

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10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

14

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Lead another way to master cave? (6)
4. Alternative word. (2)
7. Did Ursus Spelaeans find its way round caves by taking these? (8)
9. Barrow this on Mendip. (4)
10. Its presence really upsets 7 across. (4)
12. Swollen ‘O’ was the foundation of many a caver’s garb in days gone by. (8)
14. Thus. (2)
16. Colour band in Rod’s bacon once – also describes a later barbecue occurrence. (6)

Down

1. Short Cuthbert’s title. (2)
2. May have its uses in caving but surely not on lifelines? (4,4)
3. A hundred of these near the Belfry. (4)
5. Wookey, for example? (6)
6. Initial part of cave perhaps. (8).
8. Proceeds in this manner often underground. (6)
11. Do caves contain lots of this? (4)
13. Briefly all right. (1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

U

 

D

 

 

B

E

D

S

S

T

R

A

T

A

 

R

 

E

 

A

 

 

T

R

I

P

D

R

I

F

T

S

 

P

 

 

 

N

 

A

 

S

 

 

 

S

 

C

R

A

W

L

S

T

U

F

A

 

 

I

 

S

 

M

 

S

L

U

M

P

S

S

P

O

T

 

 

S

 

S