QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Matters Arising

The minutes of the last A.G.M. will be found (as threatened in the last B.B.) in this issue.  Apart from the almost inevitable discussion on the subject of tackle, one imagines that comments might well centre on the various changes - actual and proposed - to the Belfry.

Readers will note that this subject has not escaped the hawk-like eye of the Belfry Birds who write 'Fifth Column' and who imply that, whereas our committee (quite properly) has obtained various quotations for the installation of central heating and found the prices to be too high, the Shepton are about to install central heating in their hut.  Much the same sort of argument could be brought to bear about other schemes involving improvements to the Belfry.

At the risk of sticking out the editorial neck, it would appear that what we lack is the amount of effort which some other clubs seem to be able to coax out of their members.  In these days of high labour rates, being able to do ones own work and merely having to buy the materials makes all the difference between a project being 'on' or 'off'.  It is not intended to offer any comment on why the B.E.C. find it difficult to persuade members to lend a hand, but it is, we suggest, a fact which (sadly perhaps) we will have take into account in future plans.

Dinner '77

As many members are only too aware, the last dinner left much to be desired on a number of fronts. We are now booked up once again with the 'cliff' and we would like to make a plea to members to 'give it another try'.  In years past, we have had good dinners there, and we hope we have thrashed out most of the points about service, wine, beer and other things dear to the heart of the typical B.E.C. dinner goer.  We asked you what you wanted, and have done our best to comply.  We hope you will support your dinner!


 

The Growth Of The B.E.C.

PART TWO – EXPANSION – 1943 to 1951

Since the club records started in September 1943, the first few years covered the latter half of the war and the immediate post-war period.  Neither of these were typical times and so it would not be surprising if the figures reflected this fact.  The published figures of total club members over this period assumed that every member who was serving in the forces was still in the club, and this scheme only ceased in 1948.  However, the analysis of the records is capable of some pretty fine interpretation, and this can be allowed for.

The members who attended the meeting in September 1943 were below the average for a year's new membership as one might well expect in the middle of the war.  In contrast, their staying power was better than average which, again, one might expect from those people who effectively started the club going again.  Much the same remained true of the 1944 and the 1945 batches.

Thus, by the end of the war, the total number of club members was way below the predicted value, but their better than average staying power meant that losses from these groups would be low in future years, and would thus help to keep numbers up. Members who are still seen from time to time from these batches include Dan Hasell (Number 4) and Bob Bagshaw (Number 20).

In 1946, with the war now over, new members started to arrive in large numbers. Some were friends of B.E.C. members who had been in the forces with them and who were now demobbed. Others had been students during the war. 'Sett' (Number 78) is an example of the latter group.  Although the staying power of the 1946 batch was only average, its large number of new members, plus the low loss batches, pushed the total up almost to the predicted level.

In contrast, 1947 was a disappointing year.  A very average batch both in number and in staying power. A typical disappointing and average example is Alfie (Number 89).  However, the effect of the large 1946 batch served to keep the slope about right in spite of this slight setback.  From 1948 to 1950, the second - and even greater - expansion occurred.  Very large numbers of new members joined in each of these years.  Unfortunately, their staying power was very poor indeed.  The 1948 batch declined so quickly that although it started off with no less than 36 members, within ten years not a single member remained - and to this day we have no members who joined in 1948.

Such rapid was the decline of the 1948 batch that even the reasonable size of the batches for 1950 and 1951 only produced a small increase in the total membership which was by now running at about the rate of increase one would expect from the theory.  Even so, we still se a few members whose membership dates from this time such as Pat Ifold (number 150); Jill Tuck (number 157); Norman Petty (number 160) and Roy Bennett (number 214).  Derek Targett's father - Fred Targett - was also a member at about this time.

Thus, in 1951, club membership stood at 131 against a predicted total of 119.  The rapid expansion of the club had slowed up, but even so, it was still increasing at a rate which agreed with the predicted rate and which now made it the second largest caving on Mendip.  If future years results were in line with those predicted, then the club could look forward to breaking through the 150 members barrier by 1955 - but as you might guess, nothing so simple is going to happen in the next instalment of these jottings.


 

ISC ‘77

The 7th International Speleological Conference is to take place at the University of Sheffield between Sept 10th and Sept 17th 1977.  During the week before and the week after the main Conference, various excursions and Caving Camps are being arranged.

The excursions are of a specialist nature and include Hydrology, Archaeology etc.  For the more sporting caver, the Congress Central Committee have arranged Caving Camps in the various caving areas of Yorkshire, S Wales and Mendip.  About 1,000 foreign visitors are expected to attend.

To facilitate these camps, local committees have been set up to ensure that lines of communication are available and carry out detailed planning.  The local committee comprises Prof E.K. Tratman, Tim Atkinson, Tim Reynolds, Chris Hawkes, Pete Smart and our own Dave Irwin - each individual has a responsibility to arrange specific functions.

As far as Mendip is concerned, the Camp will centre at the Belfry.  The club has agreed to allocate 17 bunk spaces.  It is expected that be an entourage of 'unofficial' guests and the Wessex and Shepton have agreed to provision for overflow.

The plan of events is based on enabling the cavers to visit all the major caving areas on Mendip and follows the following outline schedule:

Day 1    Central Mendip - Swildons or St Cuthbert’s as the visitor wants

Day 2    Charterhouse - GB, Manor Farm or August/Longwood

Day 3    Eastern Mendip - Stoke, Fairy Quarry or Thrupe Lane

Day 4    Miscellaneous Caves or to Bath area and Stone Mines

If you can assist with any of the following, you should contact Wig ASAP:

1.                  Could you lead a trip should leader be required.

2.                  Could you assist in arranging evening activities including an informal dinner/ skittles cum beer-up/slide show etc.

3.                  Do anything else to provide a 'typical' Mendip type evening (or even day).

PS Dave Irwin's telephone number is Priddy 369.

Notice

If any members know of a cheap supply of A4 size paper suitable for the B.B. (about 70g/m2 bond) we shall be very pleased to hear from them.  At present we are having to pay anything up to £2 per ream, and the B.B. uses (or should do if it again comes out regularly) about 35 reams per year.


 

Minutes Of The 1976 A.G.M.

The annual account of the A.G.M. is being published somewhat earlier than usual this year.  This will give club members plenty of time to read it and ask awkward questions about it at the next A.G.M.!

The meeting started at 10.45 a.m. with 44 members present.  The Hon. Secretary called the meeting to order and asked for nominations for a chairman.  "Ginger" Thomas proposed "Sett".  There were no other nominations, and he was accordingly elected as Chairman.  The Chairman then asked for members resolutions.  The next item was the minutes of the last meeting.  Owing to the poor standard of printing in the B.B., Alfie volunteered to read them from the plates, if required.  Nigel Taylor proposed that they be taken as read. This was then seconded by Bob Cross and carried by the meeting.  The Chairman then asked for matters arising from the minutes.  There were none.

The Hon. Secretary then read his report, which consisted of a general review of club activities during the year.  The Chairman asked for the actual membership figure.  Angie Dooley said that 120 members were paid up.  There were also 51 life members and there had been 27 new members this year.  Some other members still owed their subs, but were expected to pay them.  Nigel Taylor proposed than the report be accepted. This was seconded by Paul Christie and carried.

The Hon. Treasurer's report then followed.  This had been published and the Chairman asked Barrie if he wished to add anything to his written report.  Barrie said that tackle fees were very low at 45p for the year. Mike Palmer said that much of the money paid as tackle fees went into the conscience box as donations. Barrie said that his point was, whether leaders really collected these fees.  A short discussion followed and it was agreed that leaders should make an effort to collect tackle fees.  Barrie then made the point that the refreshments for last years A.G.M. made a loss. He suggested that 40p a head should cover them this year.  Nigel Taylor asked if Barrie could account for the loss shown on the telephone account. Barrie explained that we paid the rental and that two thirds of the sum was repaid by M.R.O.  However, this year, we donated the sum involved to M.R.O. which explained the loss.  The Chairman asked whether the general financial situation was satisfactory. Barrie replied that it was very satisfactory.  The Chairman then asked whether Belfry charges were set at an optimum level. Barrie replied that of the £1,094 from the Belfry, about £400 came from the navy.  Without them, we would only just pay our way.  Nigel Taylor asked what would happen if the navy ceased using the Belfry.  Barrie replied that we would still be in business.  There was some discussion on the part played by guests in the financing of the Belfry.  Martin Bishop asked whether the ratio of members to guests was known, and suggested that this should appear in the B.B. because club members would then realise that most people staying at the Belfry were guests rather than members of the club. Joan Bennett said that a reasonably high proportion of guests was reasonable.  Apart from the club offering hospitality to other cavers, making useful contacts as a result and occasionally recruiting new members, guests were necessary because without them members would find themselves paying a very much higher Belfry fee.  She said that no change of attitude was needed.  Nigel Taylor then asked if Barrie thought the electricity bill was too high.  Barrie explained that previous bills had been based on estimates which had turned out to be too low.  We were now having to pay the backlog.  Dave Irwin pointed out that the Survey Scheme must be isolated financially because this was part of the agreement by which the scheme operated.  Barrie said that he would look into this matter.  The Chairman, then read out the Auditor's Report and Dave Irwin proposed the adoption of both reports.  This was seconded by 'Ginger' Thomas and carried.

The Caving Secretary then read his report. Mike Palmer reminded the meeting that foreign cavers attending the International Speleological Conference next year would need leaders to take them down caves on an organised basis.  Tim replied that a Planning Committee already existed and 'Wig' pointed out that he was the main organiser for Mendip.  He assured Mike Palmer that there would be plenty of warning given to clubs who were required to help.  Mike Palmer then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Paul Christie and carried.

The report of the Climbing Secretary followed.  There was, apparently, nothing to report, except that Russ Jenkins was actively climbing nowadays.  Mike Palmer suggested that it was, perhaps, time that the A.G.M. reviewed the position of the climbing activity of the club.  Alfie suggested that the meeting might care to appoint the new committee or some other body to look into matters and report to the next A.G.M.  Dave Irwin suggested that the word 'climbing' was too specific and that some more flexible title be given to the section which would enable more people to feel that they were involved.  Colin Dooley suggested that we got on with it and didn't bother. The meeting appeared to agree with him, for it went straight on to the next club officer's report without adopting (or failing to adopt) the Climbing Report.

The Hut Warden's Report was then read by the Chairman.  John Dukes asked whether it was a good idea to remove all the crockery and cutlery.  The suggestion in the report, as the Chairman reminded him, was to retain six sets of equipment for people who were 'caught out' with no means of eating, to use on payment of a deposit and to return in a clean condition.  Bob Cross announced that he was against this scheme.  “T’was ever thus” was the general theme of his argument.  Nigel Taylor doubted whether this was a matter for the A.G.M. to discuss at all but suggested that, in any case, a trial period could be instituted.  Martin Bishop made the point that the Belfry is always dirty and that anything which would improve matters should be tried. 'Ginger' Thomas thought that the word to describe the Belfry should be 'filthy' rather than 'dirty'.  Mike Wheadon suggested that the lack of a set of Belfry Rules was a contributory cause of the trouble and suggested that re-issuing the rules - or a modern form of them might help.  Martin Bishop gave it as his opinion that an inspection by a Health Inspector at any time over recent weeks would have resulted in the Belfry being closed on health grounds.  No decision was actually reached by the meeting however, and the report was adopted after this had been moved by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Martin Bishop.

The Tacklemaster then read his report.  Mike Palmer asked whether Graham was proposing to standardise on Englefield Clips. Graham replied that he was not proposing to do this.  Mike Palmer pointed out that non-standardisation posed various problems, but that he was not trying to argue the case for Englefield clips.  Graham said that he agreed with Mike, but that he had no way of making 'C' links and had thus been forced to use Englefield Clips as the old 'C' links gradually became unusable.  A general discussion followed, which ended when Dave Turner volunteered to provide and fit 'C' links if necessary.  It was then proposed by Dave Turner and seconded by Colin Dooley that the club standardise on 'C' links of the old type, or with links which are compatible with them.  A vote was called for by the Chairman, and the result was declared as carried with 29 for and 3 against.   Graham said that at present only tethers were fitted with Englefield clips and said that he would now be making more tethers with 'C' links now that Dave Turner had volunteered to make a supply available.  Mike Palmer said that tethers with Englefield Clips should be taken out of circulation straight away.  Graham then agreed that this would be done.  The adoption of the report was then proposed by Tim Large and seconded by Nigel Taylor, and carried without dissent.

The Belfry Engineer's Report followed.  There was no official report, but he said that there had not been a lot done in the year just ended.  Quite a lot needed doing but very little was actually getting done.  For example, the Tackle Store needed sorting out.  A workshop would be very useful.  The tragic thing in his opinion was that the money was there waiting to be spent, but no members were willing to help.  The Chairman said that if this were true, then the B.E.C. ought to be ashamed of itself.  'Ginger' Thomas offered to work on the Belfry whenever he was down on Mendip. A suggestion was made that the club might employ somebody on a contractual basis.  Various people said that this was an insult to the club.  Bob Cross asked whether some of the money could be spent on proper mattresses.  Paul Christie said that there was a lack of motivation amongst club members and Mike Wheadon pointed out that a Belfry Engineer must be prepared to lead as well as to work.  A heated discussion followed and in the course of this, 'Ginger' Thomas said that he was prepared to donate two storage heaters.  Dave Irwin then suggested that some form of central heating might be a good way to spend the club's money in a way that would prove of long term benefit to the Belfry.  Dave Turner then proposed that ' The Committee investigate the cost and feasibility of installing central heating, and be authorised to spend the money.' The Chairman and ' Ginger Thomas both pointed out to the meeting that heating without adequate ventilation would only produce a warm, damp Belfry instead of a cold, damp Belfry.  The Chairman suggested an amendment of replacing the words 'central heating' with 'central heating and ventilation.'  This was agreed to by the proposer and the amended resolution was seconded by Colin Dooley.  Voting was 36 in favour and none against.

The Chairman then announced a break for refreshments at 12.30.

At 2.30, the meeting was re-convened, and the Chairman announced that at one time during the morning session, there had been 52 members present.  The Belfry Bulletin report then followed, which Alfie read. The Chairman said that it was obvious from the report that greater participation from club members was needed. Angie Dooley said that perhaps we ought to look into having the B.B. printed commercially.  Colin Dooley said that Alfie had suggested a team, and this is what the club should be debating.  He said that there must be more involvement and said that we had had no committee election for two years, and this pointed to the fact that members were not getting involved in running the club.  Mike Palmer said that he agreed with Angie and that we should look seriously at the idea of having the B.B. printed professionally.  Barrie said that he agreed with Colin.  We should try Alfie's plan, or at last discuss it. Dave Turner said that the Ballooning Club’s magazine is printed by Electroprint and costs £400 an issue.  A B.B. printed at similar cost would work out at about £4 per member per anum.  Dave Irwin said that the Wessex Journal costs £275 a year for six issues, and this is about £1 per member per annum.  Colin Dooley said that if we only spent £1 per member per annum AND installed the central heating AND paid the new insurance premium AND were faced with the loss of the revenue from the navy, then we should go broke.  Dave Turner suggested that talk was of very little use, action is what we needed.  Dave Irwin said that if a team could be got going, then it should be tried. At this stage, the Chairman asked if there were any volunteers.  Andy Sparrow volunteered to collect material, Alfie and Mike Wheadon volunteered to do the typing.  Barrie volunteered to provide stationary covers and Alan Kennett and Tony Corrigan volunteered to print.  The Chairman said that under these circumstances, the idea of a team as suggested in the B.B. Report should be tried with the corollary that Alfie ran the team.  Bob Cross then proposed the adoption of the report and the Chairman’s suggested solution. This was seconded by Andy Sparrow and carried without dissent.

The special item of INSURANCE was taken next. Joan and Roy Bennett produced suitable tables showing the various options and their cost and type of cover and Dave Irwin outlined the background to the change of attitude by the insurance companies.  At the end of the presentation, Dave Turner proposed that the club should take up the 44p + 25% + 10% policy and that all members should be strongly urged to take out their own Public Liability insurance in addition to the club's policy.  This was seconded by Paul Stokes and carried with 35 in favour and 4 against.  Joan Bennett announced that she had made arrangements for further information on insurance to cover climbing, hill walking etc. to be sent to the committee.

The Publications Report followed.  In the absence of a formal report, the subject was referred to the next committee by the Chairman.

The Hon. Librarian's Report made the point that the main source of concern was the damp state of the library.  Apart from this, all was well.  It was hoped that the work to be carried out on central heating would remove the damp in the library.  Barrie proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.

The Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee report followed.  There was no discussion and the adoption of the report was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Mike Wheadon and carried without dissent by the meeting.

A members resolution concerning new arrangements for the payment of annual subscriptions was defeated by 8 in favour to 25 against.  There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 3.50 p.m.

Dinner- 1977

The Club Dinner is fixed to be at the Cliff Hotel Cheddar this year.  As usual it will be the first Saturday of October (1st).  The Menu is under negotiation but at present is: Choice of Starter: Soup/Prawn Cocktail/Fruit Juice; Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce/Roast & Boiled Potatoes/Sprouts/Carrots etc; Sweet will be from Fruit Salad & Cream/Apple Pie & Cream/Ice cream; Cheese & Biscuits and Coffee - the price will be £4.50.  More details will be given later; the main reason for advance notice is that BOOKING SHOULD BE DONE BY 12th OF SEPTEMBER and PAUL CHRISTIE would like to know at this time if you wish to travel from the BELFRY BY COACH. The Cliff could provide a vegetarian meal if necessary but there would have to be advance warning of this need. Another defect (to some) will be that provision of one's own vintage will not be allowed this year - the Cliff are troubled that it might make someone 'ill' and their cuisine would carry the blame.


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

With the problems of the B.B. machine dogging us; it's nice to be back and flattering to learn that our column was missed when we took a rest at the ed's request.  A group of our fans were heard to ask "Where is the Fifth Column?" and both said it was the first thing they read in the B.B. each month.  It is food for thought that although we think we have got journal troubles, it was rumoured recently that the club might be asked by a very well known club to print their magazine, as they too have problems which might indeed prove to be greater than ours.  Not least of the B.B.'s worries would have been a planned coup, which was luckily averted.

Celebrations and festivities abound, from the modest to the excessive, although none organised by the B.E.C. committee who, on receiving a request for a jubilee celebration, lapsed into unaccustomed silence.  First there was  Jon Jon's birthday in the village hall, attended by the usual select gathering.  Then there was the amazingly exclusive Shepton Dinner at the Hunters Lodge.  They claim the food was excellent and in excess (sounds familiar!)  More personal celebrations came with the announcement from the Franklin clan of their latest arrival - Benjamin Somerset.  Congratulations.  Pat and Beryl Ifold - sadly, no longer members, celebrated their Silver Wedding with (we hear) a splendid party.  (Quite correct – Ed!)  The Palmers housewarming is coming up and the Bishops held a jubilee do which turned into one of 'those' parties.  Angie is reported to have been more adventurous than can be repeated here without the use of asterisks.  Brenda, found sitting on the step, was asked what she was doing.   Her reply was "Waiting to be sick".  Such parties are only to be wondered at!

Our recent report that 'they 'orrible words' are again to be heard at Hunters has been confounded. The whistle-and-accordion folk persons have taken over, and continue their interminable and mournful songs in strange keys, which drives your correspondent to drink, or at least to the other bar.  Why do they never seem to enjoy their music?  Caving songs are occasionally to be heard at the Shepton Hut after hours, and it is shortly to be central-heated.

Mysterious plans to remove and re-located the Belfry kitchen have not borne to fruition despite much patter at committee meetings.  In any case, should we contemplate new schemes when so many half-complete schemes already exist?  Sett has been doing some talks recently on the archaeology of Mendip and was understandably disappointed at the response.  Perhaps the non-appearance of the B. B. can be the cause?

Tynings Barrow made the national news as the 'major new cave of Mendip'.  Congrats to the Institute; (T.I.T.S.) who held a celebration dinner at Hunters.  Soon there will be enough record holders on Mendip to hold a dinner on their own, as Richard et al. have made an attack on Wookey Hole and were (as they modestly report) successful.  Perhaps we'll read all about it in the B.B.  The local press reviewed Wig and Tony's new book and gave it a good write up. Strange that when the local television station did the same thing where only Wig got a mention - he must be in with someone at the B.B.C.

At the Belfry, the men’s room has a new bunk thanks to Martin and Garth - made they said out of supermarket trolley wire!  Jarrett fell out of same and has had to have his hip pinned.  Colleen Gage assured us that all proper precautions were taken to protect his vital parts during X-rays.  Mike Holland and George Pointing (and Dave Berry) have recently been seen on the hill.  Maureen has had her second eye operation.  There are bound to be some who will be disappointed that she might be able to see them instead of using Braille to locate them!  Finally, there are rumours that Alfie is going to talk about caving to boy scouts (can he still remember it?) and that the Hon. Treasurer actually went underground recently.


 

Monthly Crossword Number 75

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Across (Passages)

1. I’d be a northerner for this Mendip cave. (6)
4. Drinks from Wales. (4)
8. Quiet nobleman found occasionally in caves. (5)
9. This ground is where caves are found. (5)
10. Not on!. (3)
11. Prolific writer. (4)
13. Pitch in bare terrain underground. (5)
16. (with 5 down and 17 down)  Picture helped P.G. in Cuthbert’s. (5,5,5)
19. 5 down has it if one ignores the learner. (4)
21. Posses nothing and two points of the compass. (3)
23. Arise! (3,2)
24. Tried otherwise after a caving trip? (5)
25. Reflections of a sort often noticed in caves. (4)
26. Old Mendip Cave dweller. (6)

Down (Pitches)

1. Division of Highland clan gives short version of Cuthbert’s series. (4)
2. Start of well known Goatchurch crawl. (5)
3. Rope material in long or short lengths. (5)
5. See 16 across.
6. 1 down is a this. (6)
7. Soft type of stal. (4)
12. The Double Pots are in Swildons this. (3)
14. 198” for this and its Mendip Pot. (3)
15. Noise made by stream perhaps. (6)
17. See 16 across.
18. Useful aid in European caves. (4)
19. There may be restrictions on this. (5)
20. Overeat in G.B. (5)
21. Hunters criterion without learner. (4)

Solution to No. 74

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Club Headquarters

The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Telephone WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      M. Wheadon

Members           C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes, R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             M. WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe, Bath. Tel : BATH 713646

Honorary Treasurer             B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele : TEMPLE CLOUD 52072

Caving Secretary                TIM LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             R. JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol.

Hut Warden                        C. BATSTONE, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath..

Belfry Engineer                   J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crescent, Southampton. SO1 6LE  Tele : (0703) 774649

Tacklemaster                     G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele : (024) 024 3534

B.B. Editor                         S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol.  Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Publications Editor              C. HOWELL, 131 Sandon Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham 17.  Tele : (021) 429 5549

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

 

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.