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December 1951

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Don't forget that the A.G.M. will be held, as announced in the last B.B. at the Redcliffe Community Centre at 2pm. on Saturday, 26th January, 1952, and will, be followed at 7pm by the Annual Dinner. All members are asked to note this date, and to try to attend. A ballot form, to be used in connection with the election for the new Committee is enclosed with this issue. It carries full instructions on how to vote. If you can't read, then ask your Dad what it says, but VOTE. M1KE FOXELL Those members who knew Mike Foxwell will be sorry to learn that he was shot in the back at Suez a week ago, and killed. Our deepest sympathy goes out to, his parents and friends in their sad bereavement. CAVING SECTION Mervyn Hamman, when sending the following trip card, added the following remark...”but I'm afraid it's a ……..of a job to, bully anyone into leading a trip these days". We refrain from comment, and leave the matter with the consciences of the more experienced members of the Club. FORTH COMING TRIPS 22nd December, 1951. August Hole. Leader J. Ifold. Meet at Lower Farm, 2pm. 30th December, 1951. Burrington Caves. Leader C.Foulshaw. Meet at Mendip Gate Café 2pm. 13th January, 1952. Eastwater. Leader M. Jones. Meet at Belfry 11am. 29th January, 1952. Swildon' s. Leader M. Hannam. Meet at Belfry 11am. CAVING REPORT Despite the excessive lubrication in most caves during the past few weeks, plenty of caving has been taking place. The ritual of Swildon's and Eastwater has been carried out, and congrats. are due to Len Findley for varying the monotony of Swildon's by suspending himself base over apex on the twenty foot ladder. This pastime is not recommended, however. There were also a few trips to Burrington, and one party set out to plumb the ‘bottomless gulf’ in Sandford Levy, but found it no longer bottomless, in fact it wasn't there. The journey to foreign parts was a trip, or rather two trips to South Devon on the night after the Election. No doubt some of the party remembered the last post-Election night in South Devon. One of these parties, comprising Johnny Ifold, Johnny Morris, Johnny Bindon, Roger Cantle and one or two others did Pixie Hole at Chudleigh. The other party, Ian Dear and Mervyn Hannam did Read's Cave and Baker's Pit including Geoff Ridyard's new series, which is a very nice bit of caving, even if it is largely through mud guaranteed to block up any acetylene lamp in existence. (Mention of Geoff reminds us that he is now back in London for a spell. Ed.)

BB52/2 The Caving Secretary will be very glad to receive suggestions concerning what caves should be included in the trip cards and what, if any, special exploration and surveying activities should be undertaken by the Section. Apart from the main cave index, the Section is trying to compile a detailed index of the small caves on Mendip and near Bristol. If any members have a sound knowledge of these little known holes, they are asked to pass it on to Mervyn Hannam. LONDON SECTION DINNER. The London Section held its Second Annual Dinner at the Atlas Hotel on Saturday, December 8th, and a good time was had by all. All fourteen members and guests arrived in good time and condition, and, in due course, left . . . . also in good condition. The least important part of the Dinner – the dinner was suitably up to standard and met with general approval. (D.A.C.) then proposed "The King" after which “our energetic and hard?-working Secretary'' sprang his usual surprise and called on R. Setterington to propose "The B.E.C.", to which Johnny Payne replied. Bill Mack then proposed "The London Section” W.J.S. took it upon himself to reply to this, thereby being at a great advantage as the only speaker who had been warned of his fate. Pongo Wallis proposed "The Caving Fraternity", taking a poor view of the serious outbreak of matrimony in the Club, and the future Mrs. Coase replied. The serious business of the evening then began, but regrettably desire outran performance. It was concluded that this was due to the large quantity of food consumed; at all events, a considerable quantity of assorted refreshment was still unconsumed at 10.45 when we were finally flung out. We hope that another function will be held in twelve month’s time and will be equally successful. 1951 PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION The rules for the 1951 photographic competition have now been drawn up, and are set out below. Prizes will be awarded in each of the groups A) and B), at the discretion of the Committee. The actual value of the prizes will depend on the total number of entries received, but will probably be about the same in value as last year. RULES 1. The Competition will be in two sections: a. Cave Photographs b. Club Activities 2. The Competition is open to all members of the B.E.C., except the Judges. 3. Prints must be of post-card size or larger, and may be mounted or un-mounted. Each print must have the Entrant’s name and title on the back, together with any technical details that are available. 4. An entry fee of 6d. must accompany each print. Any competitor may enter as many prints as he likes. 5. Prints may be either the entrant’s own work, or ay have been processed professionally. They must, of course, have been taken by the entrant. 6. Each print must, be accompanied by an addressed label for return to the entrant. 7. Entries may be handed in at the Club meetings on Thursday evenings, up to and including Thursday, 10th January, 1952 or may be posted to reach W.J. Shorthose, 26, Gateside Road, Upper Tooting, London, S.W. 17, not later than Saturday 12th January.. 8. The judges swill be D.A. Coase and W.J. Shorthose. 9. The result will be announced, and the prints will be on view, at the Annual general Meeting and the Annual Dinner on 26th January.

BB52/3 FORTHCOMING MARRIAGE Hearty Congratulations to Stan Herman and M. Pillinger, two more members who have decided to take the plunge. While on this subject Bobby Bagshaw and his ‘Dark Horse’ wife wish to thank members very sincerely for the handsome wall clock given to them as a consolation prize. PLANNING A MOTOR-CYCLING TRIP IN FRANCE. PART II by R.A. Setterington. Make arrangements to pick up your companions and get to the A.A. or R.A.C. port office in good time to collect your boat tickets. Drive down to the customs shed, filling up with petrol on the way, and get the bike examined and all the necessary forms stamped and handed in. Drive down to the ship and close your eyes while they load the bike. Once on board, wait for the public address system to announce that landing tickets can be collected, do so and fill them in. If you smoke, buy some English cigarettes, though if you run out later ‘Balto’s’ make quite a smokeable substitute. When you dock, go through the customs and get your passport stamped. Your motoring organisation will look after the customs of the bike, but you will probably have to pay a dock landing charge. As you leave the dock you will be reminded to drive on the right. This is a bit queer at first, but you soon get used to it. It is a good system to park the bike always on the right side of the road, then you don't forget as you start up. The majority of the road signs are self-explanatory, but it can cause a few hectic moments when a sign saying "Virage Dangerouse” looms up, and after a quick hunt in the dictionary you find it means dangerous double bend. The best method of eating is to have a snack at mid-day, say of bread and cheese and fruit purchased somewhere en route, and a slap up dinner in the evening. Avoid Paris and the big cities and eat in a restaurant in a small village somewhere. Since the evenings are not very long, even at midsummer (it is quite dark by nine o’clock) it is best to start looking for a camping site at about six o’clock. When you find a good spot (the locals can be helpful here) pitch the tent and have a wash and brush up. Then motor into the nearest village and pick an average looking restaurant, probably the only one, and ask if you can have dinner, and at what time. They will almost certainly say "Yes, what do you want?" The best answer is “We’re hungry, but we leave the details to you”. Some of the motor-cycling books on the subject recommend you to enquire the price first, but this smacks of mistrust and is not necessary in the smaller restaurants. By the way, when choosing an eating pace, Hotel means hotel, Restaurant means restaurant, but a cafe supplies only drinks and snacks. You will find that the French are all for tourists, but you won't get anything on the cheap from them. Even when you announce that you are English speleologists particular interested in that cave’s speciality they may make the cave more interesting and show you some of the non-tourist parts, but they will still charge you the full entrance fee. Don’t bank on the weather being good all the time although in summer it will be reasonably warm even if wet. The best wear is normal clothes and flying suit, gloves and goggles. A pair of sun glasses is a ‘must’ when the sun is shining. For wet weather carry a lightweight anti-gas suit, or equivalent, and a pair of oilskin boots. Don't forget to put trousers outside boots and jacket outside trousers and gloves. Always use ‘Super Carburant’ petrol and a heavy oil. Mobil oil ‘B’ in France is an S.A.E. 50 oil. Don't be afraid to speak French as soon as you land. You will have to sooner or later, so you may as well start then. Never, if you can possibly avoid it, drink water, especially from a stream. Coffee and tartins for breakfast, Citronade glace at midday, and wine with the evening is a good routine. Don’t drink wine at midday if you are driving during the afternoon, and don't drink vintage wines, they can be as expensive as in England.

BB52/4 Don't leave too many miles for the last day or part day. Get back to your port of embarkation with an hour or two to spare, have a good meal and get rid of as much coin money as possible. You should have no trouble with the French customs or with getting aboard. Once the ship has sailed you can change paper money into English money. Make out a list of all things bought abroad to give to the English customs when you land. The Customs are very searching, but treat genuine trippers with cordiality. Finally don't forget to drive on the left, in England. POME IN THE OLDEN DAYS

by C.DS.S.

1. In the olden days When we lived in the Barn And there was no Belfry now, Everything that everyone had Was slung in a caver’s stew

2. In the olden days We never washed And the place was never clean No washing up, and no-one cared If the door was our latrine.

3. In the olden days We boozed all night And sang our filthy songs. The girls were wooed by each in turn, And no-one shouted his wrongs

4. In the olden days We always caved Come sun, come snow, come rain; We cycled here, we cycled back Determined to do them again.

5. In olden days We all were young And our numbers then were small We brought our grub, no need for Wells, No-one at our beck and call.

6. In the olden days We were all pals Content to talk together. We had no need of radio Whatever the beastly weather.

7. Gone, gone are the golden days And ne’er will they return. We’ve grown up now (or we should have done) But still for those days we yearn.

8. In days to come When our bones are laid And our yarns of the past are stale, The B.E.C. will be flourishing still With the young, and hearty, and hale.

________________________________ That concludes our Christmas Number, apart from conveying to all members and their families and friends, and to all cavers everywhere, our very best wishes for the coming festive season, and the hope that in the year to come they will find all happiness and peace to indulge their crazy hobby to their heart's content.

Belfry Bulletin Number 052