This is the first edition of Pelobates for this century, millennium, year and so forth. I am pleased to say that Nick Moulton is taking over from me and will start with assisting with the postproduction. But from this episode on - over to you Nick.

As we enter a new century it is probably a good time to review the achievements of the club and to assess where we are. Business continues as usual for committees and accounts but the club looks forward to the 3rd millennium with optimism. Why is this? Well in my opinion (and being able to express this is a perk of being editor), the club is doing well. We have a good-sized membership base, the club is wealthy, we go caving, we have our own property and we are planning an extension. The cottage seems more and more to be a focal point of the club. More committee meetings are held there, more members only see each other there (especially as fewer and fewer seem to go the pub during the week anymore) and it certainly is now our main source of income.

In view of this, at Christmas, the committee felt that a certain honour needed bestowing, we felt that one person in particular is personally responsible for the success of the cottage; they are almost synonymous with the development of our greatest asset. We may take the piss, and we may comment on solar powered emergency lights or wind powered fart detectors, but Chris Crowley has probably put more effort into keeping our cottage in a decent state of repair than the rest of the club combined. For this reason, we have agreed as a committee, to give, in recognition of the thankless service he has given, complete honorary membership to CCC. Furthermore a plaque has been placed above his usual bunk reserving it in perpetuity for his use!

This is all well and good but where are we going?

Well, the new member situation needs attention and was the subject of considerable debate at the last committee meeting (held in a Chalet in France hired for that specific purpose - a sort of management retreat, the skiing was good but the wine was as rough as a dog's arse). For too long in my opinion, new members are treated as second-class citizens, they are required to fend for themselves in the club with no helping hand or guidance. Chris Fry our esteemed new members chappie would like to try some mentoring, the idea being that a new member gets an automatic mate in the club, who helps sort out trips, training and gear and generally eases themselves into club life. This is essential, once upon a time, Croydon could draw on a two or three universities and the odd Poly for members, but now, there seems to be bugger all university caving other than the traditional hot spots. We therefore need to look after and cherish our new members and to get them fully integrated into club life. The average age of the club is shifting steadily upwards. We must encourage new blood.

That being so, the club held a stormer of a new year party at Baskerville hall with the help of Dave Hodby the owner. The evening was quite exceptional, Gerry and Phil have been publicly thanked several times, but the food laid on by Gerry was both expansive and quite exquisite -ta guys!. Lots of people mucked in and the evening was a great success - for those that didn't make it, you will be glad to know that all the old cavers managed to embarrass the youngsters in the Disco next door by keeping going till half five when we were the only ones left dancing away. Truly a night to remember - the organisation carried out by Steve Wray and Tania Davies also need a special vote of thanks.

The event was so good - maybe we should think about more such events in future ? It really did represent superb value - ask anyone who was there ! 37quid for all you could eat and practically all you could drink ! Maybe for a club fundraising ?

Oh well that is all I can say - I have put in rather a lot of articles in this episode and I hope they prove entertaining - There is even some poetry.

Happy new year, century, millennium etc etc and finally Good luck to the new Editor Nick.

Simon Davies