Underground Barbecue Weekend

This event was held on 27 May 1989 as part of the Club's silver jubilee celebrations and is published as a record of that important event in our history.

As much as I enjoyed the event, I will not be in a hurry to do it again. A part of me was hoping that it would rain so that it would have to be called off. The strain of having my beer barrels carried into the cave without being dropped was almost as bad as being a passanger in the back of my car coming back from Greece.

Work started months ahead preparing Yeast excretions in sufficient quantity to satisfy the horde. A recce by Eric and myself to Porth-yr-Ogof to select a suitable site was carried out. Before settling on the final site, a number of locations in the cave were visited, most of which would have barbecued everyone as well as the food in smoke. Mind you, after last years event in the cabin I think I could handle it. Still, the final choice was obvious. Nature had laboured mightily to produce an underground barbecue chamber. Sadly, she had forgotten to make a unisex toilet and sweep the dance floor, the latter producing much amusement as drunken souls tried to move about.

Closer to the date, I was able to purchase over 400 bread rolls at a much reduced rate from a Sunday market. I had to carry them in two batches to the car which contained my mothers dog/horse. On my second carry I found the dog drooling over the freshly bake rolls. If anyone ate a glazed roll, it was dog spittle I'm afraid. Not having a sufficiently large freezer at home, I took the rolls into work on Monday morning. It is very difficult to get passed the security staff carrying three very heavy dustbin bags full of bread. Excuses such as "I'm hungry" or "Gosh! I must have picked up the wrong bags" didn't seem to carry sufficient conviction to me. However I was convinced if I told the truth that they were for an underground barbecue I would be locked up for sure.

After purchasing the rest of the food at the last minute, we set off to South Wales on Thursday night so that we could get most of the preparations done on Friday. It was a tight fit getting everything into the car without squashing anything too much. On Friday, using my trusty food processor, we tackled the dreaded coleslaw. Using a tried and trusted recipe (just the right consistency for food fights) a fair few gallons were seething in a beer fermenting bin. Disaster, the onions were of a particularly strong variety. This meant more cabbage and carrots had to be bought and sacrificed in the food processor to correct the coleslaw. The end result was a rather large amount of onion-flavoured coleslaw. The rest of the preparation was completed in plenty of time by Saturday lunchtime.

By late afternoon the transport of the food had taken place. The bar was well stocked and the lighting arranged just so. There was just time for a quick relaxing drink before the hordes arrived. Twenty minutes before the official opening time we started the charcoal expecting an early contingent. It never came. Half an hour after the official start time we were wondering whether anyone was going to arrive. Then the flood gates opened and everyone wanted everything straight away in typical barbecue fashion.

Events after this became a little hazy (for some unknown reason), but generally I think most people got drunk and fell over. The route to the toilets tended to be particularly difficult to negotiate at times with boulders shifting about to trip people up. After some time people disappeared so Eric and I decided to go to bed. I thought I had carefully positioned the airbed so that no drips would fall on my side. However just as I was pretending I was sleeping in a remote chamber on a fourposter bed, a huge droplet landed, Chinese water torture style, in the centre of my brow. Despite this I managed to get a good night's sleep, being woken by a mosquito bitten group of Cardiff sadists who had slept the night outside. There followed a hectic removal and clean up of the cave and a return to Godre Pentre. After cooking breakfast I found out that Eric was not hungry and was evacuating his alimentary canal at the nearest exits. "Getting in practice for Greece?", I cruelly said. He put it down to a chill, but maybe he ate a glazed roll. As always there was plenty of food left over, so another barbecue was held on Sunday.

Eric and I wish to thank all those that helped to make the event a success. About £30 was raised for the cottage fund.

Martyn Pickering