Mites and Tites

The Librarian tells me that there are some excellent recent additions to the Club Library and he is desirous that you should share in the delights of these and the many other items in this excellent resource for cavers of all types (armchair not essential). Among the new titles are:

  • British Caving Association 2009-2010 Handbook
  • Swildons Hole - 100 years of exploration - Irwin, Moody, Farrant
  • Ten Years in the Dark - Mark “Tarquin” Wilton-Jones
  • Underground Adventure - Hemmell and Myers
  • Underground Clwyd - Cris Ebbs
  • The caves and mines of Sychrhyd Gorge - Keith Jones

Maritime and other boat-related matters seem to be of increasing interest in the Club (see Allan Ockenden’s article elsewhere in this issue) and may, of course, be preferable to the actual business of caving. Whatever. Chris Crowley sends me the following account of a recent adventure:

“In September Adrian Clarke and his girlfriend Christine chartered a ‘classic’ yacht and invited me, Neil Montgomery and Matt Wire along as ‘crew’ (for a share of the cost, of course). Amazingly this turned out to be one of the few weekends of the so-called summer when it wasn’t blowing half a gale. The boat was moored up the river near the Felixstowe container terminal; we couldn’t get in the marina Friday night so we had to spend the night bobbing up and down about half a mile offshore - Saturday dawned with an almost clear sky and a good breeze so off we went down to the sea on a crew training run - Adrian had sorted a plentiful supply of cake etc so we had an on board lunch moored not far from a collection of light vesels. Saturday night was spent in a nearby marina stuffed full of bankers’ boats which was a bit remote so we were ‘forced’ to eat in a rather over-subscribed destination gastropub - it’s a tough life! Sunday morning saw us venturing out to sea (if that is, in fact, the correct term, for the Thames Estuary?) in a good breeze and we all had a go at steering (sorry, the helm).

More nautical adventures may be on the cards!”

The caption to the illustration on p.24 of this issue of Pelobates is viewed by one of our more youthfully-challenged members as a totally unwarranted slight on his renowned sartorial elegance. No doubt Mr Hatton will soon be hearing from m’learned friends. Strange goings on in the netherworld at I think Mr Blob may have been a member of the original film crew for “Going Down in the World” who possibly got left behind.

“The Acetylene Scrolls” was one of the great unpublished works which once passed through the editorial offices of Pelobates but which was then, for some reason, overlooked. Jim Brooke’s introduction to his magnum opus read thus:

“As many of my subterranean colleagues know, I have been experimenting with acetylene lamps, collecting parts from Paris, Calor Gas spares, and tractor hydraulic systems. These parts can make an excellent lamp, so can other bizarre amalgamations of equipment, working better than some electric lamps. From a private library in a 80 year old book I discovered some articles on acetylene lighting, written in great detail from people with advance knowledge on this subject. I have brought this information to light because I fear it could be lost in time, years of R & D work finished.”

Glad to redress the oversight after all these years, Jim, and to bring your work to the audience it deserves. I hope the experiments are going well.

The Editor advises me that a new issue of Pelobates is being planned with a hoped-for publication date of June 2010 )(I seem to have heard something of this sort before) and comments on this issue and original items for the next issue are urgently needed. Trip reports, reviews, digging news, humour, photos - please send your contributions to the editor