The Bummel - Issue 2 The magazine for ex-Cheltenham YHA Group members
Well, here it is again. There was such an amazing response to the first issue of the rejuvenated Bummel that we decided we had to produce another issue. Actually, one person (thanks Nigel!) said he enjoyed it and looked forward to the next one, so that was classed as a positive response. Someone else, I forget who, commented that it was good value for a free paper.
What's happened since the last issue? We had the Group's Golden Jubilee event which was held in September last year and was organised by the current Cheltenham YHA Group. The next day we held a walk on Bredon Hill. We've had to change our Committee venue from the Cheese Rollers to the Bell after a quiz night was started at the Cheese Rollers. You might ask why we choose to go to the pub in Shurdington. The principle is that it should be equally inconvenient for everyone. In fact, it isn't. It's just up the road for Barry and he doesn't turn up until just before closing time anyway. Perhaps we should migrate somewhere else, but they do have a very nice draught cider there, its name escapes me. I arrived one evening, saw a gleaming new pump on the bar and ordered a pint, thinking it was bitter. After offending the barmaid by asking if it was always as cloudy as that, I discovered the error, but stayed for a second one.
After years of being about to close, Northlands (Aahh) has finally gone. The County Council has sold it and it's going to be redeveloped as flats.
Following my comments in the first issue about the disorganised, self-important and thoroughly unprofessional wasters who make up the "Committee," Ed S has decided we ought to be a bit more methodical and has started to write up minutes. My personal feeling is that I'd rather not see in writing how little we actually do at the Bell, but if there is sufficient demand, I'll include them in the next issue.
To remind you, the Committee is:
Ed Skinner - Slave Driver and Organiser 01452 305225 John Boucher - the One Who Can Remember Names 01242 581300 Colin Maher - Treasurer & Waster 01242 511285 Barry Roberts - Back-up Slave Driver & Waster 01242 859274 Ed Wragg - Editor & Waster 01242 242766
Golden Jubilee Celebrations - September 2001
The Cheltenham Social Group of the Youth Hostels Association of England and Wales was set up in 1951. It has undergone a few changes over the years and in its current incarnation, is known as the Gloucestershire Outdoor Group. The GOG, realising the outstanding importance of the year 2001, organised a get together for current and previous members in the skittle alley of the Somerset Arms.
Good food was provided (and plenty of it) and once we were over the serious eating bit we got down to the drinking and socialising. The current chairman gave a short speech, sorry, can't remember what he said, then we had a few photos and the rest of the evening was given over to mingling.
It was interesting talking to the current members. They are just the same sort of characters as we are/were; the same mixture of keen and idle, organised and chaotic. You could recognise the equivalent characters to those of twenty, thirty or forty years ago. The age range has changed though. When I was in the Group, the average age was probably about 22 whereas now I would guess that it is about 32. They have a wider range of activities than we did (skiing, canoeing) and go further afield (Ireland, Spain, Tunisia).
Bredon Hill Walk
On the Sunday morning following the Golden Jubilee celebrations in September, a disjointed collection of individuals assembled at Northlands (Aahh, Northlands). People started arriving about 9.40 for a 9.30 start and finally got moving about 10.20; some things never change. We left the cars on the north side of the hill and made a very leisurely ascent to the tower. The day was beautiful, a bit warm for the climb, but very pleasant once we were on the top, and the visibility was fantastic. It's not until you start walking on Bredon that you realise just how big it is. Walking over the top and down to Ashton under Hill took much longer than expected and we reached the pub only just in time to order lunch. However we managed to stay there, sitting in the sun, for a good long time to compensate for the rush before lunch and finally got going again at about 3.30. It was unfortunate that we had two climbs to do before we finished. At the top of the first we came across a field with a crop which no-one could recognise. It was seven or eight feet tall and looked rather like sugar cane but might well have been outsize leeks or genetically-modified radish. The second climb back up to the tower nearly finished us off, but it was then only a short trip back to the cars. The intention had been to have a walk of seven or eight miles but in fact it turned out to be about eleven. Sorry about that!
Update on Bryn Poeth Uchaf
The hostel closed in September 1998. I visited it in summer 1999 and found it very empty and derelict. Everything removable had been taken except for two old church pews left in the main room. Swallows were nesting in the outside dormitory.
I went again in April 2000 - I had now been there at least once every year since my first visit in April 1970. A new owner, Steve Humphries from Gloucester, with a business in Stonehouse, had bought it in December 1999. He had a 4x4 to get to the top of the forest and then used a quad bike and trailer to take things down to the hostel. There was a generator round the back and the garden had gone from the front. The outside dormitory appeared to be a workshop. All the bunks were removed - he had found a note I had left in the "lock up" where I used to keep my tools and materials. He was fairly friendly, his wife less so. They didn't invite me in or show me around. They intend to live there and he proposes to work from home by computer.
I went again in December 2001 when the Foot and Mouth restrictions had been lifted. A large new track has been bulldozed down from the forest to the hedge which leads up from the front door. Wifey saw me coming and came out to meet me. She gave me some details of what they had done. She has been living there since they bought the hostel. There was a TV aerial on the front guttering and a wind generator was to be installed over Christmas. The area in front has been flattened and the tree stump pushed down the bank to the stream. The bank at the side has been dug out to give clearance and reduce the damp. The internal wall between the kitchen and the family annexe has been knocked out and the family annexe is now their kitchen, with a range for cooking. Both chimneys have been repaired so they now have two fires burning some of the time. New double-glazed windows have been installed, none of them opening - to reduce draughts. The outside dormitory had a sign on it: "No Unauthorised Entry", so presumably, this is a workshop.
Dates for your Diary
This April we've got a weekend trip to Pwll Ddu.
I don't actually have any dates, but Ed S may be able to tell you the date and venue of the Cadbury Cup this year and of course in 2003 we will arrange a day's family-friendly walking in the Gloucestershire area.
Who have we found?
You may be interested to know that we've got contact with the following ex-Group members:
John Cockroft Eileen Faulkner Colin & Pat Maher (Potter) Tom Tucker Ian Wilson Vernon Dancey Bryan Jackson Keith & Di Brown (Harmsworth) Chris & Mary Allen (Owen) Richard & Chris Hoy (Buckley) Maurice & Carol Febry (McLelland) Gill Thompson (Hare) John Hare Kay Scase Jean Stock Nigel Emery Isabel Brenchley (Poole) Dave & Chris Williams (Barnett) Mike & Mon Wake (Barnett) Mick & Jan Barlow (Hill) Pete & Jan Workman (Gundry) Chris & Jill Smith (Gattwood) Jackie Smith (Davey) Becky Davis Larry Foster Heather Tibbotts (Fear) Rod Munday Steve Harris Andy & Angela Patrick Bob & Rose Wilson (Trotman) David & Gillian Kelley Colin Haggar Vince Wood Ed Skinner Ed & Catherine Wragg (Wilson) John & Sue Boucher (Hooper) Robin & Christine Belton Ros Barrett Barry & Mary Roberts Brian & Gill Wood
If the name is spelt wrongly or the maiden name is missing, blame it on Ed Skinner's writing!
If you know of anyone else, or are trying to remember the name of the funny little guy with a squint who always wore a yellow shirt and rode a Dawes, tell John Boucher.
"I'm having great problems stopping eating when I'm full" - Delia Smith Remind you of anyone?