The Mighty Teifi!
What a great source of stress that was………my first time organising a trip, and a lot harder than I first thought it would be! Of course that wasn’t helped by a certain Mr Wright and Mr Thomas’ behaviour. (cough)
Anyway……the journey started well enough, with Thom and John’s cars leaving the boat hard only about and hour later than planned! Though somehow, despite leaving at least 3 hours before the rest of the cars and the van, we still managed to get there only an hour before them. Must’ve been all the faff trying to find somewhere to eat……
So……we arrived in the dark and set about trying to find somewhere suitable for a SUCC style campsite. We decided that the bottom field where the rest of the uni’s were camped was far too common (well it was really in case of flood, some of you may have seen pics from previous years of cars with water up to their bonnets) so we trudged up the hill to pitch our tents very close to the party tent. Following a very speedy (considering it was so dark, and I didn’t have a torch!) erection of tents the evenings festivities commenced. After a brief trip to the party tent, which was less party and more… empty, everyone had found a beverage and a place to park their bum in Canvas Clive (as I believe it’s called). Thom decided he was bored so he challenged Mr Rochester to bring something back that looked like him. He did surprisingly well, returning with ‘Barnsley Seb’ from Bangor University… “but how can you tell I’m from Barnsley?”. They really could’ve been twins! A rather tipsy (as usual) Helen Rossall was then duct taped to Seb, despite her protestations, and they were sent out to find an umbrella, some snacks and something charmingly agricultural. They brought back with them a forester carrying an umbrella and a bag of crisps, therefore fulfilling Thom’s criteria. Unfortunately, unlike Seb, this one could get away from us quick enough, possibly something to do with Thom’s drunken ramblings! The third challenge of the evening brought the best prize of all. The challengees (for some reason my brain in telling me Seb, Rochester and Danny, though that may be a complete fabrication) were told to fetch something “big, green, and fun”, whereupon they returned with a gate. What followed can only be described as gate Olympics, with Danny demonstrating his ability to fit through the smallest hole in the gate and lot’s of people trying to jump over the top of it. Meanwhile Rochester proceeded to do anything anyone told him to do, no matter how dangerous, and a new catch phrase was born: Steady the Gate (quite possible Danny’s favourite phrase!).
After a good (ish) nights sleep I awoke at 8 and then spent almost two hours trying to drag Richard out of bed so he’d help me organise everyone. By about 1 o’clock everyone was finally kitted out and ready to get on the shuttle bus. Quite a lot of that was due to someone leaving poor Imogen’s wet kit at the boat hard so she had to find stuff to borrow from everyone! I do believe that is record amounts of faff even by Vian standards (5 hours between getting up and being ready to leave, blimey!). The organiser even came over especially to tell us we had caused the most faff he had ever seen!
After a shaky start (on my part) I soon got back into the swing of paddling. A good time was had by all, with all the committee keeping a particularly close eye on the number of times the freshers in their group swam. You see, we had set up a secret ballot in which every committee member was assigned a fresher, and the one with the fresher who swam the most won the money. Tom Wright won with Sophie Stubbles as his fresher (she swam an impressive 11 times!) and cries of “it must be a fix” could be heard around the campsite, with George even refusing to pay up.
The most entertaining swim of the trip was had by a certain Mr Rochester who swam on a chicken shoot and then got out on the bank without telling anyone he’d swum. When asked by Emma and Rich to get back in his boat as they wanted to get on with the river he just pointed vaguely downstream in the direction his boat had gone. Emma continues to ridicule him to this day! We had a rather comical moment in our group also. At the first get out Fran had put her paddles on the bank but then got pushed out of the eddy, she got dragged down the hard(er) rapids clinging on to Goose for dear life. She managed to stay in her boat though, well done Fran!
As we were the first group to finish I thought I would head back to the get out to see if any of the other groups had made it that far yet. It was at this point I found George sat on one bank with Hannah Tinsley on the other, trying to throw a rope to her to drag her over. Sophie Stubbles (who had also swam, what a surprise) was nowhere to be seen. What a shambles, Kev was not impressed when he joined us! I then spent a wonderful few hours walking down the bank helping the many swimmers to sort out their boats etc.
The main attraction of the Saturday night was, of course, Man in a Dress…in a paddling pool. I think Mr Leyland managed to amuse quite a lot of people with his antics. Lot’s of fun was had that night, I can’t remember everything that happened but there was lots of crazy dancing and apple bobbing. Rich and Danny entered a cart wheeling competition, and did quite well, I think anyway. The evening ended with Mr Harvey and a certain fresher getting rather friendly, nice one Thom! (Rumours were being spread earlier that evening about the same fresher and a certain other person, names will not be mentioned so as to protect the innocents involved).
After being very proud of myself for not swimming on the first day, I think I got a bit too cocky and managed to swim twice trying to get into an eddy on a rather flat bit of water…that’ll teach me!! Just don’t say anything about the lost schlegals……oops! We reached the get out but then had to wait another two (felt like longer) hours for the shuttle bus to pick us up, more faff. To keep warm we played skipping games with a sling and wrestled each other to the ground. I even tried to sing some songs, but I don’t think anyone really enjoyed that!
When we finally arrived back at the field, we had to pack the van in the dark and then try and remove it from the mud. A relatively smooth journey home followed, we stopped at Burger King where, to the horror, of Helen, Robyn, Cat and myself, Danny had a disgusting 17 sugars in his coffee. I’m sure there must be something wrong with that boy! Despite getting caught in traffic very close to a nasty accident (where we found Surrey Uni also waiting) we made it home in good time. A good trip was had by all!
Steady the Gate!
By Helen W