Teifi 2006

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

Usk 2006

The Mighty Usk

by Sophie Stubbles


After arriving at the boathard for 6pm thinking that this would be a sensible time I was shocked to discover that we were actually ready to leave! Was this to be a trip which didn’t involve faff?! We arrived at our beautiful Welsh village destination at about 10pm. The hut was more of a church hall/women’s institute hideaway rather than the usual scout huts I had experienced on previous trips. It was even decorated with a chandelier!

Soon all peace in the tiny village was destroyed as we cracked out the booze and started the drinking games. It wasn’t a particularly heavy night for most although I do remember a certain person claiming in very slurred words that people had been drinking all of his rum!


A small group of select paddlers were up bright and early to test the waters for the rest if us, rather them than me as I would not have wanted to get up at 7!

After being told that the Usk was a nice easy beginner river I was shocked to see the raging torrent that awaited us! Luckily (for me anyway) it was deemed unsafe to paddle for beginners. We went to check out the Wye but this also had very high water levels.

We then had a very difficult decision to make…was it to be the tea shops of Brecon or a paddle on a canal? Surprisingly by the vast majority it was decided to paddle a canal. This proved to be just as flat and shallow as we thought it would be, however I was told that it’s all good practice. It was then straight to the Farmer’s Arms for some liquid refreshment before dinner.

After a couple of pints it was back to the hut for a lovely pan flavoured chicken korma, followed by rice-pan pudding and jam. Back to the pub after dinner for a few more drinks and some rather tasty mulled wine donated to us by the landlord. There was also some interesting live Welsh music. The rest of the night consisted of the usual drinking games, namely ring of fire, and then a reasonably early night (about 3am).

Note from the Ed:

And of course, I understand there were more of George’s wise words to be heard!:
George: That’s Ian.
Neil: I’m Neil.
George: Well that’s close enough, it’s Ian backwards.


After a small amount of faff (nothing more than expected) it was decided to split us up into two groups, sending the first group as guinea pigs to see if the river was suitable. A few swims occurred but nothing out of the ordinary so it was decided that the river was in fact suitable. The second part of the river had a few ledges which most of us walked. Only one group actually made it to the get out (well done to them!) the rest of us ended up blocking the drive way of a rather irate Welsh man. This was mainly to do with the lack of daylight left when we still had about 4km to paddle! After cheese and ham and chicken and beef sandwiches we emptied the hut and went on our way.

Despite the not so exciting paddling on the Saturday it was an awesome trip!

Fireworks Party 2006

When someone suggested I ask Aidan for his firework expertise I was somewhat sceptical, especially since the only time I’d ever met him he was having a firework duel with Mr Leyland and they set the dunes on fire!!! However, all went according to plan and a spectacular display ensued with hardly any hitches. I was, however, slightly worried when the rescue flair tied to the make-shift Catherine Wheel flew of and into next door’s garden, very nearly causing an emergency, especially given it’s close proximity to the children! Thom and Tony’s ‘fire in a barrel’ contraption was very impressive, I especially liked the custard powder and leaf blower combo, caused a rather nice column of flame. A minor disagreement between Dickie and myself over whether his scarf should go in the fire resulted in him wearing my work uniform and my underwear, much to my surprise. I also believe Mr Burton had a collision with the snack tray, sending it flying over our lovely carpet, I’d forgotten I was going to send him the bill to clean it! Good fun was had by all…

Rhossili Trip 2006

So, after 5 long hours on the mini bus, made worse my Jack and Simon’s attempt at singing, and some seriously scary driving from Laurent in a desperate attempt to reach the campsite before the gates were locked at midnight, we arrived in Rhossili. Greeted by the largest amount of Old’s I have ever seen and a mass of tents the weekend began.

Saturday morning and the weather was good, so some of us headed down to the beach for a surf while others went climbing….May I suggest to the fair haired among us (Steveo) that sun lotion is a particularly good idea when the sun is shining.

In the afternoon, Tim, George, Ham and myself went looking for driftwood in an attempt to find the biggest piece. Feeling fairly confident when we got back to the campsite with a tree strapped to the roof, we were somewhat put out by the return of a van full of wooden pallets. Never mind, there’s always next year I suppose.

Evening arrived and the bonfire got going. Evidently the biggest bonfire the local chavs have ever seen, (if you missed them, Welsh chavs are portrayed pretty damned closely by GLC). It was an interesting night, George balancing on top of a pole amidst cries of ‘Burn the witch!’, pocket rockets setting the dunes afire (and nearly me thank you…you’re lucky it bounced off me and into the fire, I’d rather not end up like Chardonnay from ‘Footballer’s Wives’), fire hurdling (Roch you’re a natural stunt man)…

As if that wasn’t the limit to the fun someone, three guesses who decided it would be an ‘awesome’ idea to get the RPM for some sand duning….(thank you Steve for returning it, at whatever time in the morning that may have been.) Highlights of the duning were Aidan hammering it and kind of landing on his head (which didn’t look comfortable), and five relatively drunk SUCCers riding it down together.

Sunday was pretty much the same as Saturday and surfing, climbing or walking was on the agenda. It seems that walking is a lot more perilous than I thought when Mr. Vian returned with pieces of shell in his foot.

Surf was much better on Monday morning and some of us headed down to the beach to take advantage. For those of you who weren’t there, you missed Jack attempting to play in Simons boat and some amazing duo action (I don’t think it was designed to take the weight of both George and Jack, who spent more time in the water than the boat.)

After a surprisingly little amount of faff we bid farewell to Rhosilli by flinging a tub of butter across the campsite by a very rustic see saw.

Playzone 2006

Playzone social 2006

Playzone: A brief report for those who thought they were too mature (ha!) to go or who simply can’t remember it. (Sorry guys, you can’t use alcohol as an excuse this time!)

Did anyone else have as much ‘fun’ trying to find the place or was it just us?! Maybe we should give Portsmouth a lesson on the difference between a traffic light and a roundabout. Eventually we got there and found an interesting array of slides, obstacle courses, rope thingies, and just general bruise inducing apparatus- more than enough to keep a bunch of canoeists happy for an evening.

The evening started fairly calmly- testing out the slides, reckying the various obstacle courses and just generally having fun. However, as the evening wore on one or two individuals decided that simply sliding down a slide feet first, one at a time was just boring so instigated the start of the ‘how many people we can get down one slide at the same time in as many different positions as possible’ races. Ow.

There were several parts of the evening that stuck out for me- one of which was the roller thing where the aim (as far as I could see) was to stay on it as long as possible, whilst making everyone else fall off and get repeatedly beaten on the head by this contraption- surprisingly satisfying ?.

Another favourite was the bungee rope pain inducer. For those who weren’t there, basically this is a 5-layered maze of bungee cord in a cobweb style arrangement- the aim of which was to throw oneself through these without the rope getting caught in too many delicate places or tying yourself together- not as easy as it may sound, especially when George, Steveo, Tim R, Beth and several others decided it would be a good idea to bundle down it…with me and Laura T underneath! Many feet and arms and other body parts were damaged severely. Somehow my arm never quite made it down this thing at the same time as my body and ended up being crushed, jabbed and pulled by several large SUCCers and turned a most attractive shade of purple. Apologies to whoever’s foot got erm….re-arranged! I think a special thank you has to be given to those lovely Playzone ‘safety’ people who obviously didn’t care what we did and how much damage we inflicted on ourselves!

I’m sure by now you’re all getting the general idea of this social, but the only way to really appreciate it is to experience it first hand. Watch this space for details of the next outing to Playzone, and….wait for it…Playzone + Lasers (Lazerzone!).

Conclusion: A great place for a non-drinking, bruistastic social for SUCCers, but maybe not the best place to send your small child for his/her 5th birthday party (unless they wish to be rid of a few her limbs or turn purple).