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).

Three Legged Pub Crawl 2006

Possibly the most SHARKTASTIC social I have ever been on, and also the one prompting the most e-mails to the list I have received in one day. A good night was had by all (so it would seem). Argh, I’ve just been looking back through my old e-mails, anyone else remember the rubber gimp suit guy……that was quite bizarre!

Here is a report for you from Laurent:

What a night. We met in the Mitre in Portswood for the first drink and to sort out pairs. All previous planning went out the window at this point and people got taped to whoever they were standing near. As ever I began the evening in my usual fashion by speaking before thinking “This isn’t right I’m meant to be tied to a lightweight”…sorry Tinsel. From the Mitre we staggered and stumbled along Portswood high street to the Terminal where more alcohol was purchased and rapidly consumed (Mr Forbes you still owe me a pint). Then twas on to the safety and wonder of the hobbit, where we were told to remove our tape before we could go downstairs….some obeyed the 3 wise men others did not. By this point there had been a small amount of low key sharking by various club members and also all the lovely Freshers who came along, as the beer and cocktails flowed the sharking incidences became more frequent and more apparent. It was up to Dr Nick to bring things back to order with a bit of group song. The Grand old duke of York was the song in question. 1st verse all the words, 2nd verse no ups, 3rd no downs, 4th no ups or downs. It’s amazing how difficult it can be to miss words out from a song.

After the hobbit came the finale for the evening…that’s right the dungeon. This is where the Sharking really kicked off. I’m not sure how many people got it together that night but I’m sure Laura’s Sharking table will sum it up very well. I’ll not mention any names but if anyone wants details I’m sure I can remember a few bits and pieces. We were also treated to some amazing dancing by Bethalina and Tripper. Unfortunately there was a slight downpour and I think everyone got absolutely soaked on their respective walks home. For those of you who were on the mailing list by then you’ll remember the Sharktastic emails which got George so amazingly worked up. George has now banned the word Sharktastic so any emails containing it will not get delivered.

More dungeon socials to come next term 🙂 Love from your ever tired social secretary


Never has so much sharking ‘success’ been seen before! And the aftermath?….