When, on Friday, Rostam calls
You know your day is filled with crawls.
Not of drunkard, beast or babes,
The kind of crawl you find in caves.
I pack my gear and sit in wait,
He texts me: “Right, we’ll do P8.”
Some ropes are stuffed into a sack,
I ask what time we will be back.
The response I get is non-committal,
My caving speed he won’t belittle.
The trip was meant for training Nat
And helping Rostam lose some fat;
The weight one gains during revision
Is oft regarded with derision.

In the car and off we set,
as fast as Rostam’s car can get.
Sat in front: Rostam and Jack,
With Nat and Christine in the back.
Burning rubber, spraying gas,
Barely making it up Winnats Pass.
Beside the farmyard we doth park
Our spirits can’t sink like the Bismarck.
We change our clothes and don our kit
And Rostam nips off for a shit.
He holds it in when there’s no cover,
Missed this chance; there’ll be another.

Christine and I now cross the field
We plan to rig with rope I wield.
No time to wait for dear old Nat,
She’s left some kit, we can’t have that!
The valley drops into a bowl
And finally we reach the hole.
The river’s wet with entrance dripping,
Watch your feet; you’ll end up slipping.
Grace and speed we chase the stream
(This cave’s our favourite so we’re keen).
We make our way to Idiot’s Leap,
The water’s wet, the climb is steep.

I splish and splash down to the pitch,
Another club’s rigged it, but which?
I still tie the ropes into the wall,
Then abseil down the waterfall.
I call back up to Christine Tait
And hear “I’m coming!” So I wait.
She slides with ease right down the rope,
We think of Rostam and we hope
That he has finally had his shite
For the first part of the cave is tight.

Discarding thoughts of Rostam’s anus
For thoughts alone could surely pain us.
Into the cave the pair delve deep,
The walls doth wind, the roof doth weep.
I rig and abseil pitch the second,
The water’s loud and so I beckoned
Up to Christine and down she came,
I removed my harness, she did the same.
No more ropes and no traverses,
No free-climbs, so nothing worse is
Left for us before the bottom.
Wait for the others? Nah just sod ’em.

Downstream sump and then the top,
We sit and chat then off we pop
To the bottom pitch, we soon get back,
We wait a while and then see Nat.
I ask where she’s been all this time.
(I can’t think of a decent rhyme)
She motions that we must come back,
I pull the rope and take the slack.
Christine’s the first one to ascend
To help her climb I hold the end.

I prusik up and then de-rig,
The stream is stinking like a pig
A powerful stench now fills my nose
I wonder what has decomposed
From above, Rostam calls
He yells; “You must climb up the walls!
“The water’s bad! It’s dirty! Foul!
“I had extrusions of the bowel!”
I try, and try, the walls are steep,
I resign myself to plunge the deep.
I crawl through water, hand and knee
My nostrils filled with poo and wee.
The smell crescendos, then diminishes
By the grace of God it finally finishes,
Now Christine must go through Hell.
Alas, poor Rostam; he’s not well…

I looked at him, all gaunt and pale,
Had he eaten bread or drunken ale?*
Regardless of what was to blame,
To get out quickly was our aim.
Of the pain he was in I had no doubt,
And not to mention he’s got gout;
If he should deign to eat a nut,
He’ll get a swelling in his foot.
And if he wants to eat red meat,
He’ll spend the next day with sore feet.
Now no more talk of Rostam’s toes,
As up the rope the duo goes.

We’ve been to Hell and back again,
He says “Let’s leave”, I say “Amen”.
I’m sure there’s naught in Beelzebub’s Lair,
That’s worse than what we faced back there.
Torture? Death? They’ve both got nowt
On Rostam’s gut and Rostam’s gout.
So soon we make it to the surface
The trip was done, but for what purpose?

Sure Nat had rigged a pitch or two,
And Rostam finally had a poo,
And Christine always likes P8,
And you could say Rostam ‘lost some weight’.
I guess when all is said and done,
As we lay there in the sun,
In a convoluted way the trip was fine.
How very, VERY Byzantine.
The trip taught me a thing or two:
Before caving go to the loo,
And if a trip is to be fun
NEVER do a Middleton.**

Trip date: 17-4-15

* – Rostam has an intolerance to gluten. Not like a racial intolerance, some of his closest friends are cereal crops. However I’m sure his bowel would like a word with gluten.

** – Rob Middleton is a SUSS Caver who shit his wetsuit, we wish him well.