I seem to have missed the last few TSG Halloween weekends for some reason. I imagine it’s got something to do with all the drinking and dressing up and general merriment that seems to be involved. Not my cup of tea generally. It may also have been simply due to my being particularly busy at this time of year.

This year the event wasn’t actually hosted on the Halloween weekend, which meant I wasn’t busy at the time.

Damn.

Here goes then.

Myself, Nat and Sam actually waited until the Saturday to head out to the TSG though a significant contingent had gone up on the Friday night. When we met up we packed up the car and headed down to Morrissons to get the food for the weekend. A very brief series of deliberations led us to the conclusion that we didn’t really care all that much so we just grabbed the stuff for chilli to save time.

Of course, we needn’t have bothered saving time, because, despite insisting in block capitals in the e-mail that costumes were compulsory, Nat had neglected to bring anything to dress up as. As you would expect Sam and I spent the best part of the shopping trip attempting to force Nat into the purchase of the best costume we could find; which was in this instance a clown outfit for ages 13 – 14. We didn’t manage to get this past her but were able to compromise over a witches hat and some cheap make-up. Her reason for refusing the clown? Well Nat doesn’t much like them, I continue to be baffled by this; surely if you’re in a costume you don’t have to look at it.

There was also a brief but heated debate about the place of carrots in chili. An argument that was largely moot as they have no such place.

We departed for the TSG around half an hour later than we’d intended, which isn’t actually all that bad by SUSS standards and we made it there for about midday. Both SUSS and GUPA had all made their way underground by this point. As a consequence, we were able to drop the stuff and be on the way to the cave in under five minutes.

Just kidding. We sat down in the TSG, made some tea and chatted to James from GUPA for a good solid hour or so. Part of that was deciding what cave we actually wanted to go down as, despite spending several hours in eachother’s company at this point, we had not discussed the topic at all. Out of the available options we elected to pop down Gautries, thanks in large part due to the lack of SRT and combined with my need to recover from a sprained ankle, so we jumped in the car and were on our way.

As it turns out, despite its compact size, Gautries is a rather nice little trip. Once you wander over from the P8 carpark and make your way into the entrance you’ll find it pretty well flooded. Slightly further down there’s a stopped-up siphon which you yank open. This drains the entrance and send a substantial water pulse through the cave ahead. When you leave the cave, you replace the cap and the water builds up again for the next group to pass through. By this mechanism the muddy, sandy end of the cave is slowly being dug out more and more. It’s really pretty nifty.

Moving past the entrance, there’s a series of very brief but very wet crawls which are topped off by a miniature sump. It’s all of two inches long, but that doesn’t make it any more fun.

After that there’s some quick climbs which are kind of fun and then a longer stretch of passage through to the end of the cave. I gather there’s a dive beyond this, but I’m not utterly mental so I guess I’ll never know.
On the way back we engaged in a fairly substantial mudfight wherein Nat kindly offered herself for use as cover (read: briefly attempted pacifism but was hidden behind). The whole thing descended into a melee pretty quickly and no one got away with anything like a clean face. In fairness, the mud down there is great for this sort of this, plentiful and unpleasantly gloopy. Plus, you have to leave through the wet crawls so you effectively get clean automatically. We took a quick detour on the way out into another branch of the cave which consists almost entirely on Sandy digs and then made our way home.
Back at the TSG we sat around for a bit before starting on dinner as the other trips slowly filtered back. Once we’d all eaten the drinking began.
Pretty much the full complement of people was here at this point so we donned our costumes, some of us with a greater reluctance than others. But that reluctance wavered when certain individuals realised that they could put their make-up on other people, and chase/wrestle Jethro around the room in an attempt to smear him with greasiness.

The collection of costumes was fairly eclectic. There were Christmas decorations, a Vault Boy from Fallout, Rorsarch of Watchmen and a substantial contingent of Russians from various background to name but a few. We got some weird looks in the pub what with it not actually being Halloween. Fortunately, nobody minded as they were all playing rude scrabble. Well, they were cheating at rude scrabble.

I took a short time out when we got back but when I returned once more into the fray I found a bedraggled looking group of SUSS and GUPA members apple bobbing in the bear pit. Considering the state people were in we were all rather good at it.

Earlier in the night there had been a callout for DCRO so some members had been absent thus far attending that but just as we finished drenching ourselves the rest of us arrived to rapturous applause. Most notably Glen with a toaster.

Toaster swingball is pretty much what you’re imagining. It’s also fantastic. Many an hour could be wiled away discussing the varying merits of frying pans against spades, but when all the chips are down its basically irrelevant. The toaster isn’t going to smash itself. I gather that this model was a bit flimsier than last years but I suspect that might have a lot to do with the pent up anger of one particular GUPA fresher who was truly, brutally violent. We were seriously concerned that they’d need to be pacified if the bloodlust got much higher. Also, Nat hit American Mike with a frying pan. She’s assured us that this was an accident but I have my doubts. I think the lesson to be learned here though is that the only way to stop a bad guy with a pan is more good guys with pans. I myself am applying for a permit to carry a concealed saucepan in public places.

Some bottles got smashed, buts that’s hardly newsworthy at the TSG these days. We did clean up I promise.

More general merriment followed but I’m afraid I retired before the incidents involving the microwave and tins of paint. Which may have been a good decision all things considered.

The next (slightly rough) morning, I had to go home but I gather that a decent group photo for the naked calendar was taken down Cumberland and Wapping. Kudos to the freshers willing to go on that, apologies for not getting you on an actual trip, you did see the state of people though, we’re just not as young on the inside anymore.

Another solid weekend. I think I’m done with fun again for a bit though.

Worth noting too that we watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople at film night. Possibly the most skux film ever created.