OUCC Proceedings 9 (1979)

The Stinkie Dilemma

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by Joy N Teffort

A Weegee's guide to the peculiarities of refilling one's carbide lamp. (From an original idea inspired by Skunk.)

Some time, you, the ever safe caver, are going to find that your stinkie goes out through lack of water. So what do you do? Here are some tips suggested by 1979 Oxford University Carbide Club Expedition.

The Fowler method: Find a pool of water (don't worry if it's brown and frothy, imagine that it's Theakston's). Take a mouthful and, by compressing your cheeks (no, not those you fool!), squirt the water into the container.

Kev, take 1: Find the muddiest pool you can. Take a mouthful, swallow, choke......

Kev, take 2: Take your glove off. The one with the hole in the finger, fill it up from a suitable pool and milk it, cow-like, into your stinkie.

Of course, the pools won't necessarily be the right depth. The deep pool is a common trap for the unwary:

Pete's method 1: Immerse stinkie 'til container is full. The flint is wet; the jet is waterlogged. Your stinkie doesn't work. Have a fag, no, you can't light it......

Kev, take 3: Drop stinkie into deep pool. Immerse your warm, dry body and feel around with your feet. This may take some time....Raise stinkie from the depths and see if it is full of water. If not, repeat the process. If full, you probably have hypothermia, so will drop the stinkie into...
(Potential rescuers should note at this stage that the third verse on 'On Ilkley Moor Bar T'at' is not the ideal choice for cheering up your victim, is it John?)

Waterfalls, especially in the guise of wet pitches, usually prove fateful for the faithful flame and are of little use for filling carbides. Indeed, you will rarely spend long in them, the exception being on photographic trips. Your penance as model is to be drenched so as to demonstrate that the photographer's flash gun is fast enough to freeze your violent shivering motion, and incidentally, that of the water. But I digress...

Small trickles of water are ideal for your purpose, but avoid drips unless you like the challenge, a tired, wet arm or a practical demonstration of capture cross-sections.

Of course, you might get stuck in a totally dry part of the cave. Several methods can be adopted here:

Pete's method 2: Remove your welly and pour putrescent liquid into stinkie, ignoring colleagues' representations until the vile smell asphyxiates them. Complain that your carbide smells odd and pass out...

Failing this, other body fluids can be utilised.....

The Laverty method: Simplicity itself. Spit in the carbide reservoir. (Join ULSA to learn more about this.)

The Skunk method: Think of water. Allow yourself to be influenced. You do wish to urinate, don't you? So, extract the tool for directing a jet of water into a small orifice and pee in it. (Some wetsuits are better designed or evolved towards this function than others; so are about half the world's population.)

All the foregoing assume that you can take the lamp to pieces or open the water tank's cap. This may be very difficult if you're cold. Simon perfected a way to alleviate this problem:

The Loris Technique: OK, so no-one in OUCC is quite sure where lorises come from (Africa? Asia? South America?), but you can still take a tip from them and pee on your ears. This won't help. However, when you realise that your ears are now warm, as well as supple, you can utilise the high intelligence which distinguishes you from your furry, nocturnal distant relation and take one small step for mankind, a giant leap for Simon, and warm your hands in the same way!

And so we come to the final solution:

The Singleton No-nonsense, Never Fail Technique: Open carbide container. Pour in water. Strike flint above container.