Cambridge Underground 1992 p 28

Doing Porridge

Gillian Lindsey

Consider the paradox: to escape the oppression of Cambridge, we each spend 4 hours each Friday night confined in a minibus through A1 roadworks, and then spend the weekend hours of daylight sandwiched between two slabs of limestone 50m below the surface.

Free men vie for the opportunity to enter a world of darkness, and eagerly accumulate TU, time underground, time on the inside. Doing porridge. After returning from a long, overnight caving trip in the cold deep caves under the Loser plateau, a warming bowl of porridge is very welcome, and ready to eat in minutes.

This year we shall have 18 kilos of sponsorship oats to satisfy those cavers cravings. Yet porridge can be all things to all men. Just as each caver develops whims for particular caves - splashy winding streamways, classic Mendip rifts, famous OFD traverses or Yorkshire potholes - each has his own avowed preference on how to eat his porridge, or indeed if at all. No other subject has been the cause of so much heated debate in a caravan at 9 O'clock on a Sunday morning.

Some take it like a man, stodgy with salt. Others will accept nothing but Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup on a gruel-like texture. Have you tried brown sugar, cinnamon and cream?

Just as there are those who would rather jack, stay on the outside, so there is a hard core of 'Bernies Breakfast' cavers who steadfastly resist to 'do porridge'. I have a solution.

Let them do flapjack, all 102m, 36 trays of it.

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