A Conversation for Talking Point: Stuck in a Hole?

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Post 1


First, in the United States a pothole is a small hole in the road. Typically they are small enough that you can drive right over them. So, if I got caught in a pothole I would think of myself as something of an imbecile. (Had to get that out of the way.)

Now, not having ever smoked marijuana, I have to wonder if you can get stuck in a 'pot'hole - as in you just can't give it up or you feel like your stuck when you smoke pot. Other than one entry about smoking pot in the 'pothole', no one seemed to think of this variant of getting stuck in a pothole.

Lastly, most entries discarded the 'pot' part and talked about getting stuck in a 'hole'. If we are opening this up to getting stuck in 'holes', meaning holes of any sort, I can think of some types of holes that I wouldn't mind getting stuck in and to hell with trying to get me out.

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Post 2

Researcher 225955

Well, you're right, a pot hole is usually drive-over-able, at least here in the U.S. However, I think they are more inclined to be talking about man-holes, unless I am terribly mistaken.

Oh, and FYI, I would definitely have to have the following things.

Cell phone
sleeping bag/pillow and blankets
and one big assed bag of chocolates!

P.S. A laptop would not go amiss.

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Post 3

AEndr, The Mad Hatter

Hmm and I thought this might just say "zootlewurdle" (I am right about the scene aren't I?).

A pothole in the road in the UK is usually small, but a pothole can also refer to caves people go climbing in and anything in between. It's basically a hole in the ground, of any size, but the aperture/entrance is usually not bigger than something a car can get through.

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Post 4


Well you learn something new everyday. I mean, it took me about 30 pages in a Douglas Adams novel to realize that 'boot' in reference to a car is what we call a 'trunk' in the U.S. (I couldn't figure out how a character hid in a soccer cleat with a shotgun for the life of me!)

So, what is the difference between a 'pothole' (British usage) and a 'cave'? Seems like they are awfully similar.

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Post 5

stokie_helen - The Moonlit Knight and Keeper of that Thing Your Aunt Gave You That You Don't Know What It Is

This is a bit complicated, but I'll try and explain (not being a potholer I may get some of the details wrong, but here we go...)
A cave usually is in a cliff face or rock wall, has its entrance horizontal, ie you can walk into it from outside, maybe with a little clambering. A pothole is usually a hole in the ground, ie it's a vertical entrance so you need ropes to get into it. Potholes can lead to underground caves, and I guess you could find a pothole in a cave maybe? Anyway, in the UK, a pothole is also an annoying hole in the road, but if you "go potholing" it doesn't mean you go play in the traffic, just lower yourself down dark wet rocky pits in Yorkshire. Hope this makes this a little clearer...

xHx smiley - rainbow

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Post 6

stokie_helen - The Moonlit Knight and Keeper of that Thing Your Aunt Gave You That You Don't Know What It Is

Oh yes, the whole point of this thread is what would I want to have in my pothole with me. Well, I'd probably have been out walking when I fell down it, so I'd have (hopefully)
Trangia stove & meths
Water, tea bags & powdered milk (I would HAVE to have tea to get me through this one.)
Warm clothes
Maps (to read when desperate)
Mobile Phone (probably wouldn't work though, it never does when I need it)

If this was a nice interesting pothole with good geological features and stalactites and stuff it'd probably be quite educational, so I'd want a good geology/mineralogy book. If it was a boring smelly damp hole, then a good novel. Probably Frank Herbert's Dune series. All of them would keep me going for about a week.
More food - choc chip cookies, creamy pasta, more smiley - tea and possibly a nice bottle of single malt.
Cigarettes - can't believe no-one else seems to have suggested this (other than dodgy ones...might be useful but I always feel poorly afterwards...) I'll stick to my fave tobacco, plenty of green rizlas and slimline filter tips.
Sketchbook, pencils, writing paper etc.
CD player & power supply, with lots of CDs. Pink Floyd would be good. Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Crowded House etc.
A separate cave/pothole with toilet facilities...

A nice, tall, dark, hairy, intelligent man with a sense of humour...

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Post 7

Barneys Bucksaws

In Winnipeg you can fall into a road pothole. This city has had full-size vans fall through the street. Honest, it was on the news! A pothole as big as a small house.

Falling into the type you're describing, what I'd want is materials to build a fire: twigs, bigger wood, paper to get it going. I always have lots of tissues - sinus trouble, and I smoke so I always have a lighter. I'd want cigarettes - ordinary ones with filters, a sleeping bag or warm blanket, a warm sweatshirt, chocolate, peppermints, tea, sugar and a billy-can, and a source of drinkable water. A novel would be a nice thing to have, or a sketch pad. Failing that, my imagination can keep me amused for hours. I'd also need someone up-top to keep telling me not to panic - I'm a bit claustrophobic.

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Post 8


Speaking as a relative expert, I'd say Stokie Helen got it pretty right on the cave/pothole question.

In UK caving terminology, a cave is essentially any underground cavity large enough to get a human inside, whereas the archetypal pothole is a surface shaft with often (but not always) some cave passage leading off at the bottom.
However, 'pothole' is used more generally as a common term for a cave with a significant degree of vertical development, especially one with numerous or large vertical drops (pitches), even if the first pitch is some way from the surface.
For example, in Penyghent Pot in Yorkshire, you have to crawl 300m in water to get to the first (short) pitch, but since there are many other pitches after that point, and the cave is relatively deep, it's definitely not wrong to call it a pothole, since potholing techniques are needed to get to the end.

Back on topic, from some experience of underground living, the first things I'd like would be a good synthetic sleeping bag, a few foam sleeping mats (or a couple of Thermarests or an air matress), and possibly something to keep drips and draughts off (like a Goretex bivi bag, or maybe a self-supporting tent flysheet + poles)

For cooking, a nice reliable alcohol stove like a Trangia would be fine, with enough simple food to keep me going as long as required.
Alcohol would be nice as well - maybe a bottle of good Vodka. A decent headtorch and a few books would be enough to keep me occupied when I was awake, and my MP3/CD walkman could be pleasant, but I'm sure I could spend at least half of the time asleep.

I'm not sure I'd want anyone at the top to talk to. As long as I knew something was happening on the rescue front, I wasn't injured and I wasn't going to starve I don't think I'd need much human contact.

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Post 9


If it was a nice dryish pot-hole I think I would curl up and sleep like a dormouse smiley - mouse
and hope to dream of pleasant encounters smiley - winkeye

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Post 10


Would I be in the pothole in the Fog...alone...at Night...With an Owl!!!!!

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Post 11

Zarquon's Singing Fish!

I'd go for all the comfort options like blankets/sleeping bag and some food and water and my chap to talk to. How much would depend on how long I was going to be there for. If it's going to be a long time, I might like the comfort of a loo on a rope!

smiley - fishsmiley - musicalnote

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Post 12

Fished Out

I'd need some morphine, or at least a good few shots of vodka, stuck down a hole pothole. I'd be terrified. Stuck down a road pothole I'd want a couple of traffic cones to position around me so no one tried to drive over me. Though I probably wouldn't fall down a road pothole, not with the way the council sends so many teams of workmen out to spraypaint around them in bright colours. When I was younger and more innocent I thought this was a precursor to filling in said potholes. However it seems to be more of an end than a means.

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Post 13


and a slitherin' thing!

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Post 14

Researcher 226185

This all sounds very interesting to a townie. Actually I'm an unusually lucky person, and would undoubtedly find (who knows how these things happen)the Acme underground survival kit- for details check out www.fullundergroundsurvivalkits.ac.uk- with,wonder of wonders, a brew up of earl grey tea steaming on a convenient rock ledge. What a tale to tell the others on h2g2 after they rescue me. Not too soon, guys!

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Post 15


Right. So I think I have it clear what a British 'pothole' is now. But has anyone added this explanation to 'The Guide'? I mean, come now, isn't this just begging for an addition?

Note: If you do decide to submit a treatise on the difference between British and American potholes, I want a footnote that thanks me for pointing out the difference smiley - smiley !

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Post 16


I did start out writing my 'Early Cave Development' article by defining the pothole/cave difference, but as the article grew longer I removed the definition.
I suppose when I write the follow-up article which will go into more details on vertical development (or maybe another one on 'British Caving Regions'), I could include something along the above lines.

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