The Noble Art of Varp Lighting – From a 1977 edition of the Isle of Wight Surf Club’s magazine ‘Wight Water’.
(Or the quickest known way of clearing a Crantock Pub of locals)
You may have been fortunate or unfortunate enough to have taken part in one of the IOWSC’s trips to the West Country. If so, you may have been introduced to the Islands’ secret and sophisticated social sport of Varp Lighting. Before alighting on the rules and customs of this rare pastime, it must be pointed out that the participants subject themselves to a rigorous training programme and diet.
Diet No. 1: (most important 1 – 2 days prior to the contest). Two or three boilermakers (pints), Raw onion and cheese rolls, followed by a full can of un-stoned prunes.
Diet No. 2: Three to seven pints of lager and lime, followed by three tuna fish sandwiches and a dish of stewed rhubarb. Substitutes may include Guinness or Mackeson, depending on the competitor’s taste.
The Contest and Rules:
The participants (3 – 30 in number) sit in a circle round a low table in any pub, space permitting. On the table must reverently be placed the ‘Container of the Sacred Flamo’; i,e. a box of Swan Vestas or a Ronson Varaflame lighter. Under no circumstances shall a blow-lamp or oxyacetylene welding gun be used as this can lead to melting nylon underwear or even internal combustion.
Once seated thus, when a participant feels in need of a varp, he will cry ‘varp out!’, and raise his knees to his chin. He who has been elected to command the Sacred Flame will then proceed to light the varp. If successful, the observers will witness a truly wondrous spectable of blue and red ignighted varp. Such a sight has been known to render a certain ‘Cosmic’ leash manufacturer incapable of speech and hysterically out of control for a full fifteen minutes.
WARNING: Cotton garments must be worn to minimise ‘varp burn’. Any contestant who follows through a varp will be disqualified from the contest and ejected from the pub. Any enquiries further to this noble pastime, I will be pleased to enlighten you.
Yours, and good Varping!