Although I rang at Inverness and Liverpool (Pier Head), the serious ringing didn’t start until I hit Northallerton. There and from then on, ringers have had me to stay in their homes, planned some very different ringing experiences, travelled to meet me, quite some distance sometimes, and have been all-round unfailingly kind and concerned that I should be enjoying myself.
As well as putting faces to names I’ve come to know via email, I also caught up with Lynell and Richard from Melbourne. If only there were more time to spend with people at each place ………
The Routemaster outing has been mentioned – although not my first home cooked meal for weeks. It was so good to sit down to meat and salad in a family home.
There have been practices with high-powered bands and local bands that have been much more like home.
Clenchwarton, as well as ringing at three local towers, gave me my first experience on a mini-ring. I don’t like handbells (to ring, I mean – they sound great) but I think I could get hooked on mini-ringing if I had the chance.
There was the whole weekend based around Witham on the Hill with about 10 towers, one of PPB’s famous ringers’ teas (more splendid home baked fare), a pub lunch (no chips!) topped off by my first quarter peal in England – Grandsire Doubles conducted by the one and only Rupert Bear and rung in a tower where the bells echoed in a magical way. As well as organising the towers and local ringers, Pamela also made sure I was able to put faces to many more email names. Surprise, surprise! Not all matched my mental pictures!! What can you expect when such images are conjured out of the ether?!
Then there was Melbourne – the real one, I was told. Can that be right?? I didn’t recognise it ….. and the beautiful Norman church with those wonderfully big pillars looked far too old for the place I call home 🙂 The very long draught had three levels of rope guides – a real work of art, if the technical feat can be thus described. Before heading off again Tony gave me a walking tour of his village (complete with tower grab!) not far from the English Melbourne – 60 houses, 160 residents …. and beautiful!
The last riging stop before London was Cheltenham. The steam train has been mentioned. But not the friendly ringers and the pub afterwards – the same the trip over. Same old doesn’t quite cover it when the experience is so good! And there was some famous MBD crumble too 🙂
En route to Cheltenham was a non-ringing visit to Farmer Mo and her family. It was end of the school day so after collecting her children from school I was given a tour of her church and tower. It’s obviously an active community who take pride in and great care of their surroundings. Although the stairs to the tower were different – a modern design for the lower half and scarily worn wooden treads for the upper half!