Report from Winchester District Practice at Winchester Cathedral

My thanks to the organisers of the Winchester District practice at Winchester Cathedral this last Wednesday 30th August.
There were a few of us who had never been up to the ringing chamber before. The journey to it was up and up the turret steps at the west end of the nave and then out on to the roof for a few paces, pausing to take in an unusual elevated view of the City. Then in through a door and back into the roof space above the nave, along the wooden pathway that leads to the dim lights of the ringing chamber, grabbing the handrails where the planking undulated and flexed under our feet. Once into the light, the ringing chamber is enormous! Someone must have compared it to something accurately. All I can think of is that it’s the size a squash court. Or a badminton court. Not swimming pool size though. Anyway. Big.
The new and most obviously anxious were gathered up by Edmund and rounds were rung, people swapped over and soon all us interlopers could say that they had rung at Winchester Cathedral. High five and selfie time!

More experienced ringers including some from the home band, Bishopstoke and also Hursley treated us and the City at large to some fine ringing, perhaps in part as an apology for the prior rough rounds that I had a hand in creating.

As for my own ringing, well it took many, many minutes to work out that time sort of stands still when ringing more than the six. I’m normally part of at Wonston Church. And once I got settled into stopping the bell on both strokes, it felt a bit better. But still, 6 or 7 strokes a minute leaves plenty of time for errors and not a lot of time to learn to correct them!

Going to new towers has been an essential part of my progress in learning the art of ringing. New churches, new turret steps, new people to introduce yourself (and then later apologise!) to. Wednesday’s District Practice at Winchester Cathedral couldn’t have been easier, calmer or more satisfying. A good way to start the twelfth month of my ringing career!

Gary Marsh

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