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Winchester QDM and Striking competition – Sat 11th May at Twyford

Dear All,
Further to the prior-notice advice of the next Winchester District Quarterly Meeting on 11th May, it will NOT be at Sparsholt, but instead will be at Twyford.
We are combining our meeting with Twyford’s Open Day in support of their Bell Restoration Fund, which is looking for £20,000.
So the format of the day is that the Charmbrough Ring is going to be set up – from around Midday onwards – in the grounds of the Archdeaconry, which is adjacent the church. Then the Twyford Ringers will be serving Ploughman’s lunches, for which they are asking for a donation, pretty much from midday onwards, certainly 12.30 onwards. Then the Quarterly Meeting will start with the draw for the Striking Competition at 2.30, the competition will proceed until it is finished, but up to 4.30, when the usual ringers’ tea will be put on, and the business meeting will take place from 5.30 onwards.
What would be really, REALLY helpful is if you would let Angela Forder-Stent know whether you will be taking lunch and/or tea, and whether, if you are having lunch, you will get by at tea-time with “just” a cup of tea or coffee and a spot of cake, or will be wanting a “full” tea.
Please do not neglect to contact Angela on 01962 712443, or email using this link, ideally by Weds. 8th May.
The afternoon should provide the people of Twyford with some examples of really good ringing, as well as the opportunity to learn why ringing is THE thing to do.
Best wishes
Bruce
District Secretary
Twyford Photograph by Rosemary Oakeshott

Roger Barber presents a cup in memory of his Mum, Doris

Whilst sitting in a pub after ringing one evening Roger was reminiscing about his Mum, Doris, telling the story of when she accompanied him to Hawkley Church for his first quarter peal, inside to Grandsire Triples. Doris wanted to say hello to Ernest Salmons, a prolific ringer at the time, who was to be the conductor. Ernie asked Doris what she was ringing these days, and Doris replied that she could just about manage to ring the treble to a course of Grandsire Triples. When one of the band failed to arrive and Ernie said to her, “Come on girl you will have to ring the treble so that Roger can have a go at his quarter peal.” The look on his Mum’s face was one that Roger will never forget but, nervously, she agreed to give it a go. Completing the quarter peal was a real achievement for her, even to the extent of being a turning point in her ringing. That was in 1977.

Over the years Doris went on to ring 3 peals (her first at the age of 61) and to be part of 3 winning teams of the A&P striking competition something that, back in 1977, she could barely dream of.

Fast forward to the A&P practice and Spring Meeting held on April 13th at Selborne.

Whilst making out that what he had in his box was actually a giant Easter egg, Roger told the assembled ringers the story about his Mum and that, even though her achievements were made in small steps, they all added up and should never be forgotten about. He then produced a large cup from the box saying “With all that in mind I am going to donate this cup in memory of my Mum, so that other ringer’s achievements can be recognised.”

 The inscription reads :-

The Doris J Barber

Memorial Cup

for achievement in

Church Bell Ringing

Roger then explained how it would be awarded each year and that it didn’t have to be an individual award but could also be a team effort or for longevity in ringing, whatever we want it to be. He suggested that towers might like to nominate someone. He also said that ringers would only be able to win it once, so that a new name gets added each year and that, in future, the district officers would have the task of deciding who would be the winner.

The 2018 winner had already been chosen by Roger who described someone he had met at a district practice in Liss early in the year, when they were only confident in ringing plain hunt on 5.  This ringer attends regular monthly practices in order to improve his ringing and has progressed through plain hunt on 7 to plain courses of bob doubles inside, ringing his first QP on the way.

When Gordon Strachan of Blackmoor heard his name announced as the winner, he was rather surprised and just a little emotional, but it’s exactly this type of effort that Roger wants to recognise and reward, and he is hopeful that his Mum’s cup will go a long way towards that.

cup

C&S Holy Week 2019

Here are some details of ringing or cancellations that people have definitely confirmed with me.  These have also been adjusted on the calendar.  It is advised to check too before you travel.

Sacred Heart Cancelled on 15.04.19 and 22.04.19

Sacred Heart Ringing out the Easter Vigil Mass

St. Peter’s, Bournemouth Cancelled on 18.04.19

Ringwood Cancelled 17.04.19

Sopley WILL be ringing 16.04.19

Milford WILL be ringing 16.04.19

This post will be updated.

 

Beyond Bob Doubles at Stockbridge – Wednesday 24th April at 19:30

Dear All,

The next Beyond Bob Doubles will be at Stockbridge on 24th of April from 19:30. Anything goes (except Bob Doubles) so if you have any requests let me know on the night. To give those who haven’t been before an idea of what it is about, methods we have been ringing recently include Grandsire, St Simon’s and Stedman doubles, Plain Bob, Little Bob, Kent and Cambridge minor, I also want to do Double Oxford, and Cambridge and Plain Bob spliced if we have the people. Please pass the word around, everyone is welcome from the District and beyond.

Edmund.

C&S Quarter Peal Club Invitation for members.

Dear Quarter Peal Ringers,

Some time ago in a news letter and at the ADM at the Priory, there was mention of the revived Christchurch & Southampton Quarter Peal Club, led by Julie Hodkin and Polly Osborne.

The Quarter Peal Club, based at Minstead and Brockenhurst runs once a month on a Friday at 6:00pm, as this seems best for members in general.

If you would like to become a member of the group, please drop me an email, so we can add you to the email list for future quarter peals.

We are still short of ringers and are seeking new members.

All best wishes,

Peter

Contact Peter Murdock-Saint

Regular Monthly District Practices F.Y.I.

Dear District,

Here is a reminder of the regular monthly district practices.  If your tower is running a monthly practice, and would like to be included on the list, and calendar online/printed events calendar, please let us know.

Please do support your local monthly district practices:

Every 1st Monday:

Sacred Heart Bournemouth 6:00pm-7:30pm Method Monday Contact Kim Matthews (focus on a method/touches/calling/splicing chosen by popular consensus) Join the email list to find out next times method.

Every 1st Wednesday: 

Sopley 7:30pm-9:00pm Beyond Bob Doubles  Contact Tim Kettle taking doubles methods to the next level with variants and splicing. Links between methods such as Winchendon and various St.s’ group of methods!

Ringwood 7:45pm-9:15pm Suprise Major Contact Elizabeth Davey

Every 2nd Tuesday:

St. John’s Bournemouth 8 Bell Practice 7:30pm-9:00pm Contact Penelope Samuel.  Anything 8 bells goes on here, come and practice your triples methods, call changes and rounds on 8 bells.

Every 2nd Wednesday:

Lymington 7:30pm-9:00pm Doubles & Minor Practice Contact Colin Butler.  Plain courses and touches of doubles and minor methods. Come and practice your calling too.

Every Thursday

St. Peter’s Bournemouth Bell Handling Night 7:30pm-9:00pm Contact Romy Coldman. Any aspects of bell handling on this heavy 8, covered by a unique array of excercises, to really get into the nitty-gritty of the nitty-gritty! Methods are not covered at this practice night.

It is advisable to inform the practice organiser if you plan to attend events, should the rare chance of a last minute cancellation happen, a message can be sent to you directly.

Doubles Methods Night at Lymington 10.04.19 at 7:30pm

Hone your doubles methods skills at this supportive practice led by the district ringing masters.

Excellent opportunities to test out touches of methods you are working on.  There are also six bells (unringable) in the pub next door!!!

If anything, go to see the ringing chamber light fitting!

Contact Colin Butler

NB. Other monthly district practices in April:

Monday 1st April: Method Monday at Bournemouth Sacred Heart 6:00pm

Wednesday 3rd April: Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley 7:30pm & Surprise Major at Ringwood 7:30pm

Tuesday 9th April: 8 bell methods practice at Bournemouth St. John’s at 7:30pm

Wednesday 10th April: Doubles methods practice at Lymington at 7:30pm.

There is also the guild education day for Grandsire Doubles and Triples at Goodworth Clatford on Saturday 6th April, and Youth Team Ringing Practice at Brockenhurst at 3:00pm on Sunday 7th April.

Don’t forget right at the end of the month on Saturday 27th April we are at St. Peter’s for our monthly district practice starting at 6:00pm.  More details about this nearer the time.

8 Bell Methods Practice Night at Bournemouth St. John’s 09.04.19 at 7:30pm

Last month we rang Single Oxford Triples, and in previous evenings Plain Bob Triples, Grandsire Triples, Plain Hunt.

This is not an elite practice night.  All are welcome.

Contact Penelope Samuel

NB. Other monthly district practices in April:

Monday 1st April: Method Monday at Bournemouth Sacred Heart 6:00pm

Wednesday 3rd April: Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley 7:30pm & Surprise Major at Ringwood 7:30pm

Tuesday 9th April: 8 bell methods practice at Bournemouth St. John’s at 7:30pm

Wednesday 10th April: Doubles methods practice at Lymington at 7:30pm.

There is also the guild education day for Grandsire Doubles and Triples at Goodworth Clatford on Saturday 6th April, and Youth Team Ringing Practice at Brockenhurst at 3:00pm on Sunday 7th April.

Don’t forget right at the end of the month on Saturday 27th April we are at St. Peter’s for our monthly district practice starting at 6:00pm.  More details about this nearer the time.

Surprise Major Practice Night at Ringwood 03.04.19 at 7:30pm

Don’t forget that Ringwood holds the 8 bell surprise major practice on the first Wednesday of the month.

I have heard several member talking about increasing their 8 bell practice.  Here is a chance certainly for you!

Ringwood Wednesday 3rd April at 7:30pm

Contact Ringwood

NB. Other monthly district practices in April:

Monday 1st April: Method Monday at Bournemouth Sacred Heart 6:00pm

Wednesday 3rd April: Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley 7:30pm & Surprise Major at Ringwood 7:30pm

Tuesday 9th April: 8 bell methods practice at Bournemouth St. John’s at 7:30pm

Wednesday 10th April: Doubles methods practice at Lymington at 7:30pm.

There is also the guild education day for Grandsire Doubles and Triples at Goodworth Clatford on Saturday 6th April, and Youth Team Ringing Practice at Brockenhurst at 3:00pm on Sunday 7th April.

Don’t forget right at the end of the month on Saturday 27th April we are at St. Peter’s for our monthly district practice starting at 6:00pm.  More details about this nearer the time.

Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley 03.04.19 at 7:30pm

Just a reminder that we are having a practice at Sopley on Wednesday 3rd April, and as it’s a month with a method we’ll start with a revisit to April Day.
Requests include Stedman touches (and plain courses if required), plain courses and touches (including singles) of Bob Minor and a look at Little Bob Minor.  The aim is to ring Plain Bob and Little Bob spliced!
If anyone would like to have a go at calling something, please let me know.
Looks like a full evening.
Looking forward to seeing you there,

 

NB. Other monthly district practices in April:

Monday 1st April: Method Monday at Bournemouth Sacred Heart 6:00pm

Wednesday 3rd April: Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley 7:30pm & Surprise Major at Ringwood 7:30pm

Tuesday 9th April: 8 bell methods practice at Bournemouth St. John’s at 7:30pm

Wednesday 10th April: Doubles methods practice at Lymington at 7:30pm.

There is also the guild education day for Grandsire Doubles and Triples at Goodworth Clatford on Saturday 6th April, and Youth Team Ringing Practice at Brockenhurst at 3:00pm on Sunday 7th April.

Don’t forget right at the end of the month on Saturday 27th April we are at St. Peter’s for our monthly district practice starting at 6:00pm.  More details about this nearer the time.

Method Monday at Bournemouth Sacred Heart 01.04.19 at 6:00pm.

April’s practice will see us ringing spliced touches of St. Simon’s and St. Martin’s Bob Doubles. Also, touches of St. Clements Minor, and of course April Day.

Please join us; we can accommodate requests too.

Please do support the monthly district practices

Contact Kim Matthews  

NB. Other monthly district practices in April:

Monday 1st April: Method Monday at Bournemouth Sacred Heart 6:00pm

Wednesday 3rd April: Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley 7:30pm & Surprise Major at Ringwood 7:30pm

Tuesday 9th April: 8 bell methods practice at Bournemouth St. John’s at 7:30pm

Wednesday 10th April: Doubles methods practice at Lymington at 7:30pm.

There is also the guild education day for Grandsire Doubles and Triples at Goodworth Clatford on Saturday 6th April, and Youth Team Ringing Practice at Brockenhurst at 3:00pm on Sunday 7th April.

Don’t forget right at the end of the month on Saturday 27th April we are at St. Peter’s for our monthly district practice starting at 6:00pm.  More details about this nearer the time.

 

Winchester District Practice – Thursday 21st March – Tichborne

Dear All,
Please find attached Word and PDF versions of the poster for our next District Practice, which is at Tichborne, next Thursday, 21st March.
This is a practice with a bit of a difference, as there are no local ringers (apart from when the Cheriton ringers come over as needed), so this is an opportunity to (1) try somewhere new (2) try something new (depending what we feel like doing).
The Tichborne bells have (relatively) recently undergone some restoration, so they go better than they did. The church is of great interest for ecclesiology buffs, as it incorporates a Catholic chapel – one of only three in England to survive from before the Reformation. Also handy is the Tichborne Arms, a free house, so with Pots and Flack Manor (to name but two) on tap.
Craig, great opportunity for you! Can you put the word round to any of your list (eg Janet?) who might feel like coming along?
Best wishes to all,

Reminder: Bournemouth St. John’s, Surrey Road 8 Bell Practice Tuesday 12th March 2019

It is Lent and the St. John’s ringers would welcome a loan of some other ringers on Tuesday 12th March for our monthly 8 bell practice.

We will be concentrating on Oxford Bob Triples but will be ringing other triples methods, plain hunt & called changes to suit all abilities.

Hope to see you.

Penelope Samuel

NB Photography by Jack R. Pease

Beyond Bob Doubles at Sopley – Wed 3rd April – 7.30-9pm

Dear Beyond Bob Doublers!
Just a reminder that at the February practice it was decided that there would not be a practice in March due to Sopley church holding an Ash Wednesday service on 6 March.
We all look forward to Wednesday 3 April 7:30pm, when touches (and plain courses if required) of Bob Minor will be the main method, April Day, and if enough are ready, Little Bob Minor could be rung.
As usual any requests are welcome.
Hope to see you then,
Tim Kettle

Choral Evensong at Ringwood in memory of David Wilson 24.03.2019

Dear friends,

A full choral evensong, (conducted by John Turpin), in memory of David Wilson, will be held at St. Peter & St. Paul Ringwood on Sunday 24th March 2019 at 6:30pm.

There is to be open ringing from 5:45pm.  Following the service, there will be a quarter peal at approximately 7:30pm.  If you wish to be involved in this, please speak to John Davey.

There will be no ringers tea after the service on this occasion, however, there is a wide selection of pubs and curry houses throughout the High Street.

I look forward to seeing many of you there (from the organ console).

All best wishes,

Peter Murdock-Saint.

Reminder for TODAY(23.02.2019)! District Practice at Sacred Heart 2:00pm-4:00pm

METHOD OF THE MONTH Double Oxford Minor.

Rounds and call changes upwards welcome as usual.

ALL WELCOME – do come and try out this ultra-light 3cwt ring of six!  Excellent practice on ‘flighty’ bells!  Nearest parking use Richmond Hill car park, turn immediate left after exiting the roundabout.  There is no lavatory here, but there is a hotel across the road!

Portsmouth District Training Day – Sat 2nd March at Portsmouth Cathedral – 9.30-12.30

Hi everyone
The next District Training “Day” is on Saturday 2 March, with Basic Raising and Lowering.
This is aimed for those that wish to learn or practice how to ring up and down individually.
It will be at Portsmouth Cathedral between 0930 and 1230.
If you wish to come, please can you email me?
Any questions, do please let me know.
Many thanks
David Mattingley

Winchester QDM Minutes – Nov 2018

Minutes of the Quarterly District Meeting held on Saturday 10
November 2018 in the Village Hall, Houghton.
1. Chairman’s Welcome. The Chairman, John Croft, opened the meeting at 17.30
p.m. with a welcome to those present and thanks to the Wardens for the use of the bells at
All Saints’ Church, to Bob Gosse for securing the use of the Village Hall, and to Dawn
Williams and her helpers for the splendid tea she had laid on, as her gift to the ringers
throughout the District for their help to her in learning to ring.
2. Attendance. The following fourteen District members signed the attendance
register (representing eight towers with one member unattached): Bob Gosse (Broughton
and Houghton), Christine Hill and Tony Smith (Hursley), John Palk (Lockerley and East
Tytherley), Andrew and Elizabeth Johnson (New Alresford), Andrew Glover (Romsey),
Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), Alan Hutchinson and Bruce Purvis (Winchester Cathedral),
Gary Marsh, Sara Marsh and Christine Knights-Whittome (Wonston) and John Croft
(unattached); also present were Dawn Williams (King’s Somborne) and Edmund Wratten
(unattached)
3. Apologies for Absence. Apologies were received from Jen Churchill and the
remainder of the Lockerley and East Tytherley band, Roger Booth (New Alresford),
Rodney Skinner (Ropley), Sandy and Paul Fitzgerald (Wonston) and Joyce Croft
(unattached).
4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting, 11 August 2018. Following the correction of
the location of the Guild Education Day, 24 November, from ‘Sherfield English’ to
‘Shedfield’ (Item 9. iv refers), the minutes were adopted on the proposal of Christine
Knights-Whittome, seconded by Jenny Watson as a true record.
5. Matters Arising. Minute 5, ‘Matters arising’, Bell maintenance course. Because the
Guild Education Committee is planning a Bell Maintenance course, Roger Booth
suggested a better way of addressing the need for maintenance might be for a small
working party to visit local towers – following expressions of interest – to carry out minor
routine tasks and offer advice where necessary. Minute 9, ‘Future events’: The District
Autumn outing was held, on 27th October, with Ashbury, Longcot, Uffington, Letcomebe
Regis and Childrey, all in the Vale of the White Horse, being visited, with morning coffee
being provided by the Longcot Ringers and lunch at the Fox and Hounds, Uffington.
Commenting on the select gathering attending the outing, Tony Smith urged giving as
much notice as possible for such an event, as people’s diaries tended to become more
crowded the closer to the date. The secretary was thanked for his work in organising the
day.

6. Loss of members through Death.
i. Not a member of the Guild and District, but a regular visitor and firm friend of towers in
the area: Simon Milliken, Master of the South African Guild and a distinguished musician, stabbed fatally on 31 August

ii. Ringers in the District who died in the Great War, or of illness/injuries incurred whilst on
active service: William Henry Brooks (Wonston), William H. Crute (Winchester Cathedral),
William J. Curtis (New Alresford), William Daniels (Sparsholt), Edwin George Hillary
(Wonston), Victor Frederick Hillary (Wonston), Percy Holmes (Cheriton), Frederick William
Hutchinson (Bishopstoke), William Harold Jackson (New Alresford), Harold James Jerram
(Wonston), Charles Henry Money (Bishops Sutton), Charles H Russell (Winchester
Cathedral).
After a short period of silence, the Chairman recited the words of the Requiem.
7. Confirmation of belfry elections
Probationary members:
Ella Kesterton and Cindy He of Winchester College on 30th October, proposed by
Caroline Fairley, seconded by Edmund Wratten.
– both confirmed on a show of hands.
8. Election of new ringing member.
Jinny Kufluk of Hursley proposed by Richard Thompson, seconded by Tony
Smith – elected on a show of hands.
9. Future Events.
22 Nov.: District Practice, East Tytherley – confirmed;
8 Dec.: Carol Service, Northington – this fixture was open to doubt as bells were only just
being installed, so alternative venues would be explored;
17 Dec.: District Practice, Old Alresford – unconfirmed; the Secretary suggested that
District members could join the Ropley Practice if they are having one that week.
10. Any other business.
i. ART and other local training initiatives. The Secretary advised that Roger Booth
would be running an ART Module 1 training day at New Alresford on Saturday, 26
January; alos that this training session would be followed by group teaching sessions to
reinforce their learning on the training day. Roger was also holding a regular Improvers’
practice at New Alresford, starting at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesdays, and planned to organise
monthly visits to local towers to broaden students’ experience. Would-be students and
helpers would be very welcome at the weekly sessions or the monthly visits, and should
contact Roger at r.g.booth@gmail.com or telephoning him on 01962 735972.
ii. Transfer of towers to the Winchester District. The Secretary reported that both
Stockbridge and Leckford (which, like King’s Somborne were in the Mid-Test Benefice)
were proposing to transfer from Andover to Winchester.

iii. Central Council. Andrew Johnson reminded the meeting of the rapidly-changing
character of the Central Council, and of the value of keeping in touch with Council’s work
via its website and social media.
iv. Michedever. Edmund Wratten advised the meeting of the work carried out to
maintain the Micheldever bells by the band: Elizabeth Johnson suggested that it would be worth inviting Roger Booth to check their handiwork.
v. Lockerley, etc. John Palk advised the meeting that the Lockerley, East Tytherley
and Broughton had commissioned one of the bell-hangers to examine their bells, at a cost of about £250.
The meeting closed at 5.59 p.m.

A&P Quiz Night – Bentley – Sat 23rd March from 7.30pm

RINGING FROM 6PM   ‘FIZZ N BUBBLES’ FROM 7PM
QUIZ STARTS 7.30PM
AT ST. MARY’S CHURCH HALL, BENTLEY, Church Lane, Bentley GU10 5NA
Plenty of Parking, the Hall is behind the Church

The Alton & Petersfield District Bellringer’s 2019 Quiz!

Bentley hosting, in our new Church Hall, ringing from 6pm and a glass of fizz for early arrivals & non-ringers!

We are planning a pudding auction, so get baking! Anything with alcohol going in always works a treat! As does ‘gooee’ puddings or a cheese board as a great accompaniment!
All monies raised will go to the District Funds!
Fish n chips. Bring your own drinks, we’ll have plenty of glasses and nibbles & pens for scribbles!

Prize for winning team! Prize for Most Original Table Name!
Prize for the Best Pud Maker!
First come first served places limited so hurry or you might not get in!
We ‘really’ look forward to seeing you!

Event URL is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/altonpetersfield-district-quiz-night-bentley-tickets-55657884230

Link to Poster

 

 

Alan Sturgess – Fareham

With regret we have to inform of the passing of Alan Sturgess long time ringer and previously Captain of SS Peter & Paul Fareham who will be sadly missed.

The funeral will be held on Wednesday 27th February, 1.45pm at St Peter and Paul, Fareham. There will be general ringing from approx. 1pm.
For those wishing to make a contribution, please donate to “Fareham Bell Ringers” for the upkeep of the bells that Alan had rung for many years.

Deborah Bown (Secretary)

METHOD MONDAY TONIGHT AT SACRED HEART, BOURNEMOUTH. 04.02.2019

Dear Method Monday Ringers!

Don’t forget practice this evening at Sacred Heart 6:00pm until 7:30pm. The methods this month are Cambridge and All Saints.

There will be a pizza afterwards in celebrations of St. Agatha’s Day tomorrow (patron saint of bell ringing).

See you there!

Contact Kim Matthews

 

 

Living on the end of a rope and sally! A weekend of courses and quarter peals!

It has been a while since a ‘report’ as such has featured on our district page.  I’ve been so acutely busy ringing recently, I just had to get down in words what has been going on in district ringing since 2019 new year!

As many of you will be aware, I have been bitten by both the lesser-spotted quarter peal bug, and the greater striped ringing fever.  It is wonderful to be given so many opportunities to gain valuable rope-time and partake in something as close to sporty as I shall ever get.  (Apparently gossiping is not an Olympic event).

January saw the re-installment of the district Quarter Peal Club hosted by our Vice-Chairman, Polly Osborne at Minstead. It was a valuable opportunity to treble at length to a minor method (St. Clement’s).  Here I happened upon a friendly and familiar face to me now, Jack Pease, who has often conducted in the past, but tonight was having a rest and Jimmy Hodkin took the reigns.

Jack was most kind, complimentary, and remarked that trebling to minor seemed “a bit too much within my comfort zone”, and insisted that I ring treble to a quarter-peal of triples in the near future with him, and also attend the minor course Jack was running at Bere Regis.

I felt much happier leaving Minstead tower, than I did arriving, partly because I managed to arrive at Minstead village in the pitch black forest in heaps of time, but then got dreadfully lost within the village for half an hour, and ended up in a strange place called Emery Down, and was then horridly late.  Not the greatest first impression really of myself, appearing to new people, gasping from running at the top of a ladder poking my head through a trap door.

Jack’s Bob Minor Course on the Friday morning was a bright and early start for me, even the New Forest ponies were still sleeping instead of trying to get into my rubbish bins.  We headed to Bere Regis, to a delightful ring of six that went very majestically.  Was a good learning curve to ring at a more relaxed and steadier pace.  I started the course mainly trebling where I felt secure, but as the morning progressed, and as I got to know the band a bit more, I ventured round the circle ringing plain courses on the 3 and 4, and eventually a touch.  I did try the 5 but alas it was a step to far turning in a much heavier bell to method work.

I came away from Bere Regis course refuelled with plenty of kindling to take back with me to my home tower, and many useful tips and tricks, handed down from our brave leader (Jack) and the other helpers.  It was a really relaxed atmosphere too which lended itself to a great learning experience.

Saturday lunchtime saw yet another quarter peal at Sacred Heart, Bournemouth in celebration of Kim Matthew’s retirement from her position as Librarian of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  I shall fast forward to the shock I was in after the quarter peal had finished, when I truly discovered what ‘splicing methods’ actually meant!  I can only compare it to when school used to make me attempt the hurdles…you just have to keep going, even if you knock them all down!  I understood splicing methods to be a few methods rung one after the other after several touches/courses of each method, NOT methods running concurrently, and switching to and fro like an over-excited American pin-ball machine!  Ross made an amazing job of calling this complex quarter, which I can only imagine akin to being like reciting the Bible from memory…..backwards.  I was most fortunate to have Angie Jasper by my side on the 4 sorting my stumbles out very swiftly and efficiently.

From Sacred Heart, I had to hot foot it to Christchurch Priory, for our annual district meeting.  Here I had been roped in (excuse the pun), to playing the little box organ for the Evensong service in the Lady Chapel.  It was a very special atmosphere, especially as the incredible acoustics in there took the little organ and accompanied singing into the rafters.  I wish they would stop putting carpets down in churches.  Kills acoustics!  I faced two problems here. One that the organ had been placed next to the ringers tea table that had enough cake and sandwiches to fulfil even Paddington Bear, and had all been thoroughly wrapped in foil so having a sneaky sausage roll from the kitchen of Rob Skerton, mid service, was impossible.  The second problem was the lady that pulled on my arm during the exit voluntary, to stop me playing, which I dutifully did as I expected there to be an emergency…no such luck…it was an announcement about the toilet, and that vegetarian sandwiches were located on a separate table.  At least that meant this year the egg and marmite sandwiches were nowhere near the salmon paste!  I was also so pleased to matriculate from Acting Webmaster to Webmaster.  I was really very touched when so many raised their hands when asked for nominations.  I’m very much looking forward to arranging the district outing, and the skittles evening post striking competition at Fawley.

The next day was the forboding quarter peal of Grandsire Triples, and was confirmed by the band around me the evening before.  Off I headed to St. Michael’s Southampton in my Mystery Machine (ongoing joke, as you never know where you’ll end up….especially when I leave the handbrake off and head up tower).  St. Michael’s really is a fascinating place indeed.  Jack shoo’d me up the wooden spiral that winds its way through the innards of the organ (definitely needed going over with my DustBuster TM- poor pipes), and I entered the poshest, loftiest and most spacious ringing chamber I have ever been in.  I later found out that the church is the only medieval structure left within the city walls of Southampton, and that the Luftwaffe used it as a mapping point to their targets, so it never got bombed!

The band were all incredibly friendly and supportive.  St. Michael’s has a gorgeous ring of 10, with a lovely bright Gillet (bell founders) sound.  As a musician, sound is a vital factor to me, and it was a great help to hear each clear bell as I coursed up and down.  We only used the 8 bells for triples, would have loved to hear all 10 going.  The void across the ringing chamber floor between myself and the tenor was such that I thought I was going to have to send up smoke signals to communicate!  Again, it was another tower I left from with a spring in my step, chased back to the Mystery Machine by winter’s icy blast from the docks! Mother told me to put a hat on….why are they always right?

Finally, on Tuesday, I hared across the county to Cerne Abbas for the Hampreston Monthly Quarter Peal Day.  This month’s was arranged superbly by Angie Jasper.  It’s an incredible set up.  I’m unsure what the collective noun for bellringers is, but we all gather in an area with our rosters, and head off to various towers, interchanging bands, some ringing first attempts, crazy methods (Percy’s Tea Strainer Triples, Mental Block Minor etc), practice conducting, trebling, tenoring, ringing inside the method, and break for lunch, then do it all again at churches in deepest countryside for the afternoon shift. Seven quarter peals were rung that day between about 15 people.  Incredible.

I feel very honoured to be made welcome into this group in my early career as a ringer, and there’s always something for me to have a go at and push me.  Finally managed to negotiate my way through 1260 changes of St Nicholas Doubles (failed attempt at Christmas), and the afternoon shift saw me tenoring at Hilton to Eynesbury Doubles.  Sadly we didn’t get the attempt.  Really tricky bells, plain bearings, and keeping the tenor at the back and ‘up’ was a tough job, seeing use of blue inhaler.  Just to round the day off in true Murdock-Saint panache, I managed to fly base over apex down the last part of the tower stairs, my ankle currently doing a wonderful impression of the aurora borealis….well worth it however.  Driving home the 40 miles was interesting on the clutch, fortunately the petrol station had bagged ice for parties, which I strapped to the ankle with a towing rope.  Even though we did not get the attempt, we used the time to ring through a few different touches of the method, and it was great learning experience in handling a big and difficult tenor!

I would like to thank especially the following people in no particular order:

Kim Matthews, Polly Osborne, Ross Bradley, Angie & Mike Jasper, Sally Jenkins, Jimmy Hodkin, Jack Pease, for arranging these incredible opportunities in particular for new ringers.  The bell ringing community is really like a second family.  I must also thank my home tower teachers, David Lay, John and Liz Davey, Tim Kettle for their unending patience, understanding and time.

Looking forward to ringing with many of you over the coming year,

Over and out

Peter

Title photography by Jack R. Pease.