If you heard the church bells on Friday night, chances are you heard me ringing!
When Ray originally asked me if I fancied bell ringing it took me by surprise. It was something I hadn’t considered before and I’d never thought about there being actual people in the tower ringing the bells on a Sunday morning. Once I thought about the idea of bell ringing, it became something that interested me and I had to give it a go.
The door to the tower has always been intriguing, mostly because of the large padlock which has always had me pondering what it’s like up there. Well, it turns out it was nothing like what I expected! The ringing chamber is a bright room, decorated with notice boards and plaques. There’s small windows and apart from the stair workout, which seems to go on forever, you don’t realise how high up you are. There’s even electricity and a bench to sit down. Apparently, what I had learnt about bell ringing from watching Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a child, had not been correct!
The skill involved somewhat blew me away. I was definitely naïve in thinking you just pulled on a rope and made some noise (Disney has a lot to answer for)! Each bell, there are six, is a different note and weight. Some people can play some tunes on certain bells and not on others and very few people are able to operate number six, due to the weight. There’s much to learn; the sounds of the bells, positioning of hands, when and where to hold and let go, even how hard to pull the rope. The team also talk in ‘code’ when they’re ringing, and number codes surround the walls of the tower – it’s fascinating!
The team gave me demonstrations on what I would do and made it look easy; I guarantee you it is not, but my goodness is it fun and well worth the challenge! Even the simplest things like leaving my hands by my side somehow became difficult once instinct had set in. I was eased in gently with small exercises to complete and felt very comfortable trying new things, with full support from the team. Ray is a fantastic teacher; full of knowledge, patience and encouragement.
Thank you to Ray and the team for having me and showing me the ropes (sorry, I couldn’t resist!). I found watching and listening to you all absolutely fascinating and loved ringing the bell myself. As I left St. Peter’s I felt a sense of pride that I had contributed (just a little) to the sound of the bells that the village had heard, on a warm summers evening. I look forward to returning and understand now why people warned me about ‘catching the bug’.
Bell ringing is a great hobby, that combines music, sport, friendship and laughter and is completely free! If you fancy trying your hand at bell ringing, please speak to Ray Porter.
Laura Ashley (PCO) 07939 449255, firstname.lastname@example.org