About thirty of us met in the church car park to join a 1981 Leyland Leopard bus for a proper coach based outing to celebrate a birthday. We travelled to Meriden where the birthday boy had rung an all under eighteen quarter peal and managed to get the bus up the country lane approach. Next was Ryton which had last been rung as a six but was now an eight. Lunch at a great pub in Hillmorton (Stag and Pheasant) then squeezed the bus under the low railway bridge to ring at the church. Good ringing here with memories of Tony Pickering (ex RAF hurricane pilot). Onward to a very vertical ladder entrance at Claybrooke which finished with a very good touch of Stedman Triples and finally repeating the end of the very first outing of Whitacre tower organised by the birthday boy's father way back in 1979. Mancetter back then was a ground floor ring and very hard work now transformed into a upstairs ringing chamber but still very heavy! Not helped by the third and fourth being put up wrong but many found these quite a challenge. However we did managed a super course of stedman doubles at a suitable stately pace on these half muffled bells. The coach then dropped us home having kept us warm and dry during the day. It was lovely to have some many join us to celebrate.
Failed attempt at a quarter peal to celebrate the 45th wedding anniversary of David and Hazel Herschell parents of one of our ringers. Sadly not to be today but did result in several very well struck courses of Stedman doubles before time ran out to complete the quarter after two false starts and errors forced it to a stop. Quite a lot of the seven courses rung were nicely struck which made the loss a real shame.
The tenor bell at St Leonard’s, Over Whitacre, was tolled on Sunday 2nd June, 2019 to mark the occasion of re-dedication of family graves. The church was packed for a simple service of remembrance led by Marjorie Walton. The bell was tolled from 10.45 until 11.00am. Tolling is ringing slowly and stately a single bell. Usually the tenor it is associated with funerals and remembrance.
Bit of a mammoth afternoon fitting the wheel. Found of course that the lower half of the wheel had come off the bell easily as it was shattered. There was not enough room to get it back on. Had to fit the top half of the wheel and then manually ring the bell up by standing on the frame similar to the way "East Bergholt" bells are rung. With the bell up it was easy to fit the lower half of the wheel. Wheel fitted like a glove with all holes lining up lovely.
The wheel has had two spokes replaced and some other repairs to make it good again. Remarkably only the two smashed clean through spokes needed replacing. The shorter spoke was made from a suitable length of old desk which was the same weight colour and texture but the longer spoke was made from a length of ash. The mortise joints were machine cut and hand finished. Even some of the original dowels were reused and others were made out of the wood taken from the damaged spokes. Some damage has been glued up but the wheel is now back in good shape and ready to give good service again.
Second bell pulled off and must have smashed the stay - unfortunately this dropped between the frames and stopped the treble bell dead in the down position smashing the wheel. Had to remove the wheel through the middle floor doors which have never been used since the floor was installed forty years ago. Wheel parts then went down the spiral stairs for assessment. Will need one new horizontal spar and one spoke on the west side.
An unfortunate but quite catastrophic occurrence.
The seconds stay is perhaps the easier fix!
Once again we managed to welcome 2019 with bells. This year we had a few more than usual which allowed us to ring some nice rounds and some methods too. For once we made the effort to properly muffle the old year out and then after a swift change welcome the new year with open ringing.
Tonight we rang all three bells for the Carol Service. Ringing for the first time in two years the front two bells especially took a bit of time to "warm" up. Xavier managed to ring here for the first time contrasting Dick who was also ringing. Nearly eighty years separate them - not many places where you can witness this now.
Busy practice night - whilst ringing some plain hunt we had five people sitting out all who have started learning this year. Two of these ringers can ring competently in rounds and the other three can all just handle a bell on their own. It is a very nice thing to have almost as many learners in the tower as ringers. Any more volunteers?
St Giles Bellringers
The trials and tribulations of a small village bellringing band.