Well, spring is definitely here, and in fact looking at the way some of the spring flowers are dying off, it looks as though spring is virtually over. Talking of spring, the wedding season is upon us, although at Goring, we have fewer weddings booked than this time last year. I now collect the bells fee for weddings direct from either the bride or groom, and I know that many other churches operate in this way.
So far this system has worked well, but strangely enough, because I end up talking to one of those getting married, it seems to make the whole thing more personal, and I feel very guilty if the ringing is not to a reasonable standard. Let's face it; the general public won’t know the difference between 3 leads of Bristol, 360 of Bob Minor, or just Grandsire Doubles. What they can tell is whether the bells are clashing or not, and I believe that in many instances, it would be far better to ring well struck rounds and call changes, than to make a hash of a method.
I expect many of you have noticed on Facebook that our Young Ringers took part in a South East Region Striking Contest at Epsom on 2nd April and they came first with a score of 76%. Well done to the whole team. The other teams that took part came from Essex, Guildford, Herts, Kent, and Winchester & Portsmouth.
Now, you could not have missed noticing that there was something big going on in Horsham on April 9th. Of course it was the Festival of Bells to mark the 250th anniversary of the first peal being rung by an all Sussex band. A big thank you goes to the whole of the organising committee, spearheaded by Mike Cattell. I believe that over 120 people took part in helping to run the event.
There were many different displays of ringing, and I was present to guide the Mayor and the official party round. We met at the Bandstand, where George Francis's (a.k.a. Bell Meadow) mini ring was set up, and had already attracted plenty of volunteers to have a go. When it was time to move on to see the KIPHRA handbell ringers, the mayor and the councillors were ready to move, but it was proving to be nearly impossible to prise Jeremy Quinn the MP away from ringing.
Time to then move on to the rope making exhibition’ before walking down The Causeway to St. Mary's Church to see the bells being rung. Again, the MP showed a great deal of interest, and even threatened to go back up in the summer, when Parliament was in recess. Others in the party were not up for the stairs, so Moya took them back to the Barn for coffee, where we all met up later, and the Mayor then remarked how heavy the SCACR chain was compared to hers. I did point out that although hers was gold plated, mine was solid silver.
The day continued by walking continuous loops from the church to the mini ring, to the rope making, to the handbell ringers (who were walking around Horsham, then stopping in the street, for a course of Plain Bob, or some other method ), then back to the church.
During one of these walkabouts, I was only accosted once by a lady who wanted to know what I was going to do about the parking situation in Horsham. It was only when I pointed out that my chain had churches on, that she realised that I wasn’t the mayor.
The day finished with a well attended and enjoyable quiz in the Barn, complete with a fish and chips supper. A great event.