Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Recent Mid-Week Monthly Tours

THE APRIL TOUR (the 294th)

A beautiful spring day brought out a great turnout of around 29 for the day. It was good to have a 5 included, Stratton Audley, to be treated with respect, not hurried, with a little going a long way, a bit like dark chocolate.

Magnificent white cherry blossom greeted us at Steeple Aston, the only 8 of the day. Smooth and crisp, like a good dry white wine, they lived up to expectations, with some creditable ringing, including Lincolnshire & 8-spliced.

Lunch at the Red Lion, good bellringers fare of Ham Egg & Chips, or for me a hearty Tuscan Bean Soup with Tomato & Mozzarella Salad: delicious.

A grab for many, recently augmented Weston-on-the-Green, gave us a real assault on the senses. Louder in the tower than out, making you pay attention to your striking. Shouting rather like a bright orange fluorescent jacket (or a very hot curry): a memorable tower, I am sure soundproofing will come.

And finally the smooth tones & easy handling of Bletchingdon (or is it Bletchington?) like a velvety full red wine, to finish with some excellent mixed minor, and Cambridge amongst others.

Thank you Pat for organising a lovely and memorable day.

Chris Seers

THE MAY TOUR (the 295th)

Here in Bidford on Avon the day started nice and bright but the forecast was advising cloud moving across the Midlands. Oh well! we'll wait and see what it brings to Leicestershire.

Our first tower of the day was the 8 at Whetstone with a tenor weight of just over 8cwt. Pat organised the ringing here on this very nice ring in a well kept ringing room. Amongst the methods rang here were Yorkshire, 3 leads of Bristol, Grandsire and Plain Bob. It was also suggested that there was a ladies band and so Stedman was rung by the ladies. This seemed to set the order of the day as at most towers we seemed to have an all female band for a method.

Countesthorpe was our next stop and parking here was a little awkward but we all managed to park and enjoy this 10cwt ring. Geoff looked after the ringing here and Grandsire, Stedman, Yorkshire and Kent were successfully rung. The attempt at London for some reason did not want to go and it was abandoned.

Lunch was for most a carvery at The Shires Inn in Peatling Parva. It was a popular spot but table had been reserved for us and we had a room to ourselves. Michael and Cath Brown were able to meet us here for lunch.

A short walk from the pub brought us to our next tower, Peatling Parva.  This is a ground floor ring of 6 with a tenor weight of just over 9 cwt. The sun was shining and Robin had to work hard to encourage us to come in and ring. We did obey and here amongst the methods rang were Primrose and Norwich besides Plain Bob, Cambridge and Stedman.

Our final tower of the day was an 8cwt ring of 6 at Bitteswell. These bells did not go quite as well as the other 3 towers. The third bell did not really want to go up but eventually had to give into the fight. We all had to battle with long ropes but none the less Brenda guided us through Grandsire, Cambridge, Stedman, London and Alnwick.

Thank you Joy, for not only organising the lunch, the towers but also the warm sunshine which was with us for the day.

Sandra Parker

THE MAY TOUR (the 296th)

The 296th Mid-Week Outing on 19th June 2014 was arranged by Jenny Ball. Twenty two ringers ventured into Northamptonshire to enjoy seeing a very pretty part of the country.

As it was Ladies Day at the Ascot races that day it was decided the men-folk should have a rest from organizing and let the Ladies take over! The first tower at Moulton was a bit adventurous, being a light twelve with new ropes and access involving a short vertical ladder. We managed rounds and call changes on the 12, then worked our way up from Grandsire Triples to Stedman Caters and Little Bob Maximus, finally ringing the back ten down well in peal. Our co-ordinator, Isobel Murphy was very pleased to score this as her thousandth tower.

We then headed for Orlingbury ,a delightful sounding six; which were easy to ring. Here we rang a wide range of methods, which included London and Little Bob.

The day was a bit cool and dull but our enthusiasm wasn't dampened as we walked from the tower to the local hostelry of The Queens Arms for lunch. This was a really good choice with a wide range of food at a reasonable price and more importantly for the men, good beers.

Next was Mears Ashby, a charming village, with good ring of six where Cambridge, London and Norwich were among the methods rung .Our last tower for the day was Earls Barton with a good ring of eight. However the access to the ringing chamber was up an old wooden stepladder; not for the fainthearted, but very interesting to see with a bend in it at the top. We managed not only Grandsire Triples, Erin and Double Norwich, but also eight spliced Surprise Major.

Our thanks go to our “Ladies of the Day”; Jenny for arranging the day, Brenda Nixon, Joy Pluckrose, Pat Halls and Sandra Parker with Ruth Border for running the ringing.

Margaret Pratt