Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ringing Weekend!

Wow, I think 4 days later I may have rested up enough after this past weekend. And what a weekend it was! The Baldwins and the Penneys came to visit from England, and folks turned up from South Carolina to Birmingham to come and ring at St. Lukes. I met lots of wonderful people and made some significant progress in my ringing.

I volunteered to do refreshments. I thought it would be a good idea, given that I am still too new to be involved in most of the ringing. Between sets of Lincolnshire/Cambridge there was still plenty of time for me to ring, and lots of folks to ring with. Dr. Bill, Rosalie and Dave came down from South Carolina, Ted came over from B'ham, loads of Marietta ringers were there, the visitors from across the pond and our band made like eighty bajillion ringers. I may be missing folks, there were so many people! Our ringing room is pretty big, so standing room only is quite a thing to see. Most of the morning Dr. Bill kept me entertained, then I was called to ring tenor on 8 as on Friday. And that was where I started.

Sneaky Lyn then called two other ringers to take hold and suddenly I was tenoring on 10. 10! And let me tell you, that's a trip. You can't count that fast, so you just have to get in a groove and do your best. The ringing is slower than on 8, but your striking window narrows considerably. I didn't embarrass myself, and I consider that alone quite an accomplishment.

Later in the day after everyone else rang many more touches of Lincolnshire I had the opportunity to learn to move the tenor around. And let me tell you what. Ask me to move a Volkswagen around, will you? Fine. I did it, but not well, and as the weekend progressed and I had more practice at it I got a smidgen better, but I still have lots of work to do to master that. See, the tenor can't just be hauled about. You have to set up the changes ahead of time for them to go well, and although I knew that intellectually, when time came for me to move I totally forgot all that. And it isn't nearly as important for holding up (ringing slower) as it is for cutting in (to ring faster). The more I practiced the better I got at remembering about the set up. Unfortunately that doesn't guarantee that I can do it yet. But remembering to try is half the battle.

I have to say here that the Baldwins and the Penneys were real troopers. Especially Roger Baldwin. This is Roger:
and his lovely wife Kathleen, who has over 1000 handbell peals to her credit and is an amazing coach (and a hoot!). Roger spent lots of time working with me for which I am forever grateful. He conducted lots of the touches and rang and rang and rang all 3 days. With a terrible cold, poor man. That's dedication. It is tough to be away from home (much less in another country) and feel ill. Do not ask me how I know this. Suffice it to say that I was very impressed by the good attitudes both Roger and Kathleen maintained, even through trials. I learned so much from them. Along with Roger, Gerald Penney and his wife Janet were nonstop ringers. Gerald conducted as well, and Janet was unflagging. Janet is really lovely. I really wish we all didn't live so far away. I would like to have more of these folks in my life and in my ringing. I must confess that I am quite taken with the Penneys and the Baldwins, and I really hope I will have the chance to visit them in the future.

Oh, and Roger, you left something here when you returned home. But it's ok, I've got it. Please send man-sized balsam Kleenex, Love, Alma.

Now, let me tell you about Sunday. Sunday started with service ringing and quickly progressed to an exercise I initially thought was really strange, but was actually really useful.
Practicing hunting on non-existant handbells. But it works! Fist up to shoulder for sally stroke, lowered for tail stroke. Gerald Penney (standing next to me here) told us how he and some of his school chums used to practice Grandsire and other methods in the school yard long before any of them ever rang a real bell. I just think that's amazing. At my grammar school all we did was jump rope and play kickball. I feel cheated. But now that I know how to do this simple exercise I want to do it a lot. It got me used to interacting with the other ringers properly and understanding the flow of that interaction without having to worry about the bell handling and striking aspects. Which you will soon see is good for me.

So Roger put me on the treble and had me start making places with Sawyer while Lyn and Judith rang 3rd and 4th place bells. When I could do that without being too off, he called us to ring Bastow, which is a little method, but folks, it's a method. I rang a method! Did I mention Bastow is a method? OMGOMGOMGeleventyjillion! Infinity! Aaaaaaaaa............ !!!

In Bastow, all the treble has to do is make places. Sweet! Everyone else does a conga line type maneuver down to the treble and back up, so everytime treble makes places it's with a different bell! And it's a method!

OK, OK, then, then after that, I practiced dodging with Sawyer. Which I was really stinking at, but, hey, not totally falling apart. Still, not too good. Then Roger calls, "Go plain hunt on four"! And he was talking to me! Here we go again, folks, Plain Hunt!!!!! On four!!!!!!!! Aaaaaaaaaa...

It would be good to note about now that this is what I was referring to above when I said that hunting on hands and not actual bells is better. For me.
Because apparently I am all about the hunting out, and not at all about the hunting in. But we all gotta have goals, so it's all good.

So there's the wrap up on the Ringing Weekend, from my perspective. Which is decidedly a limited view, but I thought it was wonderful. Made new friends, made ringing progress, missed our Bill, and our Sam, and Tommy, but all the same I'm giving this one two thumbs up. With charming visitors like these, you don't really want the weekend to end.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome report of our weekend! Thanks for all you did for all of us!! You ARE the Best -- LB