Dear all, unfortunately, having told you yesterday that the Branch was planning an outing on 21 August, I have been notified that the date clashes with a rearranged Guild event, so we can’t go ahead on that date. It may now be better to postpone until 2022.
I know lockdown is making lots of things difficult, but I can’t help but think there is something to be said for able to attend two different branch AGMs on the same day, all from the comfort of your own home, cup of tea in hand. Technology still can’t fix it so that I could attend two different meetings at the same time, but I’m sure someone is working on that. So far all the branches that I’ve been able to attend have had a successful AGM, and I hope that those still to do so are equally as successful.
And, being the beginning of the new year, I’m sure the Guild and branch treasurers would want me to remind you that subs are now due. Contact your branch treasurer for details of how to pay within your branch.
Just a reminder that the 2020 Guild Quiz remains available. Entries are due in by the end of the month, so there’s still time to enter. Available from your branch, or from Guild Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org). Quizzes are £1 each, and contain 100 questions to amuse, bemuse and confuse.
January can be hard on people’s mental health. This year may be even worse with the added pressures of lockdown hanging over us. With that in mind, the diocese marked the 17th January as Wellbeing Sunday. There are resources available to help take stock and maybe boost your mental health. That’s also where ringing can help, by staying in touch with fellow ringers and having something to focus the brain on. Try learning a new method or reading on some theory of ringing. There’s plenty of information out there if you wanted to explore a topic further. See the article in CrossKeys for more support. https://crosskeysmag.org.uk/?p=4410
The Guild has had an enquiry from a lady trying to trace her Great Grandfather. He served in the Police force and was stationed across the county, including Kettering, Oundle, Paulerspury, Daventry and East Haddon, Northampton, Pottersbury and Naseby. He retired from the police in 1931. In the newspaper cutting she has, he is described thus: “While at Naseby he was well known as a bellringer.” If anyone has any information that may be relevant, you can leave a reply on her blog, or contact me and we’ll get the information to her. https://tonilouiseabram.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/albert-edward-william-clarke/
Firstly, let me wish you a happy new year and hope that 2021 is an improvement on 2020. I’m not sure it could be worse, but that strikes me as tempting fate, so I won’t be saying that, clearly! Hopefully we’ll be able to keep in touch and keep our spirits up through the darker months of the year.
We’re aware that there are Ringing Room sessions going on in towers and some branches, as well as across the wider ringing community. If there is anyone who would like to move on to surprise minor or major methods (for example) or to try quarters, the Guild can work to put like-minded people in touch and arrange sessions. If you’re looking to move on and need some support to do so, get in touch with the Master or Secretary to express your interest. E-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The PDG 12 days of Christmas
Over the holiday’s the Guild Secretary has been rather generous and sent everyone a full 12 days of ringing related presents. Enjoy!
. On the First day of Christmas, my Guild Secretary gave to me… … A Ringing World bumper copy.
This year’s Christmas edition of The Ringing World is a three week bumper sized copy, featuring a number of seasonal puzzles. If you’re a Guild member, or follow the Guild’s Facebook page you can send in your completed nonogram. Right answers received by the end of January will go into the hat for a prize.
· On the Twelfth day of Christmas, my Guild Secretary gave to me… … Twelve bells a-ringing
The glorious bells of Towcester being given a thorough workout by the Birmingham band.
Central Council Updates
The Central Council issued an update on its reform consultation. Changes will be afoot, it remains to be seen what changes there will be and what impact they will have on ringing and its organisation. https://cccbr.org.uk/about/reforms/
There has been little change to guidance since the last update, although some refinement. The Central Council guidance makes clear that ringing for any service is acceptable, meaning that weddings can be rung for, as long as a suitable risk assessment is carried out.
The guidance has had the term “face masks” replaced with “face coverings”, which brings this into line with the language used in both the government and CofE documentation.
Where there are exemptions for those who cannot wear a face covering in public spaces, for whatever reason, the Central Council’s view is that “… face coverings reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and therefore protect our fellow ringers. Anyone who is unable to wear a face covering should not ring.” The Guild would like to encourage towers with ringers who cannot or are reluctant to wear a face covering to seriously consider the situation before proceeding; we would not want to either ostracise a ringer nor to cause an increase infection risk to other ringers.
This project is looking to put together a sound exhibition of bells, and things that are inspired by bells. Ringing, tolling, chiming or using the ellacombe chime would all fit the bill. Any short clip can be submitted. How inventive can you be?
Dear all, wishing you a very happy Easter, even if it is one that’s very different from the usual Easter Sunday, when we would be ringing the bells in advance of church services to celebrate that Christ is risen. Some thoughts from the guild, as follows:
Peterborough Cathedral started their Easter day service with the sound of bells. Don’t worry, there was no lockdown breakage involved, it was a recording of Towcester provided to the diocese for this purpose. The service can be viewed again here: https://youtu.be/G4qS9WJ_lAo
Church bells on Sunday, which was from Canterbury Cathedral
In a normal year the Guild would be getting ready to send out the spring newsletter. Due to problems with distribution of hard copies, this edition is just in online form. You can access it here: bit.ly/nlapr2020
If your parish is producing worship, get in touch with them and ask them to add some bells. It is the one loud noise made to the glory of God and it is currently missing from our soundscape. This aims to fill that gap, in part, until we are back making noise again.
Dear all, I hope everyone is keeping fit and well, and is coping with out their regular bell ringing fix.
The Guild is putting out a weekly bulletin with some exercises to keep the ringing mind engaged and entertained. Below are some of their suggestions:
For those missing their ringing, here are some YouTube videos of some good and some really excellent ringing to listen to.
When listening, think about the following and try to answer by ear alone.
Can you tell how many bells are ringing?
Is the tenor drumming behind, or turned in?
Can you follow the one bell (treble is often easiest) as it moves through the piece? You don’t need to know what is being rung to hear the bell’s progression.
Is your ringing this good? If not what do you need to make it this good? https://youtu.be/wc400VJ5hHo https://youtu.be/AQSSE0bwv1U https://youtu.be/Lvm-ZqKepKw
One thing we’re all being asked to do is to wash our hands regularly and thoroughly. Advice suggests 20 seconds is sufficient to wash hands properly and singing “Happy Birthday” twice is long enough. But that gets very dull very quickly.
Instead, keep those methods in your head by reciting them as you wash your hands. 20 seconds should be long enough for a couple of plain courses of plain doubles or minor, 3 or 4 leads of surprise minor (and you may as well recite the whole course once you’ve done 3 or 4 leads), 2 or 3 leads of surprise major. Use all those hand washes to engage your memory as well as keep your hands clean.
You could even pin a method above the sink and learn a new method for when we’re all back ringing again.
The Diocese of Peterborough sees safeguarding as everyone’s responsibility, and would like all volunteers within the church family (that includes bellringers) to have a basic understanding of safeguarding (level C0). While you can’t go to practice, why not make use of the spare time to access the free online training portal and complete it. https://safeguardingtraining.cofeportal.org/
As with everything else, the 8 bell practice on Friday 3 April, has been cancelled.
Dear all, with the Covid 19 emergency, and following Government guidance, I am writing to inform you that the VE Day celebrations planned for the weekend of 8 to 10 May 2020 have been cancelled. I know many of you planned to ring, either as part of a local event, or at 7pm on the evening of 8 May as part of the national celebrations.
It is hoped that events already planned can be moved to the weekend of 15/16 August, to celebrate VE Day and VJ Day, both momentous points in our history. I am sure that bell ringers will be asked to play their part in the celebrations again, so I will be in touch when I know more.
I hope everyone is keeping safe, but I am sure that, like me, you are missing your bell ringing.
Dear all, the Central Council has provided the following, thoughtful, advice for bell ringers in the light of the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday:
Coronavirus – Covid-19 – Update
New updates on the Coronavirus have been issued by the UK government today, which include avoiding any “non-essential” travel and contact with others and avoiding pubs, clubs theatres and social gatherings. If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so.
We must all ensure that we are following the most up to date advice from the Chief Medical Officer (or overseas equivalent) with regard to the Covid 19 outbreak. Of course the Central Council is not in a position to provide professional advice, however there are some simple guidelines to consider to ensure that we adopt sensible precautions and support each other through a period of rapid change and uncertainty. The advice is changing almost daily and the latest messages concern potential restriction of movement of people over the age of 70 in the coming weeks, if not sooner.
The demographics of the ringing community has a large proportion who fit in to the over 70 year old and/or medically vulnerable category, and ringers can be quite stubborn when it comes to continuing ringing, insisting that we “keep calm and carry on”. However, under the current circumstances, we have a duty to be responsible for ourselves and towards others we ring with. If you fit into a category that has been advised to socially distance yourself, please heed that advice. If not for you, then to help prevent putting other people at risk.
Having said that, socially distancing yourself can create a sense of isolation, and we must ensure that we maintain contact with our ringing friends, and offer any help and support where we can. Please check in with those who are advised to stay home, phone them for a chat to ask how they are, drop them a quick text, Whatsapp or social media message to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.
If you find yourself self isolating, consider how you might get your ringing fix if not on the end of a rope. There are many apps for phones and computers that you can utilise to learn methods, practise listening skills and so on. There’s a multitude of YouTube videos on various aspects of ringing, ringing up and down, rope splicing and many other tower tasks that need doing. Get out some good old paper and pencil to write out methods, learn the place notation, write out touches etc – that’ll keep you busy for hours! Keep in touch with friends on the various bellringing social media communities, maybe even start one of your own. Get that tower website up to date. Get around to writing up last year’s tower AGM minutes. Plan what you are going to do once the restrictions have been lifted, maybe organise a reunion.
Keep up to date with the latest advice from the government, ensure that you support each other, keep calm and keep safe.
Following this advice, all Branch activities will be cancelled until further notice.
Please do keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. We will be back bell ringing soon.