The Clanging Belles have been auditioning.  One of our number is about to become quite busy, so we thought a temporary honorary Belle might be appropriate, else the Stedman will never get done. Not everyone is happy to ring Stedman Triples in hand with a group of ladies who enjoy a “relaxed” attitude to the endeavour. We savour the journey, and although reaching our destination will be rewarding, it is not the only reason that we ring together.  If it were, we would be rather depressed by now.

Who might be a good fit? We have already tried a couple of gentlemen. One on-line contender seemed bemused by our ringing (he is a very good ringer) and only offered to help once.  After that he appeared to be busy “washing his hair” or some other excuse; one real life hopeful was deemed “too loud”. Last week another gentleman of our acquaintance happened to be finishing off a class at the ringing centre as the Belles assembled for a practice – finishing a class in which he was attempting to teach me to plain hunt. I am so clueless that at first I had not even spotted that one bell towards the back was not being used. Having never rung nor heard anyone else ring on 7, I was rather discombobulated by this strange rhythm. No-one else seemed put out, but it took me an age to even realise what the issue was. I was counting 8, we were ringing 7 and leading in that scenario is not ideal. He was hanging around at the end and wanted to inspect my new handbells so we invited him to take the tenors for a touch of Stedman.

We got on quite nicely and as he stood up to leave, one Belle waggishly quipped “we will be in touch. We have a few others to see first…” Of course he had no idea that he was auditioning for a role.  He probably would not even want the role since success is far from guaranteed.

But it was so worth it to conduct someone who 5 minutes before had been pointing out my myriad deficiencies when it comes to plain hunting on tower bells, and to be calling a touch of Stedman triples, quite competently if I say so myself.

What a topsy turvey world this is. The inmates are taking over the asylum.

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