Coffee and gossip

I have not been ringing at my usual tower for the past month. After 4 years of weekly practice and service ringing, it has been quite a wrench but a number of factors converged that made me uncomfortable, so I decided to take a step back. But I do miss the band that taught me to ring so this Sunday I went along just to watch, possibly learn and drink coffee with them. I also needed some ringing related gossip because, having cut down my tower ringing by over 50%, the opportunities to experience and generally reflect have been drastically reduced.  The tank is drying up and I need something to write about.

Naturally, as usual the band came up trumps with a “Good Idea” which I will share with you. It will not help you to become a better ringer, a better teacher or a better person, but it might save some bother after your death.

Recently, someone had the sad responsibility of writing an obituary for a local ringer. The text was no problem. People have known him for decades and know what he contributed to the local ringing scene. His peal books survive him so it was easy to see how many, where, when and with whom. What was missing was a decent photo.

I asked over coffee if anyone had such a photo – Owen with a rope in his hand? – but no-one did. Such a disappointment because the obituary is ready to be sent to The RW and it demands a suitable picture.  My advice to you all is to take individual photos of your band members and keep them on file “just in case”. If anyone is about to ring a peal then check that a photo can be readily accessed in case the conductor calls “that’ s all” and they drop dead like poor John Webster whom on 17th November 1760:   “St Giles’s sixth Bell around did bring Her; He clos’d the Peal struck well his Bell, Ceasing the same, down Dead He fell“. 

And no-one had a decent photo of him! For the past 260 years they have had to make do with a stone tablet in the ringing room.

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