A few jottings about the weekend ringing tour around Nottingham’s tram, all brought together into one post.
First stop on Fods tram tour. Lovely ring to start the morning on the only Southwell peal installed as a war memorial. Ringing an expert balance of the superbly struck difficult methods and accessible rounds and easier methods. A wide variety of abilities, including including some word than me! I didn’t get lost in a touch of Bob major! Well, not properly lost.
23 of us by the time we got to Bulwell.
Random photo of pouting Sister Mikey
Not quite up to her usual gorgeousness.
St Mary Magdalene
On to Hucknall. First ringing chamber I’ve ever seen to have nightclub flyers pinned to the noticeboard. On the way, Tiffy had to stop to buy flatter shoes. Numbers swollen to about 25 but no sign of our member who’s on crutches. Just as well, as Hucknall church turned out to be a very long way from the tram stop. I should really have checked that before the day itself. This is the only tower I’ve not grabbed before today. I now have blisters on my hands to match the ones on my feet. Handling is a little tricky here on some of the bells but they sound good outside. And I just rang Grandsire Triples for the first time this millennium.
Disaster strikes at lunchtime
Plans for lunch fall through when the Sal is unexpectedly closed at lunchtime and the Fods scatter across the city. The Sal had promised me they’d have no problems accommodating a group of 20 turning up on spec, so I have no idea how they managed to be closed! I ended up getting a pint in the Newmarket, a pub I have not been in for a very long time, followed by a posh sarnie and a double espresso in a caff on Heathcote Street before getting back on the tram and heading to my home tower.
People reluctant to leave dinner. Plus it’s not straightforward finding the tower from the tram stop. So hardly anyone here on time. Still, ringing up now.
I can add Plain Bob Royal to my list of difficult things rung today. Only needed to be put right twice in entire plain course! This is so much fun. I really need to make a concerted effort to go to practice and service ringing more often.
Huge embarrassment at St Peters
Because the St Peters key holder was away, they left a copy of a key with me to let our tour band in on the day. But I forgot some of the details of trying to get into the tower and we spent 15 minutes trying to get the key to open the wrong door before someone who’d been here before pointed out the error of our ways and 24 of us could finally troop up the stairs. Nice ringing once we got here. The full ring of 12 are not loud enough to interfere with the buskers in the street below. Am now busting for the loo, but no chance to go any time soon. I’m not one for peeing up a church wall, even in extremis. Added Plain Hunt on 11 to my repertoir after a few shakey starts and then sat out while the band decided what Maximus it could ring. Cambridge and Yorkshire were ruled out after it transpired that some of our more able ringers were sitting St Peters out in the pub after a recent traumatic peal attempt, and a plain course of Little Bob Max ensued. Now the gossip is that the Sal has been closed by the police and we are all a little intrigued. Violent crime? Serving minors?
Arrive late at St Marys after a comfort break and coffee at Starbucks. Ring rounds and calls and we all get hopelessly jumbled in an attempt to get to tittums. It’s very difficult to pick the smaller bells out from the larger ones. The sound is fudgy in the ringing chamber, but the room is palatial after St Peters. The 24 of us look lost in it. The route up is over the roof with a fab view over Nottingham rooftops towards the Castle past St Peters and the Pitcher and Piano. Not for the first time, I’m regretting not bringing my real camera with me today and having to rely on my phone. The band gets two touches of Grandsire Cinques and eventually gets around to ringing the long threatened touch of Cambridge Max. Which sounds fine to me, but I can still only hear the fudge.
Sunday — Service ringing (for some) and lunch
Five brave Fods ringers made it to service ringing in the city this morning. I and two others turned up at All Saints to ring with one local and two other people who just happened to be in Nottingham for peal ringing and who just happened to turn up for Sunday ringing at All Saints. The student band (who I normally ring with) succombed to an attempt at the Campus 14 the night before (a drink in each of the 14 bars on the university campus) and stayed at home en masse.
Two other Fods ringers made it to service ringing at St Marys.
The rest of them didn’t make it out of bed until it was too late.
Unsurprising, really, given that many of the Fods members had been out crawling the scene in Nottingham and availing themselves of the various venues. I spent more time in the Lord Roberts this weekend than I have in some considerable time, and had more fun than, well, ever! Not only was the place overtaken by ringers for much of the evening, but two exes happened to be there for various parts of the evening, and it was nice to catch up with them.
The weekend has been really productive from a work perspective as well, as two of the ringers are local government professionals in areas that are hot topics in Nottingham at the moment. One person works in waste management running incinerators, and another is a transport planner. So we passed the odd productive 5 minutes in conversation about the issues affecting the city.
Later, and after much more drink, and somehow bypassing the eating stage, we moved on to the Central, a place I haven’t really spent any time in since it was Gatsbys, and a place that is incredibly smokey. Since there was no beer, I had to switch to an unspecified number of gin and tonics. A long heart to heart with the transvestite Fod ensued, during which she demonstrated a useful skill and correctly guessed my Myers Briggs classification based on what we’d talked about. INTP.
In the end, I talked myself hoarse, walked her home, eschewing the trip to NG1 that many of the other members made, and got home by 2am so that I’d be fresh for ringing in the morning.
In the event, I was mildly hungover at 8am when my alarm went off, but my trusted hangover cure (one part ibuprofen to two parts black coffee and two parts bacon sandwich), and got to All Saints in good time for a nice ring.
The morning continued back at the main Fods hotel where those of us who’d made it to ringing sat in the restaurant and looked smug at those who barely struggled downstairs in time for breakfast. Then, en masse, we went and had lunch at the Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Half of us occupied a room hewn into the rock face beyond the cursed galleon and used outlandish and obscene conversation to prevent any other people muscling in on our room.
Eventually, the party broke up and people started to make their ways home, amid hugs, and promises to see each other at the Washington DC tour, the London EuroPride weekend formal dinner, tour and Pride ringing, and the Exeter weekend which will be the Autumn tour.
Judging by how often and how profusely I’ve been thanked, a good time was had by all! I know I’ve had a lot of fun this weekend, so thanks to all who turned up.