Gransden Church Bells 


Blog 2018

15th June 2018

A double celebration at recent practices. Last week we awared Susanne her Learning the Ropes Level 2 certificate, and this week awared Matt his Level 3 certificate. Continued focus on ringing has helped Susanne achieve this level,  and Matt completed his recently by ringing a quarter peal on the treble, his first away from the tenor. Congratulations both.

 

     
 Susanne receives her level 2 certificate
   Matt receives his Level 3 certificate

Pictured behind Matt is the "summer curtain", which comes our for about three weeks in June and July to stop the glare of the sun in the ringing room during the evening. It is a shame to block it out but being dazzled can be dangerous. It isn't needed so much these days because the trees are growing taller and are quite effective in acting as a shade. It is beautiful ringing in this weather, cool inside (until we start working hard!) and most of all light when we leave the tower at the end of practice at 9.00pm.

Alasdair continues to enthral us with his anecdotes. This week he has been visiting a bookshop in Cambridge where they sell 1960's science fiction paperbacks. He is drawn to them by their covers, which, rather than beiing minimalistic as they are nowadays, are colourful depictions of space craft and other space and scientific paraphernalia.

On the ringing front, not so good this week. Everyone was working very hard but we struggled and little bit with Plain Bob Minor, finally achieving a 180 but not in very good fashion. However, Lynn rang call changes very well, and Matt rang the treble to PB Doubles. 120 St.Martins was rung and overall we had a good evening. Most importantly - we are gaining valuable experience.

 

1st June 2018

So, we were having a minute between ringing on practice night and Alasdair announces that he is learning to drive. We all listen attentively and he explains that although he has driven his father's automatic he is finding a manual gear box much more difficult.

Well, this sort of news is an opener for all the old adults because we start reminising about manual gear boxes and having to double de clucth because there was no syncromesh on the gears. Phillip sits down and demonstrates how this is done by pretending to drive a virtual car. We then go on to talk about our first cars, which, for Alsadair, is like listening to a foreign language! An ineresting few moments. Good luck with your driving lessons Alasdair !!

More attempts this evening to ring Plain Bob Minor, but not so successful, however, we continue to learn, and a plain course with ringers on different bells helped see things from a different angle.

We also rang a 120 St.Simons Doubles, and Susanne rang Plain Hunt on the treble thereby achieving level 2 in the LTR scheme. Well done Susanne.

Progress continues to be made - excellent!

 

30th May 2018

An exciting day when Terry from the Cumbria Clock Company arrived to repair the hands on the church clock. Over the last year they had gradually siezed and eventually the clock was unable to drive them, and it stopped in December 2017. A recent exploratory visit found the cause of the problem and they were disconnected from the clock so that at least it could be kept going.

Today, the entire hand linkage mechanism was removed and stripped down, cleaned, lubricated and re-assembled. The work took all day and invloved the use of a Bosun's chair being elevated from the ground by the clock engineer.

An excellent job was done with attention to detail and quality of work being the order of the day.

Many thanks to Terry for his hard and studious work.

 

 
       
 Setting up the ropes at the top of the tower
       Ascending
         
 Nearly there
   Quite a long way up
   
         

 

27th May 2018

Instead of having general ringing for the service of evening prayer today we arranged a quarter peal for Matt to ring the treble to Plain Bob Doubles. Matt has rung three quarter peals to date, all of which were on the tenor behind to Plain Bob Doubles. This opportunity enabled Matt to complete the requirements for his Level 3 in the Learning the Ropes scheme.

Details can be found at https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1233404

The photograph shows the ringers after the quarter peal, happy with their achievement. Well done Matt !

 

 
 L-R: Sheila G, Matt, David, Phillip, Alasdair, Sheila P.

As an aside, the practice last Thursday was excellent, with the "A" team ringing a 120 Plain Bob Minor. We are just embarking on this project and it is fair to say that a lot of encouragement was needed on the part of the conductor to get the band through the touch. Nevertheless, we did succeed and it all helps to build our experience of the bells coming at us in a different order.

Our objective - to ring a quarter peal of it by the end of the year !!!

 

20th May 2018

Rang for the church fete today from 1.45 to 2.15pm. We rang 60 on thirds, conducted as usual by Sheila G, and very well struck. We will enter the Hunts District striking competition and will take every opportunity to practice good striking leading up to the event in October. Ringers were: Hazel Pettit 1. Alasdair Catmur 2, Sheila Prest 3, Phillip George 4, David Prest 5, Sheila George 6.

 

19th May 2018

The beautiful weather continues and an early start for a quarter peal today meant that it would not be too warm in the ringing room. The ringing was arranged to celebrate the marriage of Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle, taking place today at Windsor Castle.

We couldn't quite muster a local band and we are grateful to Sally Mew (Houghton) and Andrew Smith (Gamlingay) for ringing with us today and turning out for a 9.00am start.

We rang four methods, St.Simons, St.Martins, Plain Bob and Grandsire and had some very nice ringing for the 44 minute duration.

The band is pictured below: L-R David, Sheila G, Phillip, Sheila P, Sally, Andrew.

 

 

Details of the quarter peal can be found here.

 

18th May 2018

Another excellent practice last night with eight attending. We were not able to practice last week due to shortage in numbers and we didn't ring on Sunday because there was no service, so we all thought we would all be a bit rusty. However, we just picked up where we left off and rang pretty well through the evening.

We started with some call changes to help Lynn. These were quite successful, still a bit of work required in spotting who is following who, but not bad overall. Then some Plain Bob Doubles - standard fayre. Then on to the "heavy stuff" - Plain Bob Minor. Two attempts necessary due to losing the treble in the first go, but the second try was good and we are definitely improving.

Matt rang the treble to PB Doubles in practice for his quarter peal on the 27th (for service of evening prayer). No problems there, and Lynn rang the treble to practice leading which was very good.

The Huntingdon District is organising a striking competition which will be done by recording a test piece in our own tower instead of meeting on a specific day at another church. After some discussion we agreed that we should take part. We have to enter the competition by the end of May and give two possible dates ring which must be before the end of October. Plenty of practice time then!!

We have decided to abandon the idea of a tower outing because there are too few of us and our ringing friends from other towers are not available on the date we fixed. It is hoped that we can organise something in October.

Quarter peal tomorrow with 4 local ringers, for the Royal Wedding, and as well as Sunday ringing we will be on duty to ring for the church fete in the afternoon, at which the ringers have presented a prize, The Ringers' Prize, which is a tour of the tower and a quarter peal to be rung to mark an occasion chosen by the winner. Hopefully more news on this soon.

 

5th May 2018

Practice nights just keep getting better. Only seven of us on Thursday 3rd May but we had our budding Plain Bob Minor band and, although high risk we decided to try ringing three Homes (180 changes). The only previous touch we have tried has been three consecutive Bobs, and on one occassion we tried BBS BBS. Both touches are the easiest thing you can do with Bob Minor, so three Homes was a significant challenge.

With plenty of experience of ringing Plain Bob Doubles the team shouldn't find too much difficulty in ringing the bobbed lead ends, so here was an opportunity to demonstrate transfer skills from ringing 5 bells to ringing 6 bells. Ropesight and listening skills would need to be used if we were to succeed.

Off we go, and the first course is easiest because we have rung plain courses before (ringing with no calls). The first Bob was called and everyone did as planned. Thereafter some help was needed, so with a lot of "encouragement", between us we managed to keep in the right places. The second Bob was called and we were in the last course. Only five leads to ring, can we do it? A bit more encouragement and correction and we were in the last lead, only 12 changes to go. The final Bob was called and the bells came into Rounds.

What an achievement - well done team.

 

 
 Plain Bob Minor Band.
L-R: Sheila Prest (4), Hazel Pettit (1), Phillip George (6 -conductor), David Prest (3)
Sheila George (5), Alasdair Catmur (2).

This report should not conclude without mentioning Lynn Walton, for thanks in taking the photograph, but also for progress in call changes. Lynn is now almost able to use ropesight for ringing call changes. Having recently passed Level 1 in bell handling she is now working towards level 2.

You might notice from the photograph that Phillip is holding a blue oil can. We have been looking for one to carry out minor oiling jobs in the clock room. It has prooved to be quite a difficult item to find. Cycle shops and even car shops don't seem to stock them. This one was purchased from Halfords.

 

Saturday 28th April 2018

Started with some Plain Bob Doubles with Matt on the tenor, then on the front five so that he could ring the treble, with Sheila P calling it and Alasdair ringing the fourth. This was followed by call changes (60 on thirds) called by Sheila G with a call every other handstroke which kept us on our toes. Then, we pursuaded Alasdair to call 120 Bob Doubles (own observation), which he did for the first time, and very well. During the interludes we talked about quality of striking and Sheila G played some Devon call changes on her phone. This inspired us to ring just Rounds with no errors, trying to replicate the rythm we had just heard; and we did this pretty well.
A very enjoyable evening, not bad for a small local band.

Well done everyone!

 

Sunday 22nd April 2018

By ringing his first quarter peal on a bell other than the treble or tenor, Alasdair Catmur achieved his Level 4 in the Learning the Ropes scheme developed by the Association of Ringing Teachers. The quarter peal, referred to in the previous Blog on the 18th April was to mark the retirement of the Rev'd Catharine Furlong.

Alasdair had been ringing touches of Plain Bob Doubles for a couple of months and Catharine's retirement was an ideal opportunity to consolidate his learning.  He practices on different bells to ensure that he gains ropesight from different positions in the rope circle and on this occasion rang the 2nd.

Alasdair is a key member of the team and is currently learning Plain Bob Minor and one of our objectives this year is to ring a quarter peal in this method.

Well done Alasdair!

 

 
 Alasdair with his Level 4 Certificate

 

Wednesday 18th April 2018

Excellent ringing last Sunday the 15th April starting with a quarter peal arranged as a compliment to the Rev'd Catharine Furlong, Priest in Charge of our parishes for the last 12 years. Catharine has been very supportive of the ringers throughout this time. Her regular visits to the ringing room when we have been ringing for service has been much appreciated.

The quarter peal, by a local band, was also Alasdair's first on an inside bell. Well done Alasdair.

 

     
 Quarter Peal Ringers: Sheila G, Sheila P, Alasdair, David,Phillip, Martin.
   Catharine and more ringers arrive after the quarter peal
Phillip, Sheila G, david, Sheila P, Catharine, Martine, Lynn, Alasdair, Susanne and Reuben.

 

A copy of the certificate documenting the quarter peal and presented to Catharine can be found here: Catherine farewell.docx

 

 

Sunday 8th April 2018

A good weekend for one of our ringers. First, on Thursday at our parctice Lynn Walton passed her Level 1 in the Learning the Ropes scheme on bell handling. Having joined our team in September Lynn has worked through the many elements of bell handling and has become proficient at this stage in her ringing career. Well done Lynn.

 

 Lynn receives her certificate
from trainer Phillip

Also happening this weekend, on Saturday 7th April - Lynn, Sheila and Phillip G attended the Hunts District meeting arranged for new ringers and those at the ringing Rounds stage. This was held at Hemingford Grey. It was an excellent opportunity to meet other ringers from many churches in the Huntingdon area and get to ring at a new tower. It was a very useful meeting and gave encouragement and enthusiasm to the many new ringers.

 

     
 Lynn (in red) ringing the 3rd at Hemingford Grey
   Refreshments - ah!

 

Sunday 1st April 2018

Some lovely ringing this morning for Easter Sunday including Rounds and Plain Bob Doubles. Although some were away for Easter we had seven ringers.

Annual Ringers Meeting

David Prest presented his annual report for our ringing during 2017 which can be found here.Bell Ringing Report 2017.pdf

The meeting was held on Maundy Thursday. Only five in attendance due to holidays but it was an opportunity to discuss our ringing activities and plan for the year ahead. We talked about training and recruitment as well as ringing activities during the year. We hope to hold an outing in the summer and have set ourselves objectives in ringing quarter peals during 2018 in three different methods, namely St.Simons, St.Martins and Plain Bob Minor.

We are also investigating the possibilty of modifying the clappers of No5 and 6 bells to have nylon or wooden shafts. We are consulting Whites of Appleton about this.

Safeguarding was discussed following the introduction of new National Church Guidlines and Data Protection was also mentioned pending the enforcement of new regulations in May. The former is managed by the Tower Secretary and the latter will be discussed with the newly appointed church Data Protection Officer.

Our Priest in Charge the Revd Catharine Furlong retired on the 31st March but her last service for us will be the 15th April. The ringers are organising a farewell quarter peal. More new of this later.

 

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Another excellent practice this evening with successful attemots at a "simple" touch of Plain Bob Minor, and 120 St.Simons Doubles, a  first for David and Sheila P.Overall we are seeing a significant improvement in capability. We think our attempts at PB Minor have helped with ropesite and are adding more interest to the ringing.

Exciting banter all evening ranging from the flavour of some of the chocolates to explaining the meaning of course bells and the going rate for baby sitting. The notices were an amusing struggle, becoming more like an episode of BBC's Question Time, when a question is asked and the response is completely off topic and everyone interrupts! Lots coming up, not least our tower AGM next Thursday and, in due course, repair of the clock, which although still working is currently disengaged from the hands which have siezed up!

Cumbria Clock Company inspected the clock this week and will send a report and quotation for repairs. We hope to receive this soon so that we can get on a fix it. The church wardens are aware of course. A nearby resident asked me what was happening because the chimes were working but the hands are stationary at 12 o'clock.

Ringing this Sunday is at 5.15pm and we had a great debate as to who would be able to ring. Alasdair said he should be back in time, so it was funny to hear him ask, at the end of the practice, what time ringing was! Hey ho! its all in a days work.

Our practices are a happy time, lots of energy and enthusiasm, with great fellowship and laughter.

 

Tuesday 13th March 2018

Being aware that some odd-struckness had crept in on the treble and second bells we arranged for Whites of Appleton to visit, take some readings and make any necessary adjustments.

Mark Walker brought along his electronic deviceo which measures the accuracy of the clapper strike at handstroke and backstroke. Each bell was, as we suspected, in need of adjustment, being about 500 milliseconds out, causing the bells to be slow at handstroke and quick at backstroke. In each case the clappers were removed and adjusted by inserting tapered washers between the clapper and the crown of the bells. Several attempts were required but after not too long Mark got the strike error down to 9 and 5 milliseconds respectively. A job that was needed to be done has been done well.

We look forward to improved striking and accuracy in our ringing!

 

Monday 5th March 2018

Its been pretty quiet recently. Ringing has carried on but there has not been anything significant to report.

The recent severe winter weather led to the practice being cancelled last week but we'll be back to normal this week because the 3 inches of snow and accompanying ice has now completely gone. The clock stopped again, due I think to bitter northerly and easterly winds, but a re-start on Sunday was successful and it continues to run. We are still waiting for The Cumbria Clock Company to contact us about a site visit.

Tied bell practice resumed this week for Lynn. Her bell control is developing nicely and we are ringing Rounds nicely on the simulator to 6 bells and we have now started on 8. Dodging prcatice was successful too with up and down dodges.

 

Sunday 28th January 2018

Ringing for evening prayer this afternoon and we were pleased for Lynn, ringing for service for the first time. Ringing included some Plain Bob Doubles and nicely rung Rounds and call changes on six.

L-R: Lynn, Sheila G, David, Sheila P, Phillip, Alasdair.

 

Thursday 18th January 2018

Another good practice continuing the good work on Plain Bob. Amusing comment of the evening was made by Alasdair. We were talking about BCP and church services in general. This included comments about the Bible. Alasdair said that he thought reading the Bible was like reading Terry Pratchet, but not so amusing!  Laughter followed!

We have been struggling to keep the clock going. We fitted a "Heath Robisnon" replacement part toreplace the suspected faulty one but this seemed to make no difference. Just before the practice started I pushed the pendulum to see if it would go - and it did. It is still going, so this is a mystery. We are pleased of course. We are now waiting for the Cumbria Clock Company to arrange a visit to inspect the clock for any underlying problems which might cause it to stop again.

I have decided to remove the video from the Welcome page because it is nearly 4 years old. People change in that time - youngsters grow up and adults get older. We are happy to have new ringers since 2014 and hopefully we could include them in any future videos.

 

Thursday 4th January 2018

An excellent practice this week when we achieved a creditable plain course of Plain Bob Minor, a 120 of PB Doubles for Alasdair - now quarter peal ready; some of the same for Christine on the treble - also quarter peal ready; some Plain Hunt 5 for Susanne - tick, and a three batches of call changes with the same strong band for the benefit of different less experienced ringers. Llyn managed some steady Rounds - more 1:1 training lined up to help with bell control. 

During the notices members of the Association were riminded that subs are now due. This prompted interest from the newer ringers, who would like to become members. Very encouraging. Phillip to get the aplication forms.








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