Bell News

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News from the tower

All across the country, of course, the towers are silent. That archetypical part of the English soundscape is gone for the time being. It’s one of the top ten most-loved sounds, just under, that of thunder! It’s a more complete ban than it was during the Second World War. (Much of that ban is a myth. Ringing was restricted, but rarely banned altogether.) Here at Kildwick, even the clock is silenced! At towers like Holy Trinity in Skipton, the electrically-wound clock ticks on but our hand wound timepiece has been stopped to prevent the weights bottoming out on the floor. That could cause expensive damage.
In February’s edition, I reported proudly on Angus’ successful quarter peal, ringing the treble to Plain Bob Doubles. “George was there”, I said. “he’ll be next.”

20th February arrived and, indeed, George successfully rang his quarter. Angus had rung the treble; that’s technically a bit more complicated but the lighter bell helped. George rang the tenor. The”pattern” was easier, but he was manipulating a bell 2.4 times as heavy. Spread over 45 minutes of ringing, that’s quite significant.

George's band

George’s successful quarter peal band

The eagle-eyed among you might spot a rather similar line-up among the rest of the band!

Of course, the disaster now is that neither George nor Angus can set to with their “return match” (Angus on the tenor and George on the treble) which they need to do for their Level 3 achievement award in the Learning the Ropes scheme. Neither can we get any of the other three young ones to a stage where they can step up for their first quarters.
We had so much planned for the next month or so. Quarters, Dinners, Open Days, Recruitment. It’s all on hold and we now wait to pick up the pieces whenever we’re allowed…

MiniRinger News

By the skin of our teeth!!

What may prove to be the very final meeting of “the Class of 2020” for the MiniRingers was in Christ Church, Skipton at the Skipton Music Festival.

The Festival ran through the week just before everything began to shut down. Other Festivals, running just a week later were forced to cancel. Skipton ran through to its Final Concert – just!


MiniRingers at the Festival

Tuesday was Bells Day and we began with the tune ringing.
There were two pieces; the first one was significantly more tricky than the second, but we had high hopes. Sadly, they were unfounded. Schubert’s Cradle Song would not really have lulled anyone to sleep. I don’t know what was wrong, but it was a bit like Pooh Bear’s Twy-stymes: “… tried to teach it to me once, but it didn’t.”   “Didn’t what?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “It just didn’t”.

Bobby Shafto was a different story. The team launched into that with gusto and produced as good a rendition as I’d heard. The competition was a band from Bingley. They are accustomed to beating the Kildwick band. They have better bells but, more particularly, they concentrate on their tune ringing while we do all sorts of silly things as well. I have to say that I have heard them ring a great deal better but we were all astounded to hear that we’d actually won!

Full of euphoria, we launched into our change ringing. For the first time, we entered three bands (two of six and one amalgamated one of twelve). We were guaranteed the trophy – and it was the slightly older “MidiRingers” who very narrowly came away with the trophy.

And then, of course, the lock-down. No chance to celebrate our success. No possibility of plotting what we do next. It’s quite possible that the whole of the rest of our programme has been sliced off at the roots. Probably no bell casting for the MiniRingers this year.

The pictures show the two new trophies – produce of “The Kildwick Foundry”. With luck, this enforced lock-down may mean I can at last get stuck into some serious casting – and tuning – of our new set of handbells!

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