Thursday, 10 January 2013
A Church on the Doorstep
I've always lived near a Church, near enough to hear the bells. Although, looking at the bellringing.org website, it says that nearly everyone does. Of course, having moved just across the road, we are used to the bells of the Church that is now our nearest neighbour, the Church on the doorstep. But, not surprisingly, they are significantly louder here than they were over there. The good thing is that we always know what time it is, with the bells ringing out the quarter hours: one dong for quarter past, two for half past, three for quarter to and four before the hour. Midnight and midday go on for some time. The only problem is when the bell ringers switch to manual on their practice night and then forget to switch it back. So sometimes we lose the quarter hours and then we are lost in time. I know from No.7 days that when the clocks change, springing forward and falling back, it can all go horribly wrong with the hour being struck on the quarter hour and the quarter on the half and so on. Just when you get used to the new time, they put it right. And then the clocks change again.
The sound of the bells isn't annoying and sometimes I don't even notice them. I like hearing them ring on a Sunday morning. And on Christmas Eve, we heard not only the bells but the sound of the congregation singing "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful' drifting in through our slightly open window. A lovely way to fall asleep on a Christmas Eve.
The trouble is that the bell ringers aren't very good. I am writing this as I listen to the Thursday evening practice. And it's hilarious. Shouldn't it be 1-2-3-4-5-6, rather than a terrible cacophony of every bell ringing simultaneously? It sounds worse than this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5l8_YdApWk. And I don't think their sense of rhythm is that great either. But it can't be that easy. Apparently, there are five stages of bell-ringing, from learning to handle the bell to becoming an experienced ringer. I think they're at the early stages at the Church on the doorstep.