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My Ringing Career
Sticking My Oar In

Published 4th April 2007

As you might expect, on these pages I have mentioned various churches ("towers") and their bells, and I wanted to give readers an idea of the size of each tower's largest ("Tenor") bell. Where the exact weight of the Tenor is known it is given in the traditional way using the British imperial units of Hundredweight, Quarters and Pounds (cwt-qtr-lb) in which there are 28 pounds in a quarter, four quarters in a hundredweight, and 20 hundredweight in a ton (one hundredweight is approximately equal to 50.8 kilograms); otherwise it is estimated to the nearest quarter of a hundredweight.

As you will see from my Committees page, towards the end of 2006 I was elected onto both the Bath Branch Committee as Education Officer, and the G&B Management Committee as Management Committee Representative (MC Rep) for the Bristol Rural Branch. The G&B MC would meet three times a year with the January meeting being followed by a Quarter Peal attempt, the first such event bringing me my 156th new tower, my 19th Quarter Peal, and my first Quarter Peal of Stedman.

I have to admit, though, that the potential for involvement was surprisingly low as neither the Bath nor the Bristol Rural Branch's committees seemed to meet formally from one General Meeting to the next. Any decisions were made via an exchange of emails, or even as undemocratically as by individual Officers – this appeared to be how Branch Programmes were produced, for example. Nevertheless, I continued to support both Branches in their work and tried to poke my nose into whatever I felt inclined to, in the vain hope of putting my own mark on the campanological world.

At the time of writing I'm almost a month into my fifteenth year of ringing. I ended my fourteenth on 8th March 2007 with 157 towers, bringing the total for that year to 43 – my highest to date. However, I don't currently see this being matched any time soon, largely because I don't plan on visiting so many towers' practice nights this year. My first two new towers since 8th March were in fact practice night visits, but in both cases were the second tower I'd tried that evening after finding my first choice wasn't practising. Additionally, the towers I did manage to get into both had relatively inexperienced bands and I found myself helping with elementary training. I accept that it's my own fault for not checking in advance, but it's nonetheless disappointing that many towers don't have enough of either their own ringers or regular visitors to run practices, and don't keep their Branches and Associations informed of this.

I hate to end a page on a low note, so to lift the mood I'll announce my full intention to continue supporting my regular towers, both for practices and (where possible) Sunday services, and to help with as many Training Days as I feel able to. I also plan to continue attending Branch Practices in both my own two Branches and the surrounding ones, not just for my own benefit (especially if it's at a new tower) but also to give my fellow ringers an opportunity to ring something more advanced than they might otherwise be able to. Wish me luck!