I started to learn bell-ringing 2 years ago, not all that far off my 60th birthday – and as weeks went by, I was hearing people talk about ‘peals’, where they rang non-stop for 3 hours or so. To me, it seemed an impossible task – like flying to the moon!
For me, progress seemed slow and steady, and then Nicki Lang and Rob Perry, my teachers, suggested a quarter peal about 12 months ago. That was nerve-wracking enough, but having done one I then did several more. Then an attempt at a peal was mentioned, so in preparation, we did 2 quarter peals in one day, then 3 quarter peals another day soon after, and finally the full peal at Marston Bigot at the end of September. I’d rung there once before so felt familiar with the tower and bells, which definitely helped. It’s a spacious, light ringing room, and the bells are lovely to ring.
I started with mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation – pleased to be starting at 9.30 in the morning so I didn’t have too much time to think about it! – and once we started to ring, that was it, no looking back and just get on with it. Overall, I enjoyed the ringing (ringing treble to doubles methods) which seemed more like 1 1/2 hours rather than the actual time of just under 3 hours, but admit to being greatly relieved when Rob called ‘THIS IS ALL’ – I could have hugged him!! But the feeling of achievement was amazing – 2 years ago I would never have thought that I would get this far. An ache in one shoulder and a few blisters, which had recovered the next day, were a small price to pay.
But many thanks to Rob and Nicki, for having taught me so patiently and thoroughly, and also to the other excellent ringers, John Storey, Nick Field, and Jane Hooker, who gave up their Saturday morning so I could do it!