I was a mature learner that just missed the Millennium, and it could be said that I became tower captain by default! My experience of running practices was based on my participation at other towers round and about and, after 10 years, I thought it was time I learnt to ‘do it properly’! With two who can now handle a bell on their own, four lapsed ringers who have returned after varying lengths of not ringing, and two who are just into method ringing, giving everyone an instructive and enjoyable experience on practice night is a little challenging.
Once a month, ‘expert friends’ augment our number: everyone rings better with good ringers round them.
The Module 2 course was fantastic! My head still whirls as I try to recall all that was on offer. Everything** was so relevant to what I felt I needed – and there was more besides.
Graham Nabb presented his subject matter in a down to earth and often light-hearted manner. Our ‘sit and listen’ sessions alternated with tower practice, demonstrating Graham’s skill in managing all his would-be teachers so that we each had a fair bit of time on the end of a rope. He had us doing the ‘exercises’ we could take back to our towers, and gave us understanding of how each of them built on what our novice ringers could do.
I had previously invented my own version of Kaleidoscope ringing: I came away with a fund of fresh and constructive ideas.
I’ve now run nine practices since the course. Every one of my ringers has done something new each time – and they are obviously delighted with their advancement! One ringer plain-hunted on three without realising it – which made the rest keen to have a go. (I’m grateful to the more experienced ringers who are so willing to ‘play games’ with the others.)
From the course, I have a host of other tricks up my sleeve to keep us all amused – sorry, working hard – for many practices to come.
My mentor joined us once in the first month, engaged happily with the ringers and was a fund of wise words of support and encouragement. I had previously rung occasionally with her, and I am able to attend some practices at her home tower, both helping us to develop an easy relationship from the start. Her second visit was quite recent, she was welcomed by the ringers – and was complimentary on their progress. I had the advantage of two extra competent ringers (husband came too!) which meant my novices had stronger bands round them and discovered they could ring really well!
** There was one suggestion I shall not be adopting. We shall still pass the sweet tin round at ‘half time’! I invariably use the brief break for a quiet word of encouragement or advice to an individual ringer, not always possible in the busy-ness of active practice time.
Valerie Clark – Tower Captain at St Mary’s, Northchurch, Hertfordshire