Striking competitions and learners

It’s been a lovely ringing week this week.

On Tuesday I was welcomed warmly to the practice at Saffron Walden. They have a great local band there, ringing regularly on 10 and 12 bells to a good standard, reminding us that when we are enthusiastic and dedicated to what we do, we can achieve great things. They have fun, they ring well, and they get on well with each other – what more could you ask for. I’m looking forward to a return visit.

On Wednesday it was my own practice night in Goldhanger. Two learners from a neighboring village (Tolleshunt D’Arcy) have recently started coming to our practices because their own bells are out of action. Keen as mustard, they are happy just to stand and watch all of us ring, but I know that to keep them engaged they’ll need more than that. We met early on Wednesday for some dedicated practice time, during which they made good progress ironing out wrinkles in their style and one of them managed rounds on 6 for the first time. New ringers are essential to keep our art going – it’s delightful to have such keen learners to work with.

I had to leave Goldhanger early to go to Terling and practice in my own district band for the 8 bell competition. We had a good run at the method, which boosted our confidence. Striking competitions can be nerve wracking, but in my opinion, they need to be fun and we need to enjoy ourselves (as much as we can when performing in public) – otherwise, what’s the point?

On Saturday, I’m off to judge a competition for one of our neighbouring associations. Accompanied by David Hengeli, we’ve been preparing ourselves, refreshing our technique by reading Simon Linford’s excellent book on the subject, and I’ve been inspire to write out proper marking sheets and everything. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I look forward to seeing as many of the association as possible at the finals in Great Totham and Goldhanger on the 14th July. The tea’s going to be brilliant, the ringing will be top notch, and other people tell me (ahem) that there’s a really good pub in the village…