Somebody pointed out to me recently that I hadn’t posted in this blog since May 2021. That is sadly true. That’s not to say that I haven’t been thinking about ringing, or ringing itself, and I go to the Association website probably a couple of times a week at least, if not more often (usually to get a phone number or to check the rules!). I’ve just got out of the habit. Ringing is a bit like that.
It has reminded me of all the times that I’ve stopped ringing, and what made me start again. I stopped ringing around 1994, I think (I’m ashamed to say) because I had a new boyfriend and my head was elsewhere. I can’t remember why I started again – I think it was around 1999, and I rang consistently then until 2006 when I injured my shoulder. I stopped more or less until 2013 when I moved to Goldhanger (the shoulder had been long-repaired – I just never got back in the ringing groove). I started again because I heard the bells after moving to the village and was curious – within a year I was tower captain, and 5 years later I was elected as Association Master.
Return ringers are an amazing resource as we come out of the pandemic and we are looking to rebuild depleted bands. Many returning ringers (like me) have stopped for fairly dubious reasons, and all they need is a polite invitation to help out to get them back in the saddle. Local advertising campaigns can target likely individuals, and in many of our social circles we are only ever 1 or 2 degrees of freedom from a lapsed ringer (I can think of about 10 without even trying).
And if you’re in a ringing “slump” – it’s not the end. Not everyone goes to practices 5 nights a week for their whole life. Keep your hand in, bide your time, and the right opportunity will present itself when you want to get a bit more ringing active. You’ll always have a rope with your name on it somewhere.