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September has been a busy month, especially if we stretch it a couple of days at either end. We joined the choir in Chichester by ringing a quarter peal before the Sunday evensong. What made this particularly notable was that we were greeted beforehand by Gilbert Thurlow, now Dean Emeritus at Chichester. Gilbert has had a long and distinguished ringing career but has a particular soft spot for All Saints Wokingham where he served as a curate before the war.
Later in the month, many of us assisted in one way or another with the Oxford Diocesan Guild’s annual ringing course at Easthampstead Park. Spending a whole weekend ringing =simple things over and over again with the students can be pretty wearing, but it is made worthwhile by seeing the remarkable progress which some of them make when given opportunities they do not have in their own towers. The course has a very lively social side as well, with many old acquaintances being met.
The month has seen two striking competitions. We came second to Easthampstead, (ringing their own bells) in the Sonning Deanery 8 bell contest, but a couple of weeks later were able to win the Diocesan 6 bell contest, so regaining the cup we won two years ago but lost last year.
The contest venue moves round the Diocese and this year was at Bradwell in Milton Keynes. Anyone who knows the area will understand how we got a little lost, even with a map! The new city has swallowed up many small villages which now form islands of antiquity in a sea of modern housing and factories.
The standard in this contest is always very high with all contestants having won competitions in their own districts. A11 the ringing was good, even though punctuated by express trains passing within a few hundred yards. Thanks to diligent practice and hard concentration, All Saints passed the nearest of the other eight teams by a healthy margin.
It is interesting to note that we rang a far more advanced method than any of the others. There are no marks for ringing difficult methods, since accuracy of striking is the only criterion. In view of this, many teams ring simple methods in the hope that it will make things easier for them. In high quality ringing, the main enemy is lapse of concentration. We firmly believe that ringing a method well below the capability of the band is not good for concentration. The results suggest we may be right.
The ‘month’ was rounded off with special ringing for the ordination. Before the service, we were joined by ringers from Shinfield, Abingdon and Australia and in the evening Joanna Dyer rang her first quarter peal on eight bells for her mother’ s first service as Deacon.
John Harrison (Oct 1988)
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