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Life in the tower has been slowly returning to some sort of normal with the progressive easing of Covid restrictions. We’ve been practising, but not as long as previously because the ventilation is limited. We are ringing for services, and managed to ring for six of the seven services over Christmas, but Wokingham residents have been deprived of regular Sunday evening ringing since evening services were suspended.
However there has been some Sunday evening ringing: for the special evensong on 23 January, for David & Lorraine’s 25 years (see last month) and for the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s Accession (along with hundreds of other towers), and we hope to ring on other Sundays too.
At the more mundane end of tower life we spent several hours giving the tower a top to bottom deep clean – the first that the upper levels have had since before the pandemic. There was (of course) a lot of dust and cobwebs but there were also downy feathers that blow in through the bell chamber louvres, and dead ladybirds and flies that congregate in the staircase. We must also have disturbed a hibernating butterfly, which flew sleepily around the ringing room a few days later.
We wanted to finish the cleaning before welcoming our first visitors since 2019. They were the Rose Buddies (a support group for adults with learning disabilities) whose office is in The Cornerstone. They came to see the church and hear from John Hook about the building’s history and how it will soon change, and climbing the tower was a bonus. They enjoyed seeing the bells and how they are rung.
The morning’s rain had turned into a sunny afternoon so they were able to enjoy in full the superb views from the tower roof, seeing the churchyard and the town from quite a different perspective.
In January the tower dinner was our first social event since before the pandemic. We welcomed Becky Medlicot as our guest speaker, along with many friends from other towers, and former All Saints ringers. Each table had a ‘cathedral’ theme, with stories about it attached to one or more ringers. As well as socialising and enjoying an excellent meal, the entertainment included a performance of change ringing on handbells.
John Harrison (February 2022)
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