A noviciate in bell-ringing


The Sacred Heart Church in Bournemouth is fortunate in having a ring of six bells. The installation was competed for the visit of St John Paul II to England in 1982 and was consecrated in 1983 by Bishop Emery. Above is the plaque erected to commemorate the occasion.

My sister is a member of the lively band of ringers at the Sacred Heart, and somehow I have found myself being instructed as a novice in the complex set of skills and knowledge needed for change ringing. Kim, the Tower Captain is very complimentary about my progress - and indeed I don't seem to have broken anything yet. (One thing that you learn quickly is that there are physical dangers in bell-ringing that are not immediately obvious.)

If you don't believe me about the "complex" bit, just have a quick read of the Change ringing article on Wikipedia. You can find there a list of English bell-ringing terms - it is an activity with its own language, customs and local variations, giving it all the ingredients of that mildly obsessive enthusiasm that cements friendships and provides much entertainment and a sense of achievement. I think I'm going to enjoy it.
English full circle bell mechanism

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