Wisbech District Outing 25/06/2016

Thirteen people joined in the annual outing, including some welcome support from the Ely District. It was a pity some of the regular participants were unable to come, but we had an enjoyable day ringing at five towers which were new to most of the band. Thanks to Prue Lester and Anne Carpenter for their hard work in arranging the route and the towers. All Prue’s arrangements ran very smoothly.

The pre-lunch towers were New Buckenham and Banham, two very different towers. The lovely easy going eight at New Buckenham were much appreciated and a good course of Grandsire Triples was a pleasure to ring. There was plenty of rounds and call changes, together with Plain Bob Doubles and three cover bells. This gave everyone a chance to ring several times on eight bells.

Banham was very different. When we arrived it was a hive of industry with cleaning volunteers all over the place. The entrance to the ringing chamber is tucked away behind the organ and the chamber itself is obviously used as a repository for, among other things, a netball hoop and a walking frame. The bells aren’t rung as much and were more challenging, but a good selection of rounds, call changes, Plain Bob Doubles and Grandsire Doubles, with a plain course of Bob Minor, proved perfectly possible.

After a good lunch, either at Kenninghall or North Lopham, we arrived at Bressingham to find the church in the middle of a fete, with craft stalls backing up to the ringing chamber. These bells are quite long draft, but Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles and Reverse Canterbury were rung, together with Bob Doubles.

First tower: New Buckenham
Font cover at Banham
Ringing at Bressingham, fete in progress

We then moved on to North Lopham, an interesting 8. As the tenor was being rung up, the heavy wooden spider crashed down and frightened everyone. It was hauled up but promptly crashed again and became a dead spider, in two pathetic pieces. Nothing to do with us! We managed another course of Grandsire Triples, a rare opportunity for most of us these days, together with rounds, call changes, Bob Doubles with three covering bells again.

The final church was Garboldisham, which was also in the middle of a fete. A band was playing, which was a bit worrying, but everyone had worked out the timings and we were able to stagger up the stairs for ringing. Some people were diverted by the tea and cakes on offer downstairs, but the hardy and dedicated ones among us went straight up. They are not nice stairs!! The bells were interesting, but not impossible. We managed call changes and two courses of Plain Bob Doubles before the remnants of the original band decided to call it a day. Thanks to Brian Hullah, Gary Bainbridge and Geoff Grayton for sharing the calling in most of the churches and to Anne Carpenter at the churches she attended. Geoff has unfortunately lost his glasses somewhere along the route, so if anyone has any knowledge of them please contact him (Geoff did find his glasses when he got home)..

We started home and ran into one of the worst thunderstorms for some time, even in a summer of storms. Thunder and lightning and torrential rain crashed around my car from soon after Garboldisham until I was home. In the forest, it was very difficult to see the flooded parts of the road and we learned later that some of our villages had flooded areas. I hope everyone got home safely.

Thanks to Geoff Grayton for the photos.

Pam Wakeling