Ecclesfield in Glasgow (April 2004)
Booked incredibly cheap tickets with bmi Baby from East Midlands, £2 out and £8 back, having said that by the time they’d added on the taxes the price was £38 return, still less stress than driving. Three of us made the trip - me, Hazel Bradey (the boss) and Rachael Matsell. Took off at 4:45 in the rain, arrived early in the sunshine, phoned the hotel and they said they’d send a free taxi. Arrived at the hotel at 6:15 in time for dinner.
On Friday evening Hazel and Joan Engler from Beverley organised the "Sing and Ring", there was a ceilidh in another of the rooms, personally I wandered between the two then went into the other bar and somehow forgot to leave, sat with a small coke and a large bacardi(s) with loads of people I hadn’t seen for a year.
On Saturday morning Hazel amazed us all by going swimming before breakfast while normal people stayed in bed. Rachael and I managed breakfast at 8:15, and then it was time for an hour’s practice for "The Nor’easters" which was the scratch team put together from the NE Region to ring on the concert that evening. The practice was OK but part of the pieces were – now, how can I put it? – a bit dodgy. Then again, we’d only had 10 hours practice in total since the team got together.
Our first session on Saturday morning was "Ring From Scratch A", where we had to learn "All In The April Evening", which was to be performed in the concert that evening. Everything went OK until we arrived at malleting and suspended malleting. 30 years of handbell ringing and things like that had totally passed me by... Hazel was brilliant with her first suspended mallet; she looked at the conductor, followed her perfectly but completely missed her bell.
Second session was "Off Table Ringing" with Hazel in charge and Rachael and I helping out. Then lunch, and next was back to "Ring From Scratch A" and more malleting, which by then all three of us were starting to get then hang of. Finally "Massed and Rally Ringing" with John Atkinson from Beverley in charge. He decided to do "The Heavens Are Telling" as a massed ringing piece at a fast pace, which caused a few jaws to drop, but it all came off very well.
Phoned home for the football result (mentioned this just to annoy Molly – if you don’t understand this bit and you’re reading "In Touch" then look at our web site www.ecclesfieldhr.org.uk), then early dinner, then we got ready for the concert. I enjoyed everybody else’s performances on the concert and our "Ring From Scratch" team’s piece went well, malleting and all, to good applause from the audience and relief all round from us because we’d only had two hours practice.
Then the "The Nor’easters" finished the concert. We played "Plantation Melody", "Easter Hymn" and "The Bellringers March", all went well and we finished to a great round of applause and more relief all round from us. I would like to particularly praise Christine Lazenby who rang top treble – she was very nervous but she did a superb job. Retired to the bar for another small coke and a large bacardi(s), with Rachael taking a very small sample of the Scottish national drink (not Irn-Bru, the other one). Off to bed and watched the fireworks over the river at 1:30 in the morning - no idea why they were on.
Sunday morning, Hazel swimming again, is she trying for the Olympics? Again normal people stayed in bed. Only one Sunday morning session so Rachael and I went to "Read and Ring – 3 to 5 Octaves" where we played three bells between us, mainly because that’s all there were left. Then lunch, then all three of us went to a masterclass to learn a piece called "Ballaide". More malleting, no suspended malleting but we had to martolarto. No idea whether I've spelled that right, sounds like a new style of coffee. Our bells were pre-assigned and Hazel was impersonating James, which meant that she couldn’t miss when the malleting came around, her bell was that big. Halfway though the piece I had to mallet 4 bars, ring 4 bars, martolarto 4 bars and then continue ringing. I couldn’t get my head around all this lot in just one hour’s practice so like a good Ecclesfielder I missed the martolarto-ing out.
After all the goodbyes we then had to perform "Ballaide" to close the weekend, I still missed the martolarto-ing out, wonder if anybody noticed? That was that, and the three jet setters flew home. We hope to see a lot of our friends at Grassington again in May; I’m already looking forward to the small coke and large bacardi(s).
More Glasgow news
The following, disturbing, message has just been received:-
At the HRGB national
rally in Glasgow it was observed that RINGERS from Ecclesfield OFF TABLE
handbell team were
doing things to handbells in an un Ecclesfield way! Members of Ecclesfield
Handbell Team will be horrified to learn that members of their team were seen
and I am finding this hard to say because I know how shocked you will all be, were
seen to be hitting bells, not ringing them but HITTING bells with mallets. Is this a breech of your constitution? Dead and
Departed ringers will be turning in there graves. One hundred years of
tradition, of no compromise off table handbell ringing destroyed. And what is
most shocking, they seemed to be enjoying themselves. I'm sure you will know how
to deal with these people and hope you will share their fate with readers of
your web site. I am providing photographic evidence so you can understand the
deep shame I feel on your behalf.
A concerned friend and handbell ringer
p.s. This breach of off table protocol will be shared with the North East Region who may want to investigate this serious matter.
p.p.s. more revelations later :o) ha ha ha
And a reply from the accused!