Bells@Leytonstone

  • A Fortunate Time

    What are we looking forward to in 2012 is a moot question as we can't even get a date for our annual winter meal - we have that as a title to keep it vague, so as not to pin down the date. The date we are now thinking about is two days before St. Valentine's day, but the next might be St. David's day or even St. John the Baptist day.

    Of course we are looking forward to celebrating and ringing for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and perhaps even ring for the Olympics, as the main site is just up the road. Perhaps get a new ringer or two, we got two last year but lost one, it's a bit like going up a down escalator. Beth was an American student from Denver who we taught to ring and became a regular member of our band. Her job as a Stage Manager sometimes took her away but she always kept in touch and always returned. Sadly she returned home to Denver at Thanksgiving last year. We hope sometimes she will return as Denver is a long way from any U.S.A. ringing bells. For the last two years we have 'done' something we call Heavy Metal for the Leytonstone Art Festival. It is a compilation of the history of bells, history of St. John's bells and ringers, pictures, poems and sounds. We have ben surprised with the response as we only did it for two people and a dog. This year we are looking at a new format for Heavy Metal 2 ... just to ring the changes!!!!

    We spent a lot of last year not ringing at St. John's. In June 2010 we were told, that for a few months we would be unable to ring, the reason was that major work was to be carried out on the church roof and tower, the work started in September 2010 and we returned in June 2011. As we knew it was not just to be for a few months we took the decision to ring somewhere else as a band - fortunate in hindsight! If bellringers have no bells to ring it becomes pointless being a ringer, so off they go to pastures new, so no band. We were very fortunate as we could move to our neighbours at St. Mary the Virgin, Leyton and with the warmest of welcomes from Sandra Lee, the ringing master at Leyton and from many church members, so our refugee status was made enjoyable. We even found a local cafe for Sunday morning beverages, that we closed and ended up by taking tea at the 'Royal'. We can't thank Sandra and the church members enough for their open welcome. We celebrated our return by seting up this web site.

    As June, one of our ringers said, 'it was an unusual year', as we could not find a date in between 'church open days' for a late outing, so this year we are looking forward to two outings - well we can always hope! 2011 ended like a scorpion with a sting in it's tail, as we found out that one of our large, heavy sound baffle boards came crashing down on the bells while we were ringing, on a Monday night. We were fortunate that no one was injured and seemingly no damage to the bells, only two stays and a wheel needed to be replaced.

    So for another couple of weeks we went back to St. Mary's, Leyton. What are we looking forward to in 2012 - money for new ropes - we've not had new repes for over 15 years. We are also celebrating the birth of Daisy on Tuesday 24th January to our ringer John and his partner Nicola - so it's a 'diamond' start to the year.

    Michael, (Ringing Master, St. John the Baptist, Leytonstone)

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Bellringing at St. John's Leytonstone

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