Branch Practice 10th August at Woodeaton

An amazing fifteen ringers came to tonight’s branch practice at Woodeaton, the first practice there for several years. Perhaps it was the rarity of the location that drew such large numbers for a “grab” .Our number included a full complement of the Lee family, accompanying Colin, our steward, and ringing master Jeremy.

It was good to see a strong contingent of Islip ringers, including Sally , Sue, Kathryn, Teresa, James, Dinah and Marcus. Also great to see Celia from Bicester.

After ringing up we rang call changes for Dinah, Marcus and two Lee children, followed by some plain courses of Grandsire Doubles with James inside and Sue trebling. Next we rang a touch of Grandsire doubles for Judith to treble to, called by Colin, followed by more Grandsire and a touch of plain Bob doubles for Simon inside and Judith trebling.

Next we rang a plain course of Winchendon Place and a touch of Reverse Canterbury doubles for Kathryn finishing with a set of call changes for our less experienced ringers and a lower in peal led by Celia, before a group photo next to Baa Baa.

A really nice practice, which would have been even more perfect if we had a pub garden to sit in afterwards.

The wonders of modern technology enabled a distant photo to get us all in but not the ability to check we were all visible

Raising and Lowering Practice 24th July 2022

Eleven ringers came to today’s Ringing up and down course at Bletchingdon, with five students and six helpers, giving us scope to form strong teams around our students as well as standers for those in the band.

We started in teams of four, with Christine, Ala Sue, David and Judith getting practice raising and lowering following an experienced ringer.
We had a strong band of helpers, including Emma and Laurence, Celia, Alison and Hugh, some of whom stood with our students and explained in helpful ways.

We also took refreshments of tea, coffee, squash, homemade cake and biscuits, thank you to Sue, Hugh and Judith for providing these.

We built up to ringing five and six in peal, with all our students making real progress, whether keeping in time with the other ringers or gaining insights on handling tips and techniques.

Celia gained her first experience of leading up and down in peal, with Sue also practicing leading up and down a peal of six, with a stander.

Our helpers also got a chance to ring a plain course of Cambridge Minor before the final lower and obligatory team photo.

A really productive practice, with everyone making good progress. A big thank you to our superb helpers and to Sue for hosting us again!

I guess we’ll need to hold another such practice later this year for those who couldn’t come to today’s session.

Branch Practice Tuesday 21st June at Bicester

On the longest day thirteen ringers went to the branch practice at Bicester, where after raising the bells we rang a number of courses of plain hunt on nine, followed by call changes on ten, then some plain courses of Grandsire doubles on the front six.

After some plain hunt on five on the front six a touch of Grandsire doubles was attempted, followed by some better struck plain hunt on five on the back six, with the team appreciating the weightier bells.

A reasonably struck short touch of Grandsire triples was completed, followed by more call changes on ten, a bobbed course of plain Bob triples called by Emma, then well struck courses of plain hunt on seven, finishing with lowering the back eight.

Another full programme!

the next branch practice is on Wednesday 6th July at Launton. See you there!

Branch Practice at Middleton Stoney 8th June 2022

Eleven ringers from seven towers came to tonight’s branch practice at Middleton Stoney. The weather was playing tricks, with blazing sunshine originally forecast, then heavy downpours from 7pm, but at Middleton the sun came out and a rainbow was spotted!

It was good to see Colin, our steward and his son Simon. After ringing up we had some plain hunt and plain courses of Grandsire to get used to the bells. We took a short break to give Philip and another from Middleton a first go at ringing. Graham called a touch of plain Bob doubles and Steve a touch of Grandsire doubles for Julie to treble to. There was no stopping Simon who put himself inside the the Bob doubles band, although a few words were had with dad!

After a touch of Bob minor called by Colin, we had another break for handling, then more Grandsire for Christine to ring no. 2 to. After a couple of attempts to ring a touch of Stedman Doubles we settled for a plain course before lowering.

Team photo time at the end in the beautiful surroundings. Next branch practice is Tuesday 21st June at Bicester. See you there!

The team outside the tower
Changeable weather!

Steve Vickars

Bicester Branch Platinum Jubilee Weekend Ringing Round up

As expected, there was plenty of ringing going on around the Bicester Branch to help celebrate the Platinum Jubilee weekend between 2nd and 5th June. Below are some highlights.

Teams of five and six turned out to ring out at Caversfield and Bicester on Thursday and Friday morning, to start the Jubilee celebrations. Thanks to Pinder for the photos.

Caversfield team selfie
The Bicester band

Five ringers joined Sue in celebrating the festive weekend on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Bletchingdon. Thanks to Dave for taking the photos.

Outside the porch
The team in action

On Friday, eleven ringers rang at Islip, including a visitor from Inverness. Several went the extra mile wearing special costumes and hats for the occasion. Photo courtesy of Ricky.

All dressed up at Islip

Islip ringers also supported celebratory ringing at nearby towers on Thursday, including at Charlton-on-Otmoor, Weston and Woodeaton.

The team at Weston on-the-Green rang on Thursday evening and before the Sunday morning Jubilee Service. Thanks to Mandy for the photo

The team at Weston

On Saturday the sun came out in the afternoon for the Kirtlington Jubilee Picnic. A team of eight ringers from three local towers started off the proceedings, finishing with Mandy’s excellent sloe gin. One of the team, Caroline was also the chief organizer of the picnic. Thanks to Caroline’s friend and David for the photos.

The team from above
Cheers!

Five ringers started the celebrations at Ludgershall on Friday (photo courtesy of Jan).

The team at Ludgershall

Hilary, Linda and Christine rang the three bells at Chesterton  in celebration on Thursday and Sunday.

Chesterton’s “Three Musketeers”

A team of five turned out on Sunday afternoon to ring the bells at Middleton Stoney, with the no. 2 stay recently repaired, before the afternoon service.

Slightly further afield, one of our ringers called a Quarter Peal of Bob Minor at Woodstock on Friday afternoon and another helped out at Tackley on Saturday.

QP team at Woodstock

Steve Vickars

Branch practice 26th May at Weston

Fifteen ringers from five towers came to tonight’s special practice at Weston,
hosted by Gerald, Mandy and Andy. Nick, a new ringer, was also there to practice rounds. Jeremy our branch ringing master was in charge, but we were also joined by Celia, Richard, Graham, Alison and Laurence who gave great support.

We started with a number of plain courses of Grandsire doubles, giving Sally and Julie a turn on the treble and two, Mandy, Judith and Gerald inside. Noting that Mandy rang the four inside for the first time, well done!

We rang a touch of Bob doubles for Julie to treble to, as well as a touch of Grandsire doubles for Graham. After plain courses of Bob doubles for Judith and Gerald inside Alison called a touch of Stedman Doubles with Graham affected.

After more rounds for Nick we rang a touch of Bob Minor with Jeremy, Celia and Richard, called by Alison and then more plain courses of Grandsire Doubles for Sue, Mandy and Gerald. And finally a very reasonable lower on six, led by Graham with Mandy, Judith, Andy and Gerald in the team.

Finally we caught the late evening light to take a group photo with our two mascots. Another full practice and some prime rings, which was great!

Next branch practice is on Wednesday 8th June at Middleton Stoney, hopefully with their 2nd stay mended.

Steve Vickars

Branch Practice 4th May at Ambrosden

Thirteen came to last night’s branch practice at Ambrosden, the second time the bells have rung there in less than a week.

The practice was led by Richard, and helped by our steward, Colin, and we had a good number of strong ringers, including Laurence, Emma, Steve, Celia and Jeremy enabling us to ring triples and major as well as plain hunt on seven and eight and call changes on eight.

We rang a couple of plain courses of Bob major, a plain course of Bob triples, with Anne trebling and Graham inside, a plain course of Stedman triples and a touch of Grandsire Triples.

The ring is a heavy, albeit easygoing eight, but take a bit of getting used to. Our striking improved during the evening. Towards the end we had a set of call changes on eight with Gerald and Anne in the band.

We finally lowered on eight, with Simon taking the tenor. There was a moment at the final chime, where Simon, with help from dad Colin, tried to eke out a final bong, but to no avail.

Next branch practice is on the 26th May at Weston, I believe, where Gerald will host us ringing doubles and minor.

Thirteen came to tonight’s branch practice at Ambrosden, the second time the bells have rung there in less than a week.

The practice was led by Richard, and helped by our steward, Colin, and we had a good number of strong ringers, including Laurence and Emma, enabling us to ring triples and major as well as plain hunt on seven and eight and call changes on eight.

We rang a couple of plain courses of Bob major, a plain course of Bob triples, with Anne trebling and Graham inside, a plain course of Stedman triples and a touch of Grandsire Triples.

The ring is a heavy, albeit easygoing eight, and take a bit of getting used to. Our striking improved during the evening. Towards the end we had a set of call changes on eight with Gerald Bushby and Anne inside.

We finally lowered on eight, with Simon taking the tenor. There was a moment at the final chime, where Simon, with help from dad Colin, tried to eke out a final bong, but to no avail.

Next branch practice is on the 26th May at Weston, I believe, where Gerald will host us ringing doubles and minor.

The team at Ambrosden

Steve Vickars

Surprise Minor Practice at Bletchingdon 1st May

Nine came to this afternoon’s surprise minor practice at Bletchingdon, where after a delayed start we rang up and attempted a couple of plain courses of Cambridge Minor with Michael and Jeremy inside, before tweaking the band and with reinforcements we were able to give both at least one successful plain course inside.

Richard, Celia’s husband, wanted to ring Norwich Surprise minor, and an attempt was made, getting 1 and a half leads in. After Hugh arrived, we were able to go again and got within a few blows of completing a full course.

After more plain courses of Cambridge we attempted a plain course of Primrose, then finished with a Bob course of Cambridge before lowering and finishing in Queens.

A good practice, which was much appreciated. Big Thank yous to Laurence, Emma, Malcolm and Clare.

See you hopefully this Wednesday at Ambrosden.

Steve Vickars

1.05.2022

Bicester Branch Outing 23rd April 2022

On Saturday we had a great day out to the towers south of Carterton: Langford, Broadwell, Black Bourton, Clanfield and Aston. This was our first outing since 2019 and a welcome opportunity to ring at some new towers. We enjoyed a fine variety of bells, from the slightly challenging Langford ring, through the twitchy Clanfield eight, the hefty but musical Aston bells to the easy-going rings at Black Bourton and Broadwell. All the churches are distinctly beautiful and well worth a visit in their own right. We were also well cared for at the Plough, Alvescot.

Langford, our first tower, has a Saxon tower with distinctive architecture and a ring of six accessed up a broad spiral staircase. These were until recently very odd-struck and consequently were very difficult to ring well in peal, but go better now. The treble is close to a metal ladder, so our less-experienced ringers kept away. For the morning session, we were joined by Hugh Deam and Judy, helping us ring rounds, call changes and a touch of Grandsire doubles, which we almost completed.

Langford tower
Langford chancel

The church at Broadwell is a beautiful example of a Knights Templar Church, with several distinctive features. The bells were until last year unringable due to a poor installation at the end of the 19th Century, but are now a delightfully easy-going ring of eight after a re-hang and augmentation, including two bells from the Keltek Trust and a newly-founded treble. We managed Plain Hunt on Seven with those ringing the tenor finding it incredibly light-set.

Broadwell
Ringing at Broadwell

We stopped for lunch at the Plough, Alvescot, where we enjoyed wonderful service and good food. According to Julie, it used to be Gary Barlow’s local, so he obviously has good taste. At lunch we were joined by Dinah and by Sue Paine’s daughter, Alice and grandson Kit, who showed boundless enthusiasm at all the afternoon towers.

Our first of the afternoon was Black Bourton, a light ring of six, which were rehung in 2017; the ringing chamber is in a small room adjoining the back of the church, with the door needing to be closed before starting ringing, rather like a doctor’s consulting room. This tower was definitely the favourite of our newer members, and where a number of “prime rings” were achieved, including Sue Carter ringing inside to Grandsire Doubles, Julie trebling to it and also ringing down in peal very nicely. We also rang a nice touch of Bob Minor, called by Richard.

Black Bourton and tower

Onto Clanfield, another pretty church and a nice ring of eight, however, several of our group found the twitchy ropes quite challenging, but we did manage a couple of courses of Little Bob Minor, a first for Jeremy. Another highlight was Sue ringing alongside her grandson, keeping the tradition going!

I have subsequently found out from Tony Crabtree that the rope guide at Clanfield is rather low and is one of two towers in the Witney & Woodstock branch that are candidates for raising the rope guide to a more practical height.

Clanfield tower
Kit leading down

Our final tower was Aston, the most recent of the towers, dating to 1836. The ring is a heavier six, and posed some challenges to our group, but the back bells make a wonderful resonating sound, which we exploited with a nicely-struck touch of Grandsire Doubles. Ian who welcomed us, also joined in the ringing and took the group photo at the end.

Aston tower
Ringing a touch
the team at Aston

Steve Vickars

24 April 2022

Branch Practice 4th April at Kirtlington

Fifteen came to tonight’s Branch Practice at Kirtlington, including a warm welcome to Katie Lane, Guild Master and to Colin, our Steward. We also welcomed Malcolm from Woodstock, returning from injury as well as our own Charlie Bates, back from Uni for Easter.

After ringing up we kicked off with Plain Hunt on five for Dinah, Mandy and Christine, then switched the team to include Gerald, Sue Carter and Sally.

Then onto plain courses of Bob doubles for Sue M, Gerald and Judith inside, with Sue C trebling at least for one, then some plain courses of Grandsire for Mandy on three, with good striking.

Next a touch of Grandsire Doubles for Graham and Charlie inside, supported by Katie and Colin, called by Malcolm, with Judith trebling and Simon covering, rather nicely struck, then more plain hunt for Sally on four and Christine on five.

As we had a good turnout we rang up the back two and rang a number of courses of plain hunt on seven, giving just about everyone a go on an inside bell, with Judith covering.

Our last piece was a plain course of plain Bob Triples called by Colin and with Gerald making a good go at covering on tenor, before lowering all eight in peal. A good practice!

We just had time to take a team photo, below.

Steve Vickars