Branch Practice at Launton 2nd July

An astonishing nineteen ringers from six towers attended tonight’s Branch Practice at Launton, on a lovely high summer evening, no doubt taking the benefit of the good weather and extended light. We had a full complement of branch officers, including el Presidente Willie Haynes, Richard and Jeremy, Teresa, Kathryn and Sally.

After ringing up, some touches of Grandsire Doubles were rung, followed by Plain Bob Doubles for Sue, Jean and Anne.

A few plain courses of Cambridge Surprise Minor were attempted, but we were unfortunately not quite strong enough to get through them, despite Richard’s valiant efforts at putting the band right.

A course of Stedman Doubles, then rounds and plain Bob Doubles for less experienced members, then more plain courses of Grandsire Doubles for Jean, Sue and Anne.

We then rang a plain course of Kent Minor with Steve, Kathryn, Jan, Teresa and Andy then to finish we rang a touch of Grandsire Doubles, with Sue trebling, supported by Richard.

Launton Tower
Some ringers enjoying the summer evening
Architectural shot

Branch Practice 8th May 2019 at Middleton Stoney

All Saints, Middleton Stoney

Thirteen ringers from seven towers and two branches attended last night’s Branch Practice at Middleton Stoney, including our joint ringing masters Jeremy and Richard and a welcome guest appearance from Charles and Joyce from Milton, Abingdon.

Local tower ringers Jen, Jane, Hilary, Rosemarie and Eric were also well represented and got several courses of Plain Hunt, Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles supported by the other ringers.  Jean also managed a couple of touches of Grandsire Doubles with Jeremy helping. Anne rang in a plain course of Stedman, a touch of Bob Minor and trebled to a plain course of St Clements Minor.

The weather was actually better than earlier forecast, so an opportunity was taken to take a few scenic shots – see below.

The next practice is a Special Practice at Bicester with Little Bob Minor and Grandsire Triples on the menu. Hope to see you there!

Branch Practice at Weston on the Green 7th February 2019

Eleven ringers from six towers attended last night’s Branch Practice at Weston on the Green, the first for several years. Amongst the team were four local ringers, Mandy, Gerald and Andrew being recruits from last year. Officers were also well represented, with both Ringing Masters, el Presidente Willie Haynes, Vice-President, Secretary and your correspondent.

We started off with rounds and call changes with Mandy, Gerald and Andrew, then a number of courses of Plain Hunt on 5 for Andrew and Gerald, who have just started learning it at other towers.

Next up was a nicely-struck touch of Grandsire Doubles, including Sally, Kathryn, Teresa, Richard, Steve and Jeremy, then another set of call changes for the Weston Ringers.

Feeling encouraged, we bravely attempted a couple of courses of Stedman Doubles, including Willie, however, Willie’s hands were suffering somewhat, so we had to abort.

After a final set of call changes, with improving striking, we rang down and a number of us went to the pub.

Please note that the Branch AGM is at Kirtlington at 6pm on 16th February. Hope to see lots of you there!

Steve Vickars

Branch Practice 8th January 2019 at Bicester

Twenty-two ringers from nine towers and three branches attended tonight’s first Branch Practice of 2019 at Bicester. Officers of Branch and Guild were well represented, with Ringing Master, Deputy Ringing Master and Secretary; we were also honoured to welcome Katie Lane our Guild Ringing Master, as well as Colin, our area Steward plus four other experienced ringers from Adderbury, who are currently having work on their tower.

We started with rounds and call changes on nine, including Gus, Sue, Fay and Chris, followed by Plain Hunt on 7, for Sue and a first for Gus.

With a very capable group of ringers we were able to practice a number of touches of Plain Bob Triples with Kathryn, Ellie, Ian and Jan, a nice touch of Stedman Triples, called by Richard, as well as plain courses of Plain Bob Major and Plain Bob Caters (nine working bells).

For Ann and Ellie we rang a touch of Plain Bob Minor and we also had time to return to Plain Hunt on 7 for Gus, Sue and Anne, before ringing down the back eight in peal.

Sadly this was Ellie’s last Branch Practice with us before she moves up to Yorkshire. Best of luck to you, Ellie! Come back and ring with us again soon!

Next Branch Practice is on Thursday 7th February at Weston on the Green. Hope you can come and support the new band of ringers there.

Happy New Year to you all!

Steve Vickars

Branch Special Practice and Christmas Social at Kirtlington 17th December 2018

Branch Special Practice and Christmas Social at Kirtlington 17th December

A very impressive nineteen ringers plus a very young future ringer – Rowan – turned out for Monday’s last Branch Practice and Christmas Social at Kirtlington last night, followed by our Christmas social, superbly hosted by Caroline , ably assisted by Louise who made a very welcome return.
The ringers came from eight different towers, including Andy and Gerald from Weston, Will and Abbie (with Rowan) from Ambrosden, Richard, Jan, Kathryn , Sue , Rosemarie and Brenda , plus our regular Kirtlington and Bletchingdon ringers.

We rang a number of sets of call changes, including a set with Charlie leading, plus a go at “putting out the fire” at Brenda’s request. For the more experienced ringers we rang a touch of Plain Bob Minor, Will trebling.
As seasonal light relief we tried “Jingle Bells” on the front five, which was “interesting”.
For Sue we rang Plain Hunt on 5 and at Andy and Gerald’s request we rang reducing rounds and then a couple of goes of Churchyard Bob as introduction to Plain Hunt on 5.

Back at Caroline’s we enjoyed a fine selection of party food from the village shop, mulled wine and other beverages, then by popular demand, a medley of popular Christmas Carols on the hand bells, some parts being recognisable.

Video footage  taken by Brenda and Judith reliving the experiences and distinctive hand bell ringing is on the Facebook group post:

That concludes ringing at Kirtlington for 2018, but there is practice at Bletchingdon on 19th December, and ringing for Bletchingdon carol service on 23rd. Islip will be ringing in the New Year on 31st January (contact Kathryn for details) and I intend to get a band for ringing at Kirtlington on 1st January 12 pm. The next Branch Practice will be at 7.30pm on 8th January at Bicester. Hope to see lots of you there!

Thank you for your support and great progress by so many this year. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, ringing New Year!

Branch Practice 6th December 2018 at Charlton on Otmoor

Eight ringers from six towers came to tonight’s Penultimate Branch Practice of 2018 at Charlton on Otmoor, including a warm welcome to Charles and Joyce Morrish from Old North Berks Branch as well as Jeremy our Ringing Master and Teresa. We were also joined by el Presidente Willie Haynes.

After ringing up, the team rang some plain courses of Bob Doubles, then plain courses of Bob Minor with Ann and Teresa inside.

We then rang a 100 –  change touch of Bob Doubles with Stephen on four, successfully completing it at the second attempt.

More Plain Bob Doubles, with Gareth ringing observation on 5, with Jeremy standing and then a touch of Grandsire Doubles, with Gareth on Treble, which went reasonably.

We then rang  a touch of Plain Bob Minor with Ann, Joyce and Jeremy inside, called by Charles, which also went quite well.

Finally we rang a touch of Grandsire Doubles with Gareth ringing half-hunt on 5, your correspondent standing and calling, before we rang down in peal. A pretty good practice with plenty for everyone.

Don’t forget that the final Branch Practice is on 17th December at Kirtlington, including festive food, drink and handbells at a local ringer’s house after the shortened practice. Hope to see lots of you there!

Also please note that places at the teaching handling course at Kirtlington on 16th February are filling up fast, so do get your applications in quickly!

Steve Vickars

Branch Practice 7th November 2018 at Bletchingdon

A numerous eighteen ringers from seven towers and three branches encompassing a wide range of experience, came to Wednesday’s Branch Practice at Bletchingdon,.

For two of the branch’s recent recruits: Sally Cross and Jane we rang Full Pull and Stand, Reducing Rounds, Call Changes and Kaleidoscope, practicing for some of the ringing activities this coming weekend. We saw some good Full Pull and Stand and call changes, while for the Reducing Rounds exercise there were some slightly over-eager ringers on the lighter bells, but one to practice in the future.

We rang Plain Hunt on 5 and Plain Courses of Grandsire Doubles for Sue Carter, Rosemarie, Rosemary, Ernie, Hilary and Jean. Some reasonable striking was achieved, especially as a number of ringers had little experience of ringing the method on their bell.

With a view to upcoming Quarter Peals, we rang touches of Plain Bob Doubles for Sue M, Judith and Ann. Nora and Tim also rang inside and Rosemarie trebled to one of the touches, assisted by Kathryn. A further touch of Grandsire was attempted with Ann, Diana, Kathryn and Jeremy inside, Sally Wale trebling.

We finally rang down in peal, a number of our ringers showing progress also with that.

A busy weekend for most if not all ringers is coming up with the Ringing Remembers and Ring Out for Peace commemorations. The very best of luck to all involved.

Steve Vickars

Branch Practice at Ludgershall 3 August

The 5 bells of Ludgershall attracted 16 ringers from 6 towers for the monthly branch practice. Several ringers were missing – on holiday, suffering from the heat or celebrating wedding anniversaries! Although Richard Haseldine is rather hidden in this photo – taken to record the Cliff East shield before it (possibly) moves from last year’s winning team – he and Jeremy Adams ensured all ringers had plenty of practice – whether call changes, Stedman, Grandsire and even a touch of Reverse Canterbury.

Let’s hope we get as many, if not more, for the Striking Competition and barbecue on Saturday 1 September!

Branch Practice 6th July 2018 at Caversfield

Eight ringers from four towers attended last night’s branch practice at Caversfield where we also welcomed back Anthony Cole, Sarah and Sam Cole from Bicester Branch’s Scottish outpost, making a flying visit to the area.

We rang some plain courses of Grandsire Doubles with Jean, Simon, Judith, Ellie and Jane, then plain courses of bob doubles.

As our band had been strengthened somewhat by our Scottish exiles, we were able to ring a number of well-struck touches of Grandsire, one with Ellie Seddon inside, Plain Bob Doubles with Judith Vickars at 3 and Ellie on 4, and plain courses of Reverse Canterbury doubles.

Our final method was a couple of courses of St Simon’s bob doubles, which improved as we went on.

Great to see the Coles’ again. We learn that a mini-ring of 8 is on order for installation at their house in Forres. Perhaps an idea for a future Branch outing, I think?

the team at Caversfield

Branch Practice 18 June Kirtlington 2018

10 ringers from 5 towers came to tonight’s  Branch Practice at Kirtlington, including Helen for some more practice at ringing up and down, very close now to raising and lowering all by herself.
We welcomed Rosemarie from Bletchingdon/Yarnton to her first experience at ringing Kirtlington’s bells, and benefitted from the experience of el presidente William Haynes, Tim Hillsdon, Teresa and Sue Carter from Islip, Stephen Cameron, Derek and Judith.
On tonight’s menu was Plain Hunt and Grandsire Doubles.

Derek, Rosemarie and Sue took turns ringing treble or 2 to Plain Hunt on 5, Derek taking a turn also at tenor.
After some call changes, called down by Teresa for Helen, we had some excellent cake and biscuits (left over from yesterday’s focussed practice), then progressed to ringing plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, Sue, Rosemarie and Derek taking turns to treble. All did very creditable striking. Well done!

After an attempted touch of Plain Bob Doubles, we did some Kaleidoscope dodging practice for Helen, Sue and Derek, before giving Sue, Rosemarie and Derek turns at ringing Plain Hunt on 6. Again, some very acceptable striking.

Another good practice, many thanks again to tonight’s helpers.

Steve Vickars