Branch Practice Middleton Stoney 6th June 2018

A good turnout for Wednesday’s branch practice on a golden evening in the Middleton Stoney Park.

Although we missed the Vickars (enjoying their holiday in Dubrovnik!) Steve Cameron jetted in from Japan to join us and Kathryn returned from the US!

13 ringers (Teresa, Anne, Jean, Richard, Jan, Gareth, Eric, Hilary, Rosemary, Jan, and Linda) from 6 towers came so we were able to practice a variety of methods including Grandsire and Plain Bob and an attempt at a touch of Plain Bob Minor.

Middleton’s bells are a bit challenging but they sounded lovely enough to call two visitors who came to see what we were doing and stayed to listen.

Kathryn Grant

Branch Practice Piddington 2nd May 2018

Five ringers from four towers came to tonight’s Branch Practice at Piddington, where we were met by Morwen, one of the Piddington ringers, who helped us ring up, but wanted the visitors to demonstrate their prowess.

We started with an aborted attempt of Grandsire Doubles, followed by a successful touch of Plain Bob Doubles. Next a couple of plain courses of Stedman, improving in the second course, before we returned to a successful touch of Grandsire, called by Jeremy.

For variety, we then rang a touch of Reverse Canterbury Doubles, Anne unaffected, before a final successful touch of Grandsire and ringing down, with Morwen on 2.

Memorial made from WW1 propellor
Memorial made from WW1 propellor

Branch Practice Stratton Audley 4th April 2018

At a showery evening showery four ringers at a time gathered for the April Branch Practice at Stratton Audley. Perhaps it was the combination of inclement weather, a much publicised UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match, or the challenging bells at Stratton Audley (not so challenging as some might have you believe), that numbers were low.

The first shift included our Ringing and Deputy Ringing Masters, Ann Martin and Alison from Stratton Audley, ringing Plain Hunt for Alison. I joined the group just before Alison went home. We then proved that even four can have fun at methods by firstly ringing a few plain courses of Plain Bob Minimus and then Stedman on four (Treble hunting up, making 6 blows behind, down to lead again; the other three bells do the front work, followed by 6 blows behind), with everyone having at least one turn on a working bell.

Good luck to Ann and Ellie who will be going on the Radley course Saturday 7th to do Plain Bob Minor.

Our next event is the Branch Outing on 21st April, starting at 10am at Drayton. Hope to see you then!

Steve Vickars

Branch AGM Practice 5 March 2018

St Edburg's, Bicester

14 ringers from 8 towers attended the ringing practice following the Branch AGM on 5th March, including Colin, our area ODG steward.

After ringing up the back 8, at Helen’s request we rang call changes and Plain Hunt on 9, tenor covering.

After a couple of plain courses of Grandsire Triples we turned our attention to a number of plain courses and touches of doubles, comprising:

  • Two courses of Plain Bob Doubles, clearly called by Ellie, ringing from 2
  • Plain courses of Grandsire Doubles for Helen.
  • Plain Courses of Reverse Canterbury Doubles, with Stephen on 5

Getting more ambitious, we started a touch of Reverse St Bartholomew Doubles (plain courses are same as Grandsire Doubles Singles, Bobs cause a Plain Bob lead end). However, the band was thrown into confusion by the bobs (the work occurs immediately after the bob), so some more theory work is needed here.

Finally, we rang some more Plain Hunt Caters, before ringing down the back 8, finishing  quite nicely.

Hope to see lots of you at the Special Practice at Bletchingdon on 14th March.

Branch Practice 5th February 2018 Kirtlington

St Mary's, Kirtlington

A more select seven came to Monday’s Branch Practice, including Helen, who had practice time beforehand and got a reasonable amount of rope time during the group session. Helen’s later turns on rounds with a team of 4 were definitely showing improved control.
Derek from Kidlington also came and had a good amount of practice, led by Jeremy and Richard. 
We continued with Plain Bob Doubles for Judith and Sue, fresh from their Quarter Peal on Sunday, Derek covering on tenor. We also rang a few plain courses of Grandsire doubles before trying out Cloister Doubles, which went quite well.

We also had Derek ringing call changes with named pairs to swap, to build awareness of which bell to follow, before we rang down in Peal.

Branch practice 6th December 2017 Charlton on Otmoor

Despite (or perhaps because) it being St Nicholas Day, 11 ringers from six towers turned out for the last Branch Practice (excepting the final Xmas practice) of 2017 at Charlton on Otmoor last night. Amongst us were “el Presidente” Willie  Haynes – recovering from a recent cataract operation, Jeremy and Kathryn as well as Roy, visting Bicester from Washington DC for a few weeks.

After ringing up we had a few courses of Plain Hunt, followed by plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, striking improving as courses progressed, with Ally and Gareth inside, Roy trebling with guidance from Jeremy.

Our numbers and capability were increased by the arrival of Richard and Jan from Ludgershall, which meant we could ring some more challenging things.

We rang a touch of Plain Bob Doubles, Gareth on 4 unaffected, and Stephen on 5, affected, followed by a touch of Plain Bob Minor, Ann trebling, Steve on 5, called by Richard.

At Kathryn’s request, we next turned to plain courses of Stedman doubles, including the correspondent’s first attempt at ringing it on 4, helped by Willie. Not a disaster.

We then range a few plain courses of Grandsire again, before ringing a reasonably struck touch of Grandsire, featuring three bobs and six singles, called by Richard.

Finally, after ringing down in peal a number of the team retired to the Crown opposite.

Hope to see lots of you at the final Branch event of the year at Kirtlington on the 18th, where we will ring in a shortened practice, followed by apres-bell (but in which handbells may feature) at Caroline’s house nearby.

If not, have a very merry Christmans and a happy New Year.

Branch Practice Bletchingdon 1st November 2017

Nine ringers from seven towers came to Wednesday night’s branch practice.

After ringing up we warmed up with some plain courses of Grandsire doubles– Ernie could not be tempted to try a different bell from 3, but will try 4 or 5 next week.

We then rang a number of plain courses of Plain Bob doubles with Judith on 2, improving each time.

Next we rang an acceptably struck 120-change touch of Grandsire doubles, called by Jeremy (5), with Ann 4, Steve 3, Kathryn 2, Sue on treble.

We also rang a 120-change touch of Plain Bob doubles Kathryn 2, Jeremy 3, Ann 4, Steve 5, Judith on tenor.

For something slightly different the team attempted a 60-change touch (PBPBPB) of Plain Bob doubles, Anne on 4 making bob and Long 5ths. We had to abort the first attempt due to a bob called at the wrong point. The 2nd attempt went much better.

Finally the team rang more Grandsire plain courses before ringing down.

Next practice is on 20th November at Bicester. Hope to see lots of you there.

Branch Practice Mon 2nd October 2017

Eleven ringers from seven towers came to tonight’s branch practice at Kirtlington, including Willie  our president, Jeremy Adams, ringing master and Kathryn Grant​ secretary,  the band further strengthened by the arrival of Richard Hazeldine.

Ron Burgess​ also came with Derek, who started ringing only 7 weeks ago and is now ringing rounds and call changes with teams of six and eight. We also included Derek in a reducing rounds exercise, which practices standing at hand stroke as well as pulling off ahead of heavier bells when building back up to full rounds.

We rang for our first method Plain Bob doubles plain courses, Sue on 3, Judith on tenor, both nicely rung.

Richard called a number of mini- touches of Plain Bob Minor (3 consecutive bobs), in which the lightest 3 just rang Plain Hunt on 6, while the heaviest rang alternate 5/6 down, 5/6 up and made bob. Judith and Sue alternated on treble, Ellie ringing 3.

As Ellie ​ will be ringing her first quarter this weekend, we rang a touch of Bob Doubles, Ellie on 3, Judith on tenor.

We were then encouraged to ring Plain hunt on 7, then on 8, albeit a bit crunchy, then for Stu ​ we rang Little Bob Minor, Judith trebling.

Finally, a ‘boy-band’ of Willie, Jeremy, Ron, Richard, Steve and Stu rang a plain course of Bob Minor on the back 6 before we rang all 8 down in Peal.

All in all a great practice with something for everyone. Best of luck to Ellie in her Quarter on Sunday.

Well done and thanks to all for attending. Hopefully see lots of you at this month’s special practice on 17th October at Islip.

Branch Practice 5th September 2017 at Launton

On a dark damp September evening 13 ringers from four towers, including this year’s striking competition champions, Ludgershall, and Branch president William Haynes, attended this month’s branch practice at Launton.

The ringing chamber is an intimate space, accessed by a steep flight of metal steps, made just that little bit more exciting by the rain.
Nevertheless spirits were lifted by some good striking of plain courses of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles, a set of call changes and a touch of Grandsire Doubles called by Jan.

After some more plain courses of Grandsire the team had a reasonable go at a plain course of Plain Bob Minor, James Carter trebling and to conclude the evening, a few attempts at plain courses of Stedman Doubles, with at least one course successfully negotiated, before ringing down in Peal.

This month’s special practice is at Bletchingdon on 20th September. Hope to see lots of you there.

Steve Vickars

Stratton Audley practice April 2017

On Wednesday 5th April Stratton Audley welcomed 11 branch ringers from 5 branch towers.

Despite trepidation from some, we did manage to ring the bells fairly well once folk got used to the ring springy ropes. We started with a touch Grandsire Doubles and then rang plain hunt on 5. Next was a touch of Plain Bob Doubles followed by more plain hunt. Bill managed a touch of Grandsire Doubles later in the evening and we finished with two (rather well struck) plain courses of Reverse Canterbury before ringing down and heading to the pub. During the evening there was a discussion about the possibility of one person ringing two bells (not sure who brought that up, but Jeremy declined so I stepped up and showed that it was possible, and thus there wasn’t anything wrong with the bells). A video will be posted if Debbs can get it to me!

The next branch event is the Branch Outing on Sat 22nd April. Do please come along if you can – promises to be a good day of ringing in the Witney & Woodstock branch – see Branch Outing details for details, and please let Jeremy know if you are coming so he can book a place for your lunch.

Anthony Cole