Chilly Practice at Ambrosden

On Friday 3rd Feb, 8 intrepid ringers (from 4 towers) braved temperatures of -2C (-5C when we went home) to ring the heaviest bells in the branch at Ambrosden. We decided to stick to the back 6 (which would keep us warm!) and rang touches of Plain Bob Doubles, plain courses of Grandsire, a touch of Plain Bob Minor and a touch of Rev. Canterbury Doubles. Due to the temperatures the ropes were very slippery (or maybe our hands were too shiny/dry), and blood was shed on the tenor rope (that’s the second time that has happened on there to my knowledge.. at least it wasn’t me this time!), but it was a useful practice and Ali is making good progress with Grandsire.

The vicar was looking forward to hearing the bells again (as Ambrosden only have one practising ringer now – sadly unable to be with us), but the sound of the bells did tempt a former ringer to pop in to say hello, but we couldn’t tempt Martin to ring – maybe next time!

Of course, any visit to Ambrosden is not complete without a trip to the Turners Arms which had a lovely fire to warm us up.

The next practice is a special practice at Islip on Tues 21st, just before the branch AGM – hopefully see some of you at one or both of those events soon.

First practice of 2012

Happy New Year!

The first Branch Practice of 2012 was at Islip on Tues 3rd Jan – the first day back to work for many.

10 ringers (3 Islip, 2 Bicester, 2 Church Hanborough, 1 Woodeaton, 2 Charlton) banded together to ring Plain Hunt on 7, Grandsire Doubles (plain courses and a touch), Grandsire Triples (plain courses)… twice in less than a month!!!, Plain Bob Doubles (a touch), and we even managed a (rather shaky) Kent TB Minor!

Of course, no Islip practice would be right without a trip to the pub afterwards :9

During the evening there was a question about the Branch Outing date.. whilst I haven’t got a date yet, any preference for where to go anyone? (Ideas on an email to the if you have a preference.. I do have some ideas but happy to cater for special requests).

We perhaps need to start thinking of what celebrations we will (as a branch) do for the Queen’s Jubilee too… quarters at some towers perhaps? Thoughts on a postcard…. 🙂

Hopefully see many of you at the Special Practice @ Bicester on the 16th..Plain Bob Minor & St Simon’s Doubles.

December on Otmoor (2011)

On Wednesday 7th December 7 locals from Charlton on Otmoor were joined by 4 others from around the branch for the December branch practice. We rang plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, Plain Hunt on 6, a touch of Plain Bob Doubles, and finished with a touch of Plain Bob Minor. With some help a couple of the locals tried a few things they weren’t used to, and seemed pleased with making some progress.

For those not at the practice, there was bellringing on BBC4 to watch – Come Bell Ringing with Charles Hazelwood can be viewed on BBC iPlayer until 17th Dec – a great explanation of the art of change ringing, bell casting and tuning, handbell ringing, carillons and an experiment in a new piece of music to play on church bells – well worth watching if you have an hour.

The last practice of 2011 will be on Tues 20th Dec at Islip – St Nicholas Doubles and Grandsire Triples… and maybe some Mince Pies & Sausage Rolls.

Birthday branch practice

11 ringers came to Bicester on Monday 3rd Oct to help celebrate my 40th birthday (the next day), and what a start… two plain courses of Grandsire Triples that was really well struck and was applauded at the end! If only all branch practices started like that!!! We also rang call changes on the 10 (a rare event these days) and plain hunt on 7 before concentrating on the more regular methods people are working on – Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Minor. We did try Cambridge Minor, but alas it was not to be, despite several attempts.

Following the practice most of the band joined me in The Swan for drinks :9

A big thanks to all those who came and make the evening so enjoyable.


Kirtlington 7

Friday 5th August was the Kirtlington branch practice. Unfortunately there isn’t a local band, but 7 branch members came over to remind the village that the church has a lovely set of bells, some dating back to the 1700s!

We rang Plain Bob Doubles & Grandsire Doubles. We then had a visit from some non-ringing who were staying in the hotel, heard the bells and came to investigate. We demonstrated with Plain Bob Minor and explained what we do – maybe they’ll be interested enough to go to their local towers when they get back to Kent and Australia!

We eventually managed a touch of Plain Bob Minor before successfully ringing a touch of Revere Canterbury Doubles which we having been working up to recently – satisfying to be making some progress – well done everyone 🙂

Recent lull

The most recent Branch Practice (Stratton Audley) and Special Practice (Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles at Bicester) have been poorly attended (3 and 4 people respectively). Whilst this is disappointing for those who turned up and were unable to ring, we must accept this is a voluntary hobby.

I would like to encourage ringing readers to come to Kirtlington on Friday 5th August – a lovely 8 that doesn’t get rung much these days as there isn’t a local band. Hopefully see many of you there – visitors very welcome!

Anthony Cole
Joint Ringing Master

June Branch Practice

On a lovely sunny evening in Middleton Park the Branch Practice at Middleton Stoney came as a surprise to the local band who had not realised it was a branch practice, but together with 10 ringers from 4 other branch towers we rang lots of plain hunt, Grandsire Doubles, Plain Bob Minor and Reverse Canterbury.

May triples practice cancelled

Due to a clash with something on in the church the May Triples practice at Bicester was reluctantly cancelled. We were only told less than 3 hours before the practice but we did contact as many as we could, so hope that no-one made a wasted trip.

In place of it (with just a select few Bicester ringers) we held an impromptu handbell practice in Caversfield, ringing tunes and attempting plain hunt on 6 (more practice required!!). Whilst we were all very rusty, fun was had by all (plus a few beers helped the evening along) 🙂

May Branch Practice

13 ringers from 7 towers met at Islip on Tuesday evening for the Branch Practice. Ringing focused on plain courses of Plain Bob Doubles, and call changes on 8, but we did manage plain courses of Grandsire Triples, and Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Bob Doubles – we shall perhaps try the bobs in Reverse Canterbury next month – Kathryn admitted she knew them so just need couple more to learn them 🙂 Visitors from Yarnton noted at the end that it was a very useful practice for them.

Broken stay at Brill!

11 members turned out to Brill on Monday 4th April for the Branch Practice. 6 towers were represented. We rang rounds, plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, a touch of Plain Bob Doubles, and a couple of plain courses of Plain Bob Minor. The bells caught a few ringers out, but sounded really nice. Unfortunately there was a little mishap at the end as we set up – pride and one stay hurt, but nothing that cannot be fixed. Looking forward to the Branch Outing on Saturday.