Big Bob?

This years Guild 10 bell striking competition is a set touch of Plain Bob Royal. The Banbury Branch team came to Bicester on Friday 15th November to practice ahead of the competition on Sat 23rd November. As not all their band was able to make the practice I joined them filling in for one of the absent ringers.

Once we rang up we rang half a course of Cambridge Surprise Major until the remaining 2 ringers arrived (most annoyingly I missed a 3-4 dodge! Obviously don’t ring Cambridge Major often enough anymore!).

The competition piece uses a combination of “bobs” and “big bobs” – what is a “big bob” I hear you say? Well, a normal “bob” is a 4ths place bob (i.e. one bell makes 4ths as the treble leads, and the others work around that so 3-4d runs in, 2nd runs out, and 3-4 up makes 4ths, or “makes the bob” as it is called). The “big bob” is a 6ths place bob so the bells in 5-6 are also affected – 5-6down runs in, 5-6 up makes 6ths (“makes the bob”) and 3-4up runs out (instead of making 4ths):

All three attempts of the touch were successful (previous practices by the same team were apparently not so successful!) and it was certainly interesting both to be affected by the “big bobs” and also to hear all 10 Bicester bells rung for a change!

The next branch event is the special practice at Islip on Tuesday night – Grandsire Triples and Single Oxford Bob Triples if we get enough – I know of at least one person who is coming over specifically to try Single Oxford Bob Triples so do come along if you are able 🙂

Details of Big Bob

Weston welcomes Jenny

On Monday 4th March a new chapter in the bells of Weston on the green began! A new bell has been added to the existing 5 bells augmenting them to six and returning them to a ringable state and Monday 4th March was the first try-out of the bells following the work.

The new bell (inscribed “Jenny”) was rung first so that the donor could hear the new bell (via a long distance phone call to South Africa!). Taylors of Loughborough staff then rang up the bells one by one and then ringers from the surrounding area (Bicester, Islip and Launton) joined with Tower Captain Bob Hessian to ring all the bells in rounds.

There were numerous villagers (keen new recruits mostly!) listening outside the tower and a Champagne celebration was held in the church following the ringing. I look forward to being able to ring method on them shortly and to welcome many new faces to the art of bellringing.

Anthony Cole, 5th March 2013

Steeple Aston course 2012

The annual Steeple Aston course was held on Sat 13th October in towers across the Banbury, Bicester and Witney & Woodstock Branches of the ODG and the neighbouring Culworth Branch of the Peterborough Guild. This year there were 5 groups learning methods from Plain Hun Doubles to Grandsire and Plain Bob Triples.

Sarah & I had volunteered to help in the 8-bell group which was concentrating on Plain Bob Triples and Grandsire Triples. We started in Kirtlington and the helpers were asked to adopt a learner (5 in our group) who we were to stand behind and give advice when needed. It was a nervous start so we mainly stuck to plain courses at Kirtlington. Chris (the lady I was tutoring) hadn’t rung Plain Bob Triples before (she had been working on Plain Bob Doubles) so this would be quite a step up for her; Jeannie wanted practice at Plain Bob and Grandsire, but focused mostly on Grandsire; Butch, Veronica and Martin were learning Grandsire.

After a lovely lunch at the Red Cow in Chesteron we rang at Bicester. More helpers arrived and we tried some round on the 10 before we continued our practice on the back 8, increasing the complexity a little. Chris and Butch stuck to plain courses of Plain Bob Triples and Grandsire Triples respectively, and the other 3 started on basic touches of Grandsire. My learner Chris was gaining confidence and found Bicester bells a little easier to manage than Kirtlington which helped her concentrate on the method.

Onwards to Steeple Aston and their new tenor! More touches of Grandsire Triples (stretching my conducting skills too – too little practice calling Grandsire Triples 🙁 ) and plain coures of Plain Bob and Grandsire. All the learners were making great progress – Jeannie, Veronica and Martin were tackling touches of Grandsire (bobs only) with fewer mistakes; Burt and Chris were getting through Grandsire and Plain Bob with very little correction.

From a helpers perspective it was satisfying seeing our charges making progress, and from my perspective getting to ring touches of Grandsire Triples much of the day cleared out many many cobwebs.

As a thank you to the helpers we had half a course of Cambridge Surprise Major to end with … must be 5 years or more since I rang that (they had suggested Bristol Surprise, but the grey cells have let me down and I couldn’t remember it!)

The learners gained lots of experience and practice and seemed very pleased with their progress, and I had a days worth of ringing Triples  so I shall definitely offer to help again next year.

Learners – great work and do keep up the practice – I suspect a couple of you will be helping on the course in a few years. Good luck and hopefully see you in a tower soon 🙂

All the bells welcome the olympics

On Fri 27th July, 8:12am all 10 bells at St Edburg’s, Bicester rang out (call changes) as part of the All the bells project to get all the bells in the country ringing to welcome the start of the Olympics. Some of the ringers children and a few others from the church came and rang handbells too . Even above the noise of the bells in the ringing chamber I could hear the handbells being rung downstairs/outside 🙂 Well done all those that took part!

Any other branch towers which took part like to share what they did? Add a comment if you did.

All 8 bells in Islip were chimed by the group below.

And Fringford bells were apparently rung too (Ed: must have been chimed only as not safe for full ringing!). There is also a You Tube video!!!! Check it out..

Fringford bells being chimed for the Olympics

Group photo of all those who rang bells (or handbells) to welcome the olympics
Islip Olympic Ringers

Bicester clapper caper

Following Sarah’s heady heights of stardom on Radio Oxford the bells decided to bring her back down with a bump! The clapper on the 8th at Bicester fell out whilst we were ringing Grandsire Doubles (not Sarah’s favourite method to be fair). 

The clapper had been repaired before (more than 12 years ago we believe) and the break this time at the top of the shaft was very close to the old break. Furthermore, on inspection the corrosion suggests it had been weakening for some time so Graham went over to Whites of Appleton this morning to purchase a new clapper and we will fit it tonight so we are still able to ring for the Olympics on Friday morning. Clockwork…. well it would be except the clock doesn’t strike any of the bells at Bicester!!

Sarah interviewed on Radio Oxford

On Sunday 22nd July Sarah Cole was interviewed on Radio Oxford about her involvement in ringing for the Olympics as part of Martin Creed’s All the bells project which calls for all the bells in the country (tower bells, door bells, bicycle bells) to ring at 8:12am on Friday 27th July to announce the start of the Olympics.

As Sarah said, we don’t have enough ringers in Bicester and other towers have similar problems so if you’re interested in learning to ring then please go along to your local church and ask, or contact the Branch Ringing Master who will be more than happy to help, or put you in touch with the right person in your village. Ringing is great (gentle) exercise, and usually doesn’t cost anything except your time and is a very social hobby so why not go and try it out?

Well done Sarah 🙂

Ringing for the olympic torch

Many thanks to the 7 ringers who turned out in Kirtlington as the Olympic torch was carried through the village on Monday 9 July. Michael and Louise came from Long Hanborough, supported by Keith from Wood Eaton, Willie from Charlton-on-Otmoor, and Ricky, Sally and Kathryn  from Islip to ring Grandsire Doubles and call changes from 2.45pm to 3.45pm.  Other ringers and friends were there to see the torch procession including Steve from Charlton who doubles as a Morris Man in his spare time and we all enjoyed the festive atmosphere on a semi-dry day!

Steve and Fay