The University of Sheffield
Sheffield Universities' Guild of Change Ringers (SUGCR)
Sheffield Hallam University

Summer 2001 Bedfordshire Tour

Account by Paul Ward

Thursday night - alleged start of tour. Picked up keys for. Jon and Kerry arrived at Carlton (my village). No one else did. Doh! Oh well. They slept in my house, using my precious hot water and beds (what cheek!).

Friday - Arrived at Stoke Goldington to find that we had a grand total of 7 people, 3 of whom were actually SUGCR, and the rest of whom were local ringers I invited to bulk out the numbers. Eventually the numbers began to balance more when Tim and Natalie arrived, and we were able to ring some more decent stuff. Went to Hanslope and did much the same. Had lunch at the Navigation Inn in Thrupp Wharf and had many strange looks from people when Tim and Nat produced their water pistols purchased on the way over. We explained that they were students. It seemed to work (the strange looks continued, but the men in white coats didn't arrive). Went to a couple of towers in the afternoon, they were Pottespury and Wicken and then went back to Carlton (some via Milton Keynes to buy bigger and better water pistols). Checked out Chellington (ex) Church and find out what worked and how to get in whilst still daylight. Very cool ex church, now used by youth groups etc. for trips. Very big and spaceous with showers, toilets and a kitchen, but very little breakable stuff. Perfect. Also had good views and field for playing in next door.

Arrived back home for relaxation and drinks. Found that Tim, who had arrived earlier without side trips, had managed to lock his keys inside his car. The boy has extreme skills!! He had to wait for nice repair man to arrive and break in.

Whilst he did this the rest of us went off to Harrold to have (semi) normal practice. Failed. Managed to break clock hammers and have to cancel practice (Not our fault really, honest!). Tim arrived just as we gave up and left. Perfect timing really. Went back to house to have barbeque and wait for others to arrive.

Very nice barbeque (applause to Martin Barratt for cooking skills) was eaten, and some alcohol drunk. Others arrived during evening, and general chilling was had by all.

Went to Chellington quite late, and managed to get everyone settled fairly quickly, with only a modicum of horseplay. (ie. finally got to bed by about 2.30am).

Saturday - went to first 2 towers of the morning (And yes, I did get up in time! And I remembered the way eventually!). Oakley and Biddenham. Had lunch in garden at the 3 Tuns in Biddenham. Generally chilled in the sunny weather for a couple of hours, then went to Bromham, Stagsden and Felmersham for afternoons quota of ringing!

Went back to Chellington and played fun games involving Jon and I having big new water pistols and three others having tiny little water pistols. I think we won. Other (thus boring) people played games involving bats and balls and no water. Some take away food was ordered at some point, and presumably consumed. Then, with night drawing on (and five of us shivering in totally sodden clothes by now - the three with small water pistols having stolen ours when we weren't looking) we moved inside to play much more sedate games, such as shoot as many people as you can with one of Pauls toy guns! Or see how many times you can hit Astri with a koosh before she moves. Indeed, many fun games in general were played. Eventually, however, the frolics ended and sleep was called for, although I believe some people managed to stay up virtually all night talking and watching sunrises).

Sunday - Managed to get people up and moving for 9am service ringing at (now fixed) Harrold. And yes, you did hear correctly - I got up without being kicked or threatened or anything. Then had breakfast, followed by Carlton Service ringing and then food at the The Bell in Odell (suitable name, innit?). After this there was much chilling in Harrold and Odell country park, where people either chilled in the shade or played games involving bats and balls.

Some people left to get back to Sherffield in decent time, but others came along to (supposed) final tower - the only lock out of the tour. Doh! Also, Tim's car managed to detach its exhaust pipe, and had to be driven (very slowly) to the nearest garage to be fixed. After this it was decided that people had to go, and that they would make a stop off on the way at Sarah's place to have cake (as you do).

The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK