NUA 2006 Tour - Warwick and area
The 2006 NUA was hosted by Warwick University so on a rather chilly Friday evening several intrepid members of SUGCR boarded a train and made their way down to Coventry. Having acquired provisions beforehand (sandwiches and wine, naturally – thank goodness for screw tops!) we only managed to scare a few people on the train with our excited ramblings on what, it seemed, was going to be a very good weekend!
Such excitement (and, to be fair, the third bottle of wine) led to us almost missing the stop at Tilehill. A usually very quiet platform was suddenly inundated with screaming students, frantically trying to get all their stuff together and get off the train before ending up in the middle of nowhere. Or worse. Coventry.
4 girls, 1 lump, and 6 people's bags were then all crammed into the back of a Metro – kindly provided by Jenny's sister, Sarah who had come to meet us at the station. We made the boys walk despite it being in the middle of nowhere, cold, dark and raining. Well, we took their stuff for them – what more do they want?!
On arrival at the hall we were pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the entrance hall. 'Fantastic,' thought we, 'finally a well-heated hall for an NUA!' Happily lulled into a false sense of security, we were then led through to the main hall where we would be sleeping.
Now, how an indoor hall could be quite so cold we'll never know, but just to give those who were not lucky enough to spend not one but two nights in this place some idea, we ended up sleeping in five layers, gloves, hats and scarves, sleeping bags and huddling together for warmth. Remarkably, it was actually warmer outside and in the outside toilets. Chilly doesn't even come close!
Those who could afford such luxuries had the sense to scarper and head to the nearest B&B. Sheffield, bless 'em, toughed it out in the hall of the arctic!
Warwick did brilliantly considering how cold we were! They provided us with delicious and filling hot meals; including a much needed hot breakfast of beans on toast and an endless supply of tea. Magic.
On the Saturday, we met up with all the smug lot that had the sense and funds to stay at a toasty hotel, whilst the rest of us thawed out whilst ringing at towers including Berkswell, Allesley, Coventry St. Michael (Stoke), Wolston, Lillington, Warwick (St. Nic).
Our ringers, and particularly our beginners, rang very well at these new towers. Special mention, though, has to go to Pete, who, on missing his sally at a tower with a very long draught, calmly stepped halfway across the tower to retrieve it and just carried on ringing as if nothing had happened. What a legend - completely unfazed! If only more people could ring so calmly!
We were also joined by James Stanton, who graduated last summer, who came to give us a hand with transport as Coventry's public transport was awful! He also took us on several jaffa cake runs to keep up the sugar levels – and feed the growing Guild addiction (see Intro Tour 2006 report)! Thank you James!
Sheffield also took part in the striking competition, held at Cubbington, and came a respectable 4th – not a bad effort!
Back at the hall in the evening, following a lovely meal of spaghetti Bolognese cooked for us by Warwick ringers, Claire attempted to wow us all with her 'Flaming Sambuca' experiments. However, trying to get matches, a straw and a tumbler in a scout hut, in a forest, amidst a load of non-smoking bellringers, is more difficult than it sounds. However, trooper that she is, Claire persevered and successfully managed to astound us with her flaming alcoholic skills.
This, and practising rugby passes with Lump (resulting in a new eye injury for our ever-suffering mascot) passed the time whilst the Ceilidh band set up in preparation for the evening's entertainment. An excellent Ceilidh ended quite painfully for four members of our Guild who decided to attempt a basket. The first few seconds of this were very impressive and met with a round of applause from those nearby. However, no sooner had the applause started when things started to go a little bit wrong. The basket began leaning to the left and almost as if in slow motion, the four basketeers went tumbling into a pile on the floor. That's when the applause really got going!
The other aspect of the evening's entertainment, namely the Boat Race, went swimmingly, with Sheffield again coming 4th. Thanks go to John who took two positions in the race as we were somewhat lacking in suitable drinkers!
The second night in the arctic hall was not quite so bad for us Sheffield lot having hijacked the stage the band had set up on! Being off the concrete floor made a warming difference, but five layers and huddling was still required! A bonding experience for all involved! Whether they liked it or not!
The weekend was polished off with ringing at Coventry Cathedral, pancakes for breakfast at the local Wetherspoon's and panic phone calls to Nick to save the two bottles of wine we'd hidden in the cupboard at the hall and then forgotten to take home with us! Thank goodness for modern telecoms!
All in all, a great weekend was enjoyed by all – see you in Nottingham!
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