Summer 2008 Tour - LichfieldFriday 29 - Saturday 31 August
Friday 29 August 2008
Saturday 30 August 2008
Sunday 31 August 2008
£13 each for the weekend including weekend's camping at Beaudesert Park and tower fees.
Report by Claire MonkThe grand weekend started on the Friday afternoon with the SUGCRites rendezvous-ing at the campsite to catch up after the many weeks apart. After some interesting routes to the somewhat secluded, yet enormous campsite (which we did also manage to get lost on), we started pitching our tents.
After some successful tent erecting we made a pilgrimage to Morrisons for breakfast related items - be it bacon, eggs and bread, or biscuits if you are Dan... Of course the alcohol supply was stocked too for the evening. When we got back to the tents, Sarah was a little shocked to find her big bar of chocolate, which had been almost complete, now only consisted of two perfectly broken squares! It was neatly unwrapped and left out side her tent, rather than in her bag inside! I think Squirrels lack such chocolate pilfering skills but you never know...
The ringing was commenced at a tiny, newly augmented 6cwt 8, Whittington. We did, of course, ring Whittingtons there! Everyone rang well on these little bells before heading back to the campsite, stopping at a take-away en route in chav-central, Burntwood.
After having our fill of fish and chips, we sat around a roaring campfire which we managed to start and maintain ourselves - how skilled we are! It was true camping, and we chatted for hours.
Saturday morning was started with bacon and egg sandwiches for most, cooked by chef Jenny Crabtree, assisted by many others. This set us in good stead for the day, the first tower of which was Alrewas (prizes for anyone who can pronounce it correctly on the first bash!) After an ‘interesting' route due to an indicating misunderstanding and the lead car ignoring the Sat-Nav, Jen-Jen navigated us to this tower. This was a lovely eight at which we rang Cambridge major amongst a variety of other methods and call changes. This stop ended with a dramatic thump as Juke fell down the last few stairs of the wooden spiral staircase!
The second ring of the day was Kings Bromley, an 11cwt 6. After this tower, we headed to Armitage for some lunch at The Spode Cottage (Spode? Anyone?) After having our fill, we waddled out to the cars and drove down the road to Armitage church. We had been a bit apprehensive about this daunting 4cwt 6, especially as some of the less experienced ringers were only used to heavier bells such as St. Maries. It turned out well in the end; the expertly hung bells rang beautifully and seemed much heavier than the flighty ring we were expecting. Everyone coped very well despite their concerns. We rang some mixed doubles and spliced Cambridge, Beverly and Surfleet, brilliantly called by a combination of Jenny changing methods and Tom calling the bobs!
Mavesyn Ridware was the next tower, another fairly small 8 which everyone did well at. On next to Rugely, a 7cwt 6 at which we again rang mixed doubles, spliced surprise and some excellent jump call changes (it's complicated, ask a current SUGCRite!). Some members of the band entertained themselves with children's books which turned out to be grammatically incorrect, irritating some of the academics amongst us! Apparently Rugely used to be called Rudgely. The village changed its spelling and pronunciation because of a murder years ago, in an attempt to lose the stigma attached - fortunately we escaped alive.
After finishing at this tower, we made a slight detour to Aldi to get chocolate, bananas and marshmallows for some campfire cooking action. After coming back and building the fire, we found Sarah's tent had been mauled! An animal had chewed at her tent resulting in a broken zip and torn fabric. Inside, a box of Jaffa cakes had been somewhat nibbled!
Everyone headed up to the pub, a short walk through the campsite, where we all ate vast amounts of food and played Scrabble. We didn't stop too long and headed back to the campsite for our fire and sweet snacks. A production line was set up for cutting bananas, filling them with chocolate and wrapping them in tin foil. Alas, after coming out of the fire it emerged that some of them had bypassed this slightly intoxicated workforce, as they were chocolate-less!!
The following morning we indulged in a vast number of bacon and egg sandwiches to finish the food. We headed off to Lichfield to ring on the 10 at the Cathedral with the local Sunday service ringers. Everyone did really well here, especially those who were less experienced on higher numbers and rang call changes and plain methods - well done particularly Dan and Pete.
In between ringing here and St. Mary's, the 8 in the town centre, we went for a cup of tea (or vat of hot chocolate if you're Dan or Juke) at Costa. This prepared us for the dreaded St Mary's which Tim's family had been telling us horror stories about! When we got there, the tower was a bit ‘rural', and some of the bells challenging to say the least, however we all listened to our striking and worked hard to get the bells to sound half decent. Again, well done to everyone for making such a good job of them.
The weekend ended with us all travelling back to the campsite to pack up, when we saw the first rain of the weekend, thankfully! It was a brilliant weekend for all, so thankyou to Tim Jarvis for organising it all so well, and to all the SUGCRites who came. We must also mention how grateful we are to Tim's extended family and friends who came and helped throughout the tour - a massive thankyou for your much needed support.
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