December 2014 Report

This year, Midnight Mass will be at St Mary's, so we plan to ring the bells for it. As the ringing chamber is higher than the church, we have a different experience from most of you. Heat rises, of course, so we step down through the trap door into the warmth generated from the heating. Unfortunately, it's never quite so warm when we reach the bottom! And for special occasions, such as Midnight Mass, there are banks of candles throwing their warm glow over all. So we are also met with that evocative smell of molten candle wax. Quite the opposite when we ring out the old and ring in the new year at midnight on New Year's Eve.

We are approaching Christmas and its festivities. We bell ringers like to celebrate too, so we had our Christmas Dinner on the 4th of October. Regular readers will remember that we eat late, so it was our 2013 Dinner! This year we went to the Talbot in Berwick St John. During the day, several of us went on our annual Outing, going to other churches and ringing on their bells for half an hour or so. We were joined in the evening by ringers and friends who were not able to be with us in the day, and we had a convivial dinner. This year, we visited 4 towers in the Frome area. We started at Corsley, near Longleat, which has a grand staircase at the back of the church, leading up to the choir and organ loft. Then a short corridor, and at last we reached the ringing chamber. There were a couple of other groups touring round on the same day, so we linked up with one from Hampshire to ring at Marston Bigot. This grand church is set amongst fields, and the village itself has disappeared. A lovely ring of eight bells. The Hampshire ringers were very good, and rather serious; but we seemed to be enjoying ourselves more! We then went to a private house, which has a ring of 8 bells in the garden shed. These bells are tiny – the heaviest is just 20 lbs, compared to our heaviest of 9 cwt! Ringing these small bells is an acquired taste.

The ringers wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christopher Sykes
www.donhead.sdgr.org.uk