April 2015 Report

When you read this report, we are almost at Easter. Many of you will remember that I have written in previous editions about the bells not being rung during Holy Week. This last week before Easter Sunday would have stood out to our forebears, in the days before double- glazing and earphones. Church bells and clock chimes were probably the loudest sounds, other than cannon fire, that would be heard in the countryside. They were heard daily. So a week when they were silent would have been quite noticeable. Then, they would peal forth on Easter Day in a stunning splendour of sound and celebration. One thinks of Mussorgsky's 'Night on a Bare Mountain' or of Goethe's Faust being distracted by the sound of the Easter bells. Nowadays, it is doubtful that anyone notices the silence. Here in the Donheads, we do not ring every week, as people may be away so we do not have enough to ring all the bells.

There are six bells at St Mary's and four at St Andrew's. The ringing experience at each tower is quite different. At the latter, the bells are rung quite quickly and close to each other, to make a more interesting sound. Meanwhile, at St Mary's, a small gap is inserted after the six bells have rung twice, giving a time-beat of 13 (6 dings, 6 dongs and a gap). We therefore adjust our technique slighty when at either tower. There is a strong spirit of co-operation between the two. From time to time, Chris Kilner will ask if one of the DSM ringers can help ring for a Sunday service at St Andrew's, and vice versa. At our Wednesday practices, we have been joined by Chris for some time, and more recently by Val Walters. It is good that we ring and learn new things together.

Happy Easter!

Christopher Sykes
www.donhead.sdgr.org.uk