It was first mooted so long ago that I can't remember what actually started the idea but finally after much procrastination and discussion, plans were finally formalised and a date agreed for an outing of a more esoteric nature! And so it was on Sunday 2 March, following morning service ringing at Emmanuel Church, Plymouth, 4 intrepid Plymouth Youths set off in the direction of the first tower, a rarely rung ring of four at Torbryan (14cwt). The state of the tower and bells sadly reflected how little they are rung. After goes at ringing Stedman and the Plain Bob based minimus methods plans for the quarter were scaled back from 14 methods to 7 after it became apparent not all the ringers had taken the time to learn the methods!
With ringing at Torbryan concluded it was time to move on to Southleigh for a spot of lunch before ringing at the four bell tower there (7cwt). However, once again plans had to be redrawn after discovering the main road was closed due to damage caused during the recent bad weather! So after a lengthy detour, during which those not driving had to eat on the move we arrived in Southleigh with only minutes to spare before we were due to start ringing there. Three contented passengers and one hungry driver got some more practice of the Stedman along with the Single Court based methods before moving on a few miles down the road for the final tower of the day at Northleigh (9cwt).
With the practices now over it was time to get down to the business of the quarter peal. With some of the methods lost on the way there was some quick mathematics done by the conductor to figure out how many extents of each method were needed whilst the driver finally found the time to eat some lunch. With no bobs or singles in minimus the usual shouts from the conductor was replaced with the number of extents rang at the end of each course, 1,2, 3, last course! being shouted out across the tower. With the tricky Stedman out the way first the ringing sailed smoothly through the plain bob methods and into the Court methods. With the finish line in sight and everything going well it proved to be the last method in the set that caused the problems with a few mistakes in the Double Court causing the worst ringing. With no problems in the practices it might have been a case of switching the brain off to early with the finish line coming up!
With the quarter a success there was time for one last bit of excitement on the way home as getting back onto the main road involved crossing a ford. Not normally a problem but following the recent bad weather it was deeper than normal. With the driver being overly-cautious having borrowed the car in place of his normal two seater one of the passengers was swiftly dispatched onto the pedestrian footbridge to watch the water level as the driver slowly drove across! With the last obstacle of the day dispatched it was plain sailing back to Plymouth where we met up with the rest of the Plymouth Youths for a more conventional 6 bell practice at Tamerton Foliot.
Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Northleigh (St Giles), Devon
Sunday 2 March 2014 in 38 minutes (9cwt)
1260 of Mixed Minimus (7 Methods)
252 Stedman, 168 each Plain Bob, Reverse Bob, Double Bob, Single Court, Reverse Court and Double Court
1. Matthew M J Smith
2. Josephine Maddick
3. Benjamin T G Smith
4. Harry J Andrews (C)
First of Minimus entire band.