Photo thanks to: Helen Saddleton, Jacqueline Bale, Lucy Bricheno and Tom Sibley
Day 1 – Saturday 3rd September 2011:
Most of the UL Summer Tour-ers arrived in Nottingham with one notable exception – Jenny Willis who managed to get the wrong train (claiming that there were 2 trains on the platform) and ended up taking the long, scenic route to Nottingham.
There were only two towers today one of which had some awful sounding bells. As is common for the UL, lunch was in a Weatherspoons where Wood showed the extent of his culinary ability by applying various condiments (including mint sauce) to his chips.
The evening’s entertainment consisted of being handed a map of Nottingham with the reasonable pubs marked on it and creating our own pub crawl around all the interesting ones, including all 3 of the pubs claiming to be the oldest. In the end Olly was taken back to his room at 10pm while the rest of us continued drinking. We managed to patronise 9 pubs today, and managed to promote at least one of the group to Captain Vom.
Day 2 – Sunday
Sunday was the day that Poodle’s tower grabbing desire started to show as we had 5 towers organised for the day. The ringing was unusual for the UL since a touch of Stedman actually came round – an achievement not normally achieved on a tour, and whilst ringing at the third tower, Harry B was seen running out the door after finding out there was a service being conducted inside the church. But normality was resumed towards the end of the day when the ringing ability hit rock bottom, which caused anger from some members of the society.
Lunch didn’t go quite to plan as we had all bought lunch in a supermarket as we were told there was a park behind the church – around the back of the church there was a small patch of grass with a sprinkling of broken glass and other items next to a busy main road. After managing to find a reasonably clean area we settled down and ate, only to be told just before leaving that there was a massive park on the other side of the road 5 minutes away.
Throughout the day we had been travelling by foot and public transport – and were all shocked to find photographic evidence of Harry S driving a tram! Other problems arose during the day because Luke Camden arrived again at the halls – only to be told that he had already checked in and was now looking very different from Adam Crocker – and thus the ringer Luke AC Camden was created for the weeks’ visitor books. Since we ate pizza and drank at the Halls that evening, the society had a pretty poor show by only supporting 2 pubs.
Day 3 – Monday
Today Luke MT Camden collected the minibus and we ventured outside Nottingham to ring at 4 towers including the anticlockwise 12 at the home of the Bramley Apple. We were also promised that the lunch stop would give us the opportunity to buy some famous gingerbread – however the credit crunch had got there first and the 1560’s shop had recently closed.
The evening’s entertainment was supposed to be clubbing, until we found out that there were no clubs open on a Monday night in the summer holidays so we went to a Chinese buffet where the real Luke Camden used the chocolate fountain to coat his sushi – but doesn’t recommend it! Everyone except Luke JLB Camden and Luke CB Camden (who went back to the halls) then went to a pub called The Bell (well we couldn’t not go there) and Luke JW Camden discovered the joy of cocktail umbrellas. For a Monday it didn’t seem so bad that we only inspected three licensed purveyors of alcoholic beverages.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Today everyone was feeling good since the itinerary said that Nick Jones would be arriving today. Our ringing commenced at the home of the Bakewell pudding – where almost everyone tried one as a mid morning snack. Several people also tried the empty coffins outside the church for size. We were then back on the minibus to the station to get the steam train to Matlock which unfortunately turned out to be a dry train because of staff shortages.
Once in Matlock we had time for lunch before ringing – although the recommended pubs were up a steep hill. Most of the group decided to sample the food at one of the pubs, but a few decided to go for the liquid lunch option in 4 of the recommended pubs. After ringing at Matlock we made our way back to the station, via the supermarket to stock up on some train beers.
Once back on the minibus we headed over to Ashover to ring, then headed back to the halls for a sausage and beef casserole prepared by Luke JG Camden and Luke MW Camden. After dinner Luke JW Camden decided to challenge Luke AD Camden, Luke MT Camden and Luke CB Camden to a Tequila drinking competition which resulted in us requiring a new plug socket – and she still claims she won! We didn’t do too badly today as we spent the evening drinking in the halls and still patronised 5 licensed purveyors of alcoholic beverages.
Day 5 – Wednesday
Wednesday was Lincoln Green day because we would be heading into Sherwood Forrest after lunch. Most managed to find something green to wear, but Luke AD Camden, Luke AB Camden, Luke OC Camden and Luke MC Camden didn’t join in! The morning’s ringing took us to Nuthall, Sutton-in-Ashfield (where we found the back 6 were half muffled as they had last been rung for a memorial service which made ringing on 8 sound very weird, although Luke AD Camden and Luke O Camden missed this as they decided to go to the pub rather than ring) and Mansfield (where there was a crazy guy in the church who appeared to think he was a prophet and gave us great amusement watching him waive his fork in the air).
After lunch in Edwinstowe we rang at the church where Robin Hood and Maid Marion are alleged to have tied the knot, to celebrate this there are some scary looking scarecrows of them in the church and one of a thin Friar Tuck! After ringing we headed into the forest to visit the Major Oak, which is supposed to be the location of Robin Hood’s hideout. The millennia old tree was disappointing to see as its main branches are propped up with scaffolding poles, but the visitor centre had some interesting exhibits. It was here that we decided to purchase a thank you gift for Poodle – although it turned into quite a challenge to smuggle a bow and arrow set into the minibus without it being seen!
After walking around the forest we headed off to our last tower at Oxten and then back to Nottingham for a curry. After the curry we all regretted convincing Luke AD Camden to stay on the tour as he decided to wash almost all his clothes – the only item which didn’t get washed was his underwear and pink tie, which we were all grateful for! Today we totalled 4.5 drinking establishments (the half being the tower substitute pub), although we could have all done with a lot more before seeing Luke AD Camden in that state, and a select few managed to move the party to the minibus in the early hours.
Day 6 – Thursday
Today we were supposed to have an early (8:30) start, however the minibus driver only moved from the minibus to his bed at 7:15 so this didn’t happen. When we finally removed the whisky bottles and glasses from the minibus and left for Duffield some of the group were still looking worse for wear. In fact one of the minibus partiers slept all the way through the ringing, and Duffield Major was attempted by some of the awake members of the group. We then rang at Burton-upon-Trent where Luke AD Camden attempted to go out to 15th place whilst ringing plain hunt on all 8 bells.
After the morning’s ringing we spent several hours at the National Brewery Centre where along with exhibitions on how beer is brewed we saw the vehicle that most would love to own – a 1920’s Daimler car shaped like a beer bottle. After walking around the centre we moved onto the beer tasting where Luke AD Camden made his personal best… 2Â½ hours to drink a pint! The afternoon’s ringing was at Newhall and Coleorton – where after parking on the drive for a private manor we had to overcome an obstacle course to get to the church which could rival Go Ape. The evening’s food of Chilli was prepared by Luke O Camden and Luke SL Camden. Our drinking tally consisted of a brewery today which unfortunately we didn’t manage to drink dry.
Day 7 – Friday
The penultimate day of the tour started with a trip around the Loughborough Bell Foundry, but the first tower had to be cancelled as Taylor’s hadn’t yet finished hanging their ring of 12 (which didn’t come as a surprise to most of the group). After the tour we headed off to Melton Mowbray, the home of the pork pie and one of the few places where stilton can be made. After buying the traditional pies we went to the pub next to the church as we had 3 hours before ringing (thanks to the earlier cancellation) where Luke AD Camden had a broken pint glass as “it” kept spilling his beer and Luke SL Camden had beer coming out of his nose! Whilst in the pub we heard wedding ringing from the church and it was discussed whether we should go over and help ring the rest of the bells – we didn’t in the end which was a good move because we could not ring well on the oddly struck bells. Whilst ringing at Clifton in the afternoon we managed to wake the tower residents – 3 long eared bats which started flying around the belfry as we rang.
In the evening we headed back into Nottingham to the Chinese we visited earlier in the week, and celebrated Luke JG Camden’s Official UL birthday (9th September) when she was presented with an ice swan! We then headed over to the “Pit and Pendulum” a sinful themed pub where everyone had to go to the toilet behind the bookcase. Many cocktails were consumed, with lots of lust, a bit of gluttony and not much pride. After heading back to the halls we played several rounds of UL Charades and Luke CB Camden’s inflatable sheep felt rather deflated having its orifice probed by Luke O Camden. Today we only patronised 4 drinking establishments, but from the number of new songs composed we obviously had more than 4 drinks each. At this point it’s probably good to ask the UL Troubadour for the lyrics of the new songs, if that position existed and she had a ULSCR song book!
Day 8 – Saturday
Unfortunately Saturday brought with it the last day of the tour. It is believed that everyone managed to take the correct journey home from Nottingham, and no-one got on the wrong trains, although Luke TW Camden did take the same train home as most of the group but chose not to sit in the same carriage. Many thanks are given to Poodle for organising the tour and to our minibus driver, Luke MT Camden, who should have forgone many drinks each day. And our quote of the tour has to go to One Too Many who came out with “I’m never drinking again!”
by Tom Sibley