This year SUA was held in Bristol (9th-11th Nov). We all arrived on Friday evening, some of us earlier for a quarter peal at St James, some of us a bit later such as Roxy and me who, because of the crowdedness of the train, ended up sitting on the floor for the whole journey drinking Malibu from the bottle. Who says the UL isn’t classy? The first challenge was to find the pub we were supposed to meet at, harder than it may sound. We soon discovered how hilly Bristol was and after trekking around for a while we eventually found it. We soon settled down to drinking the usual real Ale and singing the usual UL/anti CUG songs.
Sometime in the evening we eventually stumbled out of the pub and headed up another massive hill to Kingsdown church hall our home for the weekend. We each grabbed our spots. Some of the more prepared people set up their air beds and we attempted to sleep. Well this was until the guys discovered the Sunday school’s toy store. We then had races on miniature scooters and cars until the early hours of the morning.
On Saturday morning we woke up a bit less than fresh but ready to ring. A 9:30 start at Redcliffe a 30 minute walk away meant a quick rush to the first church. The first tower Redcliffe was a 50cwt – 2qr – 21lb, 12 and obviously everyone wanted to ring. Sadly our competition was back at our church hall and the UL were second up. This meant that we had to leave almost straight away, but I still hadn’t rung. Luckily Robert Sworder was there to help and let me have a whole pull on the bell before handing it to him and running back up the hill. For the first striking competition the UL rang Grandsire Triples conducted by Andrew Hills.
As the competition was going on, the rest of the ringers were ringing at St John on the Wall (6). But sadly I missed that because of the competition. The UL met back up with the others at Bristol Cathedral (8) at 11:30. Then came Lunch. We managed to find Bristol’s Wetherspoons and all got our book of discount vouchers out careful not to drink too much to be ready for the 6 bell competition.
Whilst the other ringers were ringing at St Stephen’s(12) and All Saints(8), the competition was going on back up the hill at St Michael on the Mount (6). A church used by Bristol University ringers but not fit for inhabitancy by anyone else. The combination of having a long draft and being oddstruck made this striking competition trickier. The UL entered 3 teams a Bob doubles team that Jenny definitely rang in and was not replaced by Hills, a scratch Brentford bob team and a scratch Southwark team ringing spliced Stedman and surprise something. We all found the bells challenging.
Then it was results time! We all met up in the crypt of St John on the Wall to hear the judges’ comments. Bristol won both competitions, but the UL came second in the eight bell!!!! A surprising result compared to other years. We shall not mention our performance in the six bell, let’s just say it was not top 3… Than at 5pm it was back up the hill for the evening’s events. First of all the Bristol Ringers cooked a tasty pasta meal for everyone. Then, after an emergency alcohol run by the UL, it was time for the Ceilidh!!! Always the highlight of SUA. The highlights had to be Ben Barnes’ dancing after a couple of bottles of wine as well as uneven baskets involving Jacqui and Roxy and the Bristol Ringers forcing Glint to dance. Then we all attempted to sleep with Luke Camden’s incredibly loud snoring.
Sunday morning the Bristol ringers cooked us a good breakfast of bacon as we frantically cleaned up the hall ready for the church service. Some people went home, others went to ring at SS Philip & Jacob(8), but most of the UL stayed to ring at Kingsdown church and we had some really good service ringing, although one of the muffles did fall off. We then headed back down the hill to Wetherspoons for some brunch with our vouchers. On the way we met the Remembrance Sunday parade and service in the square so we stayed to watch and join in. Of course we ended up staying in the pub too long and had to run for the train, but we jumped on the train just in time and managed to get seats with TVs!
Thank you to Bristol Ringers for a great weekend.