Friday 5 May
The weekend started for most with a trip down the M3 (or railway) to Romsey to arrive at Hursley, Rosemary’s “home tower”. After an hour of some quality 12 bell focus, we adjourned to “The Dolphin” for beer and banter. There was much excitement when it was discovered the pub was having a “meat raffle” the same evening. The UL, being a carnivorous bunch, bought several fistfuls of tickets. As the draw wasn’t taking place until after 10, and those driving were keen to get back to the accommodation to start on the beer, a hardy triumvirate of Rupert, Ryan and Charles stayed late in the pub to find that……….no one had won any meat. What a massive anti-climax.
Once everyone had returned to the Scout Hut (the “Dr. Peter Centre”, in central Romsey, next to Waitrose – how civilized!), drinking ensued for most of the UL [Jacqui decided on the “early night” option, instead]. We were then wowed by Baden-Powell’s dance moves and drank until the small hours.
Saturday 6 May
The first tower of Saturday was Romsey Abbey, a fine set of “old thumpers” where the UL acquitted themselves reasonably well. Then on to Broughton, where, encouraged by Simon Roberts, the UL had their first go at ringing “Beverley Hills Cop” [perhaps involving Andrew Hills ringing Beverley whilst brandishing a truncheon?]. The lunchtime pub (the “Tally Ho!” in Broughton) had the strange idea that the UL were into “fine dining” and so invited us into a well decorated “private room” for lunch where people were generally well behaved.
From this point for the next couple of hours, I have no knowledge of what took place as I spent it in a car park after Helen Herriott decided it was “the first nice day of the year and so a good plan to put the roof down on the car”. When the roof got stuck halfway through the process, she didn’t look so clever. The first point of call was the owner of the car, a Mr. Nigel Herriott, who turned up 30 minutes later, but couldn’t solve the problem (by this point the button had been pressed about 15 times to try to fully open the roof). When the AA arrived, a further 90 minutes later, it took the helpful gentleman approximately 7 seconds to sort the roof by………pressing the button. Sigh.
Once we were reunited with the UL, we went to Lockerley, a charming little ring of 6 where most of the UL enjoyed the sunshine rather than spending much time in the tower, before heading to John Dodd’s “private ring” at Awbridge for the final tower of the day – the bells are effectively in his garage, but they ring like normal bells, rather than a mini-ring. The UL were able to refresh themselves with all the leftover beer that the OUS had failed to drink the week before and even managed to get a half course of Bristol Royal to come round – result!
The evening shenanigans involved a vat of chili, kindly cooked by Rosemary’s parents, Peter & Christine, followed by trying to get through the mountain of beer which had been purchased as well as consuming several jagerbombs. Once suitable well-oiled, a number of “scout hut sports” were arranged, including rounders (a dead heat), dodge ball (extremely energetic and frankly quite violent) and ten-pin bowling (using drinks cans and bottles). Once everyone was suitably worn out (from the sports & dancing “Gangnam Style”, whatever that is), everyone adjourned to bed, although the President was seen to wield a pair of handbells before he retired.
Sunday 7 May
My report is again slightly lacking as I had to get up early to leave the tour on Sunday to go and lose a peal in Kingston-upon-Thames, but the UL went to: St Mary’s Southampton, Bitterne Park and then on up to the ring of 14 at Winchester Cathedral. I can only presume that they then made the journey back to London and aren’t still “at large” in the Hampshire countryside.
Thanks very much to Rosemary for organising a very enjoyable and successful tour
By Charles Herriott