This year’s freshers’ tour (or no freshers’ tour!) was around east London, going to nearly the end of the district line. For some of us this involved spending over an hour on the tube covering more than 30 stops to get to the first tower, and being hung over from the night before didn’t help!
Arriving at Upminster Bridge station, one stop before the terminus, early on Saturday morning brought us to the first tower – Hornchurch – an 18 cwt 10. Starting fairly on time, good ringing was achieved including, Grandsire Caters, Stedman Caters and Cambridge Royal. The only snag in this tower was that the 9th was cracked, so it didn’t sound too flattering!
Following this, we walked to Hornchurch station to get to the next tower, with a compulsory stop on the way at the bakery for cake! After arriving at Dagenham, we made a brief stop at a playground on the way to the tower simply because it was there. The next tower was Dagenham, supposedly a 14 cwt 8. I say supposedly because we never actually rang there! We waited a while after the agreed start time and no one showed, but fortunately there was a pub just outside the church. Sadly it didn’t have any ales on tap, but despite this the pub did have an unexpected influx of business at 11:30 in the morning!
Around the time we were supposed to finish at Dagenham church we left for the Wetherspoons at Barking. We had lunch there, and many pints of ale and Wetherspoon’s food was consumed. We walked to the next tower which was Barking, an 18 cwt 8. I can’t really remember what we rang despite the fact that I ran that tower, it was probably a mixture of Grandsire, Stedman and a bit of Surprise Major. However, I do remember them being nice bells to ring!
Leaving Barking we got the c2c to Limehouse, the last tower of the day. On arriving I notice how large the tower was, then I got told how pathetically light the bells are! Despite this, the 12 cwt 10 that were there did go quite nicely, and the standard Grandsire, Stedman and Cambridge were scored. After the last tower we proceeded to a pub in Limehouse on the river front, where, from what I heard, a very heavy drinking night began!
Despite this being the freshers’ tour, not one actual fresher turned up! I’m sure we all had a good time despite this, though it would have been nice to have a freshers’ tour rather than a no freshers’ tour!