The early summer tour of 2014 was to Canterbury, organised by Andrew Hills. We were based in a hall in Canterbury itself, and we struck gold this time as the showers were good and we didn’t have to move our stuff out of the halls during the day!
The tour started on a drizzly Friday afternoon, with a steady drip feed of people arriving at the hall throughout the afternoon. A marvelous buffet dinner was provided by Hills and his parents, after which we hit the town! Some opted for the practice night at St Dunstans but the rest of us just went to the pub. The night continued with a pub crawl around Canterbury, I don’t remember very much of it to be honest other than finishing at some cocktail bar where everyone had Bloody Marys and Chris Rimmer giving me a piggy back back to the halls.
With many of us blurry eyed the next morning, we headed to the first tower, with some brave people cycling! This was Wye which was a 10 bell where a few latecomers to the tour joined us, and I think we got Stedman caters at some point. Next was Godmersham which was a 6 where some more ringing happened. I think we did Chilham before lunch, which were an 8.
Next was lunch! From what I remember the portion sizes were huge! I don’t remember much more than that.
Following lunch was the tower in the village where the pub was, Chartham, which was a 6. From what I remember, enthusiasm for ringing had somewhat dwindled by this point. The final tower of the day was at Thanington on the outskirts of Canterbury, which were another 6. The only memorable thing I remember from this tower was I had to shout stand and evacuate the tower after a wasp flew into the ringing chamber.
This was followed by returning to the halls then heading out to a Wetherspoons. Many beers were consumed, and about half of the group went to a curry house. I think more drinking happened when we got back to the halls.
The next morning we got to ring at not one, but two towers for service ringing! The first was St Dunstan’s (a 6), where those of us who were lazy and stayed at the pub during their practise on the Friday could actually get the grab. This was followed by Canterbury Cathedral, which were a lovely ring of 12 bells. We then had a Wetherspoon’s breakfast, after which I departed. A few stayed on in Canterbury for the afternoon for a quarter peal of Stedman Cinques at the cathedral called by Hills, which was unfortunately unsuccessful. I was told that all of the locals in the band were left open-jawed when Hills swore after realising he had miss-called it.
By David Phillips