The 73rd ULSCR Annual Dinner Weekend began with ringing at Seps on Friday evening. After demonstrating that my ringing has not improved substantially since last year and my striking, as ever is an optional extra, I decided to lead a charge off to the nearby Blackfriar pub for the part of ringing I generally consider myself better at! However, I was quickly informed that I had missed an e-mail / text message / Whatsapp post / pigeon which explained that the post ringing pub had been changed to the Crosse Keys (apparently the need for cheap food outranked the need for a pub within a short walk from the church we were ringing at!) so instead headed on a walk literally across the City to the Wetherspoons. After probably some whingeing that back in my day, students got all their nourishment from a gallon of real ale and I didn’t eat food for 3 years etc etc, I enjoyed a lovely burger and probably had pudding afterwards. The evening presumably ended in a beer fuelled haze, but I managed to find my way back to Morden (oh – how much do I love the night tube!) to sleep with a relative or other of mine (it’s a Dorset thing)!
The following morning saw a quarter of spliced Triples and Major after a peal attempt came to grief and a somewhat low attendance at open ringing at St Magnus the Martyr which was a little disappointing. After food at the Crosse Keys (for the second time in two days!) the secretaries proved they were still the “Real Power Behind the Society” by scoring their, now traditional, quarter peal. This was followed by some open ringing which was relatively quickly abandoned due to lack of numbers and general thirst by the quarter peal band. Drinking resumed in the Crosse Keys (I’m beginning to see a pattern here!) as those with hotel rooms went off to get changed in comfort. Those without the funds for a hotel room (or those who prefer to spend their funds on alcohol than hotel rooms) changed into their posh clobber in the Wetherspoon toilets.
I have read many, many UL dinner reports so I will spare going into the normal bits (drinking fizz, eating food, gambling on the sweepstake, drinking more wine than is sensible when you have been drinking beer all day, watching an ever increasing number of people eat their pudding without their hands and standing up every so often to take wine with el Pres) and move on to the bits that do change year on year. Richard Humphries began the speeches with his memories of the society when drunk students were causing merry hell on the end of bellropes (how much has changed?) followed by Caroline Prescott of Battersea who, as guest speaker talked about Happy Families within ringing. She identified certain characters needed in the society including the “Whizz kid” who could get the website to work and keep us all up to date with society happenings and the “Sensible one” who as an upstanding member of the society is the one YOU SHOULD ALL LISTEN TO AND IS ALWAYS RIGHT AND TO BE TRUSTED IN ALL EVENTUALITIES. Caroline also presented the society with the “hand of friendship”, an oversized foam hand branded with the UL logo that virtually everybody was photographed posing with. The Master rounded off proceedings with her warmly received speech and yet again I lost the sweepstake.
The disco this year had the added excitement of a brief pause while some enthusiastic dancing to “Cotton Eyed Joe” caused a large glass lampshade crashed onto the dancefloor as if we had reached the climax of some sort of Wild West themed production of The Phantom of the Opera (I am sure David Phillips would have seen it if so)! Despite some valiant attempts to keep dancing around the broken glass, sanity did prevail for long enough to clear up the glass before dancing continued afresh. For once something did “get knocked down” but did not “get up again”!
The following morning saw a good crowd of people ringing at Hart Street followed by lunch in the Liberty Bounds before the AuGM. Sadly this meeting, the main planning meeting for the society was notable unfortunately for the pitifully small number of members that attended. That aside, it was a fantastic dinner weekend and many thanks to the organising committee for putting on an excellent event – roll on dinner number 74 in 2019!
Peter Jasper – AKA The “Sensible” One