This year the UL headed to Plymouth for the spring tour ably organised in her home city by Hellen Richardson. Although I hadn’t been on a UL tour for some time, it was comforting on arrival to see that not much had changed e.g. late drop outs.
The tour kicked off on the Friday evening with ringing at St. Budeaux, a pleasant 12cwt 6. We put these to good use under Quentin including an experimental dabble with Devon style call changes which went better than expected. We then headed to our accommodation for the weekend – the church hall at Stoke Damerel which was significantly more comfortable than I had anticipated. Others arrived and we settled in for the night with alcohol and a Chinese takeaway.
Saturday morning arrived and after a healthy breakfast of Cereal (or cold Chinese) we departed for the morning towers. Emmanuel (20cwt 8) was under the strict control of Lizzy who packed plenty of ringing into the allocated time in her usual manner with trademark finger jabbing, and ensured that everybody had a good ring whether they wanted one or not. After this, we moved on to Laira (11cwt 8) where a more traditional rendition of running ringing was provided by Jen Holden. The ringing included some Cornwall S Major which had been specifically looked up for the occasion. Then Lunch at Lorenzo’s in the centre of Plymouth for Tapas food in main course sizes (nice!).
After an excellent lunch we moved on to Plympton. First the heavy 25cwt 8 at St. Mary’s which proved a handful, under Peter Jasper and then onto the excellent 16cwt octave at St. Maurice where we produced some good stuff including half a call change peal and creditable lower which was favourably commented on by the local. Ringing over, we enjoyed a carvery meal (at a ridiculously low price) before heading back to Stoke Damerel where we spent the rest of the evening in Hellen’s local pub which was practically at the end of her parents front garden. At chucking out time we returned to the church hall where most continued to drink and play on an assortment of children’s toys into the early hours.
Sunday dawned and a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples specially organised for Hellen before general service ringing at Stoke. We packed up our gear and headed of to a Wetherspoons for breakfast as we contemplated a ring on the finest ring of 10 in Plymouth. The bells are a handful despite being rehung a few years ago. We produced some respectable ringing considering our relative inexperience on 10 as a group.
Ringing for the tour was now complete but we still had a tour of the Gin distillery to look forward to. The tour was excellent, where we learnt not only about how the Gin was made but also of the history of the building (for example – the pilgrim fathers spent the night here before departing on the Mayflower) and brewing on the site. The tour was rounded off with Ice cream on the front before we all departed back East, leaving Hellen behind to clean up the aftermath of our residency at the Church hall.
Thanks Hellen for organising an excellent tour!