Freshers’ Tour 2009

On the cool, rather grey, and uninteresting morning of Saturday, 31st October nine members of the UL met at Bank Underground Station. This was the start of an epic tour of four towers, almost as many pubs, and also numerous toilets for Jacqui. After being ‘driven’ on the Docklands Light railway by Lizzy and Poodle we arrived at the first tower which was Christ Church, Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs. This came as a bit of a shock for Tom as he had to run the ringing; my turn was to come at the next tower. Nevertheless we managed several touches of Stedman Triples, and some Grandsire. These seemed a fairly pleasant, easy going ring of eight; a good start to the day.

Unfortunately, after enjoying the first tower to much meant that we had to get cracking to get the DLR back to Westferry, then find the next church, St Anne’s, Limehouse; and most importantly find another ringer! We managed the first and third part but finding the church and entering it proved harder! Eventually we got into the ringing chamber, quarter of an hour late, but did enjoy some good plain hunt on nine to warm up, some Grandsire Caters, and Yorkshire S Major as the back eight were particularly good.

It was now half past twelve and we were in serious need of liquid refreshment, and a bite for lunch. These we found in The Grapes public house just down the road from the church; mysteriously it took the Master’s group much longer to find it using a map!? The pub served good food and importantly beer, meaning leaving was quite difficult for some.

After a quick stumble down the road towards Stepney we were joined by reinforcements (in the form of Nick Hartley!). After a short wait to get up the tower of St Dunstan’s church (for all those keen enough to leave the pub early) it was time for Lizzy to crack her whip and get us to do some ringing on these rather challenging bells; especially after lunch in a pub. After some rounds and call changes on the ten, some Grandsire Triples and Cambridge S Minor (miss-called by me?) we managed to use up our time here.

The final tower, St George-in-the-East, was run by the Master who gave us a chance to
have a go at the special method of the day: Cornwall S Major. By this time our numbers had
swelled from those that left the pub after scoring a peal. Yet more Stedman, Grandsire and other methods followed filling our allotted time and sadly we had to leave these delightful little bells. The Black Friar set the scene for a post tour drink, and then dinner at the Hare and Tortoise. To wash down our dinner further drinking ensued at The Black Friar finishing the day off nicely. But as November loomed we were in danger of turning into pumpkins, and so proceeded with all speed for night cap at the Southwark Tavern, or to bed!

All in all it was a very enjoyable day. Organisation thanks should go to the Master (even
though it was last minute) and the towers who agreed to let us loose on their bells!

By Andrew Hills