Winter Tour 2011

The winter tour this year was on 15th January to the Northwest, specifically Apsley and Hemel Hempstead. Managing to meet at Euston at 8:45am to catch the train to Apsley we set off to ring at our first tower – St Mary’s, Apsley End which were a heavyish 6 that had a link with a certain member of the society who was spotted looking very young in some photos on the wall!. A loooong walk followed to ring at St Mary’s, Hemel Hempstead although it was made rather more exciting by the risky strategies adopted by some to cross the “Magic Roundabout”. Finding a suitable pub for lunch we were revitalised by some beer and some very large sausages. As we left the establishment, someone cried “There’s a zebra!!” which led to some general grumbling to hurry up and cross the road then. However the doubters were soon silenced by the appearance of a large and fearsome lion bounding around the corner! Hot on its heels were a tiger, two camels, a herd of muntjac and a raucous troop of squirrel monkeys. The UL were instantly scattered in panic, some back into the pub for a strong drink, while others tried to escape the stampede by simply running as fast as possible in the other direction. The Master took the lead and leapt upon the largest camel and proceeded to subdue the animals using a combination of The Pointy Finger and offering a generous round of shots to the first animals at the bar. As the lion and tiger were happily downing their 5th cherry Sourz surrounded by the prone figures of the monkeys (who as it turned out weren’t as good at holding their drink) a portly figure in a peaked cap appeared and announced himself as a zookeeper who had fallen asleep on the job. Thankful to be able to get on with the rest of the tour, the UL handed the animals over to his care and left the pub. Getting back to the station we hopped back onto the train for one stop to King’s Langley for our final ring of the day at Langleybury, a 6 with interesting layout meaning that the ringer of the second had to keep their backstrokes nice and tight. Getting the train back to London again, we all went to the pub as usual. (N.B. Not all of the above account is true.)

By Mariko Whyte