NEW RECORD: fastest time to submit a tour report – submitted Sunday 17:35!
This year’s early summer tour was organised by Kate Wallis to the area where she lives, namely north Northamptonshire and south Leicestershire. She very kindly offered to let the UL stay at her house and her parents agreed to this too, something I would never do in a million years! Thankfully we didn’t wreck anything and the weekend went by very smoothly, and hats off to Tom Wood and Mariko who cycled the whole thing!
A handful of us turned up on the Friday, some of us earlier than others to take advantage of the super off-peak train fare as London to Kettering during peak time costs an absolute fortune. On arrival Kate, Tom Wood and I went to the co-op to buy alcohol, where both Kate and Tom decided to buy a mozzarella ball each, drain it over the bin outside then eat it as it was on the way back. Even though I found this rather peculiar, I proceeded to do the same the next morning! We spent the evening eating a delicious chilli cooked by Kate’s mother, followed by drinking while watching the tennis as a couple more people turned up. I may have consumed a whole bottle of red wine, but thankfully I didn’t spill it on the new sofas or the cream carpet so all was well (apart from my head the next morning).
The first port of call on the Saturday was Market Harborough, where following a trip to Sainsbury’s we rang at their 10. The ropes were very close together in a small circle and the bells were very loud from the outside, but some Cambridge and Stedman was achieved. Following this was a short ride to the 6 at Brampton Ash, where it didn’t matter if our ringing was awful as the tower was in the middle of nowhere. Our picnic lunch came after this under the hot sun at Rushton, a great way to keep costs down and to stop people from getting too drunk at lunchtime! We settled next to a cricket pitch where a match was going on, not far from the 6 at Rushton where we rang following lunch. Then following this was a real treat, the only true 11 in the world at Rothwell which was also where Kate learned to ring. We did manage a plain course of Stedman Cinques, even if the treble couldn’t be heard at all inside the tower so it just sounded like something on 10 with a gap. The final tower of the day was Desborough, and by this point we were all very tired so even ringing relatively simple things seemed a challenge. I left this tower early to climb a tree so I don’t know if any decent ringing was actually achieved.
The evening’s entertainment consisted of a barbeque at Kate’s house. There was a nice selection of food, including the leftovers from lunch, some too spicy chicken wings, halloumi and your standard burgers and sausages etc. We were also welcome to as much salad as we liked, but we had to use the coleslaw sparingly. About half of the group disappeared after the barbeque to catch a train back to London or drive home, leaving the hardcore ones behind. I’m sorry to say that there were no drunken antics, Kate’s parents had gone out for dinner and we were getting ready to go to bed by the time they came back!
The next morning, after a light breakfast we made our way to Kettering itself for service ringing. They were a nice 12 and with us plus the locals we had enough to ring all 12 bells to some rounds and call changes. The final four then went on to the Wetherspoons for breakfast.
I very much enjoyed the weekend, as I’m sure everyone else did, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to Kate for the excellent organisation of the tour and to her and her parents for being excellent hosts!
By David Phillips