Southern Universities Association 2017

Ahhh, SUA. After the previous years attendance, I didn’t think this year could be any worse, so agreed to help out and go along. It was to be three lowly ULers tracking over to Bristol this year, only for the day. It was arranged we would all catch the 0912 train, in order to make it in time for ringing on the fine 8 at the cathedral. The plan was that the first person there would grab a table for the three of us to sit together on for the 2 hours journey, after hopefully meeting at 8.45 to get some breakfast at the station.

The day arrived, and I was up bright and early, on a day I had rather hoped to be in London for (the Lord Mayors show), and arrived at Paddington at 8.30, and casually strolled over to the McDonald’s to get a bacon roll meal.

The train pulled into the station, and I headed for the (then completely empty) I reserved seating carriage to grab us a table. I told many unhappy passengers that they could not sit on the table with me, because I was waiting for a couple of friends to join me.

Then, when the train pulled out of Paddington, at 0912 on Saturday the 11th of November, I realised the friends I had been saving a seat for, fighting off all the other passengers for, were not to be joining me.

I had been slightly worried by the fact I hadn’t had a message from either of the two all morning, but assumed they were underground…

A few minutes later, and Alistair had obviously arisen from his slumber. He had seen my messages detailing the platform number and the carriage of the train, and just replied with an expletive, followed by a slight hint of an apology.

I then got slightly upset, because I wanted to go back to bed, and not to Bristol.

An hour and a half into my journey, when the train pulled into bath spa station, I received a message from Josie, which was along similar lines of the one previously received from Alistair.

I arrived to Bristol Temple Meads, shortly after 11am, to be greeted by Ben’s cousin, Becca Meyer, who is a Bristol student, gave me a lot of sympathy when I arrived, alone and cold, to a very rainy Bristol. We then walked past St Mary Redcliffe, where the bells were out of action due to having no wheels on them, towards the magnificent ring of 8 bells at the cathedral.

As we approached the cathedral, 10 minutes after the start time for the ringing, we could hear no bells. Much confusion. We entered the cathedral, ran past the ringers as I was in need of a wee, and then back to where the gathering was happening. This is when we discovered it was a lock out. No one could locate the keys, and the person that had some in his flat ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to go and get them.

The plan was then to go to a pub for 4 hours. As you can imagine, I was more than pleased at this with my love of pubs and being around people I don’t know…

Myself and Ben’s cousin went for a walk, in a sort of strop. At which point Josie arrived and found the ringers in the pub, and was immediately mislead that drinking was better than ringing by the CUG/OUS lot…

The strop myself and Becca had seemed to have worked, and some impromptu ringing was allowed at St John On The Wall, where we rang some silent and non conducted Stedman, as well as some other six bell stuff.

After this there was a really long walk up the hill to the ‘lovely’ 10 at Christ Church, where I was asked if I would like a stander for plain hunt on 10… YES PLEASE. They attempted to ring some Yorkshire Royal, which didn’t work, and no, I wasn’t ringing.

Luckily, I then escaped to go ring in a CUGesk scratch band in the 8 bell at Pip’n’Jay’, where I was told I would be allowed to ring some grandsire!! The ringing was going too well, so I decided to switch with someone to sabotage the ringing, and rounds didn’t come up at the end, oh well…

After this, it was back up the hill for a grab at All Saints, a rough going 8, which actually sound alright. I was asked if I would be okay with one of the nicer bells in the tower, as they were quite rough.

After a couple of rings of some grandsire and bob triples, I decided it was time to go home, as I was tired after a long day (and admittedly a very heavy night the night before). I caught the 5pm train, and was back in Paddington by 7, just so glad to be home.

I would say thanks to Alistair for sorting out a group to go, but…