Easter tour took the UL to Lichfield, home of our esteemed master Rachel. After her sterling efforts in organising the weekend, she was unfortunately taken ill before the first bell was rung and had to spend the whole time in bed recovering.
The first stop of the weekend was at Lichfield cathedral on Friday evening, my first cathedral ring! With various people yet to join the tour, we had some assistance from local ringers, who bolstered the numbers in order that we could ring all 10. After a beer or two (or more) in the pub, we returned to Gillian’s for a competitive easter egg hunt: chocolate carrots vs chocolate eggs. Both teams found their opponents’ chocolates before their own, but only one team realised it was a good idea to move them into slightly trickier locations. Congratulations to the egg team of Will, Steph and me, who only cheated mildly in their pursuit of victory. The evening ended with a lengthy session of Cards against Humanity, with the highlights being far too rude to reproduce here.
Several more ringers joined us for Saturday, which was spent in Birmingham. We started off at the BUSCR tower St Bartholomew, accompanied by mascot Sheila the tortoise. We rang some Cambridge and Yorkshire spliced, but the show was stolen by 5-week old Frankie, who behaved remarkably well for her first time in a bell tower. Katie rang for the first time since giving birth, and showed there were no cobwebs that needed brushing away; ignoring the suggestion that she might try call changes as a gentle introduction, she jumped straight in with some stedman triples and rang it very comfortably.
After more time in the pub – a common and enjoyable theme of the weekend – we headed to the Bullring, the only ring of 16 in the country. This was definitely the ringing highlight of the tour, and indeed Jarriet came up specifically to ring there, having been unable to join us for the other towers. I’d only rung on 12 once or twice before this, so my striking was not really up to the task of 16, but I gave it a go. The call change methods used were also new to me, with bells being grouped into 4 groups of 4 with each doing the same set of changes. I thought this was a very neat way of making what would otherwise have been a very lengthy set of changes into a much more manageable affair. Once I’d been safely removed from the bell ropes everyone else rang some Grandsire on 16 and did a much better job of it.
Saturday ended with a private room in the Woodman pub, owned by ringer Simon Linford. Unfortunately many of the UL ringers had headed off by this point so only a small group were there to enjoy it. However, with the assistance of remarkably strong cider, we all still had a great time!
Sunday began with a trip to Rachel’s local tower, St Michael’s. I would give more details, but I was disorganised with writing this report and can’t really remember all that much now. It was definitely enjoyable though! Chris Backhouse headed off after this, leaving me as the sole UL survivor as we headed to St Chad’s, the Catholic cathedral, for the final ring of the tour. I had my first attempt hunting to Grandsire triples, and while we got through a plain course, it could not be described as a success.
Finally it was back to London and the rigours of student life. Thank you again to Rachel for organising the tour and to Gillian for providing accommodation, transport and Cards against humanity.