There are hints of Christmas in the air with decorations starting to appear in shops and on streets. Indeed, I happened to be in Saffron Walden last weekend to be greeted by poster advertising that Saffron Walden’s Christmas took place this weekend. Fortunately, here in Rochester, the festivities start properly at the beginning of December so we are enjoying the last few days of calm.
Today saw the annual KCACR Evensong at Rochester Cathedral and it was good to see members of the Association at the service which included two ringers’ hymns, the anthem “Rejoice in the Lord Always” by Henry Purcell (nick-named the ‘Bell Anthem’ due to the series of descending scales at the beginning resembling rounds on 8 bells) and a resounding performance on the organ of Henri Mulet’s ‘Carillon Sortie’ as the recessional.
In a couple of weeks’ time, the Association is holding another ART M1 course. The ART courses have been put together by the Association of Ringing Trainers who have devised a series of training programmes designed to help novice ringers gain experience in a range of areas as well as offering courses for more experienced ringers who are looking for ways in which they can progress further, for example by being able to call call changes or touches as well as elements of tower maintenance.
The M1 courses have proved very popular and are booked up very quickly. They are also very worthwhile. Some ringers, including me, have been teaching ringing for a long time and many have had to step up to the role of teacher.
The course guides a novice tutor through the stages of teaching bell-handling. For those who already do teach, it is a useful refresher and may provide some very useful tips. For those who have never taught handling before, it offers an insight into a structured programme of stages which will enable someone who has never rung a bell before to know how to handle a bell and, with sufficient practice, be ready to ring with others.
I feel that Kent is behind some other associations in the adoption of the ART scheme and hope that members will take up the opportunity to participate in future M1 courses as and when they arise in the area.
Sometimes it is helpful to be able to practice aspects of ringing outside of the practice night. One such area is to do with listening to and striking bells accurately which is a skill that can take time to develop. In a recent copy of the Ringing World I saw a reference to the Pebworth Bells website (https://bells.pebworth.icu/) which has several useful resources to help with a range of listening skills, ranging from just picking out a bell through to identifying whether a bell is ringing too quickly or too slowly. It is certainly worth a look and may be useful for you or your tower.
I have frequently mentioned about recruitment in my Words and one thing that I am not sure that everybody is aware of is that the KCACR possesses some AV equipment including wireless cameras and a large TV screen with a stand. This could be very handy for towers that are holding open days or wanting to show ringing to congregations or other groups. It should be said that, because the system is wireless, there may be issues with the signal from the cameras reaching the router if there are too many obstructions, eg stone walls, in the way but it can allow a different way to present ringing to the public.
Finally, I would like to put out a plea to members. Sue Bassett, our Honorary Secretary, kindly agreed to serve for one more year after looking to stand down as the 2023 AGM. We are therefore looking for a new secretary at the AGM in 2024. Perhaps you or a ringer that you know might be interested in taking on this role. If you would like more information about what is involved, please do contact me.