We rang a quarter peal tonight.
Huh? Yes, my reaction exactly.
Handbells are in some slight disarray at present, chiefly on account of Gemma being so inconvenient as to change surgeries/clinics and therefore change her Thursday evening schedule. At the moment Niall and I are double-booked for Thursdays with Colin and Fridays with Gemma, and I have said, in a squeaky, high-pitched voice that I can’t do two handbell evenings a week*, but people’s lives keep getting in the way** so what is getting rung (or wrung) from week to week mostly isn’t two evenings on handbells anyway.
Today has been somewhat overshadowed by yesterday’s extreme excitements and I got moving [sic] late even for me. I had also promised to take Peter to the garden centre this afternoon, this afternoon being the only time even remotely available for the foreseeable future, and if I didn’t do it quickly, this being the time of year when you really don’t want holes in your borders, and anything you plant will, if you’re lucky, riot and burgeon***, Peter might do something drastic like buy a garden gnome at the farmer’s market.†
I’m broke and my garden is already full of Little Things Waiting to Be Potted On (Again)†† and the only thing I wanted was pink snapdragons††† so I’d brought the hellhounds because while Peter was cruising I took them for a hurtle. The only problem with this diversion tactic is that the footpath possibilities around this particular garden centre are unusually excellent, so the temptation is to come back for a nice hellhound hurtle and while I’m in the area . . . ‡
So we zapped home again and I’d repotted the horrifyingly rootbound viola, which will probably reel and stagger a little and then come on again famously, when Colin showed up early. Niall usually is early. So we sat down and Niall started unveiling handbells and said, What do you want to ring? And I said, well, due to circumstances more or less beyond my control I have No Brain so it had better be undemanding.
I know! said Colin brightly. We should ring a quarter (of bob minor)! Just to prove we can! Since it’s just the three of us again!
I think I agreed‡‡‡ because it was going to be less awful than trying to struggle through plain courses of frelling Cambridge, which, now that Thursdays are the three of us again, is going to make my life a misery.
And it was less awful. It was even (whisper it) kind of fun.
* * *
* Which doesn’t take into account the occasional evening at Curlyewe. Curlyewe tower practise is Monday, so Niall has begun tentatively trying to get over there one Monday a month, they ring handbells before tower practise, and then he stays on—and Curlyewe, like pretty much everywhere else in this area, is hurting for ringers, so they’re glad to have a visitor, especially a good ringer like Niall. I’d quite like to ‘grab’ Curlyewe^ and supposing there’s nothing particularly strange about the tower or its bells I’m a good-enough mediocre ringer I can probably contribute something to the practise. Probably.
Except for the little fact that Monday is my voice lesson, and Curlyewe is well on the wrong side of Mauncester. Niall leaves New Arcadia at six . . . and I usually get home five or ten past. Niall suggested helpfully that I could just come straight on from my voice lesson, which would probably make up the time . . . uh huh. It’s twice as far as any of Colin’s towers, there’s handbells as well as tower bells and no break anywhere. . . and I’m shattered on a Monday that I have to drive myself to Colin’s practise and I’ve had a cup of tea and a sit-down between voice lesson and bell practise. I don’t think so.
And so, because I am deranged and Niall is my bad angel, I’m going to try to blast back from voice lesson on Monday, pick up an apple and a cup of tea with a lid on it^^, and be flattened into the passenger seat of Niall’s car^^^ as he stamps on the ‘go’ pedal a few minutes later than usual.
^ Grabbing a tower is going somewhere to ring where you’ve never rung before, specifically to say that you have. Quite a few good ringers do this in a low-key way because they’re good ringers and like to travel around ringing in different towers and that’s fine. Obsessive tower grabbing is kind of frowned on, but ringing somewhere you haven’t rung before because the opportunity arises is normal, in so far as bell ringing and bell ringers can ever be considered normal.
^^ Whoever suggested knitting a slightly oversized egg cozy for a tea mug cozy—thank you. I’m going to try that. Supposing I can figure out how. And whoever said that the steam from the cup is going to soggify the cosy past usefulness, well, I won’t know till I’ve tried it. I drink my cups of tea pretty fast+ but not quite fast enough, and I like it hot. Maybe I should knit several, and then I can string up a little tiny washing-line where I peg them out to dry . . . .
+ If I drank them SLOWER I would drink FEWER.
^^^ which is only a few years younger than Wolfgang, and has more miles on it
** Although, life . . . in Niall’s case this probably means that he’s had an offer to ring a handbell full peal of Snarkalepsy Draggleharrow and is cutting us.
*** Did I tell you WE HAD ANOTHER (*&^%$£”!!!!!!!!!! FROST A FEW NIGHTS AGO? THE MIDDLE OF UNGLEDAGBLAGUNDERING MAY IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND AND WE HAD A FROST? I’m assuming it was not severe and the stuff still underground is fine. That’s FINE.
† Which attracts some pretty disturbing riffraff. I haven’t seen any garden gnomes yet but then I’m usually hellhounded, and we don’t linger.
I could always knit the gnome something . . . inappropriate. Although ‘wire’ and ‘garrotte’ are the words that come first to mind, which, in relation to garden gnomes, are highly appropriate.
. . . Although I’ve always kind of wanted a flamingo . . .
†† And at least one juvvie robin. Yaaaay. Bumptious little so and so. There may be more than one, but so far I’m only seeing one at a time, and he’s so breathtakingly foolhardy—as far as he’s concerned, I’m the Mealworm Lady, and there are no ifs, ands or buts—I’m assuming the one I’m seeing is the same one, although I’m still hoping there may be a slightly more sensible, reserved one or two still lurking in the shrubbery. But he, and siblings if any, are clearly flying.
I’ve also clearly got two adults . . . where are you nesting this time? I’m not going to supply mealworms to ungrateful robins that go nest in other people’s gardens. Mum’ll be disappearing any minute now, I assume, to sit on the new eggs. Whiiiiiine.
††† I did very well. I somehow picked up a variegated-leaf so-called hardy fuchsia, which they never are with me, but if I keep ’em warm they usually do very well, and a fabulous rusty-orange osteospermum AND THEY HAD PINK SNAPDRAGONS YAAAAAAY^ so I dumped these three modest acquisitions in Peter’s cart and ran out the door.
^ I’d bought yellow and white elsewhere, but they were all out of pink which will not do.
‡ We got back to find Peter unloading his cart into the boot and I picked up the gorgeous black-leaved cimicifuga and said oh gods, I almost bought this, I love black leaves, and Peter said, helpfully, I can go back and get you one, I remember exactly where they are. Oh . . . all right, I said, folding instantly, and then, while he was off finding me a black cimicifuga, I was finishing unloading his cart and oh gods, they have dierama, I adore dierama, they just frelling keep dying on me . . . and I COULDN’T STAND IT so I locked the car (with hellhounds and my knapsack in it, and all the rubbish from the boot on the roof waiting to be restowed) and raced off to find Peter and the cimicifuga to ask where he found the dierama^, and then on the way back from the dierama I fell over a table of (horribly rootbound, just by the way) violas and HAD TO HAVE ALL OF THEM (I also adore pansies and that entire family) but pulled myself together and only bought one . . .
So, having gone for one plant^^, I came home with six. Which is really VERY GOOD.
^ WORD YOU RATBAG WILL YOU FRELLING STOP AUTOCORRECTING DIERAMA TO DIORAMA? IF I MEANT DIORAMA I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN DIORAMA
^^ Well, one tray of plants. Snapdragons are plebeian annual bedding plants. You buy them in trays. Six snapdragons counts as ONE PLANT. Yes it does.
‡‡ And I was fine with Ascension Day as soon as I was sure it was about Jesus and not the queen.
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.