Several Aspects of Sunday Ringing
I wait breathlessly for the decision on the MGB. I realize it would be more practical to get rid of it…but practical isn’t much fun.
…my vote’s for fun now. Driving to the Abbey for ringing in an MG would be…enormously helpful to the writer’s mood.
Diane in MN
Because the hellhounds won’t fit in the back seat! I said.
In our young days, my husband had a Fiat 124 Spyder ragtop with one of those pretend back seats in it–the kind someone’s two-year-old child might fit in if she was small for her age–and we had a Lab/Shepherd mix and a Great Dane who BOTH rode in it. That would have been, oh, 200 pounds of dog. And they couldn’t squirm around, which was a very good thing. You may need to rethink the bit about the hellhounds.*
Yup! I vote for fun now, as well. You’re still amazed at yourself ringing at the Abbey every time you approach it – without any disrespect to the loyal and faithful Wolfgang, wouldn’t it feel even better and more exhilarating to be driving to the Abbey in the MGB?!
practical isn’t much fun.
AGREED. Also, I looked up pictures. It’s a PRETTY car. I’m just saying.
About a dozen emails:
KEEP THE MG.
YOU PEOPLE AREN’T HELPING AT ALL, YOU KNOW.
1. My All Stars are deeply practical. They are also fun.
2. EMoon, you ratbag, you are a writer so you know these things.**
3. THEY MUST HAVE BEEN EXCEPTIONALLY WELL TRAINED, OBEDIENT AND MELLOW CHARACTERS. None of which would apply to the hellhounds.
4. I thought about this. There is that spectacular view as you come over the hill into town. But the thing that really caught my feeble and easily distracted attention is the idea of parking in the close.*** Generally speaking only archbishops and the queen are allowed to park in the close. But us bell ringers are also granted special dispensation. Hmmmmm. Descending gently through the maze of the old town and penetrating at last to the, you should forgive the term, cloistered abbey grounds . . . as I said, hmmmmm.
5. It’s a very pretty car. It looks a lot like this: http://www.oselli.com/items/226?back=%2F There’s a reason they’re a cult car. Aside from the excuse to wear motorcycle leathers without driving a motorcycle.
Not that I’m against motorcycles, although I think it’s unlikely I’ll ever have one again.† An MGB will still cruise happily at speeds that the cops will pull you over for, and the boot may be small, but it’s bigger than panniers on a motorcycle, big enough for a haul home from supermarket/garden supply/old bookstore.††
And, speaking of bell ringing, as I so often am . . . I seem to have rung twice today. This is one of those things that I promised myself (and possibly my husband) that I would never develop a habit of doing: ringing more than one Sunday service.††† Well, it’s not a habit . . . yet. But I knew that Penelope was away, and Penelope is one of the core group of New Arcadia Sunday ringers. So I went along again this week. And . . . as I was strolling toward the tower in plenty of time I was thinking a little drily that if I’ve stopped not going, if you follow me, I’m going to hate sitting in the kitchen drinking tea on a Sunday morning I’m ringing in the abbey in the afternoon just as much as I’ve hated putting a pillow over my head and pretending to go back to sleep these last six or seven months. Feh. I got into this whole mess again after I quit ringing twelve years ago when the ME knocked me over because I’m now two garden walls over from a bell tower and can’t frelling HELP hearing them ring. Okay. I’ll worry about the habit thing later. Next week. Or the week after. Or the week after that. Edward is away for three weeks, so they’re going to go on being short. . . .
Oh, and it’s our first beautiful day since about . . . March. And as I was driving into the abbey I was thinking it would be a great day to be driving the MG. Robin, will you please think about something else?‡
And on our first beautiful day in about a year and a half we had a turnout of twelve which is very good for a Sunday afternoon. We rang Grandsire Triples for me‡‡ (seven bells plus tenor-behind) because the peons need to be kept cheerful (so they’ll keep coming back) and then the fancy guys rang Stedman caters (nine bells plus tenor-behind) which is almost beyond my tiny mind to grasp the implications of, if I ever really ring Stedman triples (seven bells of this twisty volatile nightmare method with tenor-behind) I will be very happy, and then we rang plain hunt on all twelve because that’s the only thing their twelfth ringer—me—can ring on twelve. And they put me on the treble. I hate trebling‡‡‡ for a lot of bells. It brings out all my frelling performance anxiety. But Scary Man was on the two and he didn’t yell at me . . . much . . . maybe he was tired. . . .
* * *
* Diane in MN continues:
GODS. The things one does when one is culpably young and even more culpably stupid. This was before I discovered single malt, however.
And if your youth was like mine, it was before you could AFFORD single-malt, too.
YES. Remember Thunderbird? Ripple? Cold Duck? Ewwwww. It amazes me my attitude toward booze wasn’t permanently ruined by these early experiences. And I’m pretty sure I’ve told the blog that I was put off champagne for about twenty years by a traumatic encounter with cheap rosé.
** One of the things I found myself telling Colin on Thursday was that while driving was and still is the ordinary daily activity that is probably the most conspicuously restricted by my ME^, one of the things I remember the most vividly about the summer of the year after I started getting up off the sofa again after the eighteen months of acute horizontality, was wandering around the back roads of Hampshire, at about 20 mph, in the MG, with the top off. Clearly it was a better summer that year.^^
^ which is really more to say that it’s harder to disguise with smoke and mirrors. I’m good at smoke and mirrors—my old friends who also read the blog might call it more Jekyll and Hyde—but driving/not driving is not terribly susceptible to guile and subterfuge.
^^ Although I still have the heated gloves and the Harley Davidson black leather chaps+ from my one winter of bell ringing with the MG. Put the top back on? What would I want to do that for? As soon as you put the top on it’s just a car.++
+ I’m failing to find a good on-line picture. But mine are the proper full length kind: legs with a belt to hold them up. They zip up the sides. They are very cool. If you’re into retro biker chic. With the pink All Stars an onlooker could injure him/herself laughing. There are ladies’ leather chaps# but twelve years ago when I was looking the only full-length ladies’ chaps were really cheezy. This is mysterious to me: a woman connecting with a road surface at high speed needs good quality leather between her and it just as much as a bloke does. Anyway, for other reasons concerning heat retention, I bought blokes’.
# I’ve even seen a rumour of pink ones
++ Also the claustrophobia, when you’re used to the top off, is kind of extreme. Headroom in old MGs is not too generous.
*** I’m not sure abbeys have closes. But it’s a close-like space, and since the Dissolution I daresay closes have grown up around ex-abbeys. The early 1500s is a long time ago.
† Although I totally fancy a Vespa. http://www.uk.vespa.com/#/vespa/UK/uk/Model/Vespa-LX/Vespa-LX-125-3V ^ It’s probably a good thing they don’t come in pink.
^ I don’t really see the point of a 300cc Vespa. If you want a real engine, why don’t you buy a motorcycle and get it over with?
†† We are not discussing the transportation of hellhounds.
††† Of course there are loonies in places like London where it’s cough-cough feasible, who spend their Sundays sprinting from one tower to the next and knock off half a dozen before going home to the Sunday roast.
‡ All else being equal, which it never is, if I were doing her up to sell her, I could probably afford it. If I’m doing her up to keep her . . .
‡‡ Scary Man has this infuriating habit of shouting Listen to your bell! when I start going astray. If I could frelling hear my frelling bell I would be a much better ringer.
‡‡‡ The treble is first. It all begins with you. There are various arguments about who ‘really’ sets the pace or the rhythm. The stronger argument is that the tenor does for the simple reason that it’s the biggest bell and the rest of us have to make space. But the treble is still first—and totally exposed. Ugggggggh.
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