Mostly bell ringing. And a little hobgoblin.
Okay, I’m only going to say this once: OBAMA IS GOING TO WIN.*
We will now move smartly on to the standard topics of this blog**. Like bell ringing.*** Tilda has been here the last couple of days and I’ve been taking her bell ringing.† Okay, we also had a very nice hellhound hurtle this morning†† but mainly if you have a bell ringer visiting you you want to ring bells. She even carried Pavlova’s crate up the horrible winding stairs at South Desuetude last night. And we got through a plain course of Stedman Triples and then I screwed up the Cambridge minor ARRRRRRRRGH.†††
So we went off to Fustian this evening with me in a less than confident mood. I still feel I’m taking advantage, going to Fustian’s ‘improvers’ practise‡ at all. I had asked in advance if I could bring Tilda, but I was sure they’d be happy to have her, she can ring.‡‡ But when we got there there were only eight of us‡‡‡ so in fact Tilda and I were contributing. And I am improving . . . sloooooowly, like glacially slowly . . . but I am. Although I suspect the only reason they didn’t take me off the Grandsire triples tonight while the other loose cannon was ringing was because if they did they couldn’t ring it at all. And the only way I learn ANYTHING is by GRIND. The only way I will ever learn the wretched eight-bell rhythm is by ringing eight-bell methods for 1,000,000 hours, and I’m still in my first hundred thousand.
Our triumph of the evening however was the London minor: with the two genuine beginners standing out the only surprise they could ring at all was minor, and that only if they risked me on the treble. It took us three tries—and it wasn’t me that frelled it up, although a steadier treble might well have pulled us through—but we did it. So both Tilda and I got to come back to lamb chops at the mews feeling that we’d accomplished something. And I feel a little less like I’m taking advantage.
* * *
* In spite of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and blah. I agree that he’s fouled up some important stuff. But anybody in that worst job in the world would mess up important stuff, and I prefer his brand of screw-up to his opponent’s by about forty light-years.
I furthermore hope it’s not as close a race as some of the media wants (breathlessly) to say that it is. As someone tweeted/retweeted some time in the last few days, it’s in the media’s interests to make it sound like a cliffhanger. So I hope it’s an ordinary, dead boring landslide for Obama. And his Secretary of State.^
Wait a minute. Assuming Obama wins and that he doesn’t instantly fire everybody, she’s going to quit her job, you know, job, to spend the next four years getting organised and campaigning for the Democratic nomination next time?+ What is wrong with this picture?
+ And, sorry, but spare me another frelling political memoir.
** This is another of those Warning: too much information footnotes.
The hellterror’s bowel habits are making me CRAZY. She doesn’t want to hang around long enough to crap, she wants her treat now, and then she wants to go back indoors where the toys and the FOOOOOOOOOOOOOD are. I have to guess if she’s likely due a crap and then oblige her to remain in one of her Chosen Toilet Areas and wait on events. And wait. And wait. She will be pelting around frantically while clearly displaying what I indelicately refer to as a Pending Asshole—and because one does not want a hellterror to develop an End of Lead mania, one is constantly picking the pelting little ratbag up and plonking her back down where one wants her . . . and it’ll still be SEVERAL MINUTES before she gives up and craps. Arrrrrrrrrgh. Remind me why I wanted another dog.
I’ve just been listening to an odd piece of news on Radio 4 – firemen had to be called out to rescue a bellringer; apparently a woman in her 50s got tangled in the ropes and was suspended 20ft in the air…. and I’m ashamed to admit that my thoughts immediately jumped to you! I’m sure however that your descriptions of belltower ignominy are purely for comedic effect and nothing like this would ever happen (plus it was in Somerset so my fears were allayed!).
SIIIIIIIIIGH. Yes, it got on the gagblasted national news—it was on the Radio Three one o’clock news, and Radio 3 is not a big news station, nor does it generally go for the cranky stuff and I think they could have passed on this one. Yes, accidents happen, including in bell towers, and bells are great big heavy objects which is why you need careful training to ring them. I don’t in the least understand from the description what exactly happened, or why it was able to happen—usually if you’re still cluelessly cack-handed you’ll have a minder at your elbow ready to grab the rope if you show signs of trying to strangle yourself or your neighbours with it. But people learn handling at different speeds and there’s also the decision about backing off and letting a learner get on with it before you convince her that she’s hopeless which is why you’re still there looming at her.
My best guess is that, after three months, she was generally capable of ringing rounds on her own—and she was unlucky. Usually when you miss your grab the rope sidewinds a bit like a snake preparing to strike and you, your face painfully hot from the blush of embarrassment, catch it next time and start ringing like mad to get it back where it belongs. Occasionally someone bounds across the ringing chamber and snatches it away from you—brings it under control and hands the rope back to you saying ‘don’t worry, it happens to everybody’. And it does. She was unlucky. That’s all. As dangerous sports go, bell ringing is pretty much neck and neck with tiddlywinks. Hey, you could choke on a wink, you know.
And yes, I was once carried briskly toward the (high) ceiling at East Pernickety when I broke the stay and the bell went backwards over the balance and started dragging the rope, with me still attached, upwards. I’ve told you this story. It was when I was learning to ring the first time, before the ME knocked me over. Let go! Let go! everyone cried, and I hadn’t got far enough up to damage myself from the fall when I finally managed to unclamp my hands from the rope and drop back to the floor—because THE VERY FIRST THING THEY TELL YOU, AND THEY TELL YOU REPEATEDLY, IS NEVER LET GO OF THE TAIL END. NEVER. By the time you’ve been ringing long enough to not have a minder, who will also grab the rope if you let go, never letting go is so established it’s hard to override. The important part of this story is that I had barely frelling touched the stay—some OTHER EVEN CLUMSIER beginner had spent an entire practise crashing into it (they told me after), and it was as we now knew already cracked and ready to split. Mind you a good ringer never touches the stay in the first place—and a good ringer was put on that stayless bell for the rest of that evening—but . . .
† She’s going home tomorrow, the coward. If she stayed tomorrow night I could take her to the abbey. If she stayed over Thursday or Friday she could ring handbells.
†† Er . . . afternoon.
††† We’re going to call that being over-tired from the EXCITEMENT OF MY FIRST VOICE LESSON in four months or whatever it’s been. Like the getting out of bed too late to take poor stoic hellhounds for a proper morning hurtle was. Fortunately the hellterror isn’t up to proper hurtles at all yet.
‡ Now that they’re including frelling surprise, it’s no longer beginners’ practise but improvers’. Feh.
‡‡ Including frelling surprise.
‡‡‡ Plus a wounded ringing master who could mind but he couldn’t ring.
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