Central Branch Rabbits at Bardney, 25th May 2015
We arrived bang on time at Bardney and went straight in and gave our names to Richard Spencer. I then went up the tower to raise the bells for the competition.
When I got down again the teams had been drawn. Only 3 teams this year. This is a little disappointing since last year we had 6 teams at Thorpe-on-the-Hill. The poor attendance may have been due to the last minute change of venue. The test piece would be Rounds and Call changes. Anyone ringing a method would be disqualified. Anyway I was "Big Bunny" for team number 1, so we went up and took hold to start the competition.
We had a 3 minute practice time, so I set my stopwatch to 3 minutes and when the treble ringer started us off, I hit the start button.
Now it's fair to say that Bardney bells are a bit loud. In fact it would be fair to say that they are a lot loud! In order to protect my somewhat fragile hearing (I suffer from Tinnitus) I had put in ear plugs. I let the rounds settle down a bit, before I bellowed in my loudest possible voice, "2 to 3". Nothing! We remained in rounds. There then followed some wild gesticulating, while I tried to convey to the band via the power of mime that I wanted bells 2 and 3 to swap over. However it was obvious from their expressions that they thought I was having some sort of seizure.
Eventually the message was received and we managed to do Queens and back before I had to shout "Stand" to avoid running over our 3 minutes.
Now the test piece was to be under 5 minutes, so I reset my stopwatch to 5 minutes and after a quick half time talk, the treble ringer dinged the treble a couple of times to let the judge know we were starting our test piece. And away we went. It was hard work and there were a number of clashes when the sign language broke down a bit. Anyway at least the other teams were in the same boat so to speak. I had to call "Stand" before reaching rounds as the timer was indicating 3 seconds to go.
We went down the tower to be greeted by cups of tea and coffee and cake. Lots of cake! Also there were the sausages! Hot on the heels of last year's very successful Pork Pie judging contest was this year's sausage judging contest. Despite the low turnout, we had 12 entries in the Sausage Contest. The sausages ranged from a bit plain to a bit spicy to a lot spicy to garlic poisoning to very peculiar. Anyway if you liked a particular sausage you ticked the sheet next to it.
Team 2 were underway by now and I was kind of heartened that they too were struggling. It's not just us then! At the same time as this was going on, there was the inevitable raffle and a Treasure Hunt. We spent some time charging round the graveyard looking for previous incumbents who had passed away.
Meanwhile Team 3 had got going. Ooh! They were a bit good! Not perfect by any means, but better than the first 2 teams. Eventually the contest was over and we went in to the church for the results. The judge turned out to be Betty Stracey. Not too surprisingly team 3 won and was presented with their certificates and a chocolate bunny each. The treasure hunt answers were given out with 3 people getting all of them correct. The raffle was drawn, as was the 100 club. Margaret Parker won the Sausage Contest and was presented with the highly coveted "Onion" Trophy.
We went back upstairs, notionally to ring down but we managed to squeeze in a touch of Single Oxford before doing so.
The event concluded so some of us made our way up to St. Giles later in the evening to do some more ringing.
Jonathan Clark (webmaster)