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Handbell peal venues under Covid 19 restrictions

The restrictions of meeting up with people other than your own household members in enclosed spaces has meant that a number of new handbell venues have been pealed.

Our first venue was Sue's gazebo in the garden at Willingham. This was absolutely fine in good weather, but not up to the job in windy conditions (it lifted off on one windy day in June, landing on its side and bending a leg in the process.) So very careful attention has had to be paid to weather forecasts ever since.

Sue's Gazebo

Our next venue was Chris Turner's carport. A brick built structure with two open sides gives plenty of protection from the elements and makes a lovely venue. It has been pealed several times. The only peal of major so far was rung there - but we had to contend with the minute but incredibly annoying thrips crawling around any bits of exposed skin. The local farmers had been harvesting. Truly an awful form of torture.

Chris Turner's Car Port

Our third venue has been Clare Heppenstall's (daughter of Robin) beautiful wooden garage. Set in the middle of farm and woodlands, we have enjoyed lovely scenery, bird song and the occasional thudding of horses' hooves.

Clare Heppenstall's wooden garage
Clare Heppenstall's wooden garage

In all these venues, concentration is extremely important and very easy to lose. Insects have not been our only airborne distractions. The red arrows have had flying displays above us and the local private airfield means planes are often buzzing around. The dustbin men make an amazing amount of noise, neighbouring dogs have joined in and Chris T's very bouncy puppy has given us a good licking. Despite all this, the fresh air and the morning meet ups have suited us and we've managed to keep the Guild peal total ticking over ever so slowly.

We have been seated rather further apart than we would normally and this does seem to have led to slower peal times, however we are getting used to it and speeding up slightly. The number of layers we are having to wear is now increasing considerably. Chris has already had to resort to a bobble hat and gloves. How long we will be able to remain out of doors remains to be seen.

Ringers involved in the peals so far have been: Sue Faull, Robin Heppenstall, Chris Sharp, Ian Till, Chris Turner.

Quarter peals have also been rung in other venues: St Astra, (a garage) by Luke Tobin and Tony Walker, a conservatory in Well by Kate Meyer, Val Wild and Chris Sharp. Barry Jones rang a quarter peal in Chris Turner's carport. Shorter lengths of handbells have been rung in Fiona Dawson's garden with Gill Gladman. Chris Sharp's gazebo has yet to be christened but there are plans to rectify that. No doubt there are other venues that I have not yet heard about.

Sue Faull