Sojourns of a Summer Evening - A Two Tower Outing (Elloe)
Our organist, Alan Balmforth has, on occasion, described to me his experiences when playing organs other than our own at Gedney. Some are of fine sound, others mediocre, some easy but others more difficult to play. Similarly, each church tower and bells are unique, each having characteristics of its own.
With this in mind we all looked forward to our two tower outing on the evening of Tuesday July 22nd, commencing at Newton-in the Isle, St James Church, which has six bells cast by Thomas Osborne in 1786. Learners though we are, our hours ringing did these bells justice as they produce a pleasant sound. Moving on we came to the detached tower at St Giles, Tydd-St-Giles where there are also six bells cast by Mears & Stainbank in 1887.This tower is not the original which collapsed sometime during the eighteenth century. Local legend has it that the devil pushed it over. Well-although there were no supernatural interventions during our visit, the combination of an old wooden bell frame plus noticeable tower oscillation made these bells somewhat difficult to ring. However, amidst comments such as "Can you feel the tower moving?" we prevailed and so came to our last sojourn of the evening, the welcoming "Crown and Mitre", a mere stones throw from the church.
Here we celebrated the culmination of our evening in true bell ringers style-friendly faces, animated conversation aided by cups or glasses of appropriate liquid. It was here that Keith Sheppard (Sutton-St-James) was heard to declare "This is how bell ringing used to be". For a moment I felt a pang of nostalgia for days gone by, but looking around I realised that- it still is, except that in those days we had no cars-we did it all by bike, the kind one pedals.
John Bennett (Gedney)