Monday, 8 March 2010

Bell Ringing

Just a quick post about my excitement of the bell ringing evening last week! Hannah, Charlotte, Sarah and I went to All Hallows Church in Twickenham last week to watch the bell ringing, with the idea that they will play hand held bells at Ham House as part of the Birthday celebrations. I know none of you will judge me if Im honest and I have to say that at first I was a bit like ah really, bell ringing, I had in mind a load of old people standing on an alter with bells in their hands ringing them! I was so wrong, you could ask my housemates and they would testify that I came back from the bell ringing feeling really excited. As you all know I haven't been and am still not very well, and he experience really cheered me up. The spirit of the people that ring was amazing, I found them happy, positive and friendly, but above all actually really talented! The bell ringing itself (''actual'' bell ringing- i.e big ropes that are pulled coming down through the ceiling) They almost had their own language between them. this was the first time this semester that I had a real feeling of community, which I was expecting to get earlier in the course, I think it was down to the fact that there were people from all walks of life there at the bell ringing, from little old ladies to young men, from old men to young women, and they were all on the same wavelength and all excited about our event, as were the members of the quior I went to visit with Zoe last week, although I will write about this when I am less tired and in need of pain killers and bed! Anyway I would really urge anyone thinking about going to the ringing to go. It was not just a demonstration, we actually had a go at ringing the bells, which at first for me was terrifying! I was really nervous, they had told us previously of how precious the bells are, they are in optimum position, each one for how it needs to be rung. This was a lot of pressure when it came to pulling one, we were told that you could end up on the ceiling! We managed with help to ring the bell properly and it felt really good to be experiencing something really new at the hands of others in your own community that you have never met before, I feel that this is the main aim of community based projects, to bring people closer!

The best part for me was learning the history of the bells and the church which originally stood in central London but was brought to Twickenham bit by bit, there were not enough people visiting the church as it was in London. We ascended into a room above what you would imagine to be the highest room in the tower, on a very small and scary ladder, where the bells are kept, with their ropes hanging through the floor into the room below. We were told that it would be unhealthy to sound the bells whilst we were in the room with them as this could be deafening! (not to mention the fact that when all bells are sounded at once the whole tower moves... noticeably!) On the pin board of the room below was tacked a picture taken in the 1930's. A small girl, her identity unknown, standing next to the largest bell possessed by the church, a few hundred kilograms from being a ton weight, she looked so small in her white linen dress. I felt so small next to that monster! It was a great night and a really exciting experience.