These are the events just about in living memory.
Due to a concert at St. David’s on February 1st, we had a tied bell practice giving people the opportunity to have ringing up and ringing down practice and giving our learners more focus. This was supposed to run alongside people going to Newton St. Cyres, but some people just couldn’t get there, so we went to the Beer Engine after the practice. Since we were thin on the ground, we made up for it by being extra outrageous.
The first Social of the New Year and where better to go than “The Bridge” in Topsham. They even had a beer named Bellringer. The evening saw a full return to the traditional pastimes of the society. Having a great time, drinking and being merry, and trying to keep Alex’s (Bungle’s) “behaviour” in check. Although it must be said, after David managed to get his elbow around his neck and Maff put his feet up (behind his head), Alex and Timmah’s behaviour was allowed to slip.
Yes the cry has gone out again. CURRY IS GOOD!!! The evening saw a return to form, meeting up for a drink or two and then eating vast quantities of curry at the Ghandi. We were all deeply disappointed that brussel sprout curry was not on the menu. The Ghandi served us well but we shall continue our selfless quest for Exeter’s best curry.
Jolly times and good beer (not necessarily mutually exclusive) were had at the Royal Oak in St. Thomas as the venue for our Christmas dinner. Sadie the Landlady fed us well and David was even seen to pass his pudding on to someone else, complaining he was too full! Well, he had eaten all the sprouts at our end of the table. A good time was had by all as the end of the winter term and Christmas were celebrated.
People gathered at David's flat for a few (?) drinks and Christmas cheer. Some brave people had a go at the yard of ale, and everyone enjoyed Stollen and Panettone. Several also had thier first experience of "Bucky" and Timmah enjoyed it so much he had another swig for breakfast! A rousing rendition of Christmas Carols about the tramps of Exeter caused much amusement, as did some impromptu dressing-up...
This year to mark the 50th anniversary of the granting of the University Charter, we rang the bells at the Cathedral for the annual University Service. This was the first time (in recent years anyway) that this has been done. We had some good ringing on the light 10, including some well struck call-changes and some Grandsire Caters.
The annual trip Exmouth took place on the last weekend of term. And for once the weather was very hot, with not a cloud or a rain drop in sight! 12 intrepid adventurers set off on the train from Exeter destined for the sea front at Exmouth. A quick stop off at Somerfield to collect the supplies meant we were all set for an afternoon of fun. The cooking was expertly undertaken by "the freshers", there was plenty of food, and then we played rounders and french cricket.
In typical usual fashion a group gathered at the pub to celebrate David Maynard's birthday. It wasn't long before much alcohol had been consumed and some pictures taken that some might regret... (click to enlarge).
The last weekend in May saw our annual outing with the Bristol University ringers, this year held around Taunton. The day started at the fine eight at Milverton where some excellent Stedman and Bristol were rung. The second tower of the day was Ash Priors, a pleasant six in a ground floor ring. Again the ringing was of a generally high standard ranging from call changes to surprise minor. The third tower of the day, and the last before lunch, was the heavy eight at Bishop's Lydeard. The bells were slightly more challenging than the preceding towers but exceptionally rewarding with it. Whilst signing the visitor’s book we discovered that the tower had been on a previous ECG/UBSCR tour in 1997, when some recent well ex-members, including the webmaster, rang. Bishop’s Lydeard was also the venue for the now traditional sight of Rusty hanging from the end of a rope trying to pull the tenor off. Ringing at Bishop’s Lydeard was swiftly followed by lunch in the pub next door.
After a very relaxed break for lunch we proceeded to Staplegrove (although sadly we had no time for the nearby cider farm). Staplegrove were a rustic but enjoyable ground floor six where the ringing was again of a good standard, some particularly good Stedman sticking in my mind. The final two towers of the day were both in Taunton. The first was Holy Trinity, a four hundredweight six with a particularly interesting access. Since the tower was too small to take many people, most of us had to sit downstairs in the fascinating church, waiting our turn and socializing. Again the bells were sweet-sounding and surprisingly easy to handle considering their weight. The final tower of the day was St. James, overlooking the cricket ground, although Essex had wrapped up a nine-wicket victory over Somerset by the time we started ringing. That was rather lucky, as the challenging bells combined with the very early start produced the least satisfying ringing of the day.
Fortunately the next stop after Taunton was the Winchester Arms in Trull, where the food was exceptional and came in generous portions and the skittles was as entertaining as ever. For the first time in three years the gnome wasn’t broken (although this may have been because we ‘forgot’ to bring it). Due to the arcane scoring method we were using I don’t remember who won, but after all that isn’t the point. For the most part the day was graced with some beautiful weather and the picturesque villages and scenic countryside of western Somerset provided the perfect backdrop for a very enjoyable day.
The first weeks of the summer term were exiting ones for the ECG. St. George’s Day saw us go where no ECG team has gone before and enter the Devon Association eight-bell competition at Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Having stopped on the way down to get in a last-minute practice (with mixed success) we arrived at Widecombe after a drive through the stunning scenery of Dartmoor. With most of our team having never rung in a full Devon call-change competition before we were slightly unsure of what to expect but in the event we were drawn late in the day and got to listen to some of the other ringing and absorb the atmosphere before having to ring. When our turn finally came around we acquitted ourselves relatively well, although we may perhaps have been better off ringing up slightly slower. For those of you who don’t know, the eight bell competition has a minimum time of 20 minutes; we raised the bells and completed the set changes after about ten, meaning we had to spend a very long time hanging around in rounds before we could lower them, and then spent longer than normal chiming the bells in order to stretch our piece over the twenty minute mark. Considering our relative lack of experience it was a satisfying piece of ringing and we felt we had acquitted ourselves well.
While half of the band proceeded to the pub to start the celebrations, the rest of us waited at Widecombe for the results. In the end we performed rather better than we (and everyone else) had expected. While we came last we were only ½ of fault behind Alphington, who are an experienced and established eight bell band and I believe that this represented a very credible performance.
As a thank you to us for holding our Christmas Dinner at the Hogshead in Fore Street they decided to lay on some food for us free of charge on a Thursday night. So a gathering of friendly people took place, which ended in traditional fashion...! A few photos...
A few photos... more on their way (I hope)! - Ed
After having enjoyed last year’s SUA so much somebody (and the mists of time obscure who is to blame) decided it would be good fun to host it in Exeter this year, leading to an enjoyable but rather fraught weekend for all involved (apart from a certain ex-Master who didn’t even make it out of bed for the eight bell competition).
As is normal, the weekend started with general ringing at St. David’s and even more general drinking at the Imperial. It was at this point that things started going wrong. Firstly there was the weather. Exeter decided to greet our guest with classically Devonian weather i.e. rain so hard that it flooded the train lines between Bristol and Exeter. The upshot of this was that Oxford got stuck at Bristol and were forced to get a coach down. They finally arrived at quarter to eleven and, just to add insult to injury, were refused entry to the pub because they lacked valid ID!
Saturday morning dawned a lot dryer than Friday, thankfully. After having got up at some ridiculous hour in the morning in order to cook breakfast for the ravenous masses the first item on the day’s agenda was the eight bell competition, held at St. David. The competition didn’t run as smoothly as possible but thanks to the patience of the judges and competitors everything was completed successfully and just about within the scheduled time. The last event before lunch was general ringing at St. Thomas, a fine sounding but tricky ring of bells.
With the six bell competition being held immediately after lunch it was interesting to notice the various strategies pursued by different teams. While most of the students headed down to the pub for a traditional ringers lunch, two thirds of a team composed of ex-Exeter students decided to stay sober and stick to soft drinks. After the competition the teams gathered in St. Petrock's to hear the results of both competitions, which were as follows:
Congratulations to Southampton and Bristol for winning the competitions and London, who won the eight-bell competition tankard for being the highest placed all student band. The ECG were a model of consistency, having come last in last year’s SUA eight bell and joint last in both of the recent GDR competitions. Still, at least we weren’t disqualified from either competition this time! And what effect did Exeter (Past)’s sober lunch have? Well their performance probably wasn’t helped by the giggling fit half the band were suffering from. That’s what happens when you drink too much coke at lunchtime.
After the results the party split, those with cars or other transport going to Newton St. Cyres and Pinhoe while those who were walking went to St. Mark's and Heavitree. After having got all the ringing out of the way we headed to the pub and later on to the hall to continue the drinking. Thankfully the clocks went back on Sunday morning, allowing us all a much-needed extra hour in bed. After morning ringing and cleaning up the hall everyone met up at Boston Tea Party for some much needed liquid sustenance. While one enthusiastic group went off to attempt (and lose) a handbell quarter the rest went and had a pleasant and relaxed lunch at The Malthouse. The final event of the weekend was service ringing at the Cathedral and the announcement that Bristol had won the quiz provided the previous evening.
After this most societies went home, apart from London who went down to Exmouth to go swimming. In the sea. In November. Rather them than me.
The weekend was enjoyable but very hectic, I’m already looking forward to next year’s SUA in London, mainly because I’m not going to have to organise it.
Thanks must go all of the ECG who helped organise the weekend, especially Pip, for organising the towers, and Heather, for ferrying everyone around in the minibus, Matt Hilling and Ian Avery for judging the competitions and finally everyone who attended, for being so patient and making the weekend such a success.
The end of the academic year was marked by a spate of barbecues which, despite the unpredictable weather, were thoroughly enjoyable. First up was a barbecue at Rusty’s house after the Guild AGM. After a tour of Rusty’s back garden - featuring numerous abandoned cars and the septic tank - we decided it was time to get down to the serious business of drinking, which some people did with a surfeit of enthusiasm. After a short break to eat some food, delectably cooked by Rusty’s parents, certain members of the society hit the booze again, the results of which are unsuitable for a ‘family’ website. Thanks must go to Rusty’s parents for putting up with us and supplying the food and her brother for sheer entertainment value.
Two weeks later Andrew Digby hosted another barbecue as a prelude to a quarter at Newton St. Cyres. The weather proved to be excellent for the barbecue itself, although it did rain later in the day. After the barbecue we rang another enjoyable quarter of Grandsire Triples for the Newton St. Cyres Flower Festival followed by some of the band going off to ring in another quarter at the Cathedral while the rest of us retired to The Beer Engine for a relaxing game of Trivial Pursuit and a drink or two.
Having been missed off the ECG’s social calendar for the last two years the Exmouth Barbecue was reinstated as the final event of the academic year. The weather just about held out despite threatening to rain several times and everybody enjoyed themselves playing Frisbee and chasing seagulls away from our food.
It was a perfectly ordinary Wednesday night practice, although perhaps slightly busier than usual. All of a sudden the serene tranquility was interrupted by a well-known voice from the past. To our amazement, it was Giles, back from Australia to visit his chums in Exeter. An outrageous evening at the Artful Dodger ensued, with some truly shocking comments, and revelations about Vicky's designs on the barman! An informal handbell practice and recording session had been arranged for Saturday evening, and several people expressed an interest. However the best laid plans are often prone to the fickleness of events...
As everyone arrived, laden down with beer and wine, I soon realised that the handbell recording wasn't going to go very well! In fact we never even got the handbells out at all. After a few bottles of David's home brew and a generous helping from Rusty's keg of beer, the volume began to rise. The arrival of Giles and his attendant heralded the serious disorder. Giles began by bolting a pint of port, and demolished Alex's record, to set a new time of just over 5 seconds! At this point my memory becomes slightly hazy, but I think the succession of events goes something like this: People started running around in the street, prompting David and Rusty to go and lean out of the upstairs window, resulting in Rusty breaking the curtain rail! One of David's housemates came to complain about the noise (Sorry guys!) Alex spilled port all over the floor. Giles broke Jeeemsy's bed, Alex told us some rather interesting stories (not repeatable here) and someone sabotaged David's alarm clock (meaning he missed not only morning ringing at the Cathedral, but also St David's!).
The evening ended in something of a haze, and somewhere in the middle of it all Matt-bru and Louise turned up to find us climbing over the garden wall and Rusty running down the street wearing David's old school cap! However we were just about well enough to ring a good quarter at St Petrocks the next day.
Exeter Colleges Guild
Following the success of David's "Bottle of port" evening, and the popularity of the video and drunken soundbites which followed, we decided to have a "Pint of Port" evening. Following the carnage that ensued following David's successful bolting of an entire bottle, we decided pints were more sensible! To soak up all that alcohol, we decided that a big greasy curry was needed. So it was that we gathered at David's house, where the curry was well underway.
For some reason people started climbing in and out of the window and shouting drunkenly at passers-by. Hmmmmn. David went first and saw his pint of port off in 9.4 seconds, a good improvement on his own previous record. Alex went next, and to everyone's surprise and delight, knocked a whole second of the record! Vicky then attempted a pint of vodka cocktail, but didn't manage to see it off in one draught. Matt-bru then attempted a pint of vermouth (having had unpleasant port-related experiences in the first year!) but failed to come close to the new record. Well done Alex!
The curry was then enjoyed with much gusto and the drunken quotes began to flow freely, luckily Ed was on hand with the video camera to save these precious moments for posterity! Although Matt-bru managed to burn one of the naan breads (which later somehow found its way into next door's garden!) it was extremely tasty. Fortunately the photos of David running round in nothing but his boxers broke the scanner and therefore cant appear on the website!
Pip arrived later on, and saw off her pint of port in a very respectable 12 seconds. Despite extremely bad hangovers the next day, a few people have expressed interest in having a go for the bottle!
The Real Report: Gneville reports on the gnome's view of the outing.
The Ringing Master's Report:
Our day started early as a ten o’clock start at the first tower meant a ten past eight departure. In the event, despite dodgy signposting taking us on a scenic tour of the North Dorset countryside, we arrived at Thornford fifteen minutes before were meant to start and half an hour before UBSCR. The wait allowed us to take a society photo and then David amused himself by chatting to the sheep in the neighbouring field. Thornford proved to be tricky bells, light set and with a long draft. Despite this some good ringing was achieved. The next two towers, Hardington Mandeville and West Coker were much easier to control and the ringing was generally good.
The group dispersed around Yeovil for lunch and a little light shopping before meeting at the heavy ten there to resume ringing. After the local letting us in had released a bird that had got stuck in the tower we rang assorted methods including some Cambridge Royal. The striking wasn’t as good as it could have been, possibly due to a combination of post-lunch lassitude and some excessively high boxes. The ringing improved at West Camel, the penultimate tower of the day before we headed to Queen Camel, the World’s (real) heaviest six. The bells sounded impressive and went surprisingly well for their weight (nearly 37cwt). The ringing was mostly restricted to call changes but the striking was generally good, particularly considering the weight and the fact it was the last tower of the day.
After Queen Camel we headed for the traditional beer and skittles to round off the day. For the second year running the gnome got broken, and they time we can’t even blame the Bristol ringers. The skittles proved to be a tense and exiting match, going down to the final player with Bristol eventually winning by one point, helped, no doubt, by their greater sobriety. We finally returned to Exeter late in the evening exhausted but having thoroughly enjoyed the day.
The success of recent ECG events, both ringing and social, inspired David to combine the two in a 'Grand Day Out' writes Dom. The day started with two quarters, Grandsire Doubles at St. David's and Grandsire Triples at St. Mark's. Both were successfully completed and add to the ever burgeoning list of the current band's achievements. Over thirty quarter peals this (academic) year and counting! After St Mark's we adjourned to Alex and Kathryn's house for tea and some handbell ringing. In fact the handbell ringers were so enthusiastic we ended up missing the train we had intended to catch. After some minor logistical complications we rendezvoused in Topsham and went for a short walk along the riverside. Next up was a trip to the excellent cheese shop, where some of us spent more than we could really afford to, followed by some tea. After tea we moved on to 'The Lighter' (where Vicky cruelly vandalised my yarg) and eventually 'The Bridge' when it reopened. Some of the stragglers (those who have better things to do with their Saturdays than wander around Topsham) joined us there and the rest of the evening was spent eating, drinking and generally being merry. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day which will no doubt be repeated in the future
Inspired by an interesting photo of Mike Esbester with a frying pan, we decided to hold a pancake evening on Shrove Tuesday. A vote on possible pancake fillings was inconclusive, although some interesting suggestions were acted upon. Gathering at Dom's flat we brought some choice ingredients and a collection of Monty Python DVDs. Cooking the pancakes proved amusing, but with some expert advice from Dom's lovely flatmate and some skilled tossing by our resident gourmet saved the day. Fillings included pickled herring and sherry sauce, chilli and ricotta and lemon and sugar! We also tried chillies in chocolate sauce (email David for an amusing video) and Pringles in various dips. The first showing of the evening was "The Meaning of Life" once people had stopped pre-empting the lines (with appalling timing) we really enjoyed the film. Live Organ Transplants and Mr Creosote remained firm favourites with some, but prompting others to hide in disgust! David managed to break a chair in his mirth, and Dom enjoyed a prolonged tickling session! Unfortunately the quotes of the evening are far too improper for this website, but you can make your own up to go with the photos.
"The celebration of birthdays is an annual hazard" and with such a large and vibrant society it becomes even more regular than that. The weather, not wanting to be fickle was just as inclement for Pip's birthday, and so it was that we gathered at Pip's flat for an evening of enlightened revelry. Perhaps spending the afternoon in the Brook Green after a failed peal attempt wasn't the most sensible way to get ready for the party - but it was certainly fun! The first public viewing of the famous toilet was quite an occasion. It was surprisingly comfortable! Despite the proliferation of salt and vinegar crisps, the evening was extremely convivial and the drinks and snacks were appreciated. So much so that we decided to build a tower of cans and tubes! An impersonation of an Imperial Guardsman, brandishing a mop handle, to a rousing (slurred) rendition of "Allons amis de l'alcoholisme, le soir de boire est arrive.." was extremely amusing at the time, but no doubt caused concern in the flat below! Concerned for the quality of morning ringing, certain abstemious individuals decided to go home early.
It only seemed appropriate to celebrate Kathryn's 20th birthday with a big party. As there was no practice that Wednesday, everyone was free to go drinking instead. Gathering at David's house on a very cold (and slightly snowy) evening, we embarked on an interesting selection of games devised to cause maximum embarrassment and humour. The modelling balloons were the source of some interesting innuendo and some photos too risqué for this august website were taken. (Email Alex for more information!) Drinks and snacks preceding a rowdy game of "Pass the Parcel" with interesting forfeits making up for the lack of a proper prize in the middle. A round of "Chubby Bunnies" ended with Alex spitting Marshmallow goo all over the floor, and "I have never..." saw David victimised cruelly - with hilarious consequences. Unfortunately the University guidelines on the content of society website precludes recording here some of the quotes of the evening, especially those of Dom after a pint of cocktails! Pizza and birthday cake provided a pleasant end to the evening.
Harrison Building, Exeter University
The prospect of meeting up with some other university ringers, having a good weekend away and more beer and curry was too much for the society, so it was that four of us headed off to sunny Oxford one dark Friday afternoon. We soon realised our first mistake, booking seats in the "Quiet Coach". Fortunately the crocodile and bouncy hat were safely stowed in David's coat pocket, on the luggage rack, well out of harms way. After a pleasant journey we arrived in Oxford, where a rather interesting statue outside the station caused some amusement!
We met up with some of the Bristol ringers on the train and together found our way to the pub. A convivial evening in the succinctly named "Far from the Madding Crowd" was interrupted only by a quick grab at a nearby church. Back at the church hall we carried on the party.
Goldsmith's maxim about good liquor only sitting well upon a good meal was borne out, and there were some rather sore heads in the morning for the 8-bell striking competition. We quickly solved our numerical shortcomings, and entered an "Exeter and friends" scratch band. Whether the game of catch with the bouncy hat (during the ringing), the proliferation of hangovers or David mis-calling the test piece was most at fault no-one will ever know, but the results bear witness to the amusement which was derived from entering! An excellent buffet lunch and some more time in the pub preceded the 6-bell contest, in which we did rather better. The absence of a convenient location for the croc, meant he stayed well out of the test piece, and we achieved a respectable placing. The rest of the afternoon was spent pub-grabbing before the quiz. Our team "Floored Logic" (there were no chairs left!) seemed to do quite well, although I'm not quite sure. An enjoyable evening of drinking followed, culminating in a really big curry.
Sunday morning included a quarter peal attempt (stedman and stonking headaches are unhappy bedfellows!) and service ringing at Christchurch. While perusing some second hand books in the church hall, we also found a rather amusing picture of our good friend Maurice, the tramp we met at the beer festival, and took a photo! Having left early for a quick quarter on the way home, I missed the excellent cider-swilling vagabond at Reading station, whose forcible ejection by the railway security caused Alex so much amusement!
As the tides follow the movement of the heavens, so the ECG follows its thirst. Needless to say the beer festival at our local Wetherspoon's had a pretty strong gravitational pull! Luckily we managed to get "our table" again and settled down for an evening of measured beer tasting and sophisticated conversation!!! Having tasted some interesting beers, including Kathryn's local 8.5% rocket fuel, some of us braved the local Scrumpy selection. Back by popular demand the crocodile, bouncy hat and bouncy ball were the cause of much merriment. Fortunately we were surrounded by young people, who took the request to crawl under their table in pursuit of the errant toys rather well. Ever keen to experiment, an interesting cocktail was produced which looked extremely unpleasant. This was all very well until a slight upset befell it. At about this point the crocodile suffered a lingual puncture, and soon afterwards got lost. The serious business of beer tasting was then interrupted by an untimely call to David's mobile. This was swiftly and wittily dealt with by Dominic and his sister, Rhiannon. This inspired them to engineer some more prank calls, and some rather amusing anonymous messages. Eager that the antiquated licensing laws shouldn't spoil the party, we adjourned to David's house to laugh at his collection of drunken photographs and carry on drinking.
An encouragingly large number of people turned out for our curry and bowling evening this term. As ever the probelm of getting a table on Thursday evening meant that a public-spirited few had to get to the pub rather early to secure our spot. A rare sighting of "Slumpy" was the reward for those who braved the early evening eccentrics! After enjoying some really good curry (and a couple of pints!) we headed off to do some bowling. A mistake in the booking system at the bowling alley meant we got our game for half price! I can't quite remember who won, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The crocodile and bouncy hat made their debut appearance at the Imperial to the delight of the society, but received a rather mixed response from those at neighbouring tables!
A few photos taken in the pub following the practice on Wednesday 15 October 2003. Click photo to enlarge.
After weeks of preparation and planning, the ECG-organised outing got off to a good start with a prompt(ish) departure from Exeter. The first tower was located without difficulty and we enjoyed some good ringing on the interesting bells at Middlezoy church. Next stop was for the superb Taylor eight at St Mary's Bridgewater. Here we entertained the local fundraising event which was going on in the church and had an attentive audience. Stopping for lunch at the Sedgemoor Inn, Westonzoyland, a stone's throw from the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor, where the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion was crushed in 1685, we enjoyed a really good lunch (the curly chips were especially good!).
After nearly forgetting the gnome, we made our way to the small village of Chedzoy for ringing. A slight muddle of letting us in was quickly sorted out by phone, and after collecting the key from a local farm we experienced the truly unique ring of six. Ringing on the heavy six at Enmore was the next engagement, and the local tower captain kindly allowed us to ring on the superb six in the next village as well. These rather more musical and manageable bells were greatly appreciated! Up to the coast for the final ringing stop, at Burnham on Sea. With the sun finally showing, we had some good ringing on these bells including 3 leads of Bristol and some very nice Stedman and Plain Bob Major.
Fish and chips on the sea-front was voted as the best idea for tea, and appetites satisfied, we retired to the neighbouring village for a game of skittles (and some beer). The excellent selection of local ales and interesting selection of friendly local skittles experts accompanied some quality socialising. The game of skittles got off to a good start with the pressure on to claim the elusive victory. The unfortunate loss of the gnome was a setback, although subsequent discussion about the possibility of having a new (unbreakable) one as some kind of trophy for the skittles was highly entertaining. After collecting the pieces we continued playing to eventually secure a solid victory. The gnome's head was awarded as a trophy! Everyone seemed to enjoy the day (except the gnome) and with the minibus unscathed and the gnome wrapped up in newspaper we returned to Exeter.
After reading about the curry night last year on the ECG website, the new members wanted to experience it for themselves. Also the rest of us wanted an excuse for a good night out! The bright idea of going bowling afterwards made it seem even better. So after enjoying a good curry (and some good beer or course!) in the Imperial, we took advantage of the really good student discount at the local bowling alley. After a resounding victory for Matt and David’s team in the first game, the other team decided to alter their strategy – and had the bumpers put up! This resulted in a win for them, leaving everyone happy with a one-all tie.
The Christmas meal this year was a great success. Organising it in November rather than the night before probably helped! About eighteen people attended to enjoy the special Christmas menu at the Hogshead in Exeter. An excellent meal and some very good beer was finished off with our usual Wednesday night session at the Imperial.
We entered the GDR annual inter-tower 6 bell competition for the first time in a long time. Our allocated slot for ringing was last at 12.20pm - so it meant we didn't have to get up too early! Our ringing was very respectable and we achieved 5th place with 34.5 faults.
After the exam season the ECG traditionally celebrates the end of the year with a beach trip. Fine weather added the finishing touch and despite some problems with our cricket ball, the game was great fun. Our guest chef, supplied by Matt provided us with choice food and an enjoyable day was had by all.
ECG members welcomed the Royal party on May 1st with special ringing on their way from St David’s station to the city centre. The royal visit marked the beginning of the progress for the Golden Jubilee. Open ringing was followed by refreshments and handbell ringing, making a real evening out of the event.
Saturday 27th April 2002
In line with ancient custom, the two societies take it in turns to organise the joint ringing outing, this year the Bristol ringers had the task of organising the day. The tour was based around the Wells and Glastonbury area, including five towers, two pubs and a chip shop! This year we had a minibus, expertly driven by Giles, aided by our Secretary and Geographer, Matt, and James’ local knowledge. “Turn left here….. (points right) No, the other left!” After negotiating the perils of rural Somerset, getting stuck behind a slow moving octogenarian in a mini and conflicting ideas about live music, the day of ringing began.
Having set off bright and early, we reached the first tower just as the Bristol ringers finished getting the bells up. The heavy old-style eight at Shepton Mallet posed a few initial problems, but we had some very enjoyable and reasonable ringing. A quick dash back through wooded lanes brought us to the Cathedral City of Wells, where traces of paint can still be seen on a post in the car park! After trying to iron out the dent in the bus we made our way to the impressive parish church of St Cuthbert. Some excellent ringing on the fine 27cwt eight was enjoyed by all.
After managing to leave the car park without sustaining further damage, we set off towards lunch in Ashcott. Having brought both the essential books for a ringing outing, James was able to inform us that the Ring ‘o’ Bells Inn, Ashcott, was indeed in the book. We enjoyed a good lunch and were able to talk and intermingle with the Bristol ringers. After suitable rest and refreshment we had some good ringing on the much acclaimed six at Ashcott. Glastonbury was our next stop, and after braving the pouring rain and some rather rude local children we continued ringing at St Benedict’s. Here many of us were impressed to see that for once it was not only short ringers who are catered for, the hole near the door is just the right size to stand in to ring the second comfortably! After some rather good ringing, including variable treble spliced surprise minor, we made our way across to St John’s. This imposing church was our last ringing destination. We rang some Bristol, and some very good Stedman, (despite a minor distraction).
Once in the safety of the pub I felt able to check just who it was who had been clever enough to pick the one occasion when I had forgotten to turn my phone off during ringing. The elements were braved once again (it wasn’t just me who hadn’t thought to bring a coat) and soon we were eating our fish ‘n’ chips in the warmth of the minibus. Preparation for the real challenge, the skittles match consisted of a debate as to where the best fish and chips comes from (some people haven’t been to Yorkshire yet, hence the argument!) The teams were picked very fairly, Exeter vs. Bristol. The first few scores had the Bristol Master fearing a humiliation. The match was close, however by some lucky fluke, the Bristol team were able to make good their early losses and win the match. The final score was Exeter 291 and Bristol 315. So if anyone knows somewhere in Exeter we can practice for next year, please let me know! A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all, many thanks to the Bristol ringers for organising such a good day, and lets hope we can make next year’s outing just as good.
The societies ball was an American Prom style party, held in Cornwall House to raise money for Guild societies on Wednesday 13th March 2002. About five of us from the ECG decided to represent the ringing society at the Ball. Attractions included live music, bucking bronco (bruises to prove it), food and best of all, free drinks! We all enjoyed ourselves greatly.
Our end of term meal took the form of a curry night at The Imperial on Thursday 7th March 2002. A large number of ECG members and their guests attended and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all. The bright idea of getting there early to grab a table before the busy time almost worked and resulted in hazy memories of the end of the evening for some people! This was an excellent chance to meet everyone else’s non-ringing friends and have a good relaxed evening, keep a look out for the next one!
The last official engagement of the year was the beach barbeque, which as usual went without much of a hitch. The foolhardy 10 caught the train to Exmouth, and, after a quick visit to get some food, hit the barbeque site. After an exciting altercation with some (fairly stupid) people who had decided that they had to use the same barbeque as us, despite the fact that there were five others free, we were eating. A brief battle and the beach was ours, leaving some (unsurprisingly) to go swimming, while the more sensible of us stayed well away, playing French cricket and generally chilling (literally).
The annual excuse for dangerous minibus driving, drinking and skittles, which occurs every June. The gnome made its now traditional appearance, much to the delight of Bristol, and duly accompanied us at all places in the wilds of Somerset, including Shepton Mallet, Evercreech and East Penard.
This saw us scuttling across Dartmoor, ending up in Tavistock, excellently organised by none other than David Macey. Highlights included some interesting driving of Helen Weeden's car by Michael and some not bad ringing.
Any old excuse for a party will do, and this seemed to degenerate into... fun! How dreadful. Held at Rosie Green's house, with its multiple hobs - useful if you are feeding a horde of hungry ringers - the ceiling escaped relatively unscathed.
These have really been more a matter of tower maintenance few hours when we can get people together. For the first time probably since the bells were rehung in the 1970s, there have been some maintenance sessions, following recommendations made several years ago for work that really needed doing. This has ranged from a simple clean-up of the ringing room, a less-than-simple clean-up of the bell chamber (including removal of various dead birds, such as the one that Michael found by treading on) to the repainting of all the metalwork (there seems to be a lot more than there should be) and the work by Pete in putting up a new lighting gantry in the ringing room, which has improved the tower no end. Despite this, there still remains much to be done, at some point in the future.
As can be guessed, we again showed our love of the minibus, and went en masse up to the Bristol annual dinner, to enjoy good wine, good company(?) and good ringing(????). The floor of St Mike's church hall served us well, if in a somewhat hard manner; them from Bristol showed us a good time again, including the post-dinner party, complete with dancers (sort of - mostly those who were drunk enough). Maybe we'll grace them with our presence again, if we're invited...
This happened at one of Exeter's many eating establishments, and, I'm assured, was great.
The annual December practice when everyone from Exeter invades the university practice. This years was particularly noteworthy, as the attendance was good: its a good time for the uni ringers to meet the other (normal) ringers in the area. It was also very useful, as we could, with the combined talent, ring pretty much anything you might care to mention.
Armed with back-packs and only the most basic of details, the master and his treasurer [cheeky!] left Exeter St David's late on the afternoon of Friday 13th November. Having realised that trying to write his essay on the train was a bad idea, Michael thought it would really impress the rest of the SUA if we both knew our standard 8 (not that it was any use). Well, that idea didn't last too long, so enter stage left a random woman who used that classic chat up line (on Michael) "I think your hair looks lovely, I think you're very brave!". Hmm.
Eventually we arrived in London and soon found the first tower (a "nice" 3cwt 8). The rest of the evening was spent in the first pub we could find, where another classic quote was made, again directed at Michael. This time, a drunk old bloke put his arm around the aforementioned and declared "Oh sorry mate, I thought you were a bird!". Drinking time soon ran out, and we headed back to the church hall.
Saturday morning, everyone woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed and set out for the East End. The draws for the 6 and 8 bell competition were made, and to our horror, we realised that this left us with about five hours in between our test pieces. So we drank. And drank. And the... drank some more! By the time it actually came to the ringing, we simply couldn't care. In our three minutes practice time, we rang hunting on 6, the front and back 5, and hunting on 4. The test piece was (kind of) Plain Bob Doubles (on the back five), which confused the judges and Michael. Then, back to the pub for the results; it was a miracle - WE DIDN'T LOSE! In the 6 bell we actually beat London by over 100 faults, though they were considerably more drunk then us! The rest of the evening was filled with eating curry and (yup! You've got it) more drinking. The majority of us arrived back at the hall at midnight, emphasis on the majority though, as Michael and Cardiff staggered in just after two.
Sunday morning consisted of three more towers and the afternoon included two more pubs. A brilliant time was had by all, and for once, the balance of drinking and ringing on a weekend tour was severely weighted the right way -
Towers - 6
By... the irrepressible Stephen Chambers
Held for the benefit of the freshers by way of an introduction, every single one turned up - single being the operative word. However, the older hands refused to let this spoil the proceedings, and eventually got quite drunk, as is the idea: and we all got to know Chris Upton, our fresher, quite well! (Although we didn't tell him about the gnome...hee hee hee).