Adelaide ITTS Ringing School October 2014 (Saturday/Sunday session)
The Adelaide Ringing school was a wonderful opportunity for ringers to learn to teach. Despite it being a busy, jam-packed, fun-filled weekend, there was a lot to take in, lots of notes to take and methods and techniques to perfect. Two groups were established early Saturday morning with Group 2 heading out on the mini bus and Group 1 (my group) beginning with a short theory session and then on to the St Peter’s simulator bells. There we discussed many elements of technique, exchanging ideas about how to make changes to those ‘set in their ways’ amongst various towers. Gill brought her vast experience and great teaching skills to offer solutions with the support of the Group 1 mentors: Jim, Deryn, Peter, Ian, and Matthew S. Along with concepts such as ringing up and down, tension in the rope and floating hands, we learnt the ultimate ‘party trick’ of dropping the tail and even the mentors had trouble with ringing left handed.
A short lunch was followed by an equally short theory session which then lead onto Group 1’s time in the ringing chamber of St Peters. The heavy bells, including Great Frederick, caused some consternation amongst the teachers, but again, with the support and patience of the mentors, most of the teachers were able to ring most of the bells. Ruth Andersen and I even gave the tenor a successful pull and managed to not break anything. I did note that if I had managed to break the original stay, from the 1940’s, I would have gone down in history but alas, my name remains out of the annals.
General ringing gave all the occasion of ringing on rounds and call changes leading to the end of the ringing day.
A feast was laid on for dinner, some brief speeches and organisation of quarters for Sunday and a fascinating demonstration by Doug of Virtual Belfry. An early night was had by all to refuel for the next onslaught on Sunday.
Group 1 piled into the minibus in the morning (thanks to Peter for driving) and headed off for Walkerville for service ringing. The bells are lovely, a sweet ‘village’ 6 with spectators standing on ladders and in window seats to make room.
St Xaviers’s was a highlight for many of the country tower ringers. Not only is the giant glass window dramatic, but the bells were wonderful to ring. We had quite a crowd of ringers with a range of abilities and some great firsts being achieved. Deb and I both rang rounds and call changes on 12 and plain hunt on 9.
Group 1’s next step was Prospect, a wonderful tower, different to any we had ever seen with the simulators being used (to help the baby sleep). So many ideas were shared, from ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ on 6 to Bayles and other short methods to improve ropesight and help introduce methods to learners. Tea and coffee was interspersed with more short theory sessions as the heat set in. The last exercise was to develop our own short method and to help demonstrate the correct building of a band to match the method being played. This was invaluable as it showed the importance of selecting a band amongst ringers of all abilities and strengths.
We overran The Archer on Sunday night, devouring a great meal and lovely wine. Debriefs were detailed and eventually, goodbyes said. The small group left laughed until our bellies hurt and promises made (Murray-Luke, I hope the offer to ring the tenor at St Mary’s is still open, me being the ‘Tenor Queen’ and all…..).
I did not need inspiration to ring, or so I thought. Adelaide has inflamed my passion, more than it was. It has showed me the importance of technique and helped me develop strategies to teach correctly. It strengthened ties between towers and ringers and it reinforced the support which is always there for smaller, less experienced towers. It was a shame that the numbers were small, but hopefully more will be scheduled for the future.