Following the completion of the augmentation, last week, we swiftly organised a band to ring the very first quarter peal in Ab Kettleby. It has always been promised that the primary benefactors would be given the first ring on the bells, before opening the tower to visitors.
Today started as a gloriously bright but cold and frosty day as winter seems to have finally kicked in – so the newly installed heating in the church was switched on promptly to provide a bit of comfort to the ringers!
The band consisted of the two benefactors of the new bells, and three members of the restoration and augmentation team, along with the Ab Kettleby Tower Captain, taking part in his very first quarter!
The ringers gathered in the church at 11am, and without much ado rang the bells up. A quick discussion on methods followed, and it was decided that Plain Bob Doubles gave the best chance of succeeding. The quarter attempt started at about 11:10 and was ringing for about 25 minutes before… disaster! Where had the treble gone? The band looked over and the rope seemed to be stuck just below backstroke. End of quarter, but what had happened? Stay broken? Unthinkable!! Slider problem? Highly unlikely. The rope had actually jumped off the wheel of the bell. The rope was easily put back on, but the band elected not to re-attempt the quarter, as there was no guarantee that the same issue wouldn’t manifest itself again.
The new ropes have a polypropylene top to them – which makes them light and flexible, and largely unaffected by weather. It also means that given the relatively long draft of rope in the intermediate chamber, the ropes can be a little wayward. Watching the ropes from the intermediate chamber, it’s almost as if there’s a harmonic standing wave in the rope.
As the quarter had finished early, there was an opportunity for some family members to have a short ring. (And for me to pop outside to listen to/record the new six.)
Then the bells were rung down.
There will probably be another attempt at the quarter in the summer.