Sunday, February 11, 2007

They promised us it was over; Frank Winnetically is ringing again

The Pranker's Wycke Ringers met yesterday evening for our first practice session of the year. We are extremely grateful to Sister Foundly who gave us Frock Cottage for the night. It was especially pleasing to have a couple of campanological 'virgins' amongst the old hands, and I know the excitement on their faces brought memories of my first pick-up flooding back. We were also delighted to welcome back Frank Winnetically after his time away from us. I know I speak for all the ringers when I say that without his energetic and skillful direction, we found co-ordinating anything more than a two-in-hand quite impossible: Frank you certainly left a hole that no other man could fill.

After the introductions and a gentle warm-up, we got straight down to business. Frank's pick-up was as polished as ever, and his ring had lost none of the warmth that won him such acclaim in last year's exhibition at Mitzmaid Cloister. At first the new-comers were rather shy and tentative, poor technique quickly tiring their wrists. However, after a short break for tea, we were all back at it. Frank explained how, for a "normal" ring it is important to move the bell about six inches out and away from the body (in a motion parallel with the floor), keeping the bell slightly tilted so the clapper rests against the back side of the casting. An abrupt stop should follow, and the inertia of the clapper does the rest.

We then spent a delightful hour "getting to know each other", with some simple change ringing. This gave our novices the chance to adjust their backstroke and hand-strokes to our tempo. The always eager Job Nockey gave us the highlight of the evening when a combination of sweaty palms on wood and a particularly vigorous hand-stroke resulted in him losing his grip altogether. His instrument sailed over our heads and landed, bell-end first, on the supper tray that was at that very moment being brought into the parlour by Paul's wife, Peggy Smeenis. Peggy had brought along one of her home made cheeses which she'd been carefully ripening for the occasion, and this took the brunt of the impact, spraying her face with sticky globules. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as Job, purple-headed with embarrassment, tugged the bell free and attempted to scrape as much cheese from around his rim as possible.

After that, all we were fit for was to round off the evening with a gentle travelling two-in-hand. We are already looking forward to our next session when Frank has promised to teach us his famous knuckle grip.

If anyone is interested in joining the Pranker's Wycke Ringers, please contact Donna Tugick.

1 comment:

Sophie Trock said...

The return of Frank Winnetically fills me with a sense of excitement, fear and nostalgia. There was a time, long ago, when he used to call me his one and only Sophie Trock.