From time to time I have mentioned peals and quarter peals, and readers will have gathered that these are pieces of non-stop ringing lasting about three hours and three quarters of an hour respectively. Peals are the hard-core of ringing, physical and mental endurance exercises designed to improve both concentration and physical fitness. Quarter peals are similar, but by definition less daunting, and thus used as a benchmark by many more ringers. We ring quite a few quarters at Halesworth, often before services, such as the one on Christmas Eve before the Christingle service. Ringers are notorious for keeping records, of peals, quarters, and towers visited, and obscure personal footnotes often accompany publication of a performance on the website Bellboard,
such as “The ringer of the fourth’s 50th peal in the method, 25th peal on this bell, and 275th with the tenor ringer”.
7th January saw a Halesworth footnote-fest, as I rang my 1,000th quarter peal at St Mary’s at the same time as Nicole rang her 100th. 1,000 may sound a lot, but it is not at all exceptional by today’s standards and it has taken me a massive 47 years to accumulate this total, at roughly the same rate as Nicole’s 100. Nevertheless we were both pleased to have achieved our milestones as you can see from the photo taken afterwards.
The method we rang was called Rutland Surprise Major. Surprise means that the pattern has been constructed in a particular way that makes it rather complex, and Major means on eight bells. It was Nicole’s first in that method, and Pete’s as well: they had both been practising this at the special monthly Surprise Major practices at Ufford and this was us proving we had learnt it properly.
It was good to have Jason ringing in the quarter as he and I have rung nearly 150 quarters together, and Philip Moyse from Reydon as well with whom I have rung over 100. Yes, my records are as nerdy as anyone’s.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, there was the usual extra ringing over the Christmas period. Apart from Christingle we also rang for the Town carol service and for midnight mass. Tuesday practices have been rather sparsely attended, with bad weather, seasonal illness and exam revision all playing a part. However, we continue to progress, both individually and as a band, and look forward to discovering and overcoming lots of challenges in the year ahead.