• Bell Notes April 2017

    Spring has sprung, the hosts of golden daffs have been and gone and it is Easter and it does not seem that long since we were starting a new year .... and yes, we now have a date for the annual lunch (see last month's blog) - no not Christmas, but May! Now Christmas is a time of presents and spending money, that you might be paying off till May. So what is Easter - chocolate of course - Easter eggs and bunnies and lots of them, so let me tell you the relationship of chocolate with St. John's ringers - well you had cake for Christmas in 'bell notes'.

    When I started ringing at a very young age (and no it was not when Noah was parking his boat after his cruise), there were no bottles of water to drink during ringing, so if I may say so, no dreadful plastic throw away bottles that now pollute the oceans. No sweets nor chocolates, for us youngsters even talking was forbidden: in fact all of them were never considered. Have you noticed at Christmas, well October there are all the 'plastic tins' of chocolates for sale, for very little cost. However if you know about these things, and the ringrs do, the weight of these tins of chocolates has reduced over time and the thickness and size of the chocolate has reduced year by year. The ringers know these things and supply most of the 'cake tins' in church as they can go through one of these chocolate tins in a couple of weeks. You might think that is ok, but within two weeks we only meet about four times. We even have ringers, who before they start ringing have to have a chocolate fix and if I suggested they gave up chocolates for Lent then I would be flying from the flagpole! Over the year the ringers have to supplement the 'Christmas tins' by replacing the chocolate varieties and even supplement with boiled sweets - rhubarb and custard is very popular as are jellies and dolly mixtures. We do have one purist who demands that we separate the toffees from the chocolates - just putting a thin smear of chocolate on a toffee does not a chocolate make ... it is still very much a toffee. They bring them back from their holidays and I think some of them could go onto Mastermind with chocolate and chocolate based products as their specialist subject, with boiled sweets for the second round.

    During Holy Week, in most churches there is no ringing, our week is Monday to Friday (we still ring on Sundays and for weddings on Saturdays). So you might see ringers wondering what to do in the evenings of that week, they might even be twitchy from chocolate deprivation but we will be ringing for Easter Sunday. Easter is one of our main Christian celebrations, it moves from a time of desoluation to a time of great celebration and a celebration that goes on forever ... so let's celebrate. If only there was a ringers' Easter egg hunt!

    It is with great sadness that a friend and ringer Sue Ashdown died on Friday 3rd March and her funeral was on Monday 20th March with the burial of ashes at St. John's on Friday 24th March. Her daughter Lorraine and Sue's family are in our prayers. St. John's ringers tribute for Sue will be in next month's blog. May God bless you all this Easter.

    Michael Wareing


Bellringing at St. John's Leytonstone


Photo crop (passport)

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