Being the first training day I had organised and having battled such obstacles as weddings, peal days, outings and tenor clappers dropping out, it was with a large dose of trepidation that I entered Tostock church on the morning of September 16th. Would enough teachers have turned up? Would enough learners have turned up? Would anyone have turned up?
I needn't have worried. A crowd of eager faces awaited me. Some were concerned that I was going to turn up at all, having received e-mails off me at half-one that morning, but all were ready to help or learn. There were no worried texts or calls off Brian Whiting at the conducting course in Wetherden, so so far, so good.
Running a fine-tuning technique and striking course wasn't going to be easy, but we started by putting the pupils through their paces and then seeing if there was anything obvious to initially work on. We then used various methods from single-bell ringing to dodging to Plain Bob Doubles to help them work on their handling, tempo and striking. This seemed to work to a large extent with everybody improving or at the very least learning where they could improve.
At Wetherden, Brian - ably and generously helped by his glamorous assistant James Smith - was also making good headway, putting the pupils through conducting Bob Doubles and Minor, both theoretically and practically.
As useful as both courses were proving, the workers of all levels needed their lunch, liquid or solids or both. The chosen destination for this was The Maypole in Wetherden, handily placed for all the towers being used for the course and also with a good reputation. Unfortunately, things didn't work out all that smoothly. The recently inducted landlord had been let down by his chef just hours before a large group of hungry and thirsty bellringers unexpectedly invaded. The poor man did extremely well and disproved the theory that only women can do more than one job at once, but I think he needed a good lay down afterwards!
After our adventures at dinnertime, we set off to our appropriate destinations. Brian went to Woolpit and enjoyed another productive session, building on the successful morning.
We went to Bacton, for which much gratitude has to be passed on for their availability. Only called upon during the week leading up to the training day due to an unfortunately clapper loss at Buxhall, they were very welcoming, even providing refreshments afterwards. More of the same was tried and an experiment of the treble bonging in front to Bob Doubles was mildly amusing and even a bit of a success.
My thanks go to all those who made the day possible, especially as the day clashed with so much else. The refreshments laid on at the towers was most welcome and those that imparted their knowledge on both courses made the day a very worthwhile exercise for all concerned.
Next years Training Day will be at a later date in order to avoid clashing with so many summer-type events, but there isn't a definite date set yet.