The striking competition was looming at the weekend, and I had heard from precisely one person about their intentions or otherwise to take part. By Saturday I had been further disheartened to get mostly negative replies to my hopeful emails and phone calls. Mandy, the Secretary, had had her own troubles dealing with crossed wires over the barbecue. On top of all that, it was raining like it would never end. Oh well.
Last year, which had been our first for several years, had been a runaway success. We had enthusiastically planned to make the 2008 Striking Competition into more of a social event and build on what had seemed to be a popular event. It was what people wanted, wasnít it?
As things turned out, despite the inauspicious start, we had a lovely afternoon at Barrow, which proved to be the perfect location Ė ground floor ring, nice bells, welcoming hosts and a pack of friendly donkeys and sheep. About 30 ringers turned up and as if by magic, morphed themselves into six teams, loosely grouped by the towers they usually ring at. The rules were minimal: five minutes of call changes, thatís all.
The esteemed judges (they liked being called that), Alan Moult and Jonathan Stevens, found a donkey-free patch of the Rectory garden to put themselves in, and the event more or less ran itself. What was so good about this competition? I can list plenty of things Ė the participation of so many new ringers, the willingness of everyone to mix in and make up teams which were short, the friendly chat and laughter in the church while the ringing was going on. And I canít vouch for it because I was only in the ringing room once with my own band, but Iím certain that when each team caught hold to ring there was an atmosphere of concentration and effort.
When the ringing was over, we made our way to the Rectory garden where a fantastic barbecue was served up by Father Peter Mcleod and his helpers. Jonathan gave some very constructive comments about each teamís ringing and Alan delivered the results, which were
Well done and thank you to everyone who took part or who in some way contributed to the success of the day. We also extend our grateful thanks to Jonathan Stevens, Alan Moult and Father Peter.