I ring with the "The Potterne Handbell Ringers" and last night we were a player short in the upper notes tune section. I usually play three large, lower note bells, but only two at a time, with one in each hand. The larger bells play the lower notes, and if you look carefully at the big bells to the right, you can see the name of the note impressed on the leather handle, C on the bottom bell. The upper notes are played with two bells in each hand. The are laced together so that one bell rings when flicked upwards towards the player, and the other when the bell is flipped to the left in the right hand, and to the right in the left hand. (Work that one out!!)
I was totally confused to start with, and as the bells have to be held tightly, I ended up with a bruised feeling between my fingers on each hand. I did manage to "cotton on" eventually, and we managed to play a reasonable rendition of the "Skater's Waltz."
Next week we will start practising for our Christmas invitations to play in various venues around the Devizes area. We play a selection of Christmas carols and popular music, and people like to join in and sing along with us. We will play at the carol service in Potterne Church, which was where these two photographs were taken at last year's service. We play a four octave set of bells, which were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The set cost about £35,000, and as much as I'd like to start a handbell ringing group in Braunschweig, I don't think I can afford a set of bells!