Guild Outing - July 14th 2018

This year’s Guild outing had been planned for the14th July, long before we knew this was to be the hottest summer since 1976. Mike Burdett set out to make the event truly memorable and despite it being Bastille Day, decided to give the event a truly English flavour.

The first tower was Banbury and by 10.15 there were over 25 members in the tower. The ringing was fast and furious as we rang everything from rounds and call changes to Cambridge Royal. On leaving the tower to drive to Bodicote, Christine handed out directions to find the following 5 towers. There were a number of music festivals on in the area and the maps were very handy in avoiding the crowds and traffic jams.

Bodicote are a lovely light peal pf 8 and we enjoyed some interesting ringing. More members arrived and the numbers grew as we moved towards lunch time. An hour had been allowed for lunch so some could enjoy a pint in one of the local hostelries. Others ate their picnics in the Church yard at Deddington, the next tower. This 15 cwt 8 go well and were enjoyed by experienced ringers as well as those beginning their ringing journey.

The drive to Great Tew was one of the highlights of the day. The winding roads through the glorious Oxfordshire Countryside could not have been more beautiful. The music festival was in full swing when we arrived and we did wonder how they would react to the sound of the bells. Mike had arranged for the ringers to park on the verges by the entrance to the church, which has no vehicle access. They are a heavy ground floor ring and it was a great place to have the ringers’ tea: nothing short of scones, with jam and cream!!! Fantastic. There was a short business meeting to confirm 3 new members and to take the draw club. Joy proposed a vote of thanks to Mike for making all the arrangements and he received warm applause.

It was then off to Hook Norton again travelling though some lovely villages. Hooky bells are also on the heavy side. It was 48 steps to the belfry and some of us were beginning to flag. Some of the younger ringers enjoyed ringing the heavier bells, and we were quite happy for them to carry on. Temperatures of 28 degrees were beginning to tell, but more excitement had been planned. There had been no sign of Mike at Hook Norton – what was he planning next?

We arrived at Whichford to be greeted by that distinctive smell of Barbeque and there was Mike, slaving over the coals. By now numbers had dwindled somewhat but justice was done on these 12 cwt 8, from Call-Changes through to Surprise Major. Emerging from the Tower we could hear Music playing and we were greeted at the Church Gate by the ‘Plum Jerkin’ Morris men with a variety of musical instruments. With Mike exchanging his ‘Chef’s Hat’ for his ‘Morris Hat’, the side gave us a demonstration of ‘Stick Dancing’ whilst the Ringers enjoyed a veritable Barbeque feast and Punch. However, nothing comes free and supper had to be earned! The Ringers were lined up in pairs, provided with sticks and taken through a 9 part Morris Stick Dance. What fun it proved to be – and how quickly did they learn. Their completed dance was without fault, a job well and enthusiastically executed. It was the perfect end to a perfect English Country Day.

Enormous thanks must go to Mike for all his organisation, his meticulous planning, his catering prowess and his ability to unite two of the great loves of his life. What next………….!

A huge thanks to Mike and all his work in making this such a memorable event. In total, 50 members attended the outing, representing 19 towers from across the Guild. A number of visitors joined us as they had seen the event advertised on the website.

Ringing at Great Tew

Ringing at Great Tew

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea at Great Tew

Ringing at Hook Norton

Ringing at Hook Norton


Dancing at Whichford.