Monday, 2 November 2009

Count the sacks ,or the Bells of St Oswalds

I notice from poster in St Oswald's that the tenor bell in the tower  weighs Four and a half hundredweight. I have had to put the cwt in words as I don't know how to do half on the Mac keyboard.I do know what a cwt is though. It used to be the weight of one sack of coal.
My family  used  always to buy our fuel for the winter in Summer as soon as the summer prices were announced. The Coal house would be tidied and got ready, the wooden slats to keep the fuel from falling into the back porch would be slotted in to man height. When the Coal Merchant arrived I was told to count the sacks in . So I always knew that 20 cwt made one ton, as I had to count the 20 trips from the  Lorry to the coal house with the ton of Anthracite.
So the Tenor Bell in St Oswalds Tower weighs over 4 sacks of coal. Bell ringing is all about Maths it seems. I had a friend who was and is an ardent Campanologist. He was the Captain of a Tower in Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs. I used to collect his copy of The Ringing World for him, and never understood a word of it. It seemed all Maths to me, charts of changes and bobs and Quarter this and that.He used to grab Towers , and travel round the countryside Betjeman fashion .
Last Friday  I was walking along West Avenue in Filey when I heard the peal of a single bell calling the people of Filey to St Johns for the 10am Holy Communion. So go I did, and  glad I was. A  happy service, no singing, lots of people, a tangible love and a quiet hour was an oasis in a busy week.
On Sundays, 6 bells call to Morning Service and Evening Service at St Oswalds. Sometimes I have to count, when the number is not 6. Once it was just 1, a foul winter day, but Bob Hall was faithfully pealing out the Sure Hope.
How I have taken them all, the ringers I mean, for granted all my life. St Oswalds 6 bells, St Martins Dorking 8 bells (maybe 10 now) St Michaels Southfields 1bell (Mr Misslebrook!), Ripon Cathedral 12 bells, St James Sutton in Holderness 6 bells. Thank you all !
The Psalms of Ascent have the right idea too, so we'll have 122 (CEV)
1It made me glad    to hear them say,
   "Let's go to the house
   of the LORD!"

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